George W. Bush begins his memoir by admitting he was a borderline alcoholic. The first chapter "Quitting" describes how he became increasingly dependent on alcohol so decided to quit drinking just after his 40th birthday. It's just as well. He would need a clear head when he finally became president. Perhaps Bill Clinton should have considered giving up women (beside his own wife!) before he, too, became president! It would have saved a lot of trouble.
This is a memoir. It's not a history book. Thus reading it should be judged in the same way you might have a conversation with someone in a bar/pub or at dinner party; if you know you are not going like his views then why listen if you don't have to. The only reason someone would give this book less than 3 stars is because they either dislike Bush as president or disagree with his policies. Neither is going to change history.
George Bush was president of the most powerful nation on the planet for 8 years. He took charge just before the biggest terrorist attack in history (9/11), oversaw one of the most damaging national catastrophes on American soil (Katrina) and witnessed the biggest financial melt-down since the Great Depression (2007-09). It's an interesting read. The narrative is lucid and easy to follow. I like the way each subject is divided into separate chapters.
One annoying aspect about the book is how that Bush downplays the fact that his family (or the connections) helped him get into power, both as governor of Texas and later as president, though one line reveals it all, "Proximity to power is empowerment. Have Dad's [George H.W. Bush] ear's made me effective." It's not what you know; it's who you know.
Another annoying factor is his constant references to his "faith". The worst of these moments is when he is asked to speak in the Cathedral directly after 9/11 and admits that he prayed, "Lord, let your light shine through me." Shouldn't this stuff remain private?
Later that month Bush describes going to another service where he listens to a sermon which apparently answered the question they were all asking about the terrorist attacks, Why?... How could this happen, God?"
The minister, Bob Williams, stated that the "answer was beyond our power to know". Actually, it isn't. If you open the Bible at Amos 3:16 you get "When disaster comes to a city, has not the LORD caused it?" Maybe God was trying to give America a warning.
This is a completely different book from one like Blair Unbound
, which I am reading at the moment. The account is completely personal. If you're going to be too critical, then why bother picking it and wasting several hours of your life? But if you are going to read it with an open (but still discerning) mind then there is little reason to see why you won't enjoy it, especially if you are interested in American history and politics.
Oh, and remember, if Bush hadn't got in then we would have had Gore and (later) Kerry. Perhaps Bush is not the problem. Perhaps the problem is the American political establishment - which is why it still has the same problems (on worse) since Bush left power. $16 trillion worth of debt - and counting.
America doesn't need another president; it needs a Messiah! Isn't one due any time now?