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George Bush: The Life of a Lone Star Yankee (American Presidents) 2nd Revised Edition

3.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0765807304
ISBN-10: 0765807300
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Parmet (Richard Nixon and His America, LJ 12/89) spent six years researching and writing this biography. Bush gave him complete access to his papers and personal correspondence and granted several interviews, from which Parmet has constructed a comprehensive, sympathetic portrait. Bush's career as a successful player in the world of Texas politics and oil is interestingly retold, as is the complicated, sordid relationship between CIA director Bush and Panamanian drug dealer and sometimes CIA operative Manuel Noriega. Bush is praised for his military success in the Gulf War and his diplomatic finesse toward the former Soviet Union. Ultimately, decides the author, Bush was denied a second term because he alienated the Republican Right Wing and appeared indifferent to the economic plight of workers. This fine narrative would have been improved by an analytical summation of Bush's legacy and a comparison to other modern presidents. Recommended for public and academic libraries.?Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, Pa.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

Bred in New England reticence and transplanted to rambunctious Texas, acclaimed as a war hero and scorned as a political wimp, George Bush remains the walking contradiction who puzzled Americans, in this dispassionate biography by Parmet (History/City Univ. of New York; JFK: The Presidency of John F. Kennedy, 1983, etc.). Not unlike JFK, Bush came from wealth, served with distinction in WW II's Pacific theater, and became the all-important link in a political dynasty (father Prescott was US senator from Connecticut; son George W. is now governor of Texas). But the differences between the two men loom even larger. Bush's career was shaped by gale-force changes within the Republican Party. He made his way in Texas by allying himself with three new strains of conservatives: oil plutocrats who longed for laissez-faire economics, evangelical Protestants (many suspicious of civil-rights initiatives), and anti-communist zealots of the John Birch variety. Nationally, he made his first run for the presidency just as the New Right became ascendant with the election of Ronald Reagan. As a result, this fiercely driven politician had to wait until he was 64 to achieve the presidency, and to endure humiliations and act in ways he would not ordinarily have desired. Described as decent and loyal by most who knew him well, Bush also felt compelled sometimes to campaign with few scruples (he confessed to his minister that he regretted taking far-right positions in a failed run against Senator Ralph Yarborough in 1964). Parmet uses Bush's diaries and interviews with him and his GOP associates to flesh out this story. Still, he unearths few revelations, other than the Bushes' suspicion that a jealous Nancy Reagan spread false rumors of George's affair with the widow of a congressman. Unlike Parmet's two-volume JFK biography, this suffers from lack of greater access to still-secret materials and to aides with enough distance from the political wars to speak with unbuttoned candor about their boss. (16 pages b&w photos, not seen) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers; 2nd Revised edition (October 6, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765807300
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765807304
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,648,548 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Gerrit Ruitinga on October 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover
To me as a non-American it has always been a puzzle why George Bush is generally regarded as mediocre and after reading the thoughtful and very complete biography by mr. Parmet I have not found the answer.
Bush has been a succesful businessman after a distinguisged service in the Air Force during the war. He has served as a Senator, as head of the CIA, as the Ambassador to China in an extremely interesting period in Sino-American relations and, finally, as a Vice-President to a very succesful President. What more can you ask as preparation for the most powerful job on earth? It is true that he failed to get elected twice, but is it not a credit to any man when he overcomes defeat to embark on such an interesting career?
The view which I get from this biography is on a balanced man who understood politics very well and also had the gift of personal integrity unmatched by most of his predecessors and certainly not by his successor.
It is true that he was not the greatest of communicators and PR guys, but there one should not forget that he had a very difficult, if not impossible act to follow. It is to his credit that he did not even try to imitate Reagan, but that he led the country in his own personal style.
One should forgive for being biased, as a European, to his Foreign Policy, since my understanding for and interest in the domestic scene is limited.
Bush Presidency can be characterised by formidable leadership in two distinguished events. His conduct of the events of the Gulf War was exemplary. Powell get's a lot of the credit, but I feel that is, partly, undeserved. It was the President's deciding leadership which effectively stopped Saddam's adventure in Kuwait.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Life of a Lone Star Yankee provides an interesting and thoughtful look a George Bush Sr. and how his life impacted his presidency. Parmet provides a balanced look at Bush looking at not only his presidential time but his personal and business life as well. He traces Bush's role as a man who makes money and then enters public service and approaches it as a family way of life. By taking a family approach and showing how the eldest Bush impacted his son and grandson the 43rd president a pattern does begin to emerge. Barbra's role as a mediator and show piece of family values is also apparent throughout his life. George Bush Sr. seems to relish being President and strove to make the best decisions possible within each of the decisions he made as President. From war with Iraq and Panama to social decisions such as Supreme Court nominees and tax hikes he gave careful thought to each decision. His skills as a campaigner were impressive and well detailed and his rise was largely through the talent of Ronald Reagan's teams and not his own.

Parmet shows the successes in school, business, and marriage, his time at the CIA and his accomplishments as President. On the other side he shows the struggles in campaigning, in his role as vice president and reconciling his beliefs with Reagan as well as the trials and tribulations as President. If one is looking for a biography that bashes the president this is not it but it does point out his faults and despite what other reviews said it is not simply the greatness of Bush but a fair evaluation. Overall this book provides a look at if you want an excellent overview of George Bush Sr than this is the place to start.
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Format: Paperback
Waveoff! Waveoff! Go around and try another approach.

Neither the author nor his subject had basic knowledge of the naval or aviation portions of the manuscript. The errors pile one upon another, relentlessly.

The convoluted account of the Battle of Midway (p. 47), without even mentioning it by name, is dreadful. Contrary to what's written, no B-17s scored hits at Midway; the six B-26s attacked with torpedoes (not 322 bombs!), and no navy torpedo planes scored a hit.

Aside from nonstandard, awkward phraseology ("the VT-51 squadron") the text confuses the relationship between a squadron and an air group (two or more squadrons.) Even worse, the author--or somebody--thinks that the aircraft carriers Essex and Wasp were battleships (p. 51). On the same page the author makes a nonspecific reference to "the base" without mentioning a ship OR a base....

The "three elevated cables at the end of the landing area" apparently were the crash barriers....

With such fundamental errors, all easily avoided, a reader might wonder about the rest of the text. Assuming that the political stuff has to be better, two stars is an absolute gift.
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Format: Hardcover
The biographer was a distinguished scholar at the Conference on the Bush Presidency at Hofstra University in April 1997. Although this book was essentially finished by the time of the Conference, there is at least one footnote (Steven Burgess) referring to a paper presented at Hofstra. This reviewer suggested that Parmet look at the critical books by Jack Matlock on Bush's foreign policy and Monica Crowley's book on Nixon's devastating appraisal of Bush, but there is no evidence that this occurred. P More importantly, Parmet is weak when it comes to explaining the Bush stagnation. Despite the Persian Gulf War, there ensued the slowest four-year growth period in the postwar years. Thus, it is more appropriate to refer to the Bush stagnation rather than the Bush recession. P Whereas it is possible to describe Reagan's supply-side economics as a version of "commercial Keynesianism," there would seem to be no Keynesian bones in George Bush. Bush raised taxes in 1990, in collaboration with Tom Foley, as the economy headed downward. Later he refused to sign a reasonable tax cut coming out of Congress in March 1992. Instead he relied primarily on a change in withholding of income taxes which produced a brief upturn in the fourth quarter followed by sluggish growth in early 1993 when the tax rebates were smaller due to the previous tax cuts in 1992. P Readers interested in a critique of Bush's economic policy may want to read the contribution of Timothy Canova after the publication of the proceedings by Greenwood. 92. P
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