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4.3 out of 5 stars64
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 23 August 2012
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?
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on 14 December 2011
This is a great book. I couldn't say that I was much of a fan of the Bush presidency, so I could say that I picked up the book slightly biased. However, that in itself does not detract from the fact that this is a very enjoyable, personal and great run through of Bush's viewpoints of major events that occured during his presidency. From his early days as Governor of Texas, through securing the office of the president, through Iraq, Afganistan, Katrina, home affairs, AIDS inititive, freedom agenda and more. The writing style is very 'easy to read', and it's not often that I fine a genuine page turner these days- but this book is certainly that. Additionally, Bush's humour often comes through often, as do his candid reflections. Granted, the book is always going to be a bit one-sided; after all it is his memoires, but it is still a fun and lively read. Furthermore, you get to appreciate the work undertaken by many of his key contributors: Condi Rice being a notable example of whom Bush clearly recalls fondly. Interestingly, Dick Cheney does not feature in the text as much as one would think that he would- perhaps it was Bush's way of highlighting that the presidency was still his show, and not as usurped by Cheney as much as other literature indicates otherwise.
In conclusion,as stated, I'm not a big supporter of the Bush presidency, so the fact that I'd give the book 6 out of 5 if I could says how much I recommend it.
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on 21 May 2015
I brought this book after watching a history channel programme.
It made interesting reading especially the section on 9/11
Like so many people I know exactly where I was when the towers fell. I remember Bush on tv.
It made interesting reading to learn his thoughts at that time.
Well worth reading .
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on 30 August 2012
Before reading this book I, perhaps like other readers, had certain preconceptions about George W Bush. He will, for example, always be remembered as the President who invaded Iraq. Indeed, he makes a strong case for his decision and I would encourage sceptics of the War in Iraq, of which there are many, to read this book for an understanding as to why he, along with a number of those in his administration, felt it necessary to commence the war. His analysis of the information coming to him through intelligence reports from across the globe, as well as his commitment to keeping America safe, reveals why the Iraq War was so much more than a war for oil.

However, as the title of my review suggests, Decision Points paints a wider picture of the achievements of the Bush administration. His drive to combat HIV/AIDS and malaria, especially in Africa, has saved millions of lives and is one of many chapters dedicated to decisions other than those surrounding war. Other interesting insights include the fiasco of Hurricane Katrina, efforts to tackle the taboo subject of Social Security and the action-packed weeks of the finacial crisis.

Written in an original style where each chapter reflects a particular decision, Decision Points may offer a surprise to readers who have a one-dimensional view of one of America's most important Presidents of all time.
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on 25 February 2011
George W Bush was dealt a poor hand from the razor-edge election of 2000 onwards. Whether he played his hand well or otherwise is not the point of this review. 'Decision Points' is compelling from start to finish and he writes candidly and honestly about his failures as well as his achievements. Unexpectedly, the chapter on stem cell research reveals a man of deep thoughfulness and sensitivity.

The book is a useful antidote to the received media wisdom of the time that "W' was a dolt. However history may judge him, the book makes clear on every page that his driving passions were the defence of America and the 'freedom agenda'. He comes over as a politician with sharply-defined convictions, warm human relationships and, most refreshingly, an ability to admit mistakes. Of course, there is self-justification, but there is also humility and it is this candour which makes the book not only well worth reading but also pondering afterwards. It's a long time since I have read anything which deals so convincingly with the exercise of power and its limitations for a long time.
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on 21 January 2011
This book, for me, was somewhat of a relevation. I had always seen Bush as taking a simplistic, binary view of the world, leading to dramatic and painful consequences. What emerges is a thougtful, decisive, deeply religious man who took a clear view of his responsibilities to the American people in the light of the terrorist attacks of Sept 11th 2001. The book reads extremely well and gives a clear perspective on the rationale for both Afghanistan and Iraq. Whether you support those campaigns or not, this book gives a deep insight and for me - as a critic of the campaign in Iraq - made me reevaluate my position. There are a number of areas which did challenge me - particularly his blithe defence of waterboarding - but for anyone seeking a deep insight into the key events which have shaped the last decade, this book is indispensible.
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on 4 March 2015
Surprisingly well written interesting account by president Bush.
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on 13 July 2011
Say what you want about Bush, he is a good storyteller. This is by no means at the high end of narrative memoires and is (as the author acknowledges) entirely selective and subjective. That said, although I disagree with Bush politically reading this affirms my opinion that he is a sound and decent man who you would share a (non-alcoholic) beer with.

Although its become fashionable amongst people on the left (to which I belong) to demonise Bush and insult his intelligence they should read this before jumping to those assumptions. Bush comes of as a down to earth guy with a great sense of humour and we really do need to stop chasing him with the pitchforks.
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on 10 May 2013
A thumping good read written by a man with an obvious empathy for his fellow human beings and an intelligence and understanding of complex big picture issues.
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on 1 July 2011
I saw George W Bush being interviewed on the Oprah Winfrey show about his new book and I was compelled to buy a copy.

It is a very heart felt account of his time as USA President and obviously the 9/11 Twin Tower attacks

It is a good read and insight into his life as USA President
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