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Premium eBook featuring video and exclusive text material. Video can be viewed only in Adobe® Digital Editions and Kindle app for Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad.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. I Premium eBook featuring video and exclusive text material. Video can be viewed only in Adobe® Digital Editions and Kindle app for Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad.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 Harbour; 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 centre of events.


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Premium eBook featuring video and exclusive text material. Video can be viewed only in Adobe® Digital Editions and Kindle app for Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad.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. I Premium eBook featuring video and exclusive text material. Video can be viewed only in Adobe® Digital Editions and Kindle app for Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad.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 Harbour; 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 centre of events.

30 review for Decision Points enhanced ebook

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jo

    Admission: I lean middle left politically, did not vote for GW Bush, and did not like him during his presidency. After reading this book I found I liked the man (although not all of his decisions) and respected him more (although not all of his decisions), and found that he was more intelligent than had been my previous impression. This book is a interesting and enlightening reflection by President Bush (43) on his perception of his life, his decisions, and his actions. It is not a great literar Admission: I lean middle left politically, did not vote for GW Bush, and did not like him during his presidency. After reading this book I found I liked the man (although not all of his decisions) and respected him more (although not all of his decisions), and found that he was more intelligent than had been my previous impression. This book is a interesting and enlightening reflection by President Bush (43) on his perception of his life, his decisions, and his actions. It is not a great literary work – he writes like he speaks, and that makes the book very accessible. The book covers a critical time period in our history and I learned interesting behind the scenes tidbits I had not known before. Bush explains in detail why he made certain decisions, and surprisingly, owned up to some bad/wrong decisions, and some things that could have been done better. He does not give a blow-by-blow, day-to-day account of his presidency. Some of the topics he covers include his early drinking problems & decision to quit, the 2000 election, 9/11, the decisions to go into Afghanistan and Iraq, the surge in 2007-2008, his crusade to provide aid (health care) to Africa, Hurricane Katrina, and the efforts to avoid another depression in 2008. He does not address all of the decisions in his presidency, nor even all of the major ones. (I would’ve like to have learned what was behind his energy and environment decisions, but they weren’t addressed.) It was enlightening to read of his decision making processes in each case. They were more intelligent and practical than I expected – although I still believe he started from false premises & assumptions and did not make sufficient inquiry into some, such as the invasion of Iraq and I believe that he did not sufficiently plan for the aftermath of the war in that country (…and I think this book supports my opinions in this area. I really don’t like his use of speculative thinking to support/justify his decision to invade.) I also was not fond of the extent to which he blamed the Gov of LA for problems in responding to Katrina. But I do understand better why he made the decisions he did, and found it refreshing that he admitted mistakes and bad decisions. I admire his decision to press for greater aid to Africa, and the reason behind those decisions. I knew about it at the time but seeing it all together in one chapter heightened the impact and my respect. Bush’s faith also permeates the book. I like how he spoke of it and acknowledged that it is central in his life, without becoming maudlin or overly effusive about it. I was surprised by the lack of rancor or bitterness towards those of us who derided him. Whether or not you liked President GW Bush, it is definitely a good read if you like history!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    This may be one of the most difficult reviews I've ever attempted to write. Being as opinionated about politics as I am, I'm very tempted to launch into my opinions on various political matters covered in this book. However, once I start down the dark path, forever will it dominate my discourse, so I'm going to try my best not to go there. I was originally going to go through each chapter and state whether or not I agree with the decisions he made, and why, and what's wrong with the world today, This may be one of the most difficult reviews I've ever attempted to write. Being as opinionated about politics as I am, I'm very tempted to launch into my opinions on various political matters covered in this book. However, once I start down the dark path, forever will it dominate my discourse, so I'm going to try my best not to go there. I was originally going to go through each chapter and state whether or not I agree with the decisions he made, and why, and what's wrong with the world today, and what was wrong then, and yadda, yadda, yadda. However, I'm pretty confident that not one among you cares what I think about these past events. So... Here goes my attempt at an objective review without political commentary. ...taking deep breaths... Firstly, I'm a Bush fan. Always have been, and I supported and defended him right up through the end of presidency when even his own party was fleeing like lemmings from the man. I never let his lack of prowess with speaking the English language serve as a measuring mark of his intelligence. I readily admit that his speaking ability leaves much to be desired, and I must confess that his writing style is also not above reproach. Having endured eight years of his speeches, this is not surprising. His writing style is reminiscent of those speeches. I thought that was going to be distracting since I'm not a fan of it, but it wasn't. I could easily hear his voice as I read, and that worked in the book's favor since it is his memoir. If it had been a novel, it probably would've driven me crazy. Since he was so severely lampooned in the media as an idiot, and he also has a somewhat self-deprecating sense of humor, I was disappointed that he didn't add a couple of coloring and activity pages to the book; they would have been a nice touch. Also, being thought of as a moron may have worked in his favor as it caused people to "misunderestimate" him often. Many felt that Bush was Cheney's puppet. I've never believed that, and this book makes it pretty clear that Bush was in charge and had the final word. I really liked the way this book was laid out. I usually like my history lined up chronologically, but the topical set up actually works very well since many of the topics covered spanned many years of the presidency. The first that come to mind for almost anyone are the Iraqi and Afghani wars, but his work for AIDS relief in Africa, and the Freedom Agenda (promoting democracy throughout the world) also span several years. The topics that didn't span over several years of his presidency, such as Katrina, the financial crisis in late 2008, and the decision to implement a troop surge in Iraq in 2006, also work well in this topical format. He didn't cover every decision, and lists several that he bypassed in the afterword, but it certainly wasn't because he shied away from the more controversial ones. He covers all of the most contentious issues. One thing I was glad to see in this book was Bush defending himself against critics, which is something he rarely did while he was in office. Others would defend him, but I hardly recall him doing it for himself. This made it look like he didn't believe he could, but I always believed there was a method behind some of his madness, and he explains the methodology in the book. Some decisions that completely baffled me when he made them are now much clearer. I'm not sure why he didn't explain them more thoroughly when he made them, but perhaps he thought there was no point since haters are gonna hate. Boy, do I know how true that is since I do some pretty hardcore hating on the other team, and at certain times there is no explanation good enough to justify their behavior to me. Allow me to use an analogy of wolves and sheep from that great movie Babe to exemplify. There comes a part in the movie where a dog (which is called a "wolf" by the sheep) must speak to the sheep. She "decided to speak very slowly, for it was a cold fact of nature that sheep were stupid, and there was nothing that could convince her otherwise." When the sheep replied, they "decided to speak very slowly, for it was a cold fact of nature that wolves were ignorant, and there was nothing that could convince them otherwise." This is how many Republicans and Democrats view each other, and I certainly wear the description very well. OK, back to the book. Here's a case in point that Bush couldn't win for trying. No matter what move he made, it was going to be vilified by everybody. But, such is the bane of the presidency, regardless of who is occupying the Oval Office. Uganda had been working on their AIDS epidemic before we got involved with sending money, education, medicine, etc. The Ugandans "employed an aggressive prevention campaign known as ABC: Abstinence, Be faithful, or else use a Condom." It was a successful campaign that was showing good results. When Bush announced that we were going to help the Africans deal with AIDS, it went over pretty well. However, "as expected, there were some objections. The biggest came in response to the ABC prevention strategy. Critics on the left denounced the abstinence component as an ideological 'war on condoms' that would prove unrealistic and ineffective. I pointed out that abstinence worked every time. Some on the right objected to distributing condoms, which they felt would encourage promiscuity... Ironically, both sides charged that we were imposing our values - religious fundamentalism if you asked one camp, sexual permissiveness if you asked the other. Neither argument made much sense to me since the ABC strategy had been developed in Africa, implemented in Africa, and successful in Africa." I found the book to be rather inspiring. Here is a man who had values and principles and stuck to them to the best of his ability. Sometimes he went against what almost everyone else wanted him to do, such as the troop surge in Iraq. A couple of times he compromised those principles, such as with the bailout in 2008, yet did it because he considered it to be the lesser of two evils. He was, and still seems to be, quite in favor of the free market. (Must... resist temptation... to voice opinions... and assign blame... ... ... Breathe in... out... in... out... Stick to the book...) OK, I'm back. Here's a quote relating to the last paragraph. "I was furious the (financial) situation had reached this point. A relatively small group of people - many on Wall Street, some not - had gambled that the housing market would keep booming forever. It didn't. In a normal environment, the free market would render its judgment and they could fail. I would have been happy to let them do so. But this was not a normal environment." He goes on to state how economists predicted a second great depression if certain firms failed, and he compromised his value for the greater good. I don't know if I could have done that. At any rate, we learn a lot about the man himself with this book. He freely admits that he made some mistakes, and points out several of them. He steadfastly defends some of his decisions which were unpopular, and I can honestly say that I can see where he is coming from with every one of them, even the Harriet Miers nomination for Supreme Court Justice which caused me to employ a face-palm when I heard it, and I'd like to think I still wouldn't have done it, no matter HOW good I thought she might have been at the job. Obviously Bush didn't get along with everybody he came in contact with, but he handles the descriptions of those people with humility and dignity. There is very little blaming and finger pointing in the book, and he sticks to talking about his side of the street mostly. Like I said before, I found the book inspiring, and I kind of hope I can handle myself with as much decorum as Bush did/does. He does point out where he feels like he was treated unfairly, but it never comes across as whiny, and he always says why he thought it was unfair. (See the ABC example from a few paragraphs above). Another thing I liked about this book is that it has Barbara Bush in it, and I love her (the mother, not the daughter). She has great one liners, and there are examples of that peppered throughout. I also like it when she jacks him up every now and then. If you're as hot-headed about politics as I am and find it to be a serenity black-hole (which I dive into head first all too frequently knowing full well that it's only going to piss me off... maybe I'll learn one day and leave it alone), then you are either going to love this book, or it will send you spiraling into rage. If you can look at the issues discussed without getting bent around the axle, and have an interest in those issues, then you would probably like this book. If you want to read about a man of high moral fiber who sticks to his guns, then you'd also like this book. If you're looking for great prose, then what the hell are you doing even reading this review? That's like going to a Michael Bay movie for the plot; why would you expect there to be one that makes sense? I suggest you leave this book alone if that's your motive.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Glenn Gargiulo

    I do not think Bush was best President. However realistically to blame the problems this country has endured in the past few years on one man is crazy and really shows the simple minded attitude too many Americans have. You spent more money then you had and now it has caught up to you. Take responsibility for yourself. I do not think Bush handled many things very well in his time in office, but then again given the situations and the information available at the time, I don't know that many could I do not think Bush was best President. However realistically to blame the problems this country has endured in the past few years on one man is crazy and really shows the simple minded attitude too many Americans have. You spent more money then you had and now it has caught up to you. Take responsibility for yourself. I do not think Bush handled many things very well in his time in office, but then again given the situations and the information available at the time, I don't know that many could have done much better. As a book I like it. It is easy to read and written in a more modern style. He agrees he wasn't always right in his decisions. All in all he doesn't try to "Make excuses" like some have written on your reviews, but then again I don't half of the people who gave this book bad reviews even read it. Keep jumping on the I hate Bush band wagon with no idea why other then you are against the war.

  4. 5 out of 5

    J

    It was not a fast read! Each chapter took a while to get through and seemed to encourage pondering. As a longtime supporter of Bush, I was surprised to find I disagreed with some of his decisions. Yet, overall, I was encouraged by his prayerful, honest approach to the decisions that faced him as president. Reading his book motivated me to think about the decisions in my life and my approach to them. It encouraged me to be a better person. I felt the responsiblity he felt and I appreciated his hum It was not a fast read! Each chapter took a while to get through and seemed to encourage pondering. As a longtime supporter of Bush, I was surprised to find I disagreed with some of his decisions. Yet, overall, I was encouraged by his prayerful, honest approach to the decisions that faced him as president. Reading his book motivated me to think about the decisions in my life and my approach to them. It encouraged me to be a better person. I felt the responsiblity he felt and I appreciated his humbleness in admiting mistakes. He seemed like a guy I'd like to know personally and someone I would trust to run our country. I also loved getting the inside view of world politics through Bush's eyes. To hear his opinions and assessments of other politicians and world leaders. To see how and when issues were brought to him. And, to get a better sense of who he is/was as a person. It is odd now that time has passed to remember the hurtful (and untrue) things people said about Bush when he was president. Perhaps now that we've all experienced the "hope" of Obama, we can appreciate what we had. And pick a good president next time around.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kellie

    "timeliness is important to make sure an organization does not get sloppy" This was a fascinating book. Politics aside, I thought this was a well written, honest depiction of Bush 43's time in office. If you think about all that happened during W's 2 terms, 9/11, Afghanistan and Iraq wars, Hurricane Katrina and the financial crisis, to name a few, it was not an easy 8 years. I appreciate W's honesty. He admits there were some decisions he made that were wrong. However, he explains in detail, why "timeliness is important to make sure an organization does not get sloppy" This was a fascinating book. Politics aside, I thought this was a well written, honest depiction of Bush 43's time in office. If you think about all that happened during W's 2 terms, 9/11, Afghanistan and Iraq wars, Hurricane Katrina and the financial crisis, to name a few, it was not an easy 8 years. I appreciate W's honesty. He admits there were some decisions he made that were wrong. However, he explains in detail, why he made some of the decisions he did. He made them with the fate of the American people in mind. It is interesting to hear his point of view, his side of the story, when the press or other politicians had communicated something totally different. George W Bush is a man of faith. He is very interested in talking to people, getting their point of view. He wrote letters to over 5,000 families who lost love ones in the war. He invited several of the them to the White House. He respects the office of the President and felt honored to have served. Bush had some interesting opinions of the various leaders and political figures he was in contact with. He is not afraid to express disappointment with some Republican leaders, US allies or popular celebrity figures, as well as, praise Democratic leaders, and other people who publicly did not support him. To me, that shows a lot of character. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested to learn about the years 2001-2009 from his prospective. You do not have to agree with him. You do not have to be a Republican. Just open your mind and re-live some recent history, you will not be disappointed.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Sulzby

    I read this book because I wanted to know how Bush would defend himself and his administration. My answer about half way through and having skimmed the rest is: "Not well at all." (I have now read it entirely and reread specific parts and my comment still stands.) He doesn't seem to understand the events of his presidency, the repercussions of his actions, and the source-based historical books (and articles) about his presidency. I am reading with a "sick in the stomach, this truly can't have be I read this book because I wanted to know how Bush would defend himself and his administration. My answer about half way through and having skimmed the rest is: "Not well at all." (I have now read it entirely and reread specific parts and my comment still stands.) He doesn't seem to understand the events of his presidency, the repercussions of his actions, and the source-based historical books (and articles) about his presidency. I am reading with a "sick in the stomach, this truly can't have been written by a President," reaction. I cannot shelve this as history and, oddly enough, it's not even diatribe. He just writes as if he were president of the class and would do anything his buds wanted him to do. Thanks to all the writers who have tried to keep our democracy alive during those 8 years. Things I do appreciate about the book are some of the smaller chapters, such as Bush's efforts for HIV/AIDS. But he does not evaluate this very good and, I think, probably honest effort, alongside his attacks on women's right to choose and with refusing to allow our medical aid to women in foreign countries receiving our aid to be counselled on abortion. Reading this book led me back to reading such as Richard Clarke's books and other investigative journalism during the early years of Bush's presidency. I contrasted Clarke's description of trying to get the Bush administration to attend to the imminent threats by Bin Laden (that Clinton had alerted him to), the events in the White House and bunker during 9-11 itself, and the push to attack Iraq which preceded 9-11 and quickly overtook the efforts in Afghanistan. The new book that I am currently reading and recommend to others interested in these times is Hubris by Isikoff and Corn. I was aware that Valerie Phlame Wilson was a NOC and what personal safety those non covered agents (and their sources) gave up. I did not know that she was the head agent in charge of on the ground investigations of mass destruction, yet she was not consulted during the build-up to Iraq. Many sources have reported the "stovepiping" of evidence in favor of attacking Iraq, but Hubris sets out the deliberate omission of the CIA's program on WMD and the substitution of analysts searching out the kind of evidence Bush and esp. Cheney wanted to go to war. Bush writes about his care and concern for the troops and their families and I believe that he speaks truthfully from his concern (and, whether he is consciously aware of it or not, his guilt) about the troops and Afghan/Iraq civilians who lost their lives. He seems to have put that concern in a box and have isolated it from his "decision points." On a personal level, when I saw and heard him on television at the start of his book tour, I felt very sorry for him. He looks so aged and beaten down. I think Americans, myself included, have a tendency to give former Presidents credit for their good actions and to down-play there harmful ones. In the case of Bush, I think we cannot afford to take his account of his presidency in isolation of other accounts.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Diem

    Update: Loved every minute. Even when I was in fierce disagreement it was fascinating to watch the decisions unfold. And what a gift to read about the important events of my lifetime from such an inside angle. I really opposed TARP. I didn't understand how someone supposedly committed to free market principles could have pushed so hard for this huge government overreach. To read his explanation made me reconsider my harsh judgment of his decision. Probably because one of the few things I value m Update: Loved every minute. Even when I was in fierce disagreement it was fascinating to watch the decisions unfold. And what a gift to read about the important events of my lifetime from such an inside angle. I really opposed TARP. I didn't understand how someone supposedly committed to free market principles could have pushed so hard for this huge government overreach. To read his explanation made me reconsider my harsh judgment of his decision. Probably because one of the few things I value more than capitalism is the peaceful transition of power that regularly occurs in this country. It never fails to amaze me that no matter how rancorous the fight all parties eventually allow it to end peacefully. This is not historically indicated to be the norm. If TARP was necessary to ensure the continued tradition of peaceful transition of power AND government can unwind itself from the industries around which it has currently wrapped itself, it may have been the right decision. If you suffer from Bush Derangement Syndrome, don't bother with the book. Most of you seem fairly incapable of reasonable discourse on the topic. If you are a conservative/libertarian with serious issues with the administration take this out for a spin. You won't be wasting your time. ****Fantastic. Presidential autobiography may be my new obsession. Reading about his cabinet selection was like watching a season of "Dallas" - good and good for you. The format is interesting. Each chapter represents one decision or group of related decisions and how he arrived to that decision and the impact of it. It is not chronological which is actually better because it forces you to focus more on dates in order to better track when things are happening. His writing style is plain and direct, as expected, but is not found lacking. I'm still waiting to read how someone who espouses such conservative views enlarged government as much as he did but other than that I'm delighted with this book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Leesa

    I am currently listening to this on CD with my 11 year old son while we drive to and from school. First I have to disclose that I am a major fan of this president and all the morals he stands for. I am very sad that our country does not give him praise for how he kept us safe. Sure as a conservative I did not always support his spending policies but otherwise I truly admire his compassion,leadership and faith. This book is very good and I am so pleased to hear in his words answer his critics and I am currently listening to this on CD with my 11 year old son while we drive to and from school. First I have to disclose that I am a major fan of this president and all the morals he stands for. I am very sad that our country does not give him praise for how he kept us safe. Sure as a conservative I did not always support his spending policies but otherwise I truly admire his compassion,leadership and faith. This book is very good and I am so pleased to hear in his words answer his critics and my son and I discuss alot about the history of his Presidency and his faith journey. This a power piece of history and story that touches my son and I. An excellent journey of learning for us both. We are thru disc two. We have finished Disc three now on 2/14(will comment on this soon).We have finished DISC 5 2/18 and I will update soon. Finally finished and the best thing about reading this book is that he answers his critics and does it with intelligence and grace. I enjoyed his anaylsis of Hurricane Katrina. In listening to this book on CD I really got to know this man and all the decency and courage he brought to the office. I am proud he was my President.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    Regardless of whether you like him or not, he presided over one of the roughest times in american history. This book will make you laugh, probably frustrate you, and it may even make your eyes well up with tears. President Bush has a unique perspective that only one other person has had, that is being the son of a former president, he has been involved with the workings of this country for a long time and because of that this book offers great insight, comical stories, gripping eye witness accoun Regardless of whether you like him or not, he presided over one of the roughest times in american history. This book will make you laugh, probably frustrate you, and it may even make your eyes well up with tears. President Bush has a unique perspective that only one other person has had, that is being the son of a former president, he has been involved with the workings of this country for a long time and because of that this book offers great insight, comical stories, gripping eye witness accounts of world wide happenings with a door to a President that one could argue stands alone with all he faced. The chapters are broken down into the major points of his presidency. He goes into a fair amount of detail involving his thinking during the trying times of 9/11 and the wars, he admits to mistakes on one hand and then shows his stubborness on the other. Katrina was a big surprise for me, I was surprised by many details I was unaware of, and why he did what he did. I've always admired him on a personal level, but I felt he really lost touch with the constitution in many areas, I felt while reading this that he looked at tax dollars as his own bank roll. In the end this is a book not to be missed. If you hated him you may find reason to change your mind, if you liked or loved him this will cement those feelings forever. Chapters include: Quiting Drinking,Running for office, Personnel decisions, Stem Cells, 9/11, Both Wars, Leadership, Katrina, AIDS, The Surge in Iraq, Focus on Freedom, The Financial Crisis.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    My purpose in reading biographies and memoirs isn't to take a side on political issues, but rather to understand a little better how people think. From that perspective, I liked the book. I had a few random takeaways: * I got the overall impression that Bush thinks his presidency will continue to look better in hindsight and that during his presidency too much politics/slinging took aim at him and strongly tarnished his perception. * 9/11 caught Bush (and most of the nation) by surprise and really My purpose in reading biographies and memoirs isn't to take a side on political issues, but rather to understand a little better how people think. From that perspective, I liked the book. I had a few random takeaways: * I got the overall impression that Bush thinks his presidency will continue to look better in hindsight and that during his presidency too much politics/slinging took aim at him and strongly tarnished his perception. * 9/11 caught Bush (and most of the nation) by surprise and really forced a dramatic change in his presidency. When he visited NYC in the days that followed, I really think this had a huge impression on him, especially when he promised to avenge the horrible acts. * Bush gave the impression that he wanted act immediately to help Katrina victims but didn't have legal authority to do so (e.g. allow federal troops to patrol the state area) because the governor kept refusing to give that authority. He was eventually able to send in troops without the authority to patrol/engage/fire-a-shot-if-necessary and this helped. Had he known that it would have gone so well without needing the governor's approval he would have done it sooner. * Bush believes that the No Child Left Behind policy is extremely important as a social/ethnic justice issue. * I think President Bush's Christian faith is sincere * I honestly think Bush tried to do what he thought was best for the country without sinister plans. * Bush calls his mom (Barbara) "mother." I thought this was... unique. On a lighter note, I listened to the audio edition of this book read by Bush himself. It added extra flair to the experience. Bush has a noticeably different/slower reading voice than his normal speaking/non-speech voice. This reading voice causes him to e-nun-ci-ate words more (e.g. "juuu-liiiie" for "July"). This at times made it amusing to listen to, even at very serious points in the book. For example, when Bush talks about how special ops caught Saddam and then the FBI interrogated him, he said this (imagine Bush reading it slowly, but with a "WHAT WERE YOU THINKING SADDAM?!" vocal tone): "[Saddam] told agents that he was more worried about looking weak to Iran than being removed by the coalition. He never thought the United States would follow through on our promises to disarm him by force. I'm not sure what more I could have done to show Saddam I meant what I said. I named him part of an axis of evil in my State of the Union address. I spoke to a packed chamber of the United Nations and promised to disarm him by force if diplomacy failed. We presented him with a uniamious Security Council resolution. We sought and received strong bipartisan backing from the U.S. Congress. We deployed 150,000 troops to his border. I gave him a final forty-eight-hours' notice that we were about to invade his country. How much clearer could I have been?" All told, a short and interesting book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

    Love him or hate him, this book is worth reading. Bush seems to have been vindicated in several areas that were controversial during his presidency, especially stem cell research and the surge in Iraq. There are other areas for which he takes responsibility, including public perception of the Katrina response and the failure of immigration reform. He seems to have done some honest soul searching for things he could have done differently if he had them to do over again. He does a lot more explain Love him or hate him, this book is worth reading. Bush seems to have been vindicated in several areas that were controversial during his presidency, especially stem cell research and the surge in Iraq. There are other areas for which he takes responsibility, including public perception of the Katrina response and the failure of immigration reform. He seems to have done some honest soul searching for things he could have done differently if he had them to do over again. He does a lot more explaining than justifying, meaning he sticks to his guns when he thinks he’s right and admits failure when he thinks he wasn’t. This book is extremely serious at times, but also has some solidly humorous bits and interesting anecdotes. Apparently when Vlad Putin was showing off his dog to W, he said that his dog was bigger, stronger, and faster than W’s dog Barney. When W told this story to Prime Minister Harper of Canada, Mr. Harper said, “You’re lucky he only showed you his dog.” I was none too impressed with the chapter on the financial crisis. It was quite a disappointment that after being willing to take on something as unpopular as Social Security reform he would turn around and cave to legacy pressures by bailing out the banks and auto companies. It’s clear he just didn’t want the house of cards to fall on his watch. He kicked the can down the road and he knew it. As an aside, I love how easy it is for people to obfuscate when talking about economics. Let’s take the sentences below for example. I’m going to replace the words purchasing equity with giving money, and the world capital with money, in order to demonstrate the utter tautology of the message: Original: “Purchasing equity would inject capital – the lifeblood of finance – directly into the undercapitalized banking system. That would reduce the risk of sudden failure and free up more money for banks to lend.” Amended: “Giving money would inject money – the lifeblood of finance – directly into the under-moneyed banking system. That would reduce the risk of sudden failure and free up more money for banks to lend.” See? Had he not used all the fancy jargon, you might not have realized how difficult it is to understand that if you give banks money, they will have more money. Never mind where the money is coming from or if there are any better uses for it. Banks need money, see? Or else… they wont have money. Quotes: In March 2002… the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) mailed a letter notifying a Florida flight school that it had granted student visas to Mohamed Atta and Marwan al Shehhi. The person opening the letter must have been shocked. Those were the two pilots who had flown airplanes into the Twin Towers on 9/11. That is the nature of the presidency. Perceptions are shaped by the clarity of hindsight. In the moment of decision, you don’t have that advantage. After the Cold War, the United States gave up on Afghanistan. The result was chaos, civil war, the Taliban takeover, sanctuary for al Qaeda, and the nightmare of 9/11. To forget that lesson would be a dreadful mistake. “The hard fact is that so long as Saddam remains in power, he threatens the well-being of his people, the peace of his region, the security of the world… Heavy as they are, the costs of action must be weighed against the price of inaction… Saddam will strike again at his neighbors. He will make war on his own people. And mark my words, he will develop weapons of mass destruction. He will deploy them, and he will use them.” Bill Clinton (1998) The Middle East was the center of a global ideological struggle. On one side were decent people who wanted to live in dignity and peace. On the other were extremists who sought to impose their radical views through violence and intimidation. Whenever I heard someone claim that we had rushed to war, I thought back to this period. It had been more than a decade since the Gulf War resolutions had demanded that Saddam disarm, over four years since he had kicked out the weapons inspectors, six months since I had issued my ultimatum at the UN, four months since Resolution 1441 had given Saddam his “final opportunity,” and three months past the deadline to fully disclose his WMD. Diplomacy did not feel rushed. It felt like it was taking forever. President Shuster [of Slovakia] had tears in his eyes as he described his nation’s pride in helping liberate Iraq. I kept that moment in mind when I heard critics allege that America acted unilaterally. The false charge denigrated our allies and pissed me off. If I wanted to mislead the country into war, why would I pick an allegation that was certain to be disproven [sic] publicly shortly after we invaded the country?... Nobody was lying. We were all wrong. By the time I left office, fourth- and eight-grade math scores had reached their highest levels in history. So had fourth-grade reading scores. Hispanic and African American students set new records in multiple categories. The gap had narrowed in exactly the way we wanted: All students improved, but minority students improved the most. Social Security’s return [is] 1.2 percent. Social Security was especially unfair to African Americans. Because their life expectancy was shorter, black workers who spent a lifetime paying into Social Security received an average of $21,000 less in benefits than whites of comparable income levels. In the five years since I proposed reform, the Social Security crisis has grown more acute. The projected bankruptcy date has moved from 2042 to 2037. The shortfall in Social Security – the cost of fixing the problem – has grown more than $2 trillion since I raised the issue in 2005. That is more than we spent on the war in Iraq, Medicare modernization, and the Trouble Asset Relief Program combined. For anyone concerned about the deficits facing future generations, the failure to reform Social Security ranks among the most expensive missed opportunities of modern times. According to one study, the benefits of trade are fort times more effective in reducing poverty than foreign aid. When I took office, America had free trade agreements in place with three countries… By the time I left, we had agreements with seventeen. “For us, the most important thing is, let [Obama] be as good a friend of Africa as President Bush has been.” President Kikwete of Tanzania “I now know he’s sincere about wanting freedom for the Iraqis… I know he’s sorry and feels some pain for our loss. And I know he’s a man of faith.” Cindy Sheehan (2004), founder of Code Pink If anything, the consequences of defeat in Iraq would be even worse than in Vietnam. We would leave al Qaeda with a safe haven in a country with vast oil reserves. We would embolden a hostile Iran in its pursuit of nuclear weapons. We would shatter the hopes of people taking risks for freedom across the Middle East. Ultimately, our enemies could use their sanctuary to attack our homeland. “This war is lost, the surge is not accomplishing anything.” Harry Reid (2007) Critics charged that the freedom agenda was a way for America to impose our values on others. But freedom is not an American value; it is a universal value. Freedom cannot be imposed; it must be chosen. And when people are given the choice, they choose freedom. “I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, eight million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world. The Syrian people, the Egyptian people, all say that something is changing. The Berlin Wall has fallen. We can see it.” Walid Jumblatt, Lebanese political leader “I read the Bible, but I don’t trust what it says.” President Jiang Zemin of China The unemployment rate… averaged 5.3 percent during my presidency, lower than the averages of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mare S

    I freely admit that I come at this book as a bleeding heart liberal who never thought much of President George W. Bush and his capabilities. I borrowed this book from the library - because yeah, wasn't going to pay for it - as I was curious to read his take on certain situations. I went into it fully expecting to feel annoyed with things and biased against his politics. I didn't expect it to be so very boring. It took me a whole week to get through fifty pages before I finally started skimming t I freely admit that I come at this book as a bleeding heart liberal who never thought much of President George W. Bush and his capabilities. I borrowed this book from the library - because yeah, wasn't going to pay for it - as I was curious to read his take on certain situations. I went into it fully expecting to feel annoyed with things and biased against his politics. I didn't expect it to be so very boring. It took me a whole week to get through fifty pages before I finally started skimming to the parts that I was curious about. This book is like President Bush when he went off script during press conferences. If it weren't so boring, it might rate as a train wreck. I will say that a few of the clips that were sensationalized were completely taken out of text - his mother didn't make him stare at her miscarried child so much as needed someone to drive her to the hospital - but the Kanye West thing? Very true. And so anger-making. He was president when 9/11 happened (no, I don't think he was responsible, but it still happened). He was president during two wars and whether he believed in them or not, men and women lost their lives during these wars. And the worst moment of his presidency was when Kanye West called him a racist? There really was no new information or understanding provided. Just so damn boring. I think the only way it could only be worse would be to have it narrated to me by George W. Bush.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    After reading Tony Blair's political biography, I dove straight into read George Bush's "Decision Points." Opponents ought to read the book in order to hear his side of things. Supporters ought to read it to get an inside look at the key decisions of his presidency. Those who loved him too much will be disappointed, and those who hated him probably won't bother picking up the book anyway (or might as well not, because they'll think what they want to whether or not they read it). For the rest of After reading Tony Blair's political biography, I dove straight into read George Bush's "Decision Points." Opponents ought to read the book in order to hear his side of things. Supporters ought to read it to get an inside look at the key decisions of his presidency. Those who loved him too much will be disappointed, and those who hated him probably won't bother picking up the book anyway (or might as well not, because they'll think what they want to whether or not they read it). For the rest of us who agreed or disagreed with his decisions, we're treated to a series of brief vignettes followed by Bush's decision-making process, analysis, and retrospective evaluation. I enjoyed reading about the decision-making process in particular, as there were decisions I wholeheartedly supported and some that I couldn't get behind at all. The book makes no excuses, and (like Blair) Bush is not afraid to say he's wrong or would do some things differently. What it accomplishes is to explain the context behind why each decision was made, and the process of how it was made. The reader is left to his or her own conclusion, but the added dimension of his own perspective is helpful in better understanding why he did things in the way that they were done. The chief value of the book, for me, was that it cut behind the analysis, speculation and name-calling of the talking-heads, journalists, and politicians we heard from so regularly during those eight years. Bush's simple (but by no means simplistic - a lack of intelligence and a simple-minded worldview is a "Bush myth") language cuts right through all of that in order to tell it like he saw it, without anybody else explaining his motives for us.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    The biggest problem with Decision Points is that the people who most need to read it never will. In this memoir of his presidency, President George W. Bush works thematically (not chronologically) through the major decision points he faced over eight years; obviously, the War on Terror plays a pivotal role, but he also discusses domestic events such as Katrina and his efforts to reform Social Security. Like anyone else, I had my disagreements with the President (is there anyone with whom you agre The biggest problem with Decision Points is that the people who most need to read it never will. In this memoir of his presidency, President George W. Bush works thematically (not chronologically) through the major decision points he faced over eight years; obviously, the War on Terror plays a pivotal role, but he also discusses domestic events such as Katrina and his efforts to reform Social Security. Like anyone else, I had my disagreements with the President (is there anyone with whom you agree 100% on everything? Really?), but I grant him the benefit of the doubt in assuming that he acted as he thought best (and, of course, the President always has access to much more complete information than civilians without security clearances!). Decision Points does a good job of elucidating President Bush's thought process. Some information is still classified, I'm sure, but he does describe the major factors contributing to his decisions. I recommend Decision Points for people who want to understand more about the former president's decisions and who are willing to read his words with an open mind.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    While I do not deny having a preconceived notion of BUSH and his antics (thank you media and Oliver Stone), I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir. While one must take things with a grain of salt, Bush does not shy away from faults and weaknesses, though some spin is surely present as the reader navigates through September 11, 2001 and Huricane Katrina, as well as meetings with various world leaders. Read side by side (or one after the other, as I did) with Tony Blair's JOURNEY, one can see the arm's- While I do not deny having a preconceived notion of BUSH and his antics (thank you media and Oliver Stone), I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir. While one must take things with a grain of salt, Bush does not shy away from faults and weaknesses, though some spin is surely present as the reader navigates through September 11, 2001 and Huricane Katrina, as well as meetings with various world leaders. Read side by side (or one after the other, as I did) with Tony Blair's JOURNEY, one can see the arm's-length alliance those two unexpected bedfellows forged when it came to Afghanistan and Iraq. I would highly recommend this book to Bush lovers and skeptics alike.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Owlseyes inside Notre Dame, it's so strange a 15-hour blaze and...30-minutes wait to call the firemen...and

    So timely, a picture painting. Numbers: G. Bush cashed $7 million for this book. Bill Clinton cashed $15 milllion for his My Life, in 2001. Obama is about to cash $20 million in advance for his upcoming memoir. -Is it due to inflation?

  17. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    “I have done my best to write about the decisions I got right, those I got wrong, and what I would do differently if given the chance. Of course, in the presidency, there are no do-overs. You have to do what you believe is right and accept the consequences. I tried to do that every day of my eight years in office. Serving as president was the honor of a lifetime, and I appreciate your giving me an opportunity to share my story.” Having read a number of political autobiographies, the first thing “I have done my best to write about the decisions I got right, those I got wrong, and what I would do differently if given the chance. Of course, in the presidency, there are no do-overs. You have to do what you believe is right and accept the consequences. I tried to do that every day of my eight years in office. Serving as president was the honor of a lifetime, and I appreciate your giving me an opportunity to share my story.” Having read a number of political autobiographies, the first thing that struck me about George Bush’s book was the refreshing layout of the book. The idea of structuring a book about one’s life, in any form other than a complete chronological history, was very appealing. Hillary Clinton’s book ended up being mind-numbingly boring because it was filled will so much minutia. Bush’s book, on the other hand, was chaptered into major decisions that affected his life and his presidency. “In December 1999, I attended a Republican debate in Des Moines. The moderators were Tom Brokaw of NBC and a local anchor, John Bachman. After covering some predictable topics, Bachman let loose a surprise: ‘What political philosopher do you most identify with and why?’" One of the areas that interested me in the Bush Presidency was his faith. When posed the above question, Bush answered “Christ, because he changed my heart.” While critics charged that he used religion to get votes, I believe President Bush was sincere about his faith. He clearly used his faith value of human dignity to guide him in his decision not to allow scientists to pursue stem cell research by destroying human embryos. As he stated in his chapter on Stem Cells “I have faith, as I did when I announced my stem cell decision in 2001, that science and ethics can coexist.” “I worried that the intense focus on climate change would cause nations to overlook the desperate immediate needs in the developing world. ‘If world leaders are going to sit around talking about something that might be a problem fifty years from now,’ I told Angela [Merkel], ‘we’d better do something about the people dying from AIDS and malaria right now.’" Nowhere was our President’s faith and compassion more evident than his commitment to alleviate the suffering from AIDS in Africa. From a mere $500 million, President Bush instituted a smart and highly effective program to get the continent back on its feet. He managed to secure $30 billion from Congress for this effort, a matching $30 billion from the international community, and the G-8 canceled more than $34 billion in debt from poor African countries. Today, more than 24 million African lives have been saved through these efforts. AIDS is no longer considered a death sentence in Africa. President Bush surely deserves the Nobel Peace Prize for this amazing humanitarian success. The prize the Americans received was the good will of the African people and a huge inoculation against terrorist infiltration among African nations. “As I took my seat next to Laura, Dad reached over and gently squeezed my arm. Some have said the moment marked a symbolic passing of the torch from one generation to another. I saw it as the reassuring touch of a father who knew the challenges of war. I drew strength from his example and his love. I needed that strength for the next stage of the journey: the visit to the point of attack, lower Manhattan.” Nowhere in his presidency was the benefit of his leadership more evident than 9-11. Prior to this day, President Bush had selected a cabinet based on skill and expertise, not on cronyism. This wise move was just one example of the strengths of this President. He also understood that because of 9/11, the number one goal of his Presidency was to keep our country safe. Obviously time will tell how the world will view his Presidency, but I have always believed that much of the criticism about George W. Bush came from a political machine that seeks to gain credibility by discrediting their political opponent. Our country suffers when that happens. President Bush sought to shore up Social Security, but the Congressional leadership instructed Democrats not to work with President on this issue. We’ll all ended up paying for their selfishness. Finally, I have a great amount of respect for a man that can admit his mistakes. In Decision Points, President Bush makes clear areas where he felt he had made the wrong decision, or wondered whether there was a better decision. His humility is uncommon in today’s leaders and I find it gives him an air of wisdom and nobility. While no book is perfect or complete, I really enjoyed Decision Points. I have always liked President Bush, and the book made me even more appreciative of his leadership for our country.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ericka Clouther

    President Bush states at the beginning that this book is not a typical memoir but will just focus on his big decisions in his office as President. But then it starts out as a typical memoir, just super not chronological. It’s extremely disorientating. But this is largely remedied starting on Chapter 4 where he really does start to focus issue by issue. He took appointing his advisors and personnel extremely seriously: especially those involved with national security and economics. However, he did President Bush states at the beginning that this book is not a typical memoir but will just focus on his big decisions in his office as President. But then it starts out as a typical memoir, just super not chronological. It’s extremely disorientating. But this is largely remedied starting on Chapter 4 where he really does start to focus issue by issue. He took appointing his advisors and personnel extremely seriously: especially those involved with national security and economics. However, he didn’t actually listen to Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill who opposed tax cuts. (http://old.post-gazette.com/nation/20...) It's notable, given today’s climate, that G.W. Bush was at least interested in policy, even if in my opinion, it was misguided policy. For example, he mentions at the beginning that he opposed the regulations that Democrats wanted to impose on oil. I mean, hello? We all know about global warming, oil spills, non-renewable energy sources, and terrorism coming from countries profiting from oil? Right? Hello? It was enlightening to view his perspective on stem cell research. It was particularly interesting that he had rebranded himself as the first person who allowed federal funding for stem cell research because he allowed it for lines where the embryos had already been destroyed. While I find his arguments in favor human dignity very much worth considering in light of the underpinnings to human rights, I'm not sure how he squared that with the use of torture on terrorism suspects. His defense of the "torture" (he disagrees it is torture) is that it was legal (debatable) and that it got useful information that could save lives. But this is strikingly similar to arguments in favor of stem cell research- people discount the interests of the embryos in favor of the benefit to living people suffering from diseases. In both cases, the potential benefits are hypothetical and hopeful. Moral choices can only be made with the information and science available at that time, so I don't think whatever developments occurred in stem cell research later frees him of responsibility for his choices at the time. Nor does his position that the torture was legal make sense in the face of his Justice Department saying it was not. As for security surveillance, having read a few books on the topic now, I think this is a needlessly politicized topic. Both parties seem to support some restricted surveillance that protects Americans’ rights when it is their party doing it. Of course, there are a few people who always oppose it, and some that always support- but consistent views in the face of an administration change are rare. While his attempt to improve education is noble, it's frustrating how trusting of capitalism and money conservatives are, until suddenly they are not. "Holding schools accountable," when schools depend on money from unequal property taxes-- seems like a recipe for failure. Granted, Bush says that federal funds for education increased and that "much of the extra money" went to poor students, but I'm not sure what that means. Generally speaking, depending on local property taxes not only disadvantages poor students but also causes a lot of divided housing. This is less of a conservative issue though, and more of an American issue. For those of us who were concerned about Afghanistan well before 9/11 happened, Bush's decision to go to war there was not surprising and easily defensible. It is my belief that is likely that a Democratic president would have also gone to war with Afghanistan in the post-9/11 situation. The problem with the war in Iraq though, besides that after the fact we never found weapons of mass destruction, was that at the time it was clear that the administration had decided to go to war there much earlier in the timeline than Bush now admits. That’s part of what made it unbelievable to the public that weapons of mass destruction were even the issue. Also, during 9/11 we’d been attacked by terrorists with ties to the Taliban of Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and as it turned out, Pakistan... so we went to war with... Iraq? Bush pretends this insanity was not clearly visible at the time but it certainly was to me and all my friends living in the Washington area at the time, as well as 21 Senators and numerous Congresspeople that voted against the resolution to go to war. Regarding Katrina, I do think Bush did the best he could. One issue that seems present not only in the Katrina disaster but in Republican policies in general, is a lack of recognition of the particular problems of poor people. Part of the reason people don't evacuate is that they have nowhere to go and can't afford hotels. The bigger problem, which he doesn't address is the Republican policies of climate change. Sure, this was one of the first big storms of climate change, but there have subsequently been many more, and this was all predicted well before Katrina. I wrote a college paper on the effects of climate change in 2000-2001 and it was already old news by then. I really enjoyed reading a conservative describe the failure of the market economy with regards to the mortgage-backed securities that caused the Subprime mortgage crisis. No kidding! That's why liberals support regulations!! It gives me a headache to read it really. Things that are documented facts that Bush conveniently leaves out of memoir: 1) Prescott Bush’s (“Gampy”) history of eugenics support; 2) G.W.’s racist attack on McCain during the 2000 primaries (the political action committees pretended to poll Republicans while really dropping insinuations that McCain had a black child out of wedlock. In fact, McCain adopted a child from Bangladesh; 3) Since that dirty trick worked so well he did it again in the election against Kerry, this time digging up conservative Vietnam veterans willing or confused into lying regarding Kerry’s military performance (Not only is the Swift Boat Veterans documented, I personally know staff at the PAC that admitted it was all a lie); 4) The large protests at both of his inaugurations. The first inaugural protests focused on how he had lost both the popular vote and probably also the electoral votes. The second inauguration ‘s protest focused on opposition to the Iraq War. I don't think he's a terrible person. I even think he cares about minorities, poor Americans, and immigrants. The problems are 1) that he approaches the country's problems from a position of lifelong privilege so he literally doesn't understand the systemic injustices making certain problems difficult to surmount individually, 2) a lot of misinformation. So with regards to #1- why didn't people evacuate Katrina? No money to evacuate. Why don't people recognize that a fetus is a baby we can love? Because the point is that many women don't have financial, emotional, or societal support to make having a baby tenable- and requiring them to carry a pregnancy to term when they have other financial responsibilities is extremely abusive. Stop abortions by providing free and accessible birth control, free or affordable medical care, reasonable family leave laws, and affordable childcare. Even his wife was on bedrest-- how would that have gone if they weren't wealthy enough for that to be doable? As for #2, misinformation: tax cuts don't create jobs. Don't take it from me, take it from every economist. PS. It’s interesting also that people who didn’t support gay rights, notably the Clintons, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and even Barack Obama, actually didn’t believe in the anti-gay claptrap. It’s also kind of infuriating how much they harmed society, not because of deeply held beliefs, but because of politics.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Joe Martin

    When I read political memoirs, I'm typically looking for one of two things: a much better understanding of the politician or a much better understanding of the decisions that were made and the day-to-day, nitty-gritty detail of events that led into the decisions. Sadly, with this book from "43", I got neither. President Bush had an active presidency and was often juggling many simultaneous crises. I was hoping for a look at what life was like in his White House. How crazy does a typical day look When I read political memoirs, I'm typically looking for one of two things: a much better understanding of the politician or a much better understanding of the decisions that were made and the day-to-day, nitty-gritty detail of events that led into the decisions. Sadly, with this book from "43", I got neither. President Bush had an active presidency and was often juggling many simultaneous crises. I was hoping for a look at what life was like in his White House. How crazy does a typical day look when you're juggling a Social Security reform bill, a war in Iraq, and a belligerent North Korean state all at once? Sadly, I never found out. By organizing the point around different topics and focusing on one decision point at a time, he stripped events from their context, rendering them sterile and unmoored from the emotions of each year of his presidency. I was also greatly disappointed by the lack of detail surrounding each decision point. Many of the descriptions boiled down to a very simple formula. "An event happened. I had a gut feeling but knew I needed to consult with some trusted advisors. My advisors confirmed my gut instinct and I implemented the plan. Ultimately, I was disappointed in the outcome and I know realize that I should have changed my tactics (but not the overall plan). Today, America is better off and I'm glad I made the attempt, even if it didn't turn out quite the way I'd hoped it would." I wish I could say that I exaggerate and that there is a higher level of detail in the book. I can't. The Harriet Miers debacle, for instance, only takes about a page to relate. I've watched the West Wing. I know that a huge amount of work goes into the selection of a Supreme Court Justice. Going into the book, I wanted to know a lot more about the process that led to picking Ms. Miers as a nominee. This book did nothing to satisfy my curiosity. People who already love President George W. Bush will probably love this book. Those of us who read it hoping to find a reason to reevaluate his presidency will have to go away disappointed.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Brandon

    It's obvious that President Bush wants to preserve and shape his legacy through this book, and I think he does an effective job. The book is structured as a revisit to some of the major--and controversial--decisions he made during his presidency. He seeks to clarify his thinking and explain what went on behind the scenes. It was enlightening to me to hear more about why he did what he did. President Bush obviously wasn't a stupid, bumbling man as portrayed by his detractors, and I personally thi It's obvious that President Bush wants to preserve and shape his legacy through this book, and I think he does an effective job. The book is structured as a revisit to some of the major--and controversial--decisions he made during his presidency. He seeks to clarify his thinking and explain what went on behind the scenes. It was enlightening to me to hear more about why he did what he did. President Bush obviously wasn't a stupid, bumbling man as portrayed by his detractors, and I personally think he truly believed what he was doing was right and good for America. To his credit, he freely admits his mistakes as well has his successes. Overall a great and enlightening read.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Julie Davis

    The Bush Presidential Library is literally 5 minutes from my house and we finally visited it on the Friday after Thanksgiving. That visit reminded me that I had this audiobook and it was time to give it a listen. 3 hours in, I've got to say that the simple, straight forward style is reminding me of "Yes, Chef" by Marcus Samuelsson. Neither author is an author by trade so the basic style highlights who they are in a vivid way. I'm enjoying it a lot so far, especially the way that Bush will look b The Bush Presidential Library is literally 5 minutes from my house and we finally visited it on the Friday after Thanksgiving. That visit reminded me that I had this audiobook and it was time to give it a listen. 3 hours in, I've got to say that the simple, straight forward style is reminding me of "Yes, Chef" by Marcus Samuelsson. Neither author is an author by trade so the basic style highlights who they are in a vivid way. I'm enjoying it a lot so far, especially the way that Bush will look back and take responsibility for a bad or misinformed decision. Though, to be fair, I am a fan so I'm already inclined to like this more than those who oppose his political stance.

  22. 4 out of 5

    AC

    Although not a fan of his politics, I was taken aback at the frankness of the president's memoir. Did this book make him seem more human? Yes. Did it change my mind about some of his policies? No but he does present some interesting points. Besides this being a book about his decisions on Iraq and Afghanistan, I was surprised at how important his decisions on aid to Africa and developing countries were to him. I honestly don't remember reading much about these decisions when he was president. Som Although not a fan of his politics, I was taken aback at the frankness of the president's memoir. Did this book make him seem more human? Yes. Did it change my mind about some of his policies? No but he does present some interesting points. Besides this being a book about his decisions on Iraq and Afghanistan, I was surprised at how important his decisions on aid to Africa and developing countries were to him. I honestly don't remember reading much about these decisions when he was president. Some times the media has its head up its ass. Who's kidding who? The media always has its head up its ass. That's why when we turn on the TV we some some "intrepid" reporter in front of a Best Buy at 11pm interviewing some dumb fucks who have been camped out in front of the store since the previous day because they MUST HAVE the 42" LCD TV when the store opens at 5am. I swear, if I had the balls, I would go with Iris to Africa and help out all those people Bush mentioned in his book. Honestly, it was inpspiring. Alas, I don't have cojones, as the president is fond of saying. I suggest everyone pick up this book. Read it. Judge for yourself.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Whether one is a fan of Bush and/or of his politics, this book is an interesting read. So many of the reviews I read (more than a dozen, at least) lacked focus on the book itself and instead devolved into Bush-bashing (ranging from explicit attacks to the more "polite" condescension of the NYT). The book itself is well-written, insightful, and, in many of the familial anecdotes--it is laugh-out-loud funny. (For example, who knew that Barbara Bush the elder was such a card? Not me.) Many people (m Whether one is a fan of Bush and/or of his politics, this book is an interesting read. So many of the reviews I read (more than a dozen, at least) lacked focus on the book itself and instead devolved into Bush-bashing (ranging from explicit attacks to the more "polite" condescension of the NYT). The book itself is well-written, insightful, and, in many of the familial anecdotes--it is laugh-out-loud funny. (For example, who knew that Barbara Bush the elder was such a card? Not me.) Many people (most people I know, quite honestly!) will not read this book. They will continue to make original jokes such as "he wrote a book, but he can't even read"--which a woman said to me while I was reading at Starbucks. But, for any student of history and/or one with interestcurrent events, I think this is a worthwhile read. It clearly explains many of the key decisions for which Bush was maligned (particularly in his second term) and while it might not change any minds, it definitely provides explanation.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jerome

    A clear and concise memoir. The book itself is structured around important decisions made during Bush's presidency, and may not be as comprehensive as some may wish. There is relatively little on the policy or historical implications of the decisions made, and more on what Bush was thinking and feeling at the time. Because of this, the main drawbacks are the lack of analysis; Bush could have explained his logic better and elaborated more (especially on decisions regarding Iraq) but this is rather A clear and concise memoir. The book itself is structured around important decisions made during Bush's presidency, and may not be as comprehensive as some may wish. There is relatively little on the policy or historical implications of the decisions made, and more on what Bush was thinking and feeling at the time. Because of this, the main drawbacks are the lack of analysis; Bush could have explained his logic better and elaborated more (especially on decisions regarding Iraq) but this is rather absent. He also talks about faith a lot, but these are basically sparse mentions; there is little on how it enabled him. The discussions on freedom, etc. seem cliche at times. It also seems like the more convoluted Bush's controversies are (like the arguments behind "enhanced interrogation"), the more he omits. Interesting at times, but it does have its limitations.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Bielski

    This book was interesting. It certainly didn't give any revelations, but I think it was an interesting reflection. I continue to believe that President Bush was a man who knew what he believed and didn't waver. He obviously wasn't overly critical of what he did, but he did reflect genuinely and admitted some of his decisions maybe weren't handled in the best way. I believe that Bush is a good and principled man, even if he may not have made the best decisions all the time. I believe he deeply ca This book was interesting. It certainly didn't give any revelations, but I think it was an interesting reflection. I continue to believe that President Bush was a man who knew what he believed and didn't waver. He obviously wasn't overly critical of what he did, but he did reflect genuinely and admitted some of his decisions maybe weren't handled in the best way. I believe that Bush is a good and principled man, even if he may not have made the best decisions all the time. I believe he deeply cares about all Americans, and that is reflected in his book.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Scott Rhee

    Before I start this review, let me say a few things about myself. I am what is commonly referred to as a liberal. While I'd like to think of myself as rather Independent, my voting record tends to run more to the Democrat side. Not that I particularly love the Democrat party, I just happen to find myself agreeing more with their platform than with the Republican's. I did not vote for George W. Bush, either term, and I did not particularly like him as a President. I thought that he seemed somewha Before I start this review, let me say a few things about myself. I am what is commonly referred to as a liberal. While I'd like to think of myself as rather Independent, my voting record tends to run more to the Democrat side. Not that I particularly love the Democrat party, I just happen to find myself agreeing more with their platform than with the Republican's. I did not vote for George W. Bush, either term, and I did not particularly like him as a President. I thought that he seemed somewhat incompetent, rather smarmy, and someone who was easily led by his cadre of (bad) advice-givers. I have, in the past and on numerous occasions, bad-mouthed former President Bush for involving us in a stupid war in Iraq, pissing off and otherwise disenfranchising many of our former allies throughout the globe, and leaving our country less safe than when he was inaugurated. So, imagine my surprise when, after reading his memoirs, "Decision Points", I not only found that I liked the man, I may have actually been mistaken in some (not all) of my previous assessments of his presidency. No, I have not instantly converted to conservatism. Nor will I be joining the Republican party. Not even close. And I realize, too, that I am only seeing Bush's perspective, (which is actually kind of refreshing to have an absence of the white noise of whining pundits and detractors surrounding his every statement or action). But, Bush's book has, at the very least, helped me to understand some of the rationale behind the decisions he made as President. It's easy to forget that the position of President is both an extremely difficult one and not as powerful as it looks. The Founding Fathers were quite smart in building the checks and balances system of government that we have, which ensures that no one man can have that much executive control over so many aspects of our lives. That said, no one can say what Bush's presidency has left in terms of a legacy, good or bad. It's still too early. The one thing that can be said is that Bush is only human, and he did the best that he could. Bush, in his memoirs, comes across as affable, self-deprecating, and intelligent: three things that I honestly never thought I'd ever hear myself say about the man. In making the choice to focus on the key decisions he made as President, rather than a chronological account of his life in the White House, Bush deftly succeeds in creating a very readable and fascinating memoir. My complaints about the book are ultimately petty: Bush is not a great writer (but I've come to find that most autobiographies of non-writers are always less-than-stellar in terms of literary merit), nor does he delve deeply into any insightful self-reflection that one hopes to find when reading a presidential memoir. Nevertheless, Bush's account of his own eight years in office is still intriguing. I was impressed by Bush right from the start, in his first chapter, when he talks about his drinking problem and his decision to quit drinking. He does not come across as too self-congratulatory but simply as a man who came to realize that he had a problem and, for the sake of his family, made the decision to solve it. Throughout the book, we see some of the major decisions he made as president (stem cell research, Iraq, Katrina, the financial crisis) explained well, and we are given the logic and rationale he used to come to these decisions. I may not have agreed with his decisions but I can now finally understand and appreciate how and why he made them. In reading the book, I was constantly reminded of the fact that, under Bush's watch, many unprecedented and daunting events were thrown at him: 9/11, for one. The devastation and aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. North Korea's nuclear weapon development. Lehman Brothers. His decisions, good or bad, were made because they had to be, and they often had to be made quickly. You can't exactly fault him for being in office during the worst terrorist attack on American soil or during one of the worst storm systems to strike the South. It's simply bad luck on his part. That I find myself admiring and respecting the man, even a little bit, after years of feeling something akin to sheer disgust still shocks me. If anything, Bush's memoir will help one to see that every decision one makes---regardless of whether you are an average joe or the President of the United States---will come with unforeseen consequences and people who will inevitably vehemently disagree with it.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Scott Danielson

    I re-read some of this book (published in 2010) this weekend, and am reminded of the perspective of President Bush during the time following 9/11. He describes being given the badge of someone who died when the towers fell, and then: "I served 2685 days as President after Arlene gave me that badge. I kept it with me every one of them. As the years passed, most Americans returned to life as usual. That was natural and desirable. It meant the country was healing and felt safer. As I record these tho I re-read some of this book (published in 2010) this weekend, and am reminded of the perspective of President Bush during the time following 9/11. He describes being given the badge of someone who died when the towers fell, and then: "I served 2685 days as President after Arlene gave me that badge. I kept it with me every one of them. As the years passed, most Americans returned to life as usual. That was natural and desirable. It meant the country was healing and felt safer. As I record these thoughts, that day of fire is a distant memory for some of our citizens. The youngest Americans have no firsthand knowledge of that day. Eventually, Sept. 11 will come to feel more like Pearl Harbor Day; an honored date on the calendar and an important moment in history. But not a scar on the heart. Not a reason to fight on. For me, the week of Sept. 11 will always be something more. I still see the Pentagon smoldering, the towers in flames. And that pile of twisted steel. I still hear the voices of the loved ones searching for survivors and the workers yelling "Do not let me down!" and "Whatever it takes!" I still feel the sadness of the children, the agony of the burn victims, and the torment of the broken families. I still marvel at the bravery of the firefighters and the compassion of strangers. And the matchless courage of the passengers who forced down that plane. September 11 redefined sacrifice. It redefined duty. And it redefined my job. The story of that week is the key to understanding my presidency. There were so many decisions that followed, many of them controversial and complex, yet after 9/11 I felt my responsibility was clear. For as long as I held office, I could never forget what happened to America that day. I would pour my heart and soul into protecting the country, whatever it took." That is from the end of Chapter 5. Bush talks in detail about many of those decisions that were made. Also very interesting to me was this in Chapter 6: "Between 9/11 and mid-2003, the CIA reported to me on average of 400 specific threats each month." My Original review from November 2010: I haven't rated much non-fiction on Goodreads, but since I intend to read a whole lot more of it, I should develop some kind of criteria. Still - to slap a star rating on what amounts to an important historical document seems wrong. I see that many people are attaching ratings that correspond with how much they like or dislike the man, and I think that's wrong too. What President Bush has done here is present his life (mostly his life as the President of the United States) as a series of crises that required a decision. Each chapter focuses on a specific moment or event, and the chapters could be read individually without the benefit of the rest of the book. So, if you are interested in 9/11 and the days after, pick it up and read Chapter 5 (Day of Fire). Other chapters include "Katrina", "Surge", and "War Footing". The book is written in a conversational manner that remains compelling if you are interested in what he's talking about. I appreciated the personal details about those around him, like a note passed to the President from Secretary of State Colin Powell about how not to choke up during an emotional speech. I also enjoyed the insider view of how things work when you are the President. It's a book that delivers exactly what it promises, and it's well written. 4 stars.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rick

    I always loathe books written by Modern President's because they are trying to re-write history for legacy purposes (ala Bill Clinton). However, I like the approach that Bush took to 'Decision Points'. He didn't just try to tell the story of his eight years in office but he chose specific topics in which he showed what it was like to be President (describing the living quarters of white house or the different offices he used at various times to make key decisions) and what drove him to make key I always loathe books written by Modern President's because they are trying to re-write history for legacy purposes (ala Bill Clinton). However, I like the approach that Bush took to 'Decision Points'. He didn't just try to tell the story of his eight years in office but he chose specific topics in which he showed what it was like to be President (describing the living quarters of white house or the different offices he used at various times to make key decisions) and what drove him to make key decisions for these topics. The book is well written and concise and presents material that the reader may have forgetten or didn't know. For example, I forgot all the steps we went through with the UN prior to invading Iraq and it was interesting that Bush and other countries (like the UK) put the decision on Sadaam Hussain. Also, I didn't know that Bush couldn't send in troops after Katrina without a request from the Louisiana Governer who was inept and couldn't make that decision. Also, after reading the book I truly feel like Bush wanted to always do the right thing as he saw them (even though many American's may not agree with the decision) and he struggled with his decisions to send American's into harms way because he cared. There were times while reading that I felt he stretched in making a failure a good thing. For example, he failed to reform Social Security but then talked about all the great things that resulted from the debate. I felt like there were several instances where he was 'reaching' for a positive outcome.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nathan

    Not fun to read. The explanation of events surrounding the most consequential decisions made during his presidency are interesting and sympathetic. I nearly teared up while reading chapter 5. George Bush is an honest and good man, but that is about where it ends. He brags about his appointments, his expansion of the role of government and the areas he pissed taxpayer money away. To say the man is without guile is not to say he was a good president. I disagree with many (perhaps a majority) of his Not fun to read. The explanation of events surrounding the most consequential decisions made during his presidency are interesting and sympathetic. I nearly teared up while reading chapter 5. George Bush is an honest and good man, but that is about where it ends. He brags about his appointments, his expansion of the role of government and the areas he pissed taxpayer money away. To say the man is without guile is not to say he was a good president. I disagree with many (perhaps a majority) of his decisions. With that said, I am convinced he was doing what he thought was best for the country. His evident lack economic comprehension and the misrepresentation of the arguments of his opponents was infuriation. It reminded me of that mindless scrawl, "The Audacity of Hope." Here is a quote illustrating his warped understanding of history: "If we're looking at another Great Depression," I said, "you can be damn sure I'm going to be Roosevelt, not Hoover." Unfortunately, Bush is Hoover. A republican president that presided over a market crash and had the hubris to use the power of the government to control the market. He even led the way to a Democrat president that would further expand an already intrusive government and impede a recovery. The sickening thing is that he wanted to be FDR. The man that stretched a 3 year downturn into a decade of misery for millions of people.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kaylea

    Working as a journalist in southwest Missouri in the early 2000's, I had the opportunity to cover President George W. Bush, as he traveled to the area for a variety of reasons. It was interesting to watch him interact with the crowds on the ag tour, and to see how he responded to survivors after a tornado swept Pierce City, Mo. So when I had the chance to read his memoir, I agreed. It might surprise people who know me, but I wanted to see what he said - and see his take on history. I found a memoir Working as a journalist in southwest Missouri in the early 2000's, I had the opportunity to cover President George W. Bush, as he traveled to the area for a variety of reasons. It was interesting to watch him interact with the crowds on the ag tour, and to see how he responded to survivors after a tornado swept Pierce City, Mo. So when I had the chance to read his memoir, I agreed. It might surprise people who know me, but I wanted to see what he said - and see his take on history. I found a memoir that was both surprising and interesting. I thought his approach and writing style was intriguing. I'll admit, it's a bit unusual - since it's not chronological, but I enjoyed reading about a certain issue or decision from start to finish. This was especially true regarding the section which focuses on the decisions made surrounding Sept. 11. President Bush's recollection seems authentic and real. Will this book make me change my political beliefs one way or another? Probably not. Has it given me a new perspective on President Bush? Yes. Am I glad I read it? Yes. Time is the true test of a President and a memoir. I think that's true both for President Bush's tenure in office and for what he has written. However, I think this book will definitely give you something to think about - and isn't that what a good memoir is meant to do?

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