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Decision Points by George W. Bush
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Decision Points

by George W. Bush

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Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
Theodore Roosevelt created the modern presidential autobiography. He stressed his accomplishments, minimized his setbacks, and offered insight to his decisions. In the years after 1913 it might have seemed Roosevelt's reflection on his life and presidency was a product of his own prolific authorial nature and not a new trend for former chief executives. William Howard Taft did not want to relive his unhappy four years in office, nor did he have a history of writing. Stricken with a stroke Woodrow Wilson could not write an autobiography. What a shame! His sense of history, writing ability, and professorial bent, could have produced a standout among presidential memoirs, even if it would have been burdened by his self-righteousness. Warren Harding died in office, but one wonders if he would have written one had he lived. Calvin Coolidge revived the memoir,

although it was not very informative. I remember reading Allen Nevins once wondered aloud why on earth Coolidge even bothered to write it. Herbert Hoover left a much more detailed, informative, and lengthy contribution. In this highly defensive work, Hoover sought to vindicate his reputation and offer his version of history. He divided the depression down to a number of smaller segments that he dealt with. Throughout he stuck to the narrative that he thoroughly understood what was going on and acted appropriately. Obviously, it all went to hell with the New Deal Democrats. Thereafter, all presidents who survived their terms wrote autobiographies or memoirs, mostly with the help of ghost writers. Each one has its own character and offers an insight to the presidents who wrote them. For example, Harry Truman's is homey, Dwight Eisenhower's is professional if bland, Nixon's is defensive and consumed by Watergate, and Clinton's is verbose.

Like his predecessors George W. Bush seeks to minimize his defeats and accent his Triumphs in his Decision Points. Skipping detailed discussion of individual policy, I will only offer a couple of general comments on the structure of the book.

1. I sensed that there were two myths Bush consciously sought to confront without mentinoing. First, Dick Cheney's name appears sporadically in the policy discussions. In other words, the Vice President does not appear to exert the same level of influence in Bush's account of his years in office as the media depicted. Second, it was largely reported during his administration that the president avoided internal discussion and debate. In his memoir, Bush recounts many debates within the administration and with allies on important policy matters. Of course, the gate swings both ways. If the president consulted many advisors then they must also take some of the blame for failed policies.

2. The organization of the book works well. It is thematic, not chronological. Nevertheless, I was disappointed that there was no discussion on environmental policies. No one is going to rank Bush as a great environmental president, but that still doesn't mean that Clear Skies, the protected zone in the Pacific, emissions standards, Global Warming, etc., were not worth more mention.

3. I liked the sense of humor. There are many serious topics and having a little humor (largely absent in most other presidential autobiographies) helps to cut some of Bush's defensiveness.

From my blog: http://gregshistoryblog.blogspot.com/2011/12/decision-points.html ( )
  gregdehler | Aug 24, 2014 |
I imagine fans of President Bush will love this book and those who demonized him will ignore it or blindly attack it. When we consider that any leader, whether in business or government, has great characteristics, significant weaknesses, blind spots, and well-focused vision we can become more understanding of their role in organizations and history. President Bush was not a perfect man and the decisions of his presidency, like all of his successors, has led to good and bad consequences for the present. Personality politics will judge your person a saint and the opposition person a demon. Ultimately, future historians will better judge the impact of the leaders of our day.

Politics aside, and whether you agree with his decisions or not, the book provides good insights behind President Bush's decisions and his decision-making process. Such analysis is helpful for leaders in complex organizations. He provides deeper analysis of the issues around major decisions of his presidency than the dismissive reports of the often hostile media. I appreciated his admission of weaknesses and faults in some decisions. On a higher level, provides some good general principles about complex decision-making and taking responsibility for the consequences. ( )
  RhodesDavis | Aug 11, 2014 |
I rushed to buy this book when it came out. Being a conservative, lover of all things politics, fascinated with history and just a fan of G.W., I couldn't read this book fast enough.

No matter what you want to say, George Bush is a great man. He has lived a life that was blessed and many of us would never know anything about. But, you can't fault a man for his up bringing. I have read both Barbara Bush (mom and wife) bio's. I already knew a lot about the man, but to hear what exactly his thoughts and emotions are at certain moments was priceless.

Your either going to love G.W., or your going to hate him. No matter how you feel, he did the best he could in a bad situation when we were attacked on 9/11. He was able to unite a country that was totally devestated and torn.

This was an excellent insight into the life of Mr. Bush. I have the utmost respect for this man. He's a great father, a good husband, and in my opinion, he was a damn good President. ( )
  cbilbo | Apr 8, 2014 |
I rushed to buy this book when it came out. Being a conservative, lover of all things politics, fascinated with history and just a fan of G.W., I couldn't read this book fast enough.

No matter what you want to say, George Bush is a great man. He has lived a life that was blessed and many of us would never know anything about. But, you can't fault a man for his up bringing. I have read both Barbara Bush (mom and wife) bio's. I already knew a lot about the man, but to hear what exactly his thoughts and emotions are at certain moments was priceless.

Your either going to love G.W., or your going to hate him. No matter how you feel, he did the best he could in a bad situation when we were attacked on 9/11. He was able to unite a country that was totally devestated and torn.

This was an excellent insight into the life of Mr. Bush. I have the utmost respect for this man. He's a great father, a good husband, and in my opinion, he was a damn good President. ( )
  cbilbo | Apr 8, 2014 |
This one was a tough one for me. In general, I am not a very political person. I do vote, and usually those I vote for belong to a specific party, but I have never been one to be outspoken on political matters. I was not a fan of Government/Economics in school. It's just not a huge interest of mine. So, reading a President's autobiography was somewhat of a stretch for me.

I'm not really sure why I chose to read this book. It was one given to my husband as a gift. I think he read it several years ago. But it was sitting around, and for some reason, I decided to give it a go. Despite my apathy toward politics, it was interesting getting the "first-hand" account of parts of history from years that I actually remember living through. For coming from a president who had the reputation of not being a man of eloquent speech, I thought the book did quite a good job of expressing his thoughts and feelings in a genuinely articulate manner. And while it was a hard read, most likely because of the content, I did enjoy getting the President's perspective on the reasons why he did what he did. I especially appreciated how he always came back to his faith and how he leaned on his belief system to help make what were sometimes difficult and unpopular decisions.

A couple of quotes I liked:

"The patients reaffirmed my conviction that every life has dignity and value, because every person bears the mark of the Almighty God. I saw their suffering as a challenge to the words of the Gospel: 'To whom much is given, much is required.' America has been given a lot, and I resolved that we would answer the call."

"In one of our first meetings, I explained to President Jiang that faith was a vital part of my life and that I studied the Word every day."

So, while I wouldn't want to pick it up and read it again any time soon, I am glad that I read this book. I did find it interesting and I gave it 4 of 5 stars on Goodreads. ( )
  lauraodom | Feb 17, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
Decision Points holds the same relation to George W. Bush as a line of fashion accessories or a perfume does to the movie star that bears its name; he no doubt served in some advisory capacity. (...) Decision Points flaunts its postmodernity by blurring the distinction between fiction and non-fiction. That is to say, the parts that are not outright lies are the sunnier halves of half-truths.
 
A pugnacious determination to be taken seriously is about half an inch below the surface of “Decision Points.” It’s poignant that even as a former two-term president, Bush should feel the need to strut the way he does. The book is full of maxims and advice. “I prided myself on my ability to make crisp and effective decisions,” Bush reveals.
 
Det skulle överraska om framtida historiker rekommenderade USA:s avgående presidenter att använda Bushs memoarbok som förebild för sina hågkomster.
added by Jannes | editSvenska Dagbladet, Erik Åsard (Nov 30, 2010)
 
Here is a prediction: “Decision Points” will not endure. Its prose aims for tough-minded simplicity but keeps landing on simpleminded sententiousness. Though Bush credits no collaborator, his memoirs read as if they were written by an admiring sidekick who is familiar with every story Bush ever told but never got to know the President well enough to convey his inner life. Very few of its four hundred and ninety-three pages are not self-serving.
 
Bush erkänner ett och annat misstag i boken, men han undviker att ta ansvar för sina mest kontroversiella handlingar. Utan några detaljerade argument försvarar han beslutet att använda vattentortyr under förhören av terroristmisstänkta.
added by Jannes | editDagens Nyheter, Martin Gelin (Nov 13, 2010)
 
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307590615, Hardcover)

In this candid and gripping account, President George W. Bush describes the critical decisions that shaped his presidency and personal life.

George W. Bush served as president of the United States during eight of the most consequential years in American history. The decisions that reached his desk impacted people around the world and defined the times in which we live.

Decision Points
brings readers inside the Texas governor's mansion on the night of the 2000 election, aboard Air Force One during the harrowing hours after the attacks of September 11, 2001, into the Situation Room moments before the start of the war in Iraq, and behind the scenes at the White House for many other historic presidential decisions.

For the first time, we learn President Bush's perspective and insights on:
His decision to quit drinking and the journey that led him to his Christian faith The selection of the vice president, secretary of defense, secretary of state, Supreme Court justices, and other key officials His relationships with his wife, daughters, and parents, including heartfelt letters between the president and his father on the eve of the Iraq War His administration's counterterrorism programs, including the CIA's enhanced interrogations and the Terrorist Surveillance Program Why the worst moment of the presidency was hearing accusations that race played a role in the federal government’s response to Hurricane Katrina, and a critical assessment of what he would have done differently during the crisis His deep concern that Iraq could turn into a defeat costlier than Vietnam, and how he decided to defy public opinion by ordering the troop surge His legislative achievements, including tax cuts and reforming education and Medicare, as well as his setbacks, including Social Security and immigration reform The relationships he forged with other world leaders, including an honest assessment of those he did and didn’t trust Why the failure to bring Osama bin Laden to justice ranks as his biggest disappointment and why his success in denying the terrorists their fondest wish—attacking America again—is among his proudest achievements A groundbreaking new brand of presidential memoir, Decision Points will captivate supporters, surprise critics, and change perspectives on eight remarkable years in American history—and on the man at the center of events.

Since leaving office, President George W. Bush has led the George W. Bush Presidential Center at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. The center includes an active policy institute working to advance initiatives in the fields of education reform, global health, economic growth, and human freedom, with a special emphasis on promoting social entrepreneurship and creating opportunities for women around the world. It will also house an official government archive and a state-of-the-art museum that will open in 2013.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:49:32 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Decision points is the memoir of America's 43rd president. George W. Bush offers a candid journey through the defining decisions of his life while writing about his flaws and mistakes, as well as his accomplishments.

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