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3.8 out of 5 stars
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I give George W. Bush full marks for offering us a candid look inside his presidency. While I find his memoir to be informative as to the circumstances that led him to make earth-shaking decisions during these tumultuous times, it doesn't offer much in the way of reflective analysis. That is not George W. Bush's style because he believes that what he did was right. What the reader will find in this book is a very polished and confident account of his public service packaged in a fairly standard definition of leadership: teamwork. George W. sees himself as a man who leads from the front with his 'generals' beside him and a vision to enhance and protect the international interests of the nation as embodied in the Constitution. To that end, Bush portrays himself as someone who has matured in his political values over time. His personal and family experiences are clear examples that he comes honestly by his beliefs in God, the church, family and individual freedom. On these, he does not compromise. When it comes to hot-button issues like defending the Patriot Act and water-boarding, Bush is unyielding in his defence of these measures in the ongoing fight against terrorism. There are numerous examples in this book showing his efforts to learn from his mistakes in judgment. Unfortunately, these revelations cover the leadup to his political career. Once president, Bush surrounded himself with a retinue of high-level advisors who were not always united in the advice they gave him as to making those critical decision points. "Decision Points" does offer some very revealing moments in the daily life within the West Wing as the stress level mounted over concerns such as Katrina, the Iraq invasion, the war on terrorism, and the growing financial crisis. It is through these moments that the reader gets to see how dependent Bush was on effective advice which he didn't always receive. The relations with key cabinet figures like Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice were often bitter-sweet. Through all this, however, Bush always showed loyalty to these people who worked under and with him to achieve what he believed was a safer place to live. He knew that without them he would never have made it out of the gate. His wife, Laura, and his parents come in for special praise for supporting him through eight years in the White House. This book is worth reading because it helps to define both the strengths and weaknesses of a very unique presidency.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 2010
Bill Clinton is right in describing this book as "well-written and interesting from start to finish." George Bush takes the reader behind the scenes and reveals how important historic decisions were made during his presidency. He also shares his inner thoughts and conflicts during these momentous years. The book is well worth reading.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on December 14, 2010
I will be the first to admit that I am not a fan of George Bush. I disagreed with many of his decisions that he made as president. That being said, I picked up this book in hopes I would be able to understand him and the decisions he made while in office. I was pleasantly surprised at how well he explained the thought process behind each of his decisions, especially the war in Afghanistan and the extreme interrogation techniques that were used on suspected terrorists. I think we sometimes forget that presidents are still human and this book definately shows George Bush as exactly that. This book has definately given me a deeper understanding of what it means to be president and just how difficult it can be to make decisions that impact an entire country.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 2010
Having read the book twice and reading the fellow reviewers inability to avoid a partisan or tempered response, I decided to provide a broader perspective

On the webpage of "Decision Points," George W Bush states that rather than provide an "exhaustive chronological account of my life and years in office," he wants to offer a memoir at a look back. Needless to say, he fails to do so, and gives a piece that resembles the latter.

The book is written thematically, yet often offers a recap in chronological order, failing to provide an in-depth examination or an introspective outlook. The reader often does not know the motivation behind Mr. Bush's decisions, and are often left guessing whether its personal or political.

"Decision Points" is carefully written, though often serves as a hind-sight justification for his decision-making rather than providing the utmost candor that one would expect (and as advertised). Mr. Bush does have a rather accessible and succinct style that you would expect of the straight-talkin' West Texan in international relations. Although it does not provide the most eloquent of proses, I particularly enjoy his style, yet hoped he would have provided more detail.

Furthermore, Mr. Bush's "No Child Left Behind" is one of the most historic pieces of legislation in education yet is only given a small portion.

Overall, I enjoyed the book but expected more. Its worthy of a read from the library if your strongly interested in his presidency, but it does not provide much detail or in-depth analysis that I was hoping for.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon February 21, 2013
Former president George W. Bush presents the eight years of his presidency in terms of the major decisions he faced. Most he supports and explains; a few he regrets and also explains. The decisions range from his resolve to quit drinking to how he addressed the nation's financial crisis in the closing months of his presidency. Other major decisions involve choosing key personnel, conducting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, responding to hurricane Katrina, and providing foreign medical aid. There are fourteen such decisions.

It seems that some decisions faced by leaders of countries are qualitatively different from those most of us face. Of course they have greater impact, affecting hundreds of millions of people. Many decisions are made by subordinates--making personnel selection crucially important. The decisions that get to the top aren't easy, and rarely have solutions that everybody supports. They are made under twin pressures of urgency and incomplete information. Pressures not faced by those who later second-guess from the relative safety and clarity of hindsight. It's worth reading the book just to better understand these kinds of decisions.

I also formed a personal impression of George Bush. I wouldn't enjoy his company much. He has that hard achievement drive that I've found wearing in others. I wouldn't enjoy his competitiveness when watching baseball with him--even when he could get great seats because he owned the team. And I wouldn't enjoy the good-old-boy, play-aggressive teasing he is fond of. I believe he means it affectionately and is sometimes clueless when it hurts or offends. It's an interesting blind spot. I admit that these things don't have much to do with his decision-making.

I can see that George Bush loves his family and has great respect for his father and mother. His stories demonstrate that this respect is well-grounded--even though they teased him. ("Run faster George!" Barbara yells during a marathon, "There are fat people ahead of you!") And George Bush loves his country. He is committed to a vision for this country and others that is based on political and economic freedom and individual opportunity. This consistent thread runs through his politics, from building a democracy in Iraq to opposing the "soft racism" of low expectations in minority educational achievement. One can legitimately question this vision, its appropriateness, and whether another is better. I don't doubt his sincerity, though.

Read and decide for yourself.
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on August 23, 2015
Unlike some presidential memoirs, Bush doesn't give us a chronological account of his 8 years in office, but rather divides the book into a chapters based on "decision points" during his tenure, on topics like Hurricane Katrina, Iraq, 9/11, and the financial crisis. In these accounts, Bush explains and justifies the choices he made and the course he led the country on during his presidency.

Despite not being strongly in favour of many of Bush's choices during his presidency, I enjoyed this book, and found it to fairly candid. Bush does express regret for some of the choices made, although he also comments several times that history will be the great judge of his presidency, suggesting that while he suffered from low popularity during his tenure, history will, in his opinion, judge him more favourably.

Regardless, this book is organized in a readable well and provides a good summary of those 8 years in American history.
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on October 24, 2015
I personally dislike the Bush administration and read this book because I wanted to know President Bush's point of view. I was not disappointed. I must say that I still disagree with most of what President Bush has done to the U.S.A. and to the people of Iraq, but this doesn't mean that it isn't worth reading.

Overall, easy and enjoyable read if you are the least bit interested in politics.
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on October 26, 2011
It took over 5 weeks to get the book mailed to me, but I just received it yesterday and went through part of the first chapter last night. So far, it's not what I expected; it's very interesting and engaging. I had read other reviews of this book and they were good. It seems to reflect President Bush's personality and is a "down-home" read!
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on August 21, 2014
Not many times do you see true insight into the halls of power and the struggles a president goes through in making tough decisions. I was never a big fan of George Bush, but after reading it I had newfound respect for him.
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on February 26, 2015
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