From Publishers Weekly
Distinguished historians from MIT, Georgetown, Princeton, and other leading universities recount, almost exclusively, George W. Bush's failures, from the poorly planned and falsely fomented war in Iraq to the slow, tragic response to Hurricane Katrina. While none of the writers try for complete remove, they do an admirable job of bolstering their opinions with facts and even occasionally assess a rare success. Kevin M. Kruse, for instance, examines Bush's well-funded fight against AIDS in Africa, but also the collapse of his faith-based charitable programs. In "Minorities, Multiculturalism and the President of George W. Bush," Gary Gerstle shows keen insight into Bush's relationship with Latinos and African-Americans, writing that Bush "proved surprisingly cavalier about the discharge of even basic government duties," words that will no doubt remind readers of the disintegration of the American economy at the end of Bush's second term. Despite its title, this isn't the first assessment of this divisive president, but it may be the most reactionary.
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"An interesting collection of essays."--Nicholas Lemann, New Republic
"Julian E. Zelizer, an academic from Princeton and political commentator for CNN and The New York Times
, has endeavoured to telescope the assessment of George W. Bush's presidency. Indeed, Zelizer and his distinguished fellow contributors, all senior academics from prestigious institutions ranging from Georgetown's Michael Kazin to Brown's James T. Patterson, make a virtue of their early conclusions about the 43rd president by highlighting that this is a first historical assessment. By and large they have written a critical but penetrating analysis of the years 2001 to 2009. A strength of this book is that it seeks to place the Bush presidency in the context of earlier Republican administrations."--Stephen Loosley, Australian
"Zelizer has gathered an A-list of American historians who present a detailed analysis of the presidency of George W. Bush. Each essay examines a particular facet of Bush's two terms, including such topics as terrorism, faith-based initiatives, energy policy, education, and the war in Iraq. . . . Zelizer's work provides a valuable benchmark for historians to build upon."--Library Journal
"A collaboration of distinguished scholars, this collection of a dozen essays evaluating the presidency of George W. Bush analyzes his performance in foreign and domestic policy."--Choice
"[T]he measured judgements of these essays are a welcome corrective for a presidency, and a president, that too often slide toward lurid caricature in public debate. Laying bare the appalling flaws and overlooked virtues of the Bush presidency, this judicious and informative collection is an impressive opening salvo in what is likely to be a long war."--Patrick Andelic, 49th Parallel
"Ultimately, the verdict of this thought-provoking anthology is that the Bush presidency, while certainly polarizing from a partisan perspective, was historically significant in terms of the development of American politics, policy, and institutions. If Zelizer and his colleagues do not have all the answers, they have certainly helped to provide a starting point for future studies of the obvious flaws and surprising virtues of this pivotal administration."--Andrew L. Johns, Canadian Journal of History
"Julian Zelizer's edited collection, The Presidency of George W. Bush
, may not be, as its subtitle proclaims, the first historically based volume on Bush, but it is certainly one of the most rigorous and balanced. The book . . . is especially interesting for its focus on the deep instability of contemporary American conservatism and the ways in which the Bush administration can be understood as contributing to that instability. . . . The result is a nuanced and interesting account not just of the history of the Bush presidency, but also of its place in the larger social, cultural, and political trajectories of U.S. politics."--Mary E. Stuckey, Rhetoric & Public Affairs