From Publishers Weekly
According to this hagiography penned by his daughter, the 41st president is brave, loyal, generous, fun-loving (he put "fake dog poop" in the guest room of the vice presidential mansion) and considerate (he cleaned real dog vomit out of his limo himself instead of making the Secret Service do it). He's also graciousness personified, as attested by the many kind notes to acquaintances the author reprints alongside boilerplate testimonials from friends, relatives and dignitaries like Mikhail Gorbachev and Bill Clinton. Koch includes campaign war stories and briefly salutes Bush's budget deal and policy initiatives like the Americans with Disabilities Act, but her father's politics seem mainly an extension of his personal character and charm, as he works with world leaders to finesse the fall of communism and unite against Saddam Hussein. Throughout, she sprinkles in family anecdotes—with sometimes grating results, as when an account of Bush tearing up at the prospect of sending American soldiers to die in Kuwait segues into a Camp David tobogganing mishap. And the Bush clan ethos Koch celebrates—"family and friends always came first"— pays scant attention to public priorities. Photos. (Oct. 6)
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Koch states up front that this book is written from the perspective of a daughter and concedes that while "a daughter may not have either the expertise or objectivity of a historian . . . a historian doesn't know a father the way his daughter does." What follows is a loving account of the life of George H. W. Bush: U.S. Navy, Yale, Texas oil business, UN ambassador, U.S. ambassador to China, CIA director, vice president, president, former president. Koch draws on her own recollections, her father's personal papers, and interviews with Bush, family members, and friends. Among those lending observations are Bill Clinton, Generals Colin Powell and Norman Schwarzkopf, and Bush imitator Dana Carvey. She cites Bush's hallmark modesty and his mother's admonition against the egotism of "The Great I Am" as reason for his reluctance to write a memoir. Koch also offers fascinating recollections of her own sense of life in a glass bowl as the daughter of a famous man, the only girl in a rambunctious family of five children. She recalls feeling like Eloise when she lived at the official UN ambassador's residence at the Waldorf-Astoria and managing dating as the divorced mother of young children being baby-sat by the First Couple at the White House. Koch brings a fresh perspective to her father's long and distinguished career, and her parents' devotion to family. Vanessa BushCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved