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My Father, My President: A Personal Account of the Life of George H. W. Bush Hardcover – October 6, 2006

4.5 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

According to this hagiography penned by his daughter, the 41st president is brave, loyal, generous, fun-loving (he put "fake dog poop" in the guest room of the vice presidential mansion) and considerate (he cleaned real dog vomit out of his limo himself instead of making the Secret Service do it). He's also graciousness personified, as attested by the many kind notes to acquaintances the author reprints alongside boilerplate testimonials from friends, relatives and dignitaries like Mikhail Gorbachev and Bill Clinton. Koch includes campaign war stories and briefly salutes Bush's budget deal and policy initiatives like the Americans with Disabilities Act, but her father's politics seem mainly an extension of his personal character and charm, as he works with world leaders to finesse the fall of communism and unite against Saddam Hussein. Throughout, she sprinkles in family anecdotes—with sometimes grating results, as when an account of Bush tearing up at the prospect of sending American soldiers to die in Kuwait segues into a Camp David tobogganing mishap. And the Bush clan ethos Koch celebrates—"family and friends always came first"— pays scant attention to public priorities. Photos. (Oct. 6)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Koch states up front that this book is written from the perspective of a daughter and concedes that while "a daughter may not have either the expertise or objectivity of a historian . . . a historian doesn't know a father the way his daughter does." What follows is a loving account of the life of George H. W. Bush: U.S. Navy, Yale, Texas oil business, UN ambassador, U.S. ambassador to China, CIA director, vice president, president, former president. Koch draws on her own recollections, her father's personal papers, and interviews with Bush, family members, and friends. Among those lending observations are Bill Clinton, Generals Colin Powell and Norman Schwarzkopf, and Bush imitator Dana Carvey. She cites Bush's hallmark modesty and his mother's admonition against the egotism of "The Great I Am" as reason for his reluctance to write a memoir. Koch also offers fascinating recollections of her own sense of life in a glass bowl as the daughter of a famous man, the only girl in a rambunctious family of five children. She recalls feeling like Eloise when she lived at the official UN ambassador's residence at the Waldorf-Astoria and managing dating as the divorced mother of young children being baby-sat by the First Couple at the White House. Koch brings a fresh perspective to her father's long and distinguished career, and her parents' devotion to family. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (October 6, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446579904
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446579902
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,091,895 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Suppose, gentle reader, that you are not a professional writer, and your father suddenly asks you to write a book about his life.

Hmmm, how do you go about it? Where do you start?

Then add one small complication: Your father has been President of the United States.

Doro Bush Koch took on this unprecedented task, surely an offer she could not refuse. Her solution is to write a daughter's-eye portrait of the man and to leave the pontificating about events and policies largely to those actually involved in such things. Her book gives as much space to doormen, cooks and butlers as it does to the likes of Bill Clinton and Mikhail Gorbachev.

No one will be surprised that the former President emerges as a devoted family man, upright, honest and fun-loving. Even his political opponents join in the chorus. George H. W. Bush, now 82 years old and rather lightly regarded by political historians, has inspired an affectionate brief in his own defense.

Doro (her actual name is Dorothy, but the family adopted the shorter form early on) went about her job with zest and efficiency. Her list of interviewees runs to 133 names, and another 167 people sent comments by letter. Half or more of her text consists of verbatim excerpts from their responses.

One could hardly expect a balanced appraisal, given the circumstances of the book's creation. Once you concede that point, the book earns a place on your bookshelf by its folksy personal tone. Doro shows genuine affection for her father, excusing his personality quirks and giving him the benefit of every doubt.

The policy wonks she contacted, friends and enemies alike, praise his good qualities and tend to applaud his performance as President.
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Format: Hardcover
Doro Bush Koch, the only remaining daughter of George H.W. Bush, was asked to write this personal memoir about her father. Doro, as a loving daughter, is far from objective about her famous dad, but that's what makes this book interesting. She starts out by recounting some history about her great-grandparents and grandparents, includes some anecdotes and incidents from her father's growing-up years, and then continues with his life as a businessman, diplomat, politician, and eventually as President. She is knowledgable about the many issues which her father faced as President, and recounts his triumphs and missteps, complete with attacks on him by political enemies and the press. She also includes many stories by friends and fellow politicians who portray him as a thoughtful and caring man who, even in the midst of his own trials, never failed to reach out to others who were having difficult times. One example of the President's thoughtfulness is that the Bushes would stay at the White House Christmas Eve so that the staff which would accompany them to Camp David for Christmas could spend some holiday time with their families. Koch includes many examples of personal correspondence (his preferred way of communicating) with his children and grandchildren which are very touching and which show that he lived up to his credo of "Faith, Family, and Friends." Along the way, the reader gets glimpses of Doro's other famous relatives, but her father is definitely the focus of this loving tribute.
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Format: Hardcover
Has anyone but me noticed that the reviewer, Reed Business Information, has never met a book about Republicans/conservatives that they like?

Anyway, "My Father, My President" is written by the daughter of a famous man, who happened to serve 8 years as Vice President and 4 years as President, among other public service positions. President Bush 41 has made it very plain that he will not write his memoirs, as most Presidents have rushed to do when they're out of office. Dorothy, or Doro, his daughter, has put together her recollections along with those of hundreds of President Bush's family, friends, political friends/foes, etc. She has not delved deeply into politics and I don't think that was her intention.

I've read a lot about many presidents and thought this might be like the others, but My Father, My President is a very interesting read, and her observations and insights into her father do not vary much from what others have written of President Bush 41.

If you enjoy a good read, put your personal politics aside and spend time with My Father, My President.
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Format: Hardcover
Doro Bush Koch has assembled a charming collection of personal anecdotes, from the public and private lives of George H. W. Bush (41). One clear lesson: 41's public and private personae are entirely congruent. Prominant Democrats and Republicans and plain old personal friends ALL have resounding complements for, and fond memories of, 41. This easy read is an important reminder that American politics does occasionally attract great people to serve.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book sheds a lot of life on the Bush family. Doro, the baby of the family, the only daughter besides Robin, who died at the age of 3, was asked by her father to write this book on behalf of the family. Here we see our former president through the eyes of his adoring daughter. I haven't found an autobiography by "Poppy," and I think maybe this book takes the place of one. It is a good read.
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