All the Best, George Bush: My Life in Letters and Other Writings Paperback – Oct 3 2000
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In lieu of a memoir, All the Best, George Bush collects correspondence and diary entries from the former U.S. president to show, as he says, "what my own heartbeat is, what my values are, what has motivated me in life." The letters begin in 1942--when, fresh out of high school, Bush volunteered for U.S. Navy flight school--and continue to the brink of the 21st century, as the retired chief executive worries about the Melissa virus infecting his office's server and keeping his visiting grandchildren in line. ("I realize," he muses, "Keep the freezer door closed from now on and I mean it lacks the rhetorical depth of This will not stand or Read my lips.") All the Best hits all the highlights of Bush's career, from the Texas oil business to his role as ambassador to China, then CIA director, vice president under Ronald Reagan, and finally president himself. Along the way, he reveals a personality that is at turns compassionate, respectful, silly, doting, and resolute--a man for whom being a father and a grandfather matters as much as, and maybe even more than, being leader of the free world. Fans and detractors alike will find in All the Best an intimate human portrait that offers as sure a self-definition of Bush's personal life as A World Transformed did his presidential career. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
To the present governors of Texas and Florida, his sons George and Jeb, who worried that they might upstage their famous dad, former President Bush wrote: "Do not worry when you see the stories that compare you favorably to a Dad for whom English was a second language." President Bush was indeed famously inarticulate in public. But in this collection of diary entries, memos and letters written between 1942, when he started navy flight school, to March 1999, when he wrote a friend to express his consternation that his e-mail server was down, Bush proves himself to have been a gracious and staggeringly prolific correspondent. There are long letters, such as the September 1944 missive to his parents relating how he was shot down over the Pacific. And there are truly funny diary entries from his presidency about the Scowcroft Award, a running gag in the Bush cabinet named after National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft, who apparently had an uncanny knack for napping in meetings: "A fantastic challenge by Ed Derwinski. very firm eye closure and a remarkable recovery gambit." Naturally, there are long letters to world leaders such as Deng Xiaoping, King Hussein, Mikhail Gorbachev and others about matters of historical import. Diary entries cover the Tiananmen Square massacre, the failed coup against Gorbachev, the Gulf War and other crises (though there's hardly anything about the Iran-contra scandal). Rarely does Bush display any partisan bitterness, and even then it's not very pungent (though he's consistently irked by the press). Bush must have been tempted to write a memoir intended to beat historians to the interpretive punch. This modest alternative is refreshing and, in many ways, will shed more light on the man's personal character and public persona than any memoir or biography could. It offers an intriguing picture of a man who takes fierce pride in his modesty.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
George Bush has an understated sense of humor only rarely seen by the public during his presidency. A few examples:
- He brought in Dana Carvey to "play" him at a White House staff meeting.
- A serious memo to President Reagan ends with the "blind man" joke.
- Awarding a "Scowcroft Award" to anyone who falls asleep in a Cabinet meeting then makes a brilliant recovery upon awakening.
- "Being called dishonest by Bill Clinton is like being called ugly by a frog."
- "Mikhail--I want you to have this first message that I have ever sent to a foreign leader on my new computer..."
George Bush is also a decent man, who values his friends and lives his values. This seems particularly clear as we read about:
- The letters he wrote to the families of soldiers who died fighting for their country
- His deep disappointment in Richard Nixon over Watergate and their continuing friendship afterward
- His restraint when dealing with a press corps "...more hateful than I can ever recall in modern times.Read more ›
All politics is local. Even more micro, George Bush 41 was the consummate one on one communicator by letters. WWII combat flier, businessman and endless high level government jobs could not keep him from touching thousands of people one at a time through letters. Many letters were responding to people with no chance of winning over. These letters are very instructive in showing the space where he really functioned and probably kept him one of the most well grounded presidents of all time.
As a book of letters it is free to cover more ground. Explanations and foot notes are strikingly short and limited through out the book. A typical memoir would take volumes to cover life of George Bush 41 and still touch all the subjects in this book of letters.
GHWB's personal relationships with world leaders are authenticated by the relevant letters in this book. We had the right President a critical time. Going into the Gulf War, partisan dissent was astounding and helped to limit the objectives in Iraq. Though blatantly obvious why the Gulf War had to be fought, it was not for many senators. I was disappointed that a greater effort was not make to help the reader understand how so many senators could be so out of touch with the world.
Would it be for the following reasons.Read more ›
Because it is a collection of letters and other contemporaneous writings, you get a "real time" feel for what was happening at the time, as opposed to memories viewed through a lens of time and perspective. The letters written home during World War II are a great example of this. He was a bit of a fish out of water in basic training, a preppie mixing in with guys from all walks of life and his letters reflect his impressions and observations at the time. And how do you write home to tell your family that your plane was shot down, you ejected, you floated in the ocean for a few hours and were finally rescued by a passing ship? The letter explaining this harrowing experience is in here. Clearly he was very close to his mother and even confided in her his concerns when he thought his girlfriend (soon-to-be wife) Barbara wasn't writing him enough and perhaps had lost interest in him.
He came back from the war, married Barbara, went to Yale, they started a family and set out for a career and life in Texas. The letters detailing the Bushes' early years in Texas are particularly interesting because here and there you learn a little tidbit about President George W. Bush as a child. Of course, Barbara Bush also wrote about our current President in her autobiography, but it's interesting to get a father's perspective.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
This book was a gift to my daugter a few years ago and she said she liked the book very muchPublished on Dec 28 2012 by joan
.... you may want to look for another book. this one is full of "corrections" of what the actual man himself said. Read morePublished on May 16 2004
...were the ones he wrote to Jennifer Fitzgerald. But, for some reason he didn't include them. Unfortunately, the letters he DID include, to Barbara, etc... Read morePublished on Jan. 10 2004 by Cooley Hurd
Horrible book from a terrible man! Why not step outside for a breath of fresh air, instead of subjecting yourself with your nose in this one. Read morePublished on Nov. 17 2003
This is one of the best books I have ever read. It is funny, poignant and a revelation of the private man we all only knew publicly. Read morePublished on Nov. 12 2003 by AnnieSB
And you thought Ronald Reagan was the Great Communicator? Pick up this collection of letters from President Bush (version 41) and you'll be amazed - this prolific letter writer... Read morePublished on March 7 2002 by Andy Orrock
I thought this book was very good. It is Bush's own writings thought out his life. It was very interesting and enjoyable! Read morePublished on Jan. 19 2002 by Rebecca dickerson
Heard the taped version of MY LIFE IN LETTERS AND OTHER
WRITINGS by George Bush . . . I liked the fact that he was
one of the readers, along with Barbara Bush and other... Read more
If you enjoyed Tom Brokaws "The Greatest Generation" but wanted to see more, you will love this book. Read morePublished on Aug. 30 2001 by Michael Naro
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