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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Balanced perspective, 10 Feb 2008
Patrick Mullane (Cork, Ireland) - See all my reviews
The author of this book, has on the whole written a balanced account of President Bush's first 6 years in office. There are some rather journalistic lampoons sprinkled throughout the book, but he also writes sympathicaically about Bush where it was due, for instance his relationship with his father, the 41st president and his genuine religious beliefs. So overall a surprisingly unbiased book given the very partisan viewpoints that exist about the 43rd president.

That the author had any decree of personal access to Bush is a bit surprising given the hostile attitude that the President has admitted he has against the fourth estate. But the author does reveal a wide range of candid anecdotes that illustrates some of the reasoning behind the White House's at time contradictory decisions to that of Bush's inner mindset.

The main issue which might surprise the reader, is the degree of President Bush's level of responsibility for policy decisions. He comes across as someone who decides himself a course of action, using his own moral compass. He had picked an intelligent, educated team of people to advise him, but this is unfortunately unbalanced by their very focused & non-nuanced world-view (Bushworld) which when dealing with new situations, such as the aftermath of the Iraq invasion, and the perception of inept handling of aid to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
I'd recommend the book for it gives an insight into the character of President Bush.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Rise and Fall of Bushworld, 12 Oct 2007
Robert Draper does a fine job of limning the Bush rise to power, less well describing the challenges of his second term, where the book is weakest. The chapters on Bush's early days in Texas can be compared to Robert Caro's on LBJ early rise to power, and Draper is a fine ironist as well, following to a degree the wonderful Tom Wolfe school of journalistic writing.

One of the most astonishing scenes depicted is Bush's meeting with a brain trust assembled at George Schultz's home prior to Bush's decision to seek the nomination in 2000. Evidently, the boy wonder wowed the assembled wise men (and women), which leads one to serious doubts about the actual level of judgment members of this group were capable of exercising. There is perhaps more to Bush than meets the eye, but not that much, and very little remains hidden from public view. In the final analysis, Bush had no more coherent picture of the world than Jimmy Carter, but he did pick his issues and stick to them. His ability to focus is one of his strengths, but his inability to broaden his focus is a weakness.

Draper is in good form describing how events unfold as Bush and his merry band of pranksters led by "Turdblossom" Rove romp through the 2000 primaries, sharing good and bad fortune, benefitting from facing a dogmatic and annoying opponent with a habit of being his own worst enemy, and in depicting Bush's first term. Myriad details from behind the scenes delight, such as Bush's nicknames for friends and people he hardly knows alike (interestingly, no one seems to have given him a nickname), his complete lack of interest in the sensory pleasures of life (an early fondness for drinking hardly counts), and his compulsion to maintain a excessive fitness level.

Bush emerges from this account as a rather sympathetic figure, but one needs to ask why, if he inspires such loyalty from his staff, if he is such an engaging fellow in private, if he indeed possesses command of his briefings (he is memorably shown reviewing his terror matrix with the enthusiasm of a crossword puzzle fanatic) Bush is unable to translate his desirable qualities to a more engaging and inspiring public figure? In his first term, at least, he enjoyed legislative success and initial support for his foreign policy. But he abandoned his own views on nation-building and foreign intervention, and allowed a mixture of watery cabinet secretaries (Powell, Rice)to guide foreign policy, and, lacking a rigorous intellectual framework, failed to relegate neoconservative hacks to the rubbish bin while hewing to his initial Reaganesque conservative instincts.

This is a well-done book worth reading.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful, 4 Mar 2012
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This review is from: Dead Certain: The Presidency of George W. Bush (Paperback)
The author gives us quite an impartial look over the life and presidency of George Bush. It's neither pro nor anti, which is something rare nowadays when dealing with such polarizing public figures. I enjoyed it quite a lot and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a unbiased point of view.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars helps understanding how W thinks, 8 Jan 2010
i really liked this book, it's shows how George W thinks and takes decisions and shows how he runs his campain
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Dead Certain: The Presidency of George W. Bush
Dead Certain: The Presidency of George W. Bush by Robert Draper (Paperback - 25 Mar 2008)
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