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The Bush Tragedy Hardcover – January 15, 2008

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; First Edition edition (January 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400066786
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400066780
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #706,607 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Framing the Bush administration as a Shakespearean tragedy, Weisberg provides an intriguing interpretation of Bush and his motivations thus far. Part armchair therapist and part literary critic, Weisberg chips away at the various public and private personalities Bush has presented over the years to demonstrate his insecurities. Examining his relationships to family and friends as well as isolating particular lines of dialogue as key insights into Bush's true nature, Weisberg keenly illustrates how Bush's insecurities have played out on a global scale. Weisberg also juxtaposes Bush within his family legacy, by drawing comparisons between his style of leadership with those on the Walker side of the family. In his deep voice, Robertson Dean provides an enjoyable performance that works well with Weisberg's prose. His deliberate cadence and well-placed emphasis makes the narration easy to follow and understand. Dean projects power and energy and is sure to have listeners looking for other audiobooks he reads that offer more narrative prose.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


'The Bush Tragedy is political drama, family history and psychological insight in dazzling combination. If you read one book about George W. Bush and his presidency, this should be it' Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point and Blink 'Precisely because he does not think George W. Bush is a joke, Jacob Weisberg has been able to write a very witty and deeply penetrating profile of him' Christopher Hitchens 'The epic failure of the Bush Administration is a story for the ages and Jacob Weisberg - with a clever assist from William Shakespeare - has written a scorching, powerful and entirely plausible account of this perverse family saga. Not only that - it's a beautifully written and erudite book, hilarious at times, a joy to read' Joe Klein, author of Primary Colors --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Furthermore, he has no respect for conservatives whatsoever.
Bernard Chapin
Though not a psychologist, Weisberg has created an excellent historical and psychological study of George W Bush.
David W. Southworth
This is a must read book and I give it the very highest of recommendations.
Dan G. Olson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

257 of 284 people found the following review helpful By David Plotz on January 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover
In The Bush Tragedy, Jacob Weisberg does what most of President Bush's critics have never tried to do: Take him seriously. In doing so, Jacob paints a devastating portrait of a man haunted by his father, crippled by a fatal lack of curiosity, and driven by ego to pursue aggressive and ill-considered policies. His Bush is not the cartoon of ignorant evil imagined by many of the president's critics, but a deeply complex man whose intellectual and emotional shortcomings have made him a disastrous president. Jacob, who (full disclosure) is a colleague and friend, has unearthed extraordinary new details about Bush's religious conversion, ancestral history, and family dynamics. My favorite bit--check it out on page 90--is an anecdote about how the president, always willing to make his own reality, decided that a painting of a horse thief was actually a portrait of a brave evangelist minister.
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70 of 80 people found the following review helpful By Jon Hunt on February 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's hard to know how many books have been written about George W. Bush during the course of his presidency that skewer him on just about everything, but Jacob Weisberg's "The Bush Tragedy" is a welcome addition to that increasing number as the author looks at his subject from a standpoint different from many of the others....his family. Weisberg is dead-on on his assessments of our nation's forty-third president and from that vantage point, we get to know much more about this latest tragedy in a series of family members that were as dysfunctional as they come. And the current president is the worst of them all.

Growing up in Greenwich, Connecticut, I've always been well aware of the Bush family from the days when "W"'s grandfather, Prescott, served in the U.S. Senate. The Bushes, then, were known as the "respectable" Republicans...the kind that used to be identified with the east coast, and a point well reviewed in this book. Few in town these days want to be associated with the name "Bush" least the Texas kind. As the Bushes moved south and west they developed into another kind of family with George W. Bush taking the family name off the deep end, with the help of religious conservatives. If Bush #41 began a trend of the northeast toward the Democratic party, Bush #43 sealed the deal. Yet as Weisberg points out, "W", who had been a cajoler in his days as Texas governor and did his best to keep the name "Bush" as a uniter, turned out to be a divider as president. This is one of many aspects of "The Bush Tragedy" that Weisberg covers well.

Much of "The Bush Tragedy" features the ginning up of the war in Iraq...Bush's most notable and long-lasting failure. The author's accounts of the president's change of rationale for being in Iraq every eighteen months or so is terrific.
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43 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Paul Tognetti TOP 500 REVIEWER on February 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Trying to understand just what has gone wrong over the past 7 years was my motivation for picking up "The Bush Tragedy". To say that I have been disappointed in his presidency would be a gross understatement. In "The Bush Tragedy" author Jacob Weisberg offers up an intimate look at George W. Bush, his family and his inner circle of trusted advisors in an attempt to explain many of this President's ill-advised actions and policy initiatives since 2001. It is fascinating reading.

Throughout "The Bush Tragedy", Weisberg compares George W. to Prince Hal in the Shakespearian play "Henry V". The similarities between the two men are remarkable. It turns out that George W. Bush is a very complex individual whose personality was shaped and formed by a complicated relationship with his father, the former President and his brother Jeb with whom he has been in competition with all of his life. His father's failure to defeat and remove Saddam Hussein in the Persian Gulf War in 1991 and his subsequent defeat at the hands of the despised Bill Clinton in 1992 would leave an indelible mark on Bush 43. He was bound and determined to do things differently if he was elected President. After the disputed election of 2000, George W. would surround himself with a cadre of advisors who were idealogically driven and would ultimately contribute to the undoing of this presidency. This circle would include his political advisor Karl Rove, Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to name but a few. Weisberg points to numerous situations after 9/11 where these individuals and others would mislead the President and encourage him to pursue flawed policies including the war in Iraq. These decisions would prove to be the President's undoing. Of course George W.
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53 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Sanford on January 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the best books about a Presidency in a long time. It is not so much about how Bush JR is obsessed with Bush SR, as some reviews have suggested, but an explanation of how and why Bush JR is like the Walker branch of his family, and his dad is like the Bush branch. It has a lot of new stuff including stunning detail about family politics. It tells us that Bush SR's dad Prescott Bush lived in a house bought by his father-in-law and worked at an investment bank owned by his father-in-law who was a Walker. Bush SR himself got his house in Kennebunkport ME by convincing the Walker widow who owned it to sell it to him. It also appears to show the George H. Walker branch of the family to be deceitful and dishonest (the current one worked at Goldman Sachs).

In other words, although the Bush family seems to sell hardwork and Yankee values, it has really lived on the hog of the Walker side. Bush JR was so obsessed with his richer cousins that he likes their brash style and adopted it for himself.

Of course all the psychoanalysis takes away from the book which reads as well and as seriously as any Presidential biography, even as good as David Mcculloch's John Adams. Few books this year have been so good
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