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Publisher's Summary

From Pulitzer Prize winner and number-one New York Times best-selling author Jon Meacham comes a sweeping yet intimate biography of George H. W. Bush. Based on rigorous research, hours of private interviews, and extraordinary access to Bush's diaries and to his family, Destiny and Power paints a vivid and affecting portrait of the distinctive American life of a man from the Greatest Generation: his childhood in Connecticut, his heroic service in World War II, his entry into the Texas oil business, and his storied rise in politics from congressman to UN ambassador to head of the CIA to 41st president of the United States.

©2015 Jon Meacham (P)2015 Random House Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A compelling read

What was one of the most memorable moments of Destiny and Power?

It was most interesting seeing all the politicians of the time (from Kennedy through Rumsfeld, and Regan) through his perceptions.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No. Too long.

Any additional comments?

I'm not American, and don't have a political leaning toward either party. I thought the book a touching and humanizing read on GHWB and his family. He is an old style gentleman, and this comes through clearly. He had little stomach for the polarized nature of his party and most particularly for the far right. He seemed disappointed in a swing to the far right by Dick Cheney (who had served as GHWB's own secretary of defense - something I had forgotten). He also felt that as VP under GWB, Cheney was given too much power and autonomy. GHWB was loyal, dedicated, and tried to do what was right for his country and president(s), but he certainly made mistakes and missteps and I don't think this was glossed over. He is just a genuinely nice man. It was a very interesting read.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

George H W Bush, behind the door of 41

A courageous and confident man who has willingly opened up his core self to examination in a brave, unvarnished & unique way into the real man, his values, beliefs, and actions.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 12-02-15

Fair and insightful

George H. W. Bush is one of the few presidents that did not write his autobiography after leaving office. Jon Meacham has produced the “official biography” on H.W. Bush. I have read a number of Meacham’s books including “American Lion” which won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize.

Meacham did extensive research for the book and was allowed access to Bush’s diaries and numerous interviews with family and friends. Needless to say he also had access to the presidential papers and other archive materials.

Bush 41 comes across as an ambitious and emotional man, which is different from the aloof and polished figure we normally see. Meacham also reveals him to be a witty observer of other people’s quirks. Bush 41 was raised in privilege but did service to the country in World War II and as an elected official. The book covers his life from birth to the current date. I found the last quarter of the book the most interesting.

The book is well written and meticulously researched. Meacham comes off neutral and lacking ideological fervor that allows him to paint a picture of Bush that is new. The book does have an affectionate feel for Bush, but Meacham has a judicious balanced approach to the material. The book also provides quite a bit of new information that makes the book well worth the read.

The book is long at 800 pages or 25 hours. Paul Michael does a good job narrating the book.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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A Gentleman

I did not vote for President George Herbert Walker Bush. I did have the pleasure of meeting him years ago. President Bush is as he appears. Kind, caring, sensitive and just plain old nice! He has integrity, honors his word and above all, he is a gentleman.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous
  • Wheat Ridge, CO, United States
  • 11-02-17

Lovefest

Meachum lavishes Bush with praise to a somewhat nauseating degree. The book also mimics a Navy or Army commercial in reiterating the importance of Respect, Pride, Dignity, Humility - traits which Bush apparently displayed in spades. Even though I had a positive view of George H W Bush before listening, I really felt this was over the top and not objective.




1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Very engaging. Seems like a hagiography though.

Held my attention the whole way through. Gave me a new appreciation for a president i already respected a lot. Came across like a real hagiography though.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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very nice portrayal of the family

Love the character theme the author chose and that he doesn't shy away from strengths and failures

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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An Amazing Life

Who was your favorite character and why?

George H.W. Bush

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The way he describes his post presidential life.

Any additional comments?

President Bush has lived an amazing life spanning World War II, the Gulf War and the fall of communism. Through it all he has been a steady presence when it was needed. There are too few like him.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Marianne
  • PETERSHAM, MASSACHUSETTS, United States
  • 01-01-16

A necessary reminder

Would you consider the audio edition of Destiny and Power to be better than the print version?

cannot say

What did you like best about this story?

The reminder of things that have been forgotten

What does Paul Michael bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

an American voice

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

A time when when one could love a Republican president

Any additional comments?

all democrats and many republicans should listen to this book to remind themselves of a time when politics did not descend to comments on an opponents bathroom breaks

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Amazing story, great narration

I loved this book and the performance. The one criticism I would level is that the author is a definite Bush apologist. Sometimes that helps you better understand Bush, but sometimes it's a little pandering. Overall it's one of my favorite books I've read this year.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • michael Billington
  • 11-13-15

A wonderful biography of an underrated president

Would you listen to Destiny and Power again? Why?

yes Meacham has written a brilliant book that is both highly informative and easy to listen to.

Who was your favorite character and why?

George H.W Bush, he emerges as a far more interesting and complicated man than his public image would suggest.

Have you listened to any of Paul Michael’s other performances? How does this one compare?

The narration is excellent, very impressed with the reading.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Ambition, Power and tragedy

Any additional comments?

This is a book I was really looking forward too and it did not disappoint. Well written and full of wonderful insights. Brilliant