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All the Best, George Bush: My Life in Letters and Other Writings Paperback – October 3, 2000
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Guest Review of All the Best, George Bush: My Life in Letters and Other Writings
By Barbara Bush
George has always been known for his prodigious letter-writing – whether they are funny, sad, whimsical, serious – they all tell a story. Through his letters, you will see what I have seen for the past 68 years – George H.W. Bush is the most decent, dearest man; the most loving father; a friend to all.
Even though George went on to become a congressman, ambassador, Director of the CIA, Vice President and President, he never thought his work was finished. In recent years George partnered with President Clinton – the Odd Couple – to raise funds to aid in the relief efforts following the catastrophic tsunami in Southeast Asia and Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Ike in the Gulf Coast states. You can read all about the Odd Couple and more in this new edition of All the Best.
I have just reread the book for about the 5th time. The new letters are just wonderful, but I loved rereading the old ones as well. I remember when the book first came out 15 years ago, a number of book reviews said these letters were an amazing way to tell one’s life story – much more honest and revealing than an autobiography. (Which is good since we could not talk George into writing one.) I could not agree more. These letters really are a window into George Bush’s soul.
There are letters from World War II, when he wrote his mother just about every thought he had, including the day after he was shot down; there is a letter about our dear Robin, who died of leukemia at age 3; there are letters about Watergate, living in China, and meeting Mikhail Gorbachev for the first time. There are letters about what it means to win – and lose – the Presidency. And what it means to see a son become President. There are letters about 9-11 and Katrina and the death of John Paul II.
His letters to his children and grandchildren about aging are especially dear and poignant and honest.
And, yes, there are some funny and even silly letters – about broken toilets and the Aflac duck. There’s even one admonishing his college-aged granddaughters not to become “girls gone wild” on Spring Break.
I was reminded again of how lucky I am to have married this amazing man, and what a great adventure life with George Bush has been.
So I hope you enjoy reading this compilation of letters as much as I did… and may it show you all the best in life!
From Publishers Weekly
To the present governors of Texas and Florida, his sons George and Jeb, who worried that they might upstage their famous dad, former President Bush wrote: "Do not worry when you see the stories that compare you favorably to a Dad for whom English was a second language." President Bush was indeed famously inarticulate in public. But in this collection of diary entries, memos and letters written between 1942, when he started navy flight school, to March 1999, when he wrote a friend to express his consternation that his e-mail server was down, Bush proves himself to have been a gracious and staggeringly prolific correspondent. There are long letters, such as the September 1944 missive to his parents relating how he was shot down over the Pacific. And there are truly funny diary entries from his presidency about the Scowcroft Award, a running gag in the Bush cabinet named after National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft, who apparently had an uncanny knack for napping in meetings: "A fantastic challenge by Ed Derwinski. very firm eye closure and a remarkable recovery gambit." Naturally, there are long letters to world leaders such as Deng Xiaoping, King Hussein, Mikhail Gorbachev and others about matters of historical import. Diary entries cover the Tiananmen Square massacre, the failed coup against Gorbachev, the Gulf War and other crises (though there's hardly anything about the Iran-contra scandal). Rarely does Bush display any partisan bitterness, and even then it's not very pungent (though he's consistently irked by the press). Bush must have been tempted to write a memoir intended to beat historians to the interpretive punch. This modest alternative is refreshing and, in many ways, will shed more light on the man's personal character and public persona than any memoir or biography could. It offers an intriguing picture of a man who takes fierce pride in his modesty.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The first Desert Storm War, when Reagan was shot etc...
Then this book also has insight from behind the scenes as well. I learned things that I did not know. Many were very enlightening.
All in all this is very interesting.
I recently listen to Clintons book as well so this is a bi-partisan review:)
To be perfectly honest, I could have made do with a third of what is collected here. Bush's correspondence from the Watergate years, for example, gives us no additional insight into what transpired and contains observations about the episode that are utterly unremarkable and pedestrian. In the end my primary takeaway is that he greatly dislikes pessimists, opportunists and extremists, regardless of the circumstances. He's obviously a very mannered, competent, extraordinarily accomplished man. Good to hear it, but 600+ pages is a lot to trudge through.
George H.W. Bush was the last of the pre-counterculture U.S. Presidents, and reading these letters does make it very plain just how much has changed.
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