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Decision Points Hardcover – November 9, 2010
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George W. Bush’s decisions were all correct. It was just the aftermath that sometimes became muddled. That, at least, is the impression one gets after reading this surprisingly robust memoir. For those who have missed “43” in the public eye (and for those who haven’t as well), his voice is evident on every page. Cocky, defiant, and, at times (especially when speaking about his family), emotional, this is the George Bush who insists that “everybody” believed there were weapons of mass destruction, that much of the blame for the post-Katrina fiasco should be put on Louisiana’s local governments, and that Harriet Miers would have made a fine Supreme Court justice, given the chance. He does admit some mistakes (“Mission Accomplished”), but he stands by his big decisions and backs up his claims, which is simpler to do when the other side isn’t chiming in with their opinions and/or facts. Those who have followed Bush and his presidency will find many of the personal stories here familiar (how he stopped drinking; his whirlwind romance with Laura), but there are some fascinating reveals as well, including his affection for Ted Kennedy, his sometimes-complicated relationship with Dick Cheney, and his read-between-the-lines digs at Colin Powell. Some political memoirs (hello, Bill Clinton) are bloated journeys that devolve into pages and pages of, “and then I met . . .” Bush, smartly dividing the book into themes rather than telling the story chronologically, offers readers a genuine (and highly readable) look at his thought processes as he made huge decisions that will affect the nation and the world for decades. Many will ridicule his thinking and bemoan those decisions, but being George Bush, he won’t really care. --Ilene Cooper
About the Author
George W. Bush is the 43rd President of the United States.
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It was in this frame of mind that I recently picked up “Decision Points,” former President George W. Bush’s memoirs of his eight years in office (2001-2009). After I finished reading it, I found myself very pleasantly surprised. “Decision Points” is unlike most other presidential memoirs I have ever read.
“Decision Points” is a very personal book by a very controversial president. Bush spends very little time on policy discussions or historical narratives in this book. Rather, he attempts to give the reader an idea of what he was thinking and feeling when he made some of his most important decisions. To be sure, some of his conservative ideology creeps into his prose, and some of what he writes sounds as if he is making excuses for the decisions he made, but by and large, his writing is free from the harsh partisan rhetoric so common in political memoirs today.
I was also quite pleasantly surprised at the excellent quality of the writing in “Decision Points.” George W. Bush employed Christopher Michel, one of his former speechwriters, to ghostwrite the book, and I think Michel largely got it right. As I read “Decision Points,” I could hear echoes and cadences of Bush’s best speeches. Bush/Michel’s prose is simple, straightforward, easy to read, and quite enjoyable.
You may notice that I have very little to say in this review about George W. Bush the president. That is by design. I have my own opinions about the man and his presidency, and I intend to keep them to myself. However, I will say that in “Decision Points,” Bush made it easy for me to set aside whatever preconceptions I may (or may not) have had, and come away with an appreciation for who he was and what he did during his eight years as President. “Decision Points” is one of the better presidential memoirs I have read in recent years. Highly recommended.
It is good that he put out this book for that reason. Many presidents went to the grave with stories, thoughts, etc, that would have added greatly to them and to history of this country. I was also suprised that there was no bitterness expressed against those who took shots at him (more words of how it hurt him that statements made about him hurt his mom and dad sort of thing).
Worth a read even if you dont buy the book and just secretly borrow from someone else. I would say that even if you hate him for whatever reasons to put that aside long enough to hear the stories, you can always pick the hate back up when you are done. I feel bad for the last statement as there are so many who carry the burden of hate in this political climate of youre either one side or the other, and those people will miss out on a rare look into our history. I never got the feeling like he was trying to change anyones mind about anything. i liked that part.
In this book, Bush sets up various situations from his presidency and then walks you step by step through the process of gathering and analyzing data and using it to guide his decisions. Over and over we watch as he consults his staff and then has to interpret their inputs to make the "right" choice. Whether he does or not is up to the reader to decide.
Read this book. It may not change your feelings towards the man, but it'll help you understand why he did some of the things he did.