Laura Bush: An Intimate Portrait of the First Lady
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Laura Bush: An Intimate Portrait of the First Lady

3.44 of 5 stars 3.44  ·  rating details  ·  287 ratings  ·  67 reviews
When Laura Bush moved into the White House on January 20, 2001, everyone wanted to know what kind of first lady she would be. Would she be like Mamie Eisenhower? Would she follow in Barbara Bush's footsteps? Would she be another Hillary Clinton?

"I think I'll just be Laura Bush," she would say.

On Saturday, April 30, 2005, the world got a glimpse of what that meant when she...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published April 4th 2006 by Doubleday (first published 2006)
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Barbara Jorgensen
I was looking forward to reading this book as I am an admirer of Laura Bush. Instead of an "intimate" story I found a disjointed bunch of quotes which seemed to be written with the only purpose of discounting other books and articles written negatively about Mrs. Bush.
I did not really learn anything new about L. Bush. She did not ever tell us how it was to become a member of one of the most powerful families in America. She rarely mentioned, mother in law, Barbara Bush. Most of the book was des...more
LemonLinda
This is a very nice companion read to Laura Bush's autobiography, Spoken from the Heart. In that book Laura, being the humble, unassuming person that she is, did not give glowing accounts of herself. But in this book, Kessler interviews her friends, family and professional associates and they certainly did spoke most highly of her in every way possible. They talked openly and honestly about how calm, serene and dignified she is, yet spoke of her also as fun, friendly, open and honest.

This accou...more
Philip Boling
Apr 11, 2010 Philip Boling rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in politics at the turn of the century
This is a very sympathetic book to Laura Bush and if one has an interest in Laura's view point this book will provide. I found it to be an easy read and it reinforces why Laura had an 85% public approval rating.
The most interesting story for me was about George Bush during his first term as governor of Texas in 1994; in December of that year the Texas Education Agency gave him the third-grade reading test results from Texas schools: 43k third graders could not read, by spring the number was 52k...more
Tami
I really enjoyed this book, well, at least the first half. It was interesting as far as biography’s go, but that all changes once he wins the presidential election and they move into the White House.

The whole book is saying what a caring person Laura was, but then, the author didn't pass up any opportunity to demonize the former inhabitants. I am not a Democrat, so this isn’t a political opinion. I just found it odd that Mrs. Bush would not “allow” any of the staff to speak bad of the Clinton’s...more
Kate Casey
Just finished this and I can't exactly say it was a page turner. I learned a few interesting things including the fact that she had to pay for her own clothes and hair while she was the first Lady. She talks much of her relationship with other spouses of world leaders, particularly Vladmir Putin's wife. She never really gives you any sense of what keeps her up at night.
Kylie
I found this book to be terribly biased and, overall, disappointing. The author spends a good portion of the book pointing out why Hillary Clinton was such a terrible first lady, instead of talking about Laura Bush. I also found the writing to be mediocre at best. Interesting facts about the Bush family, but her new autobiography is probably a better place to get them.
Rebecca
A decent biography. I kept feeling like I wanted more in-depth reporting, but considering Laura Bush's ladylike personality, I imagine writing more would've been completely impossible as she is not one to kiss and tell (so to speak). At times the writing seemed disjointed. Still, this book helped me appreciate the First Couple a bit more.
Bradley Gerber
So, nothing in this book that will knock your socks off, that I can tell. It seems like it basically answers the question "What do Laura Bush's friends say she was like when she was younger, and what do they say her general outlook is today?"

If that's a question you'd be interested in the answer to, then this is probably a good bio. The one thing that did stand out a little was that it refutes some things in some other less-than-reputable bios such as Kitty Kelley rumormongering.

It's relatively...more
Loralee
I have never had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Bush and I know this may sound silly, but I've referred to her for years as "my friend, Laura." She always seemed like someone I would enjoy being around—perhaps discussing books with.

After reading this very sympathetic biography, I understand how important her family and friends are to her. She is committed to being a good wife and mother and a loyal friend. She also learned that she can do hard things—teaching in an inner-city school, giving a spe...more
Jean
This book is based on interviews with Laura Bush's friends. It reveals friendships that are full of caring, insight, wit, loyalty and sincerity. Laura is an authentic, thoughtful and loving friend as you will learn. She has remained close to her childhood friends throughout her life and no matter what.

In reading this book, your also learn that Laura Bush, loves to clean. I found that we share a love for Clorox and Windex. As another reviewer wrote, "Now, when something around here needs cleaning...more
RuthAnn
Would recommend: Yes

I borrowed this biography from the library after reading American Wife, by Curtis Sittenfeld, because it was one of the first books listed in the acknowledgments section. I enjoyed seeing the parallels between the novel and the biography, and I think Ronald Kessler did a nice job giving dimension to Laura and George W. Bush. I really liked reading about their lives before the two presidential terms. However, once Bush's presidency started, everything started to blur for me. T...more
Samantha
I liked this book but it wasn't great. I was wanting some insight to Laura Bush and her marriage. Mr. Kessler didn't do that. He repeated numerous stories that the media had already reported and responding to Kitty Kelley's The Family book. I felt like this book was rushed. He didn't go into a lot of explanation and I felt that her childhood along with the governor years were very glossed over. I wanted Mr. Kessler to talk about the librarian/school teacher years of Laura Bush's life. After read...more
Lauriann
Laura Bush certainly did her part to uphold the dignity of the title "First Lady." Supportive wife, gracious hostess, humble leader, loyal friend, she did seem to have it all. Even if the author's approach was a bit sugar-coated, the reader couldn't help but think that was because there was nothing negative to be said! My admiration was already in place, but it increased as I read this book. She is exactly my age, and I find that so much of what she experienced in her youth and high school days...more
Emily
No, I have not gone over to the dark side... :) Just read these books after reading American Wife to see just how closely it followed Laura Bush's life (surprisingly closely, actually...). This one was definitely the more well done biography of the two I read -- Kessler called upon many more sources than did Gerhart, whose work read more like an unauthorized biography of Bush (fun, but a little sensationalistic...). I definitely have far more respect for Laura Bush than I did before reading thes...more
Margaret Roberts
This book, though well-written, was not an unbiased account of Laura Bush's life. The author defended her at every turn, almost always quoting her friends and family about her (unless he was criticizing a criticism of her). He rarely told of anything negative about her at all, and oftentimes told anecdotes that had very little connection to his subject. He also made sure to point out the ethnicity of every nonwhite person with whom the Bush's associated, even when it was completely irrelevant. I...more
Rachel
Sep 16, 2009 Rachel rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Those looking for more information on Laura Bush
Shelves: subc
This book contained many interesting vignettes about the First Lady, but did not seem to have a common purpose. The stories seemed to be snapshots of her life events rather than a linear tale of her life story. Often times the author jumped from date to date or story to story will little explanation. Finally, all information was gleaned from interviews with friends and family - it was disappointing to hear no first hand accounts in this "intimate" portrait.
Amy Mullican
Dec 01, 2013 Amy Mullican marked it as to-read
Shelves: libs-210
I love love love Laura Bush! I chose this book not only because Laura was a librarian, but because her biography gives insight to what life was like for her as the First Lady. Laura Bush is a remarkable woman and has had a major influence in the world and continues to influence those around her. I think that her biography would be very interesting to read, just to see what her life is like out of the lime light and away from the former president.
Diane
The author seemed to be just streaming quotes and anecdotes together to tell the story of the Bush Family. It was as much about the president as it was about Mrs. Bush. According to the author and others quoted in the book George and Laura were "down to earth" people who don't make themselves seem better than others.

The book was okay, but I found myself falling asleep while reading most of the time. Thankfully, the book wasn't very long.
Hannah
I did appreciate learning a little more about Mrs. Bush through this book, but was disappointed by the lack of political information and by the occasional slamming of former First Families. I didn't feel like I knew that much more after reading it than I did before because the author seemed to focus completely on her every virtue, with no mention of anything else, so there was no full picture to it.
Joy
This was a good review of the life of Laura Bush. It clarified lots of
details of her youth, including the car accident when a friend was
killed. It also gave lots of time to her friendships, many from
elementary school through college. The Bushes have a real gift for
long-time friends. I enjoyed the info about the daughters. I switched
from preferring Barbara to liking Jenna.
Adrienne
This has some new perspective to the former first lady; definitely very carefully selected perspective but still new. I enjoyed reading this mostly because you never heard about all of the helpful things Laura Bush has done for libraries, schools, teachers, and reading in general. It is very admirable, whether you agree with her politics or not. Reading should transcend all of that.
Alison
I meant to read a different book about Laura Bush and didn't realize it was the wrong one until I was halfway through. This book was OK and I learned a few interesting tidbits but the last half of the book felt disjointed and mundane. I'll be honest... the reason I wanted to read about Laura Bush is because I miss having Republicans in the White House!
Karen
I learned some things about this classy First Lady, but I was disappointed. I expected it to be an author who has interviewed the First Lady and her actual thoughts and feelings. It was a book based on interviews of those friends that surrounded her throughout her life. Glad I read it but not as good as I was hoping.
Christine Grant
Just okay. This is the first biography I have read about Laura Bush and while I did learn quite a bit about her the book was not balanced. Even though I am a Republican's Republican I cannot imagine that the only thing less than perfect about Laura Bush is that she used to be a smoker and bums the occasional cigarette.
Frania
Very bias - but good facts in the book regarding her young life - before "Bushie". Needed to read this after reading American Wife to check out the facts, but after a while could not read any more about the good motives of George...perhaps he had them, but as they say "the road to hell is paved with good intentions".
Wendy
Nearly finished with this book. A book that accurately describes the former First Lady. This is an easy and enjoyable book. It has just solidified my my already very positive view of this woman who captured the hearts of over 85% of the public. One of the most well-loved First Ladies in U.S. history.
Darleen
I enjoyed this book. I admire Laura Bush; it is interesting to learn that she had such a normal middle-class upbringing. She is the woman I would love to be: soft-spoken, refined, well-read, a great friend, high morals & ethics. She has always had quiet loving influence on her husband, the President.
Lois
This is a very interesting book that shows the character of our former First Lady...and a Lady is definitely applicable to her. Ever a fan of hers anyway, this book just provided a more in depth look into her life and experiences as she served our nation. Kudos to Kessler. It held my attention throughout.
Karen
I thought I was listening to/reading Laura Bush's book...thought it was written with an unusual perspective...finally figured it out, when I looked at the actual book and couldn't find chapter 18! Just an okay book...maybe Laura's will be more appealing.
Jenne
I read this for a challenge and also I needed a switch from my usual genre. I have always liked LB so the book was interesting especially her and The presidents early history. The author kind if overdid it on some of the topics but not a major issue.
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