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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
"Decision Points is well-written, and interesting from start to finish. I think people of all political stripes should read it.George W. Bush also gives readers a good sense of what it's like to be president, to take the responsibilities of the office seriously, do what you think is right, and let history be the judge." Bill Clinton "The former president delivers an unexpectedly engrossing rehash of what he considers to be the pivotal moments of his eight years in office." Los Angeles Times "Decision Points...gives the reader an uncanny sense of how personality and the fateful interplay of personalities within an administration can affect policies that affect the world." The New York Times "Decision Points breaks unsuspected ground" The Independent --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
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.
Looking at the first year of the Bush presidency pre-9/11, it is interesting that Bush's push for tax cuts and elementary education reform sat well with Democrats and Republicans alike, given that Democrats were in favor of social welfare. In stressing the need to update the education system for elementary kids, Bush burnished his reputation as a passionate conservative.
Talking about Bush's response to 9/11, the Patriot Act was a smart domestic move by Bush because the Global War on Terror raised the specter of homegrown Islamic extremism in the US, meaning that Bush would have to arrest and jail any Muslim American who might be sympathetic to al-Qaeda or any other terrorist group. I think that Bush made the right decision to go into Afghanistan when deciding on where the Global War on Terror should start because the Taliban sheltered al-Qaeda, and because Powell didn't take Rumsfeld's recommendation that the US start the war in Iraq. By instructing the Pentagon to attack Taliban targets in Afghanistan and the CIA to aid the Northern Alliance and conduct covert operations against al-Qaeda, Bush articulated a thoughtful division of labor between the CIA and Pentagon as to how the War on Terror should be executed.
When talking about criticism of his reasons for the Iraq War, I like how Bush regretted the intelligence failure on Iraq's WMDs, while balancing that regret with his knowledge of the fact that Saddam Hussein didn't deserve to be trusted because he gassed his people, invaded his neighbors, and tortured opposition figures (he would have offended Kurds and Shiites in Iraq if he had chosen to invite Saddam to a state dinner at the Oval Office).
Regarding Hurricane Katrina, I have a feeling that Bush's response to Hurricane Katrina would have looked good in principle, only because he had to fend off obstruction by an non-cooperative city mayor in New Orleans who was incapable of satisfying the pleas of blacks who were trapped because of the hurricane.
(I contrast this with Donald Rumsfeld's book, which minimized all the negatives, and accentuated his achievements)
After finishing this book, I felt a newfound respect for this president