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What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception Hardcover – May 28, 2008
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
Top Customer Reviews
*Bush believes his own spin (better known as [...]) and demonstrates a remarkable lack of inquisitiveness.
*Bush favored propaganda over honesty in selling the war. Cheney steered war policy behind the scenes, leaving no fingerprints.
*Bush and his team repeatedly shaded the truth, manipulated public opinion, and sold the Iraq situation in such a way that the use of force appeared to be the only feasible option.
*Contradictory evidence was ignored or discarded, caveats or qualifications to arguments were downplayed or dropped, and a dubious al-Qaida connection to Iraq was played up.
*The Bush administration didn't check their political maneuverings in at the door after the win - instead, they maintained a permanent campaign mode, run largely by Rove.
*Presidential initiatives from health care programs to foreign invasions were regularly devised, named, timed and launched with one eye (or both eyes) on the electoral calendar.
*Operating in the campaign mode means never explaining, never apologizing, never retreating.Read more ›
"What Happened", written by Scott McClellan, former press secretary to the Bush White House, provides a very interesting look at the operations within the everso secretive machinations of the house on 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. McClellan describes in a brief and accessible way his experiences as he worked his way up to his position. The "secrets" he revealed aren't stunning to anyone who's spent time reading the newspapers or following the coverage on the Plame scandal, or the build up to the Iraq War. What's interesting is that someone who had inside knowledge, "was in the know" about so much of this, confirms and denies much.
I won't go through a laundry list of claims that Scott tells in the book. The overt coverage, and other reviewers, have done that enough. I will tell you that, despite his accusations and thoughts about his time in the White House, the story paints a far broader picture than these "stunning revelations".
As with many political memoirs, the author recounts his childhood life and his lead up to his current position in a slow, detail orientated, tedious way. Not McClellan. He jumps into the story feet first, and provides one, maybe two chapters dealing with his early life, and most of it pertaining to when he began to work with then Gov. Bush.Read more ›
Originally I was compelled to join this discussion for a number of reasons. First and foremost is that most of the other reviews at the time (and still) are/were very partisan and from folks who obviously have not read the book. Secondly, over the years my political leanings have changed towards the center. This is a key part of McClellan's book which is obvious to anyone who has read it. The author is a Republican, and has many good things to say about W. Bush and others, and, as you might typically expect from a Republican, negatives about the Clinton Admin. Yet (as we all know) he also criticizes aspects of the current Administration; yet rather than a best-selling "gotcha" work by a Coulter or Franken, he offers up an honest look at the good, the bad, and everywhere in between of all sides of our current political situation.
The book is well structured. It does not begin, as so many of these recent books do, by with 9/11, but instead begins with a look at McClellan's work in the White House, then shifts to the author's beginnings in the political world as the son of one of the nation's first female Mayor's (of Austin, Texas), and relationships with family members such as his Grandfather who was the highly respected Dean of a Law School. This helps the reader become grounded in the moral and ethical upbringing of the author.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This appears to be an open and honest look at the presidency of George W. Bush. The author reports on the good and bad events of the presidency even after he was blindsided by... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Char2010
Mr. McClellan was President George Bush’s Press Secretary. His book describes some of the decision- making surrounding the invasion of Iraq and subsequent quagmire of events. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Dr. JerryR
Straight forward and well written. Answers some real questions about the first Presidency of the new millennium If these years interest you, you'll enjoyPublished 6 months ago
Great book, very useful insight into one of the worst presidencies of the U.S.Published 9 months ago by Dominic B.
If one wants to read a justification for all the administration's failures, then read this book. Pretty much like his Press Conferences. Read morePublished 9 months ago by R Kelly
He stayed through it all then cashed in with a book deal. Not a big fan.Published 9 months ago by MJ
Scott McClellan provides a very special look into the inner workings of the "White House bubble" and should you want to learn about W. Read morePublished 13 months ago by David
This a wonderful non-partisan view into the presidency of the younger Bush. It provides a thoughtful analysis by a Republican who is concern about the future of his party and the... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Daniel
For anyone following the Bush Presidency with some skepticism, the book would confirm many of the beliefs. The details are perhaps not pertinent except for the most avid. Read morePublished 15 months ago by NJ