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George H. W. Bush: The American Presidents Series: The 41st President, 1989-1993 Hardcover – December 10, 2007
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About the Author
Timothy Naftali is the director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, having previously served as director of the Presidential Recordings Program at the University of Virginia. He is the coauthor of Khrushchev's Cold War and One Hell of a Gamble: Khrushchev, Castro, and Kennedy, 1958–1964, and the author of Blind Spot: The Secret History of American Counterterrorism. He lives in Los Angeles.
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Top Customer Reviews
George H. W. Bush was a one term president who presided over the end of the Cold War. This slender biography, another entry in The American Presidents series, provides a useful biography of the 41st president of the United States. The book begins with his childhood and youth, culminating in his estimable service in the Navy's air wing, including being shot down in the Pacific. Upon his return to the United States, Bush entered Yale and, upon graduation, became a businessman who did well, after moving from New England to Texas.
In Texas, Bush became interested in politics, and public service consumed him until the end of his presidency. He was ambitious from the start of his career. He had successes (election to the House of Representatives) and failures (defeat in a Senate race). He became a person respected by his Republican Party leaders, and served in a number of important roles, from Director of the CIA, Ambassador to the U. N., Chair of the Republican National Committee, and head of the U. S. diplomatic post in the People's Republic of China.
After his China tour, he began thinking about the presidency. It didn't work out in 1980 (Ronald Reagan simply did a better job as candidate); however, he got quite a consolation prize--Vice President. Then, the tale of his campaign to become President in 1988.
Once elected, he displayed prudence. He ran into trouble when he backed off his "Read my lips; no new taxes" promise from the 1988 campaign.Read more ›
I think this is an interesting and very light read but it does tend in my opinion to reinforce the notion that George H.W. Bush was as much an observer of history than a participant. He was the guy who just happened to be sitting in the Oval Office when this stuff happened and his presence really didn't have that much to do with the rapid changes in the world at the time and quite the opposite, he nearly prevented them from happening. Anyway it's an interesting afternoon read, but don't expect to come away very impressed with Bush 41.
President Bush was at the helm during the period when the Cold War ended and the people of the Eastern European countries were throwing off the shackles of years of enforced communist rule. The author states that "Poland was the scene of the first dramatic change. In February 1989 Solidarity was legalized and Lech Walesa entered into talks with the Communist government to prepare for a new electoral system."
President Bush's diplomatic relationship with Mikhail Gorbachev was good which was helpful in negotiating peaceful resolutions to some of the many problems which surfaced as the Cold War was ending. The nonviolent reunification of East and West Germany was also accredited to the President's intervention. A few years later in 1991, his diplomacy helped to garner a coalition of united forces that joined together to defeat Saddam Hussein's take over of Kuwait.
On the home front, the President was not particularly popular. The American people found him difficult to understand. In some ways his aristocratic coolness turned many people off and within the Republican Party, he did not have the strong backing that President Reagan had experienced. The election promise that President Bush made when he ran for office was, "Read my lips--no new taxes.Read more ›
It is difficult to gain perspective on a presidency as recent as that of Bush. Naftali does his short history well, making careful, measured judgments and drawing on a good collection of source material, including Bush's diaries. The picture of Bush that emerges is of an individual who had pursued the presidency throughout almost his entire adult life in a not always admirable manner. When he achieved his goal at last, Bush grew in the office. In a restrained, cautious way, Bush played a major role in the end of the Cold War and in the break-up of the Soviet Union. Bush also acted prudently and successfully in the first American war against Iraq and Saddam Hussein following the invasion of Kuwait. He also successfully prosecuted a shorter, less well-remembered war in Panama. In these actions, Bush worked hard for bipartisan consensus and largely succeeded.
Bush's domestic policies were considerably less successful. But, as Naftali shows, the president worked here as well for consensus. Upon assuming office, Bush was faced with the bankruptcy of the nation's savings and loan associations which required and extensive, budget-breaking bailout.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A biography of George H.W. Bush was written by Timothy Naftali. A good accounting of the former President and I found that others had referenced Naftali's book as a resource. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Virginia M Byers
Having read the Caro 4-part to date biography of LBJ, I was not ready to devote so much time to Bush 41. Read morePublished 9 months ago by O. Beltrami
I am sure there will be better biographies of this president in the future . Or maybe there are some now. The one by his son is excellent.Published 10 months ago by Alice R. Kemper
One of the key aspects that every book in this series should contain (but sadly do not) is much material dealing with the President's personality and how that personality led him... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Zachary Koenig
Enjoyed this picture of a president who was more than meets the eye.Published 14 months ago by R. Fass