Decision Points by George W Bush

Some interesting insights…

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

decision pointsBush has structured this book around separate strands of his presidency rather than giving a linear account. This is a successful device in that everything relating to a subject – for instance, the financial crisis – is together in one chapter making it easy to read the book in sections. And this is just as well, because sometimes the saccharin tone Bush employs means that, like rich cake, a little goes a long way.

The first couple of chapters cover Bush’s early life and career prior to becoming president. I know it’s traditional for memoirs to cover this period but I felt, as I usually do, that I was only really interested in the chapters relating to his time in power. In fact, I really struggled to get past the early part of the book. His description of his battle with alcohol, his journey towards deep Christian faith and his love for his family was so cloyingly sweet I nearly gave up.

But either persevere or jump straight to Chapter 3. Once Bush starts talking about the decisions made in his presidency the book becomes very readable. Of course it’s full of self-justification – nearly all memoirs are – but nonetheless it does give insights into the thinking that lay behind some of the major policy decisions of the last decade. It’s not the most in-depth political book and it shuffles pretty rapidly past some of the more awkward decisions like Guantanamo but you do get a sense that he didn’t take the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan lightly and that, agree with him or not, he genuinely believed he was doing his best not just for the USA but also for the Middle East. As I read I wondered how many presidential memoirs have been so heavily weighted towards international affairs – prompted by 9/11 the Bush presidency was forced to transform the USA into an outward looking country and to assess the impact it has and could have in the rest of the world.

george w

I can’t say this book changed my views of any of the political decisions of the time, nor did I come out of it feeling that Bush was a secret intellectual, but I did find the chapters on foreign policy interesting and to some degree enlightening. And overall, apart from his unfortunate tendency to descend into pure schmaltz on occasion, I found it an enjoyable read. Recommended.

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21 thoughts on “Decision Points by George W Bush

  1. I must admit, the professor is somewhat surprised! I would have never thought that you would have reviewed a book like this.

    Four smileys is a pretty good review. It should definitely be three, for the first 2 chapters.

    You were only interested when he was in power? I’m beginning to think that if Fitzio Darby wasn’t wealthy, you wouldn’t be an admirer! 😉

    • Why surprised?

      Seriously concerned now that you think I find George Dubya attractive!! May need to lie down with a cooling cloth for my head… But, re Darby, as Lizzie said when asked when she first realised she loved him ‘I believe I must date it from my first seeing his beautiful grounds at Pemberley.’ 😉

      • Well, it’s Bushy, after all, an American dude…

        Dubya? 😆 A perfect new nickname! I am enthralled by it!

        I knew it! Liz is a beast! I think the beginning of the book should be rephrased; the men aren’t in want of a good wife, the women are in want of money! 😉

        (Salami’s dirt poor; but powerful.)

        • I like to keep an eye on what the colonies are getting up to. 😉

          Also he’s such a great comedian – “Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”

          I don’t think I can take the credit for Dubya (though it’s tempting) – everybody over here calls him that (or Shrub) – don’t Americans? (Or are you too young to remember…hmm!)

  2. Of course Americans don’t! We referred to him as Mr. President. (If I was the president, it would be Mr. Professor.) How dare you think that we’d have crummy nicknames for our leader! 😉 Though, now that you brought up the whole vexing business, I do remember Shrub…Junior, and 43…

    The B’s comedic quote is too true to be funny! 😉

  3. I read this when it came out, largely on the strength of your review. I was so angry with Blair that I didn’t give much consideration to Bush’s motivations, so I found his account of his decision-making process quite illuminating.
    Incidentally, the nickname I liked best was “Bushbaby”, but it never really took – too cuddly, I suppose.

    • Yes ‘Bushbaby’ is good. I always thought Dubya was quite cuddly – so long as you didn’t pay attention to what he was saying…

      One of the reasons I read memoirs is to get their account a few years later once tempers have cooled. It usually (not always) reassures me that even if I didn’t agree with them, they were acting for what they genuinely believed were the right reasons.

  4. “Dutch” was Reagan – a hold-over from Hollywood,,I think.

    And as for Blair – life is too short to list all the things he did to annoy me!

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