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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Decision Points...Review by the Doctor

About the book:
In this candid and gripping account, President George W. Bush describes the critical decisions that shaped his presidency and personal life.

George W. Bush served as president of the United States during eight of the most consequential years in American history. The decisions that reached his desk impacted people around the world and defined the times in which we live.

Decision Points brings readers inside the Texas governor’s mansion on the night of the 2000 election, aboard Air Force One during the harrowing hours after the attacks of September 11, 2001, into the Situation Room moments before the start of the war in Iraq, and behind the scenes at the White House for many other historic presidential decisions.

For the first time, we learn President Bush’s perspective and insights on:

His decision to quit drinking and the journey that led him to his Christian faith

The selection of the vice president, secretary of defense, secretary of state, Supreme Court justices, and other key officials

His relationships with his wife, daughters, and parents, including heartfelt letters between the president and his father on the eve of the Iraq War

His administration’s counterterrorism programs, including the CIA’s enhanced interrogations and the Terrorist Surveillance Program

Why the worst moment of the presidency was hearing accusations that race played a role in the federal government’s response to Hurricane Katrina, and a critical assessment of what he would have done differently during the crisis

His deep concern that Iraq could turn into a defeat costlier than Vietnam, and how he decided to defy public opinion by ordering the troop surge

His legislative achievements, including tax cuts and reforming education and Medicare, as well as his setbacks, including Social Security and immigration reform

The relationships he forged with other world leaders, including an honest assessment of those he did and didn’t trust

Why the failure to bring Osama bin Laden to justice ranks as his biggest disappointment and why his success in denying the terrorists their fondest wish—attacking America again—is among his proudest achievements

A groundbreaking new brand of presidential memoir, Decision Points will captivate supporters, surprise critics, and change perspectives on eight remarkable years in American history—and on the man at the center of events.

American presidents are often polarizing figures.  After the fight of the primary, where usually half of the people who will end up voting for you do not like you, and the general election, where usually somewhere around half of the country does not vote for you, we end up with the president who, at some point, has had 75% of the people not like him.

Tell me again why somebody wants to take this job?  The pay is relatively pathetic given alternative options, their private life is scrutinized more thoroughly than a new medication that could kill you, or help you lose 5 pounds, and they are subjected to death threats, hate mail and scorn/ridicule every single day.  On top of this, they get to make heart-wrenching life and death decisions every day, which can affect the outcome of the world.  Again, tell me why somebody wants this job?

Few of these figures has been more polarizing than George W. Bush.  After the 2000 election fight in Florida, the horror and atrocity of 9/11, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the economic meltdown of the latter end of his second term, it is surprising that anybody likes this man.  Hard-core conservatives will point to the Medicare Part-D prescription legislation as a sign that Bush is not a conservative and should have been run out of office after his first term.  Hard-core liberals and 9/11 "truthers” will contend that Bush was behind the terrorist attacks as a way to further his goals of world domination and total enslavement of humanity.  Even moderate conservatives and liberals will find something to look at from his record and say "See, I told you I did not like the guy".

In the midst of all of these attacks, a sitting American president rarely fires back in his own words, in a calm manner.  Most of the time the decisions of a president are extolled or eviscerated in a vacuum, and rarely does the president have the chance to explain slowly, calmly and methodically what led to the particular decision being made.

Finally, after the eight grueling years of his presidency, President George W. Bush is able to give his side of the story on some of the decisions that he made.  He explains some of the background environments and events that were occurring, as well as those in the foreground as the actual decision was being made.  His arguments are not apologetic, but they are humble, without the rhetoric and positioning that is requisite as a president.

After reading this book, I can tell you that those of you who hated him before, will probably still hate him as vehemently as you did.  Those of you who love him will find reasons to continue your admiration and affection toward the man.

In the final say, all of us make decisions that we are proud of, decisions that we regret and decisions that we question many years in the future.  The majority of us will never have to make the monumental decisions made by President Bush, nor do we have to live with the consequences.

I thoroughly recommend this book.  It gives you a chance to see the thought processes behind some of his decisions in the White House.  Whilst I do not agree with everything he did, I also do not believe him to be the man vilified and excoriated in the media.  None of us are perfect, all of us are human, and we all make our decisions.  This book will explain to you some of the reasons why he made his.

Thanks to Waterbrook Multnomah for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about President George W. Bush here.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 1/12

* * * * *
5/5 Stars


  1. I often wonder why anyone would want to be President these days myself. I bet my mother would enjoy this book.

  2. Though I am not exactly a fan of Bush, I think this might be an interesting read. I would love to know more about his decision making process during some of the things that went on during his presidency. Great review today. It was thoroughly open-minded and very well written. Thanks!

  3. I really enjoyed this book. I got pretty weepy during his memories of 9/11. It brought that whole day back for me.

  4. Very good review! I think this is sitting on my TBR shelf -- now I want to get to it.

    I found your blog on Tiny Library's Literary Blog Directory and am so pleased that I did.

    Rose City Reader

  5. Excellent review, thanks for sharing your thoughts!