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All the Best, George Bush: My Life in Letters and Other Writings
     

All the Best, George Bush: My Life in Letters and Other Writings

5.0 1
by George Bush, George H. Bush (Read by)
 

Though reticent in public, George Bush has openly shared his private thoughts in correspondence throughout his life. Fortunately, since the former president does not plan to write his autobiography, this collection of letters, diary entries, and memos, with his accompanying commentary, will fill that void. As he writes in his preface, "So what we have here are

Overview

Though reticent in public, George Bush has openly shared his private thoughts in correspondence throughout his life. Fortunately, since the former president does not plan to write his autobiography, this collection of letters, diary entries, and memos, with his accompanying commentary, will fill that void. As he writes in his preface, "So what we have here are letters from the past and present. Letters that are light and hopefully amusing. Letters written when my heart was heavy or full of joy. Serious letters. Nutty letters. Caring and rejoicing letters...It's all about heartbeat."

Organized chronologically, the volume begins with eighteen-year-old George's letters to his parents during World War II, when, at the time he was commissioned, he was the youngest pilot in the Navy. Readers will gain insights into Bush's career highlights — the oil business, his two terms in Congress, his ambassadorship to the U.N., his service as an envoy to China, his tenure with the Central Intelligence Agency, and of course, the vice presidency, the presidency, and the postpresidency. They will also observe a devoted husband, father, and American. Ranging from a love letter to Barbara and a letter to his mother about missing his daughter, Robin, after her death from leukemia to a letter to his children two weeks before Nixon's resignation to one written to them just before the beginning of Desert Storm, the writings are remarkable for their candor, humor, and poignancy.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
To the present governors of Texas and Florida, his sons George and Jeb, who worried that they might upstage their famous dad, former President Bush wrote: "Do not worry when you see the stories that compare you favorably to a Dad for whom English was a second language." President Bush was indeed famously inarticulate in public. But in this collection of diary entries, memos and letters written between 1942, when he started navy flight school, to March 1999, when he wrote a friend to express his consternation that his e-mail server was down, Bush proves himself to have been a gracious and staggeringly prolific correspondent. There are long letters, such as the September 1944 missive to his parents relating how he was shot down over the Pacific. And there are truly funny diary entries from his presidency about the Scowcroft Award, a running gag in the Bush cabinet named after National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft, who apparently had an uncanny knack for napping in meetings: "A fantastic challenge by Ed Derwinski. very firm eye closure and a remarkable recovery gambit." Naturally, there are long letters to world leaders such as Deng Xiaoping, King Hussein, Mikhail Gorbachev and others about matters of historical import. Diary entries cover the Tiananmen Square massacre, the failed coup against Gorbachev, the Gulf War and other crises (though there's hardly anything about the Iran-contra scandal). Rarely does Bush display any partisan bitterness, and even then it's not very pungent (though he's consistently irked by the press). Bush must have been tempted to write a memoir intended to beat historians to the interpretive punch. This modest alternative is refreshing and, in many ways, will shed more light on the man's personal character and public persona than any memoir or biography could. It offers an intriguing picture of a man who takes fierce pride in his modesty. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
In order to enjoy this production, listeners must bury deep any doubts they have about Bush the President; this audiobook certainly does. Bush the man is a different study altogether. Never mind that the family motto surely is "Saying it makes it so." Never mind that the Bush family, or their editors, have the political instincts to select only letters calculated to please. Never mind that Bush himself must have understood from the beginning that every single word he committed to paper would become part of the public record. Don't get bogged down into trying to second-guess what is true and what is spin, and you will be totally won over by Bush and family, many of whom helped narrate this production, including Barbara, Marvin, Neil, and Jonathan. The collection screams two things: the former President got a bad rap by those who accused him of being unemotional and uncaring, and he is not a puritan, even though the early letters included here belie this. In total, this is a thoroughly enjoyable and warm memoir. Recommended.--Mark Pumphrey, Polk Cty. P.L., Columbus, NC Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
Book Review The New York Times
Brilliant.... From these early letters, and right up to the very recent ones, the Bush voice is the same: decent, friendly, earnest, guileless.
Newsweek
Bush is a gifted communicator who produces...charming prose.
Kirkus Reviews
The former president presents his autobiography in the form of annotated letters, journal entries, a few speeches, and assorted documents. Like many collections of letters, this one is not uniformly interesting. Some of the scores of letters are dull, some superfluous, others patently self-serving (and readers may wonder if the many ellipses replace some of the most revealing passages). But Bush emerges as an uncomplicated, decent, thoughtful man—a man who unashamedly espouses the values of hearth, home, and friendship (and dog ownership!), who was at all times exactly what he appeared to be, who loved his wife (he says that he wants on his gravestone only these words: "He loved Barbara very much"), loved his children, loved his country. The letters are chronological—beginning with a section called "Love and War," ending with "Looking Forward"—and chronicle in surprising detail Bush's life from his 1942 enlistment in the navy to the present. In the letters (and in his accompanying notes) are some fascinating comments and events. Young Barbara (not yet his wife) was "so darn attractive"; Bill Clinton (then governor) was "a very nice man"; John Dean (the Watergate whistle-blower) was "a small, slimy guy"; Pat Buchanan could be "mean and ugly"; Barbara snores; Bush "never regretted" selecting Dan Quayle as his running mate; he was enraged at Newsweek for a cover story that suggested he was a wimp; and his "damnedest experience" was throwing up on the Japanese prime minister in 1992. Although Bush hates psychological profiles, he reveals a bit of his inner life here, most poignantly so when he admits that his loss to Clinton "hurt, hurt, hurt." Somewhat nettlesomeis Bush's insistence on referring to just about everyone as a friend, close friend, or great friend. Please. One must search carefully in this large brown carpet to find the silver and golden threads—but they are there.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780743535854
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication date:
10/01/2003
Edition description:
Abridged, 6 CDs, 6 hrs.
Pages:
6
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 6.10(h) x 1.06(d)

Read an Excerpt

Preface

June 1, 1999

Dear Reader,

When I left office and returned to Texas in January 1993, several friends suggested I write a memoir. "Be sure the historians get it right" seemed to be one common theme. Another: "The press never really understood your heartbeat -- you owe it to yourself to help people figure out who you really are."

I was unpersuaded. Barbara, in her best-selling Barbara Bush: A Memoir, wrote a wonderful book about our days together both in and out of public life and about our family. Then last year General Brent Scowcroft and I finished our book, A World Transformed, which dealt with the many historic changes that took place in the world when we were in the White House.

I felt these two books "got it right" both on perceptions of the Bushes as a family and on how my administration tried to handle the foreign-policy problems we faced.

But then along comes my friend and editor Lisa Drew, who suggested that what was missing is a personal book, a book giving a deeper insight into what my own heartbeat is, what my values are, what has motivated me in life. And then she said something that got me interested: "You already have done such a book. I am talking about a book of letters already written."

But there was a major sticking point. The private life I have returned to is challenging and rewarding and chockablock full of things to do. I have never been busier; nor, might I add, happier. I knew I did not have the time to do the research necessary to find, edit, and then publish the letters‹letters that start when I was eighteen years old and go right on up through the present time.

SoI turned to my trusted friend Jean Becker, who had helped Barbara with her memoir. We became partners, Jean and I. I told her, I have done my part -- I wrote all these letters. Now it's your turn.

Jean spent endless hours contacting people whom I had written, digging through endless boxes of letters now in the archives at the George Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M University, going through my records from my United Nations and CIA days, listening to pathetic little scratchy tapes I had made for my spotty diary. She dug, and edited. She cajoled and pleaded for letters. She pushed me for my ideas as to what to include, what to leave out. She never gave up. I will never be able to properly express my gratitude to Jean Becker.

So what we have here are letters from the past and present. Letters that are light and hopefully amusing. Letters written when my heart was heavy or full of joy. Serious letters. Nutty letters. Caring and rejoicing letters.

Along the way we expanded our original mission and decided also to include diary entries, mainly to fill in some blank spaces. Please keep in mind, as you read some of these disjointed entries, that I dictated my diaries to a tape recorder. The diary entries are really me thinking out loud.

This book is not meant to be an autobiography. It is not a historical documentation of my life. But hopefully it will let you, the reader, have a look at what's on the mind of an eighteen-year-old kid who goes into the Navy and then at nineteen is flying a torpedo bomber off an aircraft carrier in World War II; what runs through the mind of a person living in China, halfway around the world from friends and family; what a President is thinking when he has to send someone else's son or daughter into combat.

It's all about heartbeat.

It took me fifty-seven years to write this book. If you enjoy reading it even just a tenth as much as I've enjoyed living it, then that is very good indeed.

All the best,

George Bush

Copyright © 1999 by George Bush

Meet the Author

George Bush, forty-first president of the United States (1989-1993), is the coauthor with Brent Scowcroft of the 1998 critically acclaimed book A World Transformed. He and his wife, Barbara, live in Houston, Texas, and Kennebunkport, Maine.

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All the Best, George Bush 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The former presidents life comes alive in this, what I guess you would call an autobiography. He submits samples of letters he has written that have his life and have them in order. He has done a great job in this unique look in to his personal life!