Thursday, July 28, 2011

Book Review: Decision Points by George W. Bush

  • Decision Points

  • By: George W. Bush

  • Pub. Date: November 2010

  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group

  • Format: Hardcover, 497pp  

  • ISBN-13: 9780307590619

  • ISBN: 0307590615

  • Source: Personal Copy

  • Synopsis:
    President George W. Bush describes the critical decisions of his presidency and personal life.

    Decision Points is the extraordinary memoir of America’s 43rd president. Shattering the conventions of political autobiography, George W. Bush offers a strikingly candid journey through the defining decisions of his life.

    In gripping, never-before-heard detail, President Bush brings readers inside the Texas Governor’s Mansion on the night of the hotly contested 2000 election; aboard Air Force One on 9/11, in the hours after America’s most devastating attack since Pearl Harbor; at the head of the table in the Situation Room in the moments before launching the war in Iraq; and behind the Oval Office desk for his historic and controversial decisions on the financial crisis, Hurricane Katrina, Afghanistan, Iran, and other issues that have shaped the first decade of the 21st century.

    President Bush writes honestly and directly about his flaws and mistakes, as well as his accomplishments reforming education, treating HIV/AIDS in Africa, and safeguarding the country amid chilling warnings of additional terrorist attacks. He also offers intimate new details on his decision to quit drinking, discovery of faith, and relationship with his family.

    A groundbreaking new brand of memoir, Decision Points will captivate supporters, surprise critics, and change perspectives on one of the most consequential eras in American history – and the man at the center of events.

    My Review:

    First, I'd like to acknowledge that this book and my review may offend people. Emotions still run high from the Bush 43 Presidency and I'm going to try to review Decision Points as rationally as I can. With that being said, I would like to disclose that I did not vote for President George W. Bush.... because I was too young. Had I been old enough, I would have voted him. I am a conservative Republican and agree with many of Bush's decisions, not all of course, but some.

    One of the most distinguishing factors in Decision Points is the way the book is formatted. Rather than going through a chronological narration of his presidency, President Bush focuses each chapter around a major event or issue and the decisions he made regarding those events or issues. For example, an early chapter focuses on his decisions on how to staff the personnel in his cabinets and staff, which I found really interesting. I liked reading about these important figures who helped President Bush guide his decisions from a personal aspect. Bush gives his first impressions and backgrounds on many of his staff. A later chapter focuses on the issue of embryonic stem cell research and the decisions that President Bush made for funding this research.

    Each chapter gives a great amount of detail, enough for the reader to have a sense of the scope of President Bush's decision making-process and the background and information he had to work with in order to make those decisions. Particularly fascinating are the chapters surrounding 9/11 and the Middle East engagements. I won't give my views on how I feel about Bush's decisions but I will say that I loved getting his point of view and learning about the context of his decisions. I always like to keep in mind that the President of the United States always has more information than the public whenever it comes to foreign affairs, especially military affairs. I don't want all the information because I know it can jeopardize our safety, but I really appreciated what Bush was able to describe in these situations.

    The one thing that I found most disconcerting was that sometimes his stories seemed to wander and then the next section went back to his original point. I found it a little jarring and left me wondering what the past couple of paragraphs had been about. However, this was mostly just in the first few chapters that dealt more with Bush's personal reminisces rather than his Presidential policies.

    Overall, I highly recommend this book for anyone and everyone. I don't think it matters if you hate or love George W. Bush. If you hate him, you may be able to better understand him as a person trying to do an incredibly difficult job or you can gain some more fodder for your wrath against him. If you love him, this book gives you better insight to him as a person and his decisions which will help you understand him more. If you're not political, this book will still give you a better understanding, or at least a different perspective, of many important events and decisions from 2000 to 2008 and it's very easy to read, it is not like trying to read a dense political science book.
    My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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