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All The Best, George Bush: My Life in Letters and Other Writings Hardcover – October 5, 1999


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; 1st edition (October 5, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 068483958X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684839585
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 8 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (120 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,150,596 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In lieu of a memoir, All the Best, George Bush collects correspondence and diary entries from the former U.S. president to show, as he says, "what my own heartbeat is, what my values are, what has motivated me in life." The letters begin in 1942--when, fresh out of high school, Bush volunteered for U.S. Navy flight school--and continue to the brink of the 21st century, as the retired chief executive worries about the Melissa virus infecting his office's server and keeping his visiting grandchildren in line. ("I realize," he muses, "Keep the freezer door closed from now on and I mean it lacks the rhetorical depth of This will not stand or Read my lips.") All the Best hits all the highlights of Bush's career, from the Texas oil business to his role as ambassador to China, then CIA director, vice president under Ronald Reagan, and finally president himself. Along the way, he reveals a personality that is at turns compassionate, respectful, silly, doting, and resolute--a man for whom being a father and a grandfather matters as much as, and maybe even more than, being leader of the free world. Fans and detractors alike will find in All the Best an intimate human portrait that offers as sure a self-definition of Bush's personal life as A World Transformed did his presidential career.

From Publishers Weekly

To the present governors of Texas and Florida, his sons George and Jeb, who worried that they might upstage their famous dad, former President Bush wrote: "Do not worry when you see the stories that compare you favorably to a Dad for whom English was a second language." President Bush was indeed famously inarticulate in public. But in this collection of diary entries, memos and letters written between 1942, when he started navy flight school, to March 1999, when he wrote a friend to express his consternation that his e-mail server was down, Bush proves himself to have been a gracious and staggeringly prolific correspondent. There are long letters, such as the September 1944 missive to his parents relating how he was shot down over the Pacific. And there are truly funny diary entries from his presidency about the Scowcroft Award, a running gag in the Bush cabinet named after National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft, who apparently had an uncanny knack for napping in meetings: "A fantastic challenge by Ed Derwinski. very firm eye closure and a remarkable recovery gambit." Naturally, there are long letters to world leaders such as Deng Xiaoping, King Hussein, Mikhail Gorbachev and others about matters of historical import. Diary entries cover the Tiananmen Square massacre, the failed coup against Gorbachev, the Gulf War and other crises (though there's hardly anything about the Iran-contra scandal). Rarely does Bush display any partisan bitterness, and even then it's not very pungent (though he's consistently irked by the press). Bush must have been tempted to write a memoir intended to beat historians to the interpretive punch. This modest alternative is refreshing and, in many ways, will shed more light on the man's personal character and public persona than any memoir or biography could. It offers an intriguing picture of a man who takes fierce pride in his modesty.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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The letters in this book are interesting and uplifting.
Elizabeth
It is a book that is enjoyable to read and one that anyone with an interest in political history and the Bush family in particular will find interesting.
Books and Chocolate
This book is a collection of letters and personal diary entries from George H. W. Bush throughout his life.
Benjamin Thomas

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 66 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 30, 1999
Format: Hardcover
As a collector of presidential biographies and memoirs, without a doubt All the Best by George Bush is the finest, most genuine, most personal look into the life of a President that I have ever encountered. The Bush letters, diary entries, official memoranda, and other sources cited offer the reader a "window on the soul" of our 41st President, and reveal a strength, an unrelenting decency, and an advanced sense of humor that many never knew existed (because the national media couldn't understand it). All the Best is a great book from one of the 20th Century's great statesmen.
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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 27, 1999
Format: Hardcover
In an era where politicians are looked upon with a great deal of contempt and are portrayed (sometimes rightfully so) as cold and heartless, along comes a book to buck the trend. President Bush opens himself up to the reader to get a glimpse of his thoughts and the events going on around him. It is very revealing in parts, and generally shows his maturation and perhaps some change in perspective as the years progress. Pres. Bush does not hide the fact that he is an emotional man, and that is expressed very well in this book. One can't help but be touched by the humor, sadness, insightful opinion, and lightheartedness this collection of letters encompasses. Fair warning to those expecting a book that is "wonkish" in policy and serious reading: this is not that kind of book. Nor does it pretend to be, and that's what makes it enjoyable. If you were expecting more serious material from President Bush, I suggest you try "A World Transformed", which he co-authored with Gen. Brent Scowcroft. All in all, "All The Best..." is a nice read, and should appeal to a wider audience than most memoir/autobiographical pieces from our political figures.
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34 of 39 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 6, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is an intriguing and enticing look at former President George Bush through five plus decades of letters and diaries. The writings demonstrate that Mr. Bush's personal life mirror his public demeanor as a quiet, uncomplicated individual who strongly believes in family values. The entries include impressions of world leaders of the past two decades, adding to the interest.

Anyone seeking dirty laundry and partisan politics needs to skip this memoir. Instead, Mr. Bush treats everyone except the nagging press as a friend. The book serves as a refreshing look inside the guts of the former President as well as how he perceived some of his colleagues and events on the world stage. Fans of autobiographies, the American presidency, and American history will gain much pleasure from this memoir that is much more interesting than the sanitized version of greatness that many of the modern day autobiographies present. Mr. Bush shows his pride of simply being Mr. Bush.

Harriet Klausner
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Mark on December 30, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed this book (which I received as a gift). In short, what you get are the letters of a good decent man. I found it insightful, particularly in an age where we communicate via short terse emails. As expected, Bush haters will hate it and Bush lovers will love it. I fall somewhere in the middle, but have concluded that if I ever got the chance to recast my vote in the Bush-Clinton affair..this time I would side with George (sorry bubba) Character does matter.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By N. Eames on December 16, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Unlike biographies and autobiographies which allow time to alter the perspective of events in the mind of the author, reading about George H.W. Bush's life through his letters and diary entries allows one to see events from the perspective Bush saw them as they were happening. I found this to be a refreshing approach to a life many may find in contradiction. I was in high school during the Bush presidency and watched, in amazment, the world as I knew it, change right before my eyes. While this book may not provide a look at the "real" George Bush (can any book really do that?), it does provide a glimpse into, perhaps, what it was that helped him steer us through those world changing events and make us a stronger country.
Many of us know someone that is a letter writer who, for them any reason to write a letter is a good one. It quickly becomes clear that George Bush is one of those people. Most of the letters and diary entries are heartwarming and reveal a strong, kind and patriotic person with a soft heart who tries to keep his priorities straight, despite the pressures that come from the life he chose. While some of the letters are a little dry, there are many which will lighten your spirit and wet your eyes. But most of all, they demonstrate what kind of heart a leader should have and renew ones faith that there people in government who, for good or bad, are trying to do their best to make decisions which will benefit our country and its citizens.
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37 of 44 people found the following review helpful By John Malcolm on November 17, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Too bad the US voters didn't get to know this George Bush. Perhaps that draft-dodging adulterous hick wouldn't be President... I digress. This book should be required reading for any number of people. Couples, politicians, children would benefit from spending a few hours reading these letters. I laughed out loud so many times that my wife eventually asked me to read entire sections of the book to her. We cried together as we read of the heartbreak he and his family experienced. This book is a wonderful gift from a man whose lifetime of achievements, both personal and professional, made our country a better place.
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