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George H. W. Bush (The American Presidents #41)

3.67  ·  Rating Details  ·  105 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
The judicious statesman who won victories abroad but suffered defeat at home, whose wisdom and demeanor served America well at a critical time.

George Bush was a throwback to a different era. A patrician figure not known for eloquence, Bush dismissed ideology as “the vision thing.” Yet, as Timothy Naftali argues, no one of his generation was better prepared for the challeng
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Hardcover, 224 pages
Published December 10th 2007 by Times Books (first published July 13th 2003)
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My Life by Bill ClintonMrs. Kennedy and Me by Clint HillThe Audacity of Hope by Barack ObamaAn American Life by Ronald ReaganTruman by David McCullough
Presidential Reading
38th out of 45 books — 36 voters
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Best Presidential Authors
21st out of 44 books — 9 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 329)
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Joe
Jan 30, 2015 Joe rated it liked it
Shelves: listened-to
Book Thirty-Two of my Presidential Challenge.

I've always kind of felt bad for George H.W. Bush. He's to the Presidency what Timothy Dalton is to James Bond: Nobody's favorite. (Although I LOVE Timothy Dalton, but I'll save that for my review of "Dalton: The Bad-Ass Bond" which I plan on writing someday.)

I find that H.W. suffered from many of the same major problem that Martin Van Buren had...he was just too darn adaptable. H.W. clearly focused so much of his life on blending in, making peace, et
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Andy Miller
Aug 11, 2013 Andy Miller rated it really liked it
This biography of the first President Bush is necessarily concise as are all biographies in the "American President's Series" but this biography showed original insight that you don't always find. The author, Timothy Nafitali, is generally sympathetic to President Bush, especially his thesis that Reagan left many "messes" for Bush to clean up and had to pay the political price for making tough decisions forced on him by Reagan failing to make the tough decisions. The deficit was the prime exampl ...more
Tori Keller
Excellent quick read for the most relevant aspects of George H.W. Bush's rise to and challenges in the White House. Before reading, I had only a stereotypical image of HW as the moderate president; a somewhat under appreciated man for achievements like the Gulf War and tying up of the Cold War but also with faults like breaking his key campaign tax promise.
This book revealed nuances including these key takeaways:

-HW did not have a purely moderate ideology; since the beginning of his political ca
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Steven Freeman
Feb 02, 2016 Steven Freeman rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
His heart was in the right place and did an excellent job on foreign policy from the breakup of the soviet union to the first gulf war. Domestically, he inherited the failed economic policies of Reagan (which the republicans still can't accept decades later). However, personally, he was a politician who easily compromised his personal beliefs for political gain (e.g., changing his fiscal and pro-choice positions to garner support from the radical right in the republican party, to his loyal suppo ...more
Steven Peterson
Jul 26, 2009 Steven Peterson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book, authored by Timothy Naftali, ends with the following comment (Page 176): "George W. Bush's controversial presidency led to a positive reassessment of his father's time in the White House. . . .[M:]any missed the elder Bush's realism, his diplomacy, his political modesty, and, yes, even his prudence."

George H. W. Bush was a one term president who presided over the end of the Cold War. This slender biography, another entry in The American Presidents series, provides a useful biography
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Gary Schantz
Jun 24, 2012 Gary Schantz rated it really liked it
I found this biography was one of the more straight-forward narratives which got right to heart of the subject.

While I have been a life-long democrat who certainly found President Bush's infamous "read my lips" pledge to be one of the many reasons he lost the prsidency in 1992, I did enjoy reading about how he was willing to eat his words if it meant doing what was right for the country as a whole. It takes a good president to fess up in the face of crticism and move on.

At the time of his presid
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Shaan
Dec 04, 2015 Shaan rated it really liked it
This is another informative and even-handed entry into the American Presidents Series, which is a real underrated gem.

My recollections of George H.W. Bush's presidency are hazy since I was only an elementary schooler at the time. I remember watching the Berlin Wall fall and coverage of the Gulf War on CNN. Then there was "read my lips, no new taxes" - but I picture Dana Carvey saying it.

The 1992 election was the first that I paid any attention to. My social studies teacher gave us a state-by-s
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Ric White
Jun 05, 2015 Ric White rated it really liked it
Good for what it is: a quick description of Bush's impact on America. I would've liked some more about his upbringing, but overall, a very informative, well-paced book.
Alicia Joy
May 30, 2015 Alicia Joy rated it really liked it
I did not once think of the style of this book, and in my opinion that means this was an excellently written book. I could have done leas with all the information about his son's presidency. Also, he did not sound very unbiased when talking about Reagan's presidency. I also dislike that they discussed Kuwait without discussing the consequences in term of the Middle Eastern people's opinion about the success of Operation Desert Storm. Very well written though.
Jerry Landry
A good book about our 41st president. Naftali does a good job of providing an overview of Bush's life and his presidency. As with the other titles in the Time Books' American Presidents Series, it doesn't go much in depth, but if you're looking for a quick biography hitting all the main events, then this is a good one to read.
Brendan Steinhauser
Jan 02, 2016 Brendan Steinhauser rated it it was ok
I just finished this short biography of George H.W. Bush. It was a decent introduction to the 41st president, but it barely touched on his early years, and moved very fast through his political life. I'm looking forward to reading something a little more detailed and enlightening in the future.
Peter Ackerman
Jan 08, 2013 Peter Ackerman rated it liked it
This is a decent enough book. It is from the American President series, and these are basic bios. Like others in the series, there is no rythum to these works, they move along and with no warning, suddenly end. (Like that).
TrumanCoyote
Apr 13, 2011 TrumanCoyote rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting account which enabled me to appreciate Sr for more than just his hilarious appearance on SNL, when I learned about his smooth and gracious handling of the fall of the Soviets.
Carol
Oct 08, 2008 Carol rated it it was ok
It was an ok read. I thought the author was objective about Pres. Bush's presidency. I wish they would have had more about his personal life, before and after being president.
Don (The Book Guy)
This has been a great series that I have been reading over the last 2 years. I have learned a lot about American history from the many writers in this series.
Ryan Henry
got screwed by his own party because he would not give into the crazys...fast forward eight years to see the results if he had chosen differently
Jennie
Short, but packed a lot of detail. Well-written.
Marcia
Jan 24, 2014 Marcia rated it it was ok
So boring, I couldn't finish it.
Jim
A nice intro to GHW Bush
Toesnorth's mom
very good
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Timothy Naftali is a Canadian-American historian and director of the Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Archives at New York University. From 2007 to 2011 he directed the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. He was appointed when control of the Library was transferred from the Richard Nixon Foundation to the National Archives and Records Administration. His biggest task at the library ...more
More about Timothy Naftali...

Other Books in the Series

The American Presidents (1 - 10 of 41 books)
  • George Washington (The American Presidents, #1)
  • John Adams (The American Presidents, #2)
  • Thomas Jefferson (The American Presidents, #3)
  • James Madison (American Presidents, #4)
  • James Monroe (The American Presidents, #5)
  • John Quincy Adams (The American Presidents, #6)
  • Andrew Jackson (The American Presidents, #7)
  • Martin Van Buren (American Presidents, #8)
  • William Henry Harrison (The American Presidents, #9)
  • John Tyler (The American Presidents, #10)

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