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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Controversial biography of a controversial politician, 28 April 2010
Tristan Martin (Hertfordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Fortunate Son: George W. Bush - The Early Years (Paperback)
I came to the notorious Fortunate Son expecting a scurrilous attack on the character of George W. Bush, an unofficial biography high on rhetoric and opinion, low on facts and genuine research. Pleasantly, this book confounded my expectations. Author James Hatfield, despite his felonious past, has written a measured and relatively detailed account of the years leading up to Bush's election to the presidency.

All the major touchstones are present: the alcohol-fueled youth (which lasted until Bush's fortieth birthday), his multiple arrests, the easy ride into prestigious halls of education, perhaps due to his surname, the avoidance of being drafted to fight in Vietnam, the failed oil businesses, the public subsidy of the Texas Rangers baseball stadium, then sold on for a handsome private profit, his wealthy backers, his record on abortion, gun control and the death penalty (the actual presidential "election" of 2000 is covered only briefly and quite badly by another writer in a postscript, who does indeed demonstrate rhetoric over research).

James Hatfield hits all the marks you would expect but, whilst his book is quite critical of George W. Bush, it also gives his supporters a chance to have their say. Consequently, Fortunate Son does not become yet another one-sided rant against Bush. However, neither does Hatfield pull his punches; the afterword on Bush's alleged cocaine usage is quite unambiguous and Hatfield describes the interviews which lead him to such conclusions.

All in, biographer James Hatfield has written a valuable reference book and also a lively portrait of a colourful politician, one who has, rightly or not, earned his place in history. Even if you think you are familiar with the Bush narrative, Fortunate Son is still well worth a read.
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Fortunate Son: George W. Bush - The Early Years
Fortunate Son: George W. Bush - The Early Years by J.H. Hatfield (Paperback - 17 Feb. 2004)
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