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Bushworld Hardcover

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult; First Edition edition (August 3, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039915258X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399152580
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.6 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,618,328 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

If metaphors were cigarettes, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd would be a chain smoker. Through many years and countless columns spent chronicling the fall of George H.W. Bush and the ascension of George W. Bush, Dowd has employed analogies to feudalism, The Godfather, Mini-Me, traditional "mommy" and "daddy" roles, and scores more. In this, her first book, Dowd compiles well over a hundred columns and summarizes the Bush dynasty under a single comprehensive analogy: an alternate universe called Bushworld ("It's their reality. We just live and die in it.") Dowd, who as a reporter was assigned to cover the elder Bush, seems to have a soft spot for the guy even as she describes a president with no plans to do anything but remain president. But she is alarmed by the younger Bush whom she sees surrounding himself with dangerous ideologues and starting a poorly thought-out war with disastrous consequences. Each column is relatively short, and Dowd never shares much new information, but instead offers the kind of informed skeptical perspective that's essential when interpreting the public statements of policymakers. Dowd's cleverness sometimes gets in the way of clarity, and one occasionally wishes she'd quit kidding around and say something substantive, especially since the reader of Bushworld will likely be several years removed from the news that inspired a particular column. Cleverness can be a virtue for a writer as well, getting a laugh while perfectly illustrating a point, such as when she says of the notoriously cloistered W. "All presidents are in a bubble, but the boy king was so insulated he was in a thermos." Or when she says of the Iraq War's aftermath "for the first time in history, Americans are searching for the reasons we went to war after the war is over." --John Moe

From Publishers Weekly

As scathingly funny as she is zingingly succinct, New York Times op-ed columnist Dowd has been riding Bush & Co. since his presidential campaign first gathered steam in 1999. Her approach has less to do with party than class: since winning the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for her commentary on the Clinton impeachment, Dowd, originally from working-class, Washington, D.C., has become the unlikely mouthpiece of broad-swath middle-class anger at corporate bosses, the conservative very rich and hawks of all stripes. The book collects five-plus years of pieces whose titles ("Bomb and Switch"; "Weapons of Mass Redaction") draw one into Dowd's weirdly high-low tabloid rata-tat-tat: "The Boy Emperor's head hurt. All the oppressive obligations of statecraft were swimming through his brain like hungry koi." The best of them synthesize out loud what the punditocracy e-mails to each other in private as the news day progresses. That real-time quality, with Dowd riffing out loud in medias res, doesn't always work in book form. But with events having unfolded so rapidly in the last five years, this compendium, Dowd's first, serves as a kind of summa for the mochaccino set's political grievances. Others cover the same waterfront, but Dowd's keen dramatizations of complex situations, uncannily biting caricatures and merciless re-spinning of spin set her far apart from the pack. The results remain devastating, even after the fact: "Gorzac: works to counteract nausea that occurs when you turn on the TV and see Al promising to 'let it rip'...."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

They do not contain citations for her sources.
Michael C. Mclean
I think deep inside she really likes them, the just piss her off with their "trust us, we know what's best for you" atttitude.
J. Johnson
In the meantime, if you like reading Maureen Dowd, getting this book is a no-brainer.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Ksuzy on September 23, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I am probably one of the few people reviewing this book who hadn't read many of Ms. Dowd's columns before reading the book. That being said, I found the book to be a nice surprise on at least two levels. First, the facts it filled in for me about what goes on and has gone on for generations in the Bush family were way more valuable to me than the clever nicknames (41, 43) that peppered the text. Second, her unique style, from which said nicknames derived, allowed her to talk about the history of the Bush family in a both a humorous and forlorn manner that few writers could pull off.

The only reason why I didn't give it five stars is that I found myself when I finished the book thinking, "That was intriguing... funny... but now what?" It was, in the end, an interesting spectacle, but did she write it for anything else other than to make clever jokes? After all, she made fun of Gore and Clinton, and Reagan, etc. etc. etc. too. Is there anything she doesn't turn a cynical eye toward? One of earliest sentences in the book says it all. "It's their reality. We just live and die in it." Is she really making an anti-Bush statement, or is she just making fun of a "current President?" The book is humorous, but it's unlikely to move liberals to social action. If it's really already Bush's reality, after all, what's the point?
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126 of 161 people found the following review helpful By Beth DeRoos HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover
It should be noted that while this book is a collection of her columns on G W Bush the fact is she has written some funny but hard hitting columns on Democrats and 'liberals' as well.

In Bushworld she notes that while Bush attempts to keep religion and government separate in Iraq he seeks to do the opposite of this here in the states. I even thought of her the first week in August 2004 when Bush stated that both the terrorists and he himself seek to hurt Americans. It was slip up on his part, but its slip ups and other goofs that she takes on in the book. As she notes in Bushworld 'You and I are just bit players or modern day slaves in the Bushworld. The Bush family believes that it should rule, that it is destined to rule, that it is right and just in its rule and they seem to believe that they have a right to damn well what they want. And as she shows they don't do the dirty work but play the Gotti game of using hired guns. This allows them to project a holier than thou mode, with Emily Post etiquette style.

Read the book and then do some homework and you see she's right on target. Like how GWB ran basically for revenge. Revenge against the popular Clinton who gave us the best economy in decades, and who beat Daddy Bush big time and revenge for some Iraqis making an attempt on his Daddy's life. Not because he had anything of value to offer the American people who 'hired' him. It was and is all about selfishness as her astute columns demonstrate.

Now there will be those who like the three monkeys don't want to hear see or speak no evil of the G W Bush or his father. But Ms. Dowd is one of the brave souls who dares tell the Emperor that he has no clothes and that his pious holier than thou religious image is artificial to boot.
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51 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Jon R. Schlueter on September 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I believe that H.L. Mencken once spoke of some class of persons who could not push a noun and verb together without blowing something up. In that spirit, Maureen Dowd presents "Bush World". To the most protective of Bush supporters, Dowd is a bomb thrower. To anti-Bush partisans, Dowd's book is the Fourth of July. To those in the middle, "Bush World" is a rumble to be investigated.

In "Bush World", Dowd compiles her columns in the New York Times since Bush appeared on the national stage. Dowd writes with a cleverness that can be just a hazy memory to, well, a certain radio talk-show host who had conditioned his hard-core base to confuse scorn for wit. Dowd is not like that; this book is the real thing.

These colums are quite critical of the Bush administration's actions and practices. Some people might find this compilation too negative. However, another Mencken quotation comes to mind: "Nine times out of ten, in the arts as in life, there is actually no truth to be discovered; there is only error to be exposed."

You don't have to agree with what Dowd writes, in whole or in part, to value this book. I have listened to very conservative commentators whom I strongly disagreed with, and I appreciate them when they are clever or interesting. I expect my fellow citizens to the right-of-center likewise enjoy a differing viewpoint well put. Maureen Dowd is, at least, very clever and interesting. Nor did I agree with everything Dowd wrote in "Bush World". For example, several times Dowd characterizes Dick Cheney's world-view as "Hobbesian". So, what's wrong with Thomas Hobbes, who famously wrote, "[The state of nature consists of] . . . continual fear and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short"?
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45 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Eduardo Nietzsche on September 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Maureen Dowd is no Paul Krugman, the Princeton economist turned political editorialist working alongside her at the New York Times. Whereas Krugman makes a point of meticulous research and august professionalism in both his tone and content, Dowd specializes in what is basically pop political commentary in the McNews era. Where Krugman uses statistics and verifiable facts, Dowd more often relies on improvised metaphors, puns, and quasi-hip pop-culture references.

The result is that Dowd's work is easier to fly through, whereas Krugman's takes a little more effort but is ultimately more rewarding. In her constant attempts at light-hearted and jaded humor, Dowd sometimes comes off as rather flaky...but where she doesn't hit the bullseye, she usually comes pretty close in the vicinity and that is her main credit.

In "Bushworld," she zeroes in on what most Americans already know or increasingly suspect: that Bush Jr. is a hopelessly provincial, empty-headed and simplistic straw man who likes to pose as the Marlboro Man while being manipulated by Machiavellian advisors like Karl Rove and the whole pathologically deluded entourage who got us into this Iraq quagmire, now known as the "neocons" as well as the extreme religous right who in exchange for electoral support now get to write 90% of Bush's social policy positions.

It's a sad, mad, and dangerous situation which in some ways perfectly suits the often desperate attempts at humor and hip detachment to which Dowd, as a powerless spectator like most of us, resorts.

For readers who would prefer a snappier, crackle-and-pop style of writing about this hijacked, half-elected White House, Dowd's book is a fine messenger.
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