Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Shrub: The Short but Happy Political Life of George W. Bush” as Want to Read:
Shrub: The Short but Happy Political Life of George W. Bush
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Shrub: The Short but Happy Political Life of George W. Bush

4.09  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,711 Ratings  ·  83 Reviews

When it comes to reporting on politics, nobody does it smarter or funnier than bestselling author Molly Ivins. In Shrub, Ivins focuses her Texas-size smarts on the biggest politician in her home state: George Walker Bush, or "Shrub," as Ivins has nicknamed Bush the Younger.

A candidate of vague speeches and an ambiguous platform, Bush leads the pack of GOP 2000 presidentia
Paperback, 193 pages
Published October 10th 2000 by Vintage (first published February 15th 2000)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Shrub, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Shrub

The Shock Doctrine by Naomi KleinA People's History of the United States by Howard ZinnNickel and Dimed by Barbara EhrenreichThe Ecological Rift by John Bellamy FosterTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Best Progressive Reads
79th out of 482 books — 356 voters
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtryThe Time It Never Rained by Elmer KeltonThe Road by Cormac McCarthyMolly Ivins Can't Say That, Can She? by Molly IvinsThe Last Picture Show by Larry McMurtry
Texas Authors
50th out of 348 books — 154 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,308)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jul 30, 2008 E rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics-history
A very well-written account of a very difficult era for one state preceding an even worse one for an entire country.

Ivins's claim that Ann Richards - a feminist Democrat - could have only been elected in a state like Texas because her opponent was so blatantly idiotic (bragging that he liked to "get serviced" in whorehouses south of the border). It seems to me that the United States elections have very much evolved this way - unless he's an absolute lunatic, the public will vote Republican over
Jul 24, 2007 Mark rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who still thinks Bush is a "good guy"
Shelves: non-fiction
I read this book around the time the Shrub was being "elected" the first time. It was quite possibly the scariest book I've ever read.
Molly Ivins was a genius. I miss her a lot. I got to see her speak towards the end of her life. She had been going through chemo and barely looked like herself, but she was still razor sharp. It made me want to read all of her books.
This, of course, is all old information by now. But at the time it was scary stuff. Still is to an extent, especially now that we've
Feb 25, 2007 Elaine rated it really liked it
I credit this book with giving me my first political education on George W. Bush. Ivins conveys just how abominable a governor and undeserving a leader he is. May she rest in peace.
Dave Schumaker
May 10, 2014 Dave Schumaker rated it really liked it
Molly Ivins' book was written before Bush was elected (err... ah hem, "elected") President in 2000 and details G.W.'s various life achievements up to that point, such as founding Arbusto Energy (thought to be spanish for "bush" but it actually means "shrub"), buying a stake in the Texas Rangers and paving the way to build a new baseball stadium and his various accomplishments (or lack thereof in many cases) during his tenure as governor of Texas.

The book provides an interesting insight into the
The late Ms. Ivins wrote this as Dubya was making his move from the Texas governor's mansion to the White House, and is her account of his doings as chief executive of her home state. She wasn't mean or petty, but she pulled no punches in pointing out how he'd conducted himself as governor of Texas, an unimpressive record at best; he apparently changed for the even-worse, or had hidden some darker aspects of his character, though, because as she looked ahead to his presidency she said that the m ...more
Sep 18, 2007 Danielle rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics
Not sure what kind of masochist would read a book written before GWB was elected that is making the case for why he shouldn't get elected. Definitely reminds me how perverse and inexplicable politics is - e.g., how outraged conservative voters were over Clinton's avoidance of military service and Kerry's supposedly minimal tour in Vietnam, but didn't seem to mind Bush using his family connections to avoid being sent overseas. This catalog of Bush's flaws is amusing at times, but also demonstrate ...more
Sep 13, 2008 Rick rated it really liked it
She wrote this shortly before Bush's selection in 2000. Apparently, not enough people read this book. My copy has an additional chapter added right after the selection process was over, and it gives me a chill to read it today. In it, Molly basically tells us not to worry; after all, she asks - - how bad can he be?
There's an even later edition with an additional chapter covering his first two years in office, but it all comes down to the same thing: we can't say that we weren't warned.
Mike Jensen
Oct 24, 2011 Mike Jensen rated it really liked it
Why didn’t more people read this before the 2000 Presidential election? This expose of George Bush’s failed dealings in business and as Governor of Texas fairly predicted his failings as President. It is genuinely scary that this nincompoop was given the keys to the White House, and even scarier that his failings as revealed in this book were not better known and not considered sufficient reason to vote for anyone else.
Jul 06, 2014 deconstructed rated it really liked it
Shelves: mess-with-texas
If you’re looking to save some time, and not too keen on any kind of reminder of George W. Bush’s existence, let alone his not-short-enough career in politics, (Why? WHY couldn’t he have discovered his talent for painting putty tats much sooner?!) I can boil this down into two sentences from Shrub.

George W Bush is promising to do for the rest of the country what he has done for Texas.
There it is.

Clearly not enough Americans were reading Ivins at the time.

For leftys, Shrub offers something more
just sarah
Aug 08, 2007 just sarah rated it liked it
made me laugh until i thought about it. then i kind of wanted to cry.
Sep 05, 2007 Yvette rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
This tool is President... must read.
Lauren Donoho
Jul 10, 2013 Lauren Donoho rated it really liked it
Inexplicably, I had never heard of this book until I discovered it in the discount bin at the used book store. Being a huge fan of Molly Ivins, I gladly handed over my last crumpled dollar bill.

You'd think Shrub would be outdated now, five years after the end of the Bush presidency, since it was written in the run-up to his election in 2000. Political tell-alls are rarely relevant a decade-plus after their publication. Ivins, however, packed this one full of Texan political history and context i
Janis Gilbert
Oct 10, 2013 Janis Gilbert rated it liked it

When it comes to reporting on politics, nobody does it smarter or funnier than bestselling author Molly Ivins. In Shrub, Ivins focuses her Texas-size smarts on the biggest politician in her home state: George Walker Bush, or "Shrub," as Ivins has nicknamed Bush the Younger.

A candidate of vague speeches and an ambiguous platform, Bush leads the pack of GOP 2000 presidential hopefuls; "Dubya" could very well be our next president. What voters need now is an original, smart, and accessible analysis
Jan 31, 2013 Kristen rated it it was amazing
Molly Ivins was an amazing journalist, and this book is proof of that. In it Ivins traced the ignorant, self-absorbed young George W.'s embarassing and self-destructive behaviour during college, on through his failed attempt to run a private business (which he drove into bankruptcy) and on through his time as governor and the harm his policies did to many Texans.

Every contention Ivins makes is sourced, and I went and looked up a bunch of them, and every single one proved out as confirmable.

Oct 31, 2012 Brian rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: timid liberals with Romnesia
Recommended to Brian by: Santa Monica Public Library
Page 165

"Bush has rendered the post-watergate campaign reforms almost meaningless ... the campaign could raise 50 million [for the primaries]"

Ha ha. Boy the 2000 primaries were crazy days, weren't they?



/pours stiff drink

There's a remarkable feeling one gets from reading recent that can't be qualified as nostalgia, exactly. But there certainly is a yearning to go back to a time when the Westboro Baptist Church is an unknown, when global warming gets lip service fro
Phil Lawless
Mar 20, 2016 Phil Lawless rated it it was amazing
This the second time I have read the book. The first was before Bush was elected. It is rather chilling to see how Bush's gubernatorial background played out through his presidency. The one item not foretold was his response to the 9/11 attack. Still, a governor not much interested in governing might find a war much more engaging. It was clear from those governor years that budget surpluses were to be treated as triggers for tax cuts.
Mar 26, 2011 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
If you're a political junkie you'll love this book. First published in 2000 during the campaign, the authors lay it all out and accurately predict exactly what is going to happen during the next unhappy 8 years. It's all there: the lying, the cynical exploitation of every decent feeling, the absolute and total devotion to realizing the vision of complete domination by corporate interests of every aspect of American life and community (or what I like to call the corporatization of America), the w ...more
Jan 14, 2016 Kurtbg rated it liked it
A depiction of a sheltered, narrow-minded, uneducated oldest son who drafted by on his father's coat tails. Absolutely he would never have been invited to any parties if it were not for Bush Sr. Shows the importance of access and network and its bias towards wealth and privilege - much at the cost of those on the outside. Also shows what it means to live with thinking oneself as always being junior.
Sep 17, 2008 Muzzlehatch rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone in for a fun-but-scary short political rant
Recommended to Muzzlehatch by: Kathy
Well, you can't expect even-handedness in a book about the (at the time) future President Dubya, especially from Molly Ivins -- but this quick-reading little tome is less overtly partisan than you might expect, actually giving 43 some credit in areas where he deserves it (education and, uh, education) in his reign as guv-ner of Tejas, and delving very little into his sordid party-boy past. Intended as a primer for those doubtful in 2000 of the damage that "Shrub" might be able to inflict, this m ...more
I read this book very long ago, when it was published. Molly Ivins was a superb political writer. She skewered George W. Bush and his political career in this book. Ivins also spoke at the university I attended and I remember enjoying her talk (also political and hilarious). Political commentary is not the same since she died.
Nov 14, 2007 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Molly Ivins, the famous Texan journalist, passed away earlier this year, and I promised I would finally get around to reading one of her books. This one is focused on George W. "Shrub" Bush, during the 2000 campaign. It really does shed a good deal of light on how he managed to bumble his way into the Presidency with every step of his life. Seriously, the only thing you can say about the guy is that he knows how to use his name to make money. Everything from his failed oil ventures, to his owner ...more
Jul 23, 2009 Martha rated it really liked it
First and foremost, I love Molly Ivans. I once met her and she was just the coolest lady ever.

The book is one of those that is so well written and entertaining and depressing all at the same time. It makes you a little upset w/ Ann Richards - and I almost said something to her this one time I saw her in Curras in Austin, but I held my tongue (amazingly).

A book that will give you great insight into what Bush is all about in a humorous way - but like I said, prepare for depression... how this guy
Richard Jespers
Jan 10, 2015 Richard Jespers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The title comes from “arbusto,” Bush’s oil company, the translation of which is really “shrub,” not “bush.” I just wish everyone in America could read this book and that the media would quit courting him.
Ann Hein
Jul 18, 2016 Ann Hein rated it it was amazing
Fascinating but frightening look into how money has corrupted government in America. Texas ranks high, but there is evidence that it's not restricted to Texas. The book was written before George W. became president.

If only our elected officials would truly work for all their constituents, not just those who have money and use it to influence legislators.

Dec 11, 2015 Valerie rated it really liked it
As terrific as Molly herself was. I was very fortune to hear Molly speak at my local university.
Susan Emmet
Jan 21, 2011 Susan Emmet rated it really liked it
After the jaunt with Edward Abbey, decided to read about Dubya. I miss Molly Ivins' writing, and enjoy Lou Dubose, so headed to TX. They cover alot of territory in a short book and take readers into Bush's Guard service, oil field career, baseball franchise ownership, the '94 campaign for governor, religious beliefs/ties to the "Christian Right," as well as criminal justice, education and the environment. Confirmed my position that he was one of the absolutely worst of American presidents given ...more
Jan 01, 2012 Travis rated it liked it
Shelves: politics, history
As always, a very clever and interesting look at politics, but frightening that people thought this knucklehead would be a great President.

Interesting, in that W pretty much either stumbled into success or was nudged along by his family and their well connected friends.
You do find yourself feeling a bit sad for W as he is so obviously in over his head, ill-prepared for any political office and doesn't seem particularly happy in his chosen career.

Can't help think he ( and the world) would have be
Bassett Helen
Dec 19, 2015 Bassett Helen rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed the book. It was very interesting and very amusing.
Jerry Peace
Nov 21, 2013 Jerry Peace rated it really liked it
So much fun reading about Little George's shenanigans. The tone of this book is "Some of this you may not have known but don't let it shock or surprise you. After all, this is Texas." I know exactly the feeling, being a South Carolinian. Unfortunately, Mr. Bush Lite has done for the rest of us what he did to Texas. And more unfortunately, we enthusiastically embraced it. The Apostle's Greed, the holy trinity of derisive arrogance, decisive amorality, and divisive Bible-thumping. Love the names f ...more
Jul 16, 2014 Kaethe rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
I miss Ivins tremendously. I don't miss Shrub at all.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 76 77 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth
  • The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception
  • Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush
  • Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative
  • Rush Limbaugh Is A Big Fat Idiot
  • Supreme Injustice
  • The Great Unraveling: Losing Our Way in the New Century
  • American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush
  • The Bush Dyslexicon: Observations on a National Disorder
  • The Best Democracy Money Can Buy
  • We're Right, They're Wrong: A Handbook for Spirited Progressives
  • Thieves in High Places: They've Stolen Our Country and It's Time to Take It Back
  • Bushworld
  • How Would a Patriot Act? Defending American Values from a President Run Amok
  • Obliviously On He Sails: The Bush Administration in Rhyme
  • Against All Enemies
  • How to Rig an Election: Confessions of a Republican Operative
  • Homegrown Democrat: A Few Plain Thoughts from the Heart of America
American newspaper columnist, political commentator, and best-selling author from Austin, Texas.

More about Molly Ivins...

Share This Book