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Bush at War (Bush at War #1)

3.41 of 5 stars 3.41  ·  rating details  ·  2,564 ratings  ·  145 reviews
Bush at War reveals in stunning detail how an untested president with a sweeping vision for remaking the world and war cabinet members often at odds with each other responded to the September 11 terrorist attacks and prepared to confront Iraq. Woodward's virtual wiretap into the White House Situation Room is the first history of the war on terrorism.
Paperback, 416 pages
Published July 1st 2003 by Simon & Schuster (first published November 1st 2002)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Erik Graff
Mar 08, 2013 Erik Graff rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Woodward fans
Recommended to Erik by: A.M.
Shelves: history
The more I read Bob Woodward himself and the more I read about him, the more fishy I think he is. Having started his career in naval intelligence and professionally associated with Alexander Haig, Woodward went on to a meteoric rise through the newspaper industry to land in the right place and the right time to contribute to the unseating of Richard Nixon. The right place was The Washington Post, an occasional asset of the CIA. The right time was after Nixon had earned the ire of the Joint Chief ...more
Leo Jacobowitz
Will go down in history as one of the flimsiest pieces of propagandist bullshit written by a pathetic sycophant of a writer....who just years later would turn on the administration....Everyone (outside of the early street protesters in my beloved San Francisco) was watching Powell's videos thinking they saw something and admiring Rumsfeld on how tough and handsome he was....pathetic, disgusting, cowardly and horrifying period. Now everyone is a Bush critic but I remember the cowards then.
Kandice
I don't want to debate, but this book kept me in, and left me, in a state of supreme anger!
Erin
"Where have I heard this before? Hey,this sounds familiar, too!" Because we HAVE heard it...
Is this his literary agent's best work, yet? Face it, Mr Woodward's book tour ripped across your lawn, flashed from your TV, issued forth from the radio, and came to rest on your kitchen table folded up right next to your morning coffee. Thanks to an expert publicist, this book was excerpted, quoted, and publicly recounted by B.W. in over-the-air interviews. Bob Woodward's face, name, voice, and bio str
...more
Kelley
In Bush at War, Woodward presents a very insightful insiders' view of the 9/11 and its aftermath as the Bush administration waged war against Afghanistan and debated war against Iraq. Woodward's research and writing style are to be admired. One never gets a hint of his own view of all what he wrote here. Considering the debate that raged during this time, it's good to know that Woodward maintained his neutrality throughout. I have always been intrigued with the insider perspective of this event, ...more
Eric
This book is about President Dubya and the first 100 days after September 11, 2001. It chronicles the goings-on of the President and his inner circle of advisers: Vice-President Cheney, Secretary of State Powell, Secretary of Defense Rumsfield, CIA Director Tenet, and National Security Adviser Rice. How did they react to 9-11? What was their advice to the President? Did they all agree with each other?

Woodward answers those questions and more, and reveals some interesting tidbits. For example, P
...more
Ken
Very interesting. I thought it was fairly non-biased. It frequently felt a little jumbled in terms of flow.

Near the beginning of the book, Woodard made it appear as though the Bush Admin wasn’t prioritizing the UBL/aQ threat adequately. He referenced the sequencing of the National Security Presidential Directives (NSPD) . In particular, the one addressing aQ was number 9. Woodard states, “meaning eight other matters had been formally assessed, vetted, agreed upon and signed off on as policy by t
...more
Barry McCulloch
What do you want from this book? The answer to this question will decide whether you should read it or enjoy doing so.

If you want an analysis of Bush’s foreign policy up until the invasion of Iraq don’t buy it. Yet, if you want a documentary account of an epoch defining moment and the rise of unilateral foreign policy making then this is a must read.

Woodward attempts to put you in the shoes of the administration during and after 9-11 up until the Iraq War and on the whole he does a good job. Y
...more
Stefan
Bush At War is a insightful and highly readable account of President Bush’s administration following September 11. Bob Woodward does an excellent job at describing the different schools of thought and management style of the key characters in the Bush government (Powell’s disagreement with Rumsfeld over foreign policy being one example). Reading this book really helped me to grasp why the Bush administration acted the way it did and how political ideologies and personal agendas influenced the co ...more
Jacob
I thought this book would contain dramatic insight into the Bush presidency, and the decisions made immediately after 911. It was not dramatic, and I only found my interest piqued toward the end of the book. Too much, "Cheney said this," then "Powell said this", and finally "Rice said this. "
It was a crappy situation we got into after 911, lots of good, lots of bad things happened as a result. What would you have done, what would someone else have done? The more I read about Bush, the more I sy
...more
James Hatton
Book 1 of 3 on the subject of the Bush administration's response to September 11, 2001, and the "global war on terror".

September 11, 2001, actually began two days earlier when Al Qaeda operatives assassinated a key American ally, Ahmad Shah Massoud, the "Lion of Panjshir". That was in Afghanistan. Al Qaeda was in Afghanistan, by then. Their allies, the Taliban, were in Afghanistan. The initial U.S. response to 9/11 was in Afghanistan, against Al Qaeda and the Taliban. But then, Iraq. Why Iraq? W
...more
Robert Jones
Bob Woodward is very good at keeping his opinion out of the narrative. This is quality journalism - but that's all it really is. The book focuses on the 100 days following the September 11 attacks, and the Bush administration's discussions and decision making processes. It's nice to see the process from the inside, but we know how it all turned out, and I don't think Woodward offers anything too insightful, here. Informative, yes. Insightful, no.
Ira Livingston
I wanted to read this when it first came out. The problem I have with the book, because it essentially points out that George W. Bush and his war cabinet had plans about Iraq as they walked into the White House after the most controversial election in American history. From there it just spirals down. You realize how naive a "new" President is during a life changing attack, like 9-11, but how his team didn't really give him any true options on the table other than this preconceived conditions th ...more
Andrew Georgiadis
So there are a number of reasons NOT to read this book at this point in time: new president, a desire to free your mind from dwelling on errors of the past, an improving situation in Iraq, a possible removal of U.S. forces in the next 18 months, and the way it's almost tiresome to rag on Bush in the twilight of his presidency.

Still, this catalogues the three months following 9/11. Every briefing, memo, backdoor conversation between Hadley and Rice, Rumsfeld and Cheney, our Special Forces on the
...more
Jerome
Well, given how thin this book was, and the fact that this book was almost ten years old when I first read it, I wasn't expecting loads of new information here. This reads like a newspaper article.

Woodward's reporting, when not uselessly asinine, fails to scratch the surface of 9-11. He makes sure to note that George Tenent and Richard Armitage met head Pakistani intelligence officials before and after 9-11, but does not note that the same official, Gen. Ahmad, who was visiting the White House f
...more
Jason Phillips
I suppose you can draw whatever conclusions you want from Mr. Woodward's "Bush At War" depending on your political slant. For those considering the book, I ask you to look at it impartially - it is a fascinating study into presidential decision making, and can be considered a primary source for research purposes. The decision making portrayed here are those of President Bush, and despite attacks from either end of the spectrum directed at Mr. Woodward, he has, as always, turned a reporter's eye ...more
marcus miller
From the perspective of mid-2010 as President Obama's military surge in Afghanistan gets underway one can only hope that his national security/military/diplomatic team works better than did that of President Bush.
Woodward describes Bush as "acting on his instincts," "his gut reactions," and his belief that he was going to shape the world. Cheney just wants to kill people, then hides in his undisclosed location, Rumsfeld seems incapable of making his mind up about anything except covering his as
...more
Ben Haymond
I have mixed feelings about this book.

In terms of quality investigative reporting it is in a class by itself. How Woodward got all of these people to tell him what they did is pretty incredible and a just a little troubling. He meticulously recreated every meeting of the National Security Council principals from September-December of 2001 which is quite a feat. I got a sense of the personalities and ideas of everyone around the table and also how this affected the decisions that were made.

I li
...more
Nathan
Sep 17, 2007 Nathan rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: I have connections, baby!
I read this book wanting to find proof that George W. Bush was evil. I came to this book, just prior to the 2004 election, longing for a repeat of All the President's Men, and hoping for Bob Woodward to work his magic again and show us the evil warlock behind the curtain. It didn't happen. What Woodward revealed was a man who was deeply hard-headed, convicted and sincere. That he was tragically wrong and that people who worked for him broke laws to further his agenda seems like an idea from anot ...more
Christopher
A fly-on-the-wall book of the deliberations inside the Bush Administration immediately following the 9/11 attacks though the successful toppling of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Iraq looms large in the shadows of the book as the Cheney-Rumsfeld cabal continually advise aggressive action against any state deemed "rogue". Colin Powell and, less so, Condi Rice shine through as the voices of reason in an increasingly aggressive administration. One negative point is a general criticism of Bob Woodward' ...more
Bonnie
I'm trying to plow my way through this book. Why? (I keep asking myself) I'm hoping to find some logic or reason behind the mess we're in. HARD TO READ! I can't decide if it's because of Bush's language, often quoted directly and hard to decipher, or Woodward's writing style--maybe he should stick to shorter newspaper articles. Very choppy and disjointed, but gives a detailed look to the discussions and decisions made shortly after 9/11. It's been interesting to see how much pressure Bush was ge ...more
Michael Kocher
It won't change anyone's opinion of the Bush administration or their conduct in the 'war on terror' but it is an interesting look at how this presidency initially responded to 9/11. Unfortunately as the book progresses it often becomes tedious in the almost word for word reconstructions of cabinet meetings. The beginning and end are the most interesting pieces.
Asmaa Elwany
بوش فى حرب
اولا احداث 11 سبتمبر اقوى اختبار لاى رئيس ونظامه فى امريكا
ثانيا حرب القضاء على الارهاب وضرب افغانستان
ثالثا غزو العراق
الكاتب اوضح ليه كانوا بيضربوا افغانستان علشان تنظيم القاعده اللى كان شبه مستقر فيها لكن مااوضحش ليه غزو العراق ؟ معتقدش ان اسقاط نظام صدام حسين هو السبب لانه ممكن يكون بيمول الارهاب لان نظام صدام اصلا كان ساقط هما كانوا واثقين ان العراق مفيهاش اسلحة دمار شامل ازاى هيكون فيها وهى فى عزلة اكتر من 10 سنين معروف ان الجيش العراقى وقف تسليحه بعد غزو الكويت ولو كان باقى اسل
...more
Steve Harrison
Not a bad read - and a fascinating insight into the back office workings of the White House during a crisis - but it does get bogged down too often in repetitive detail. It's also frustrating to be reminded that Bush was in charge when such a momentous attack occurred, instead of an intelligent and enlightened leader. That's not the author's fault, though!
Ian
For all the conservatives who give this book one star because it's "filled with lies," I feel compelled to point out that I am a moderate liberal who enjoys reading these Woodward books because they help me empathize with the Bush administration more, not because I want to demonize them or make fun of them.

This book, like his most recent one, is one that will have you forgetting your other responsibilities. As busy as I am, I found myself finishing this near-400-page book at just under five days
...more
Barbara
I have read 3 of the books this author wrote about Pres Bush and the Iraq War. I was thirsty for any insight for what may have been going on in Bush's mind during this period. As might be expected, there was some overlap between the 2 books. I found Mr. Woodward to be open minded and even respectful as he began these books but could sense his feelings of frustration and unbelief as more and more revelations came out. I too felt frustration and disbelief. Could this (Bush) person who I voted for ...more
dusty.rhodes
I hate this book with 5 stars.

("The president emerged wearing a New York fire Department windbreaker. He raised his arm and gave a thumbs-up to the crowd on the third base side of the field. Probably 15000 fans threw their arms in the air imitating the motion.
He then there a strike from the rubber, and the stadium erupted.
Watching from owner George Steinbrenner's box, Karl Rove thought, It's like being at a Nazi rally"
----
"'We will export death and violence to the four corners of the earth in de
...more
Frank toth
One may not care for the actors or the author of this book but it does offer an explanation of how this fool and his criminal enterprise got us into this mess. The book offers in depth analysis on how to bungle most everything. Donald Rumsfield trusted no one, had immense power and owned the presidents ear with his madness. Hardline Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice are acute players in Bush's " sweeping, almost grandiose, vision for remaking the world." Only Colin Powell comes away with some rep ...more
Michael Huang
It did add a level of nuance to my view of the Bush administration. Woodward is old hand telling this kind of stories.
Joshua Silverman
Bush at War, State of Denial, and Plan of Attack which collectively is the "Bush at War" trilogy by Bob Woodward are very well researched books taken from notes of the witnesses, interviews, and other sources.

The problem is, they suffer from one fatal flaw. A seriously biased author. Aside from the obvious bias of Woodward against Bush (not that I love him, I just like to see a fair fight- as it were), I like to get a glimpse of the "behind the curtain" action as much as possible.

I'm interested
...more
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Robert "Bob" Upshur Woodward is an assistant managing editor of The Washington Post. While an investigative reporter for that newspaper, Woodward, working with fellow reporter Carl Bernstein, helped uncover the Watergate scandal that led to U.S. President Richard Nixon's resignation. Woodward has written 12 best-selling non-fiction books and has twice contributed reporting to efforts that collecti ...more
More about Bob Woodward...

Other Books in the Series

Bush at War (4 books)
  • Plan of Attack
  • State of Denial
  • The War Within: A Secret White House History, 2006-08
Obama's Wars The Final Days The Brethren: Inside the Supreme Court Plan of Attack State of Denial

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