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A Tragic Legacy: How a Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  198 ratings  ·  30 reviews
What will be the legacy of President George Walker Bush? In this fascinating, timely book, Glenn Greenwald examines the Bush presidency and its long-term effect on the nation. What began on shaky, uncertain ground and was bolstered and propelled by tragedy, has ultimately faltered and failed on the back of the dichotomous worldview—good versus evil—that once served it so w ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published June 26th 2007 by Crown (first published January 1st 2007)
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Community Reviews

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Shelley
Aug 17, 2007 Shelley rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who refuse to drink the kool-aid
Shelves: politics, non-fiction
Fantastic, insightful, totally depressing. This put together many notions I have been having in the last 6 years in a way that nothing else has. Greenwald knows his stuff. This is what happens when people vote for the guy they'd rather have a beer with than the person who would make the wisest, most responsible leader for this country. Greenwald's blog on Salon is a must-read as well.
Joe
Jul 30, 2007 Joe is currently reading it
Recommends it for: Fans of the US Constitution
It's very good so far. No one does a better job describing Bush's assault on the US Constitution than Glenn Greenwald.
Steven Peterson
The subtitle provides the book's basic thesis: "How a Good versus Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency." On page x, the author, Glenn Greenwald, says: ". . .as the end of his presidency approached, historians and political figures from across the political spectrum. . .were speaking of the Bush legacy as one of colossal failure." Why did a presidency that--after 9-11--was so popular become so unpopular (in the public's mind) by 2007? That is the focus of this book.

Greenwald notes that t
...more
Chris
Jul 27, 2007 Chris rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: politically conscious human beings of all stripes
A necessary read for anyone interested in knowing the full extent of the Bush regime's manifold crimes. A civil rights litigator prior to his career as a preeminent commentator in the left-leaning blogosphere, Greenwald lays out his case in a lawyerly fashion. It is impossible to mistake his driving argument - that Bush's overly simplistic view of America's role as essentially Good and America's supposed enemies as essentially Evil has led our nation down the road of failure - and the evidence i ...more
James
Methodical, angry, meticulously researched and documented, and very unsettling. This book belongs on the shelf next to Bush On the Couch - it's a terrible indictment of the damage done to America, Iraq, and the rest of the world by George W. Bush and the neocons who support and influence him, and the serious danger that they will make the perversions of American laws and values they've carried out permanent, and that they'll manage to get us into a war with Iran that will make the human and othe ...more
John
Aug 29, 2007 John rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone!
Thorough overview of why it is The Pres never, ever backs down on any policy. I disagree that a war with Iran is likely during the next year; he'd need the absolute backing of the Republican members of Congress in many, many districts where that'd be political suicide. I'm not saying he hasn't come close to it in the past, and would do so, if he thought he could get away with it.
Slavoj Zizek
A damning indictment of the destructive legacy of the Bush administration, a presidency all but guaranteed to go down as the worst in American history which perverted this country's basic values in the service of a man who seems to view himself as some avenging warrior angel waging divine battle against the forces of Pure Evil. Unfortunately, this heroic, evangelical mindset laid the plans for his total and utter ruin as a man compelled by divine forces cannot consider whether or not what he is ...more
James
As tragic an assessment of Bush junior's administration as the title would suggest, Greenwald gives an eloquent elucidation of the personal (mis)traits he blames for the raft of illiberal and ill-advised foreign policy decisions made by America's 43rd president.
The demonstration given in this read, that Dubya's Manichean certitude was permitted to overrun democratic consensus, Congressional consensus, unwelcome political advice and even international conventions, is worrisome enough in itself,
...more
Heather Santiago
Greenwald explores how the presidency of George W. Bush radically and fundamentally shifted the ideological and political landscape in the U.S. His war in Iraq was justified by the Manichean premise that the mission he was pursuing was of the highest moral Good, necessary for the preservation of civilization. In the Good vs. Evil view, no limits on presidential powers could be accepted. Greenwald shows how political values long embraced and accepted by America were held to be obsolete and quaint ...more
Jim
It's hard to argue with Greenwald's basic thesis: that George W. Bush's Manichean approach to policy-making, rooted in his evangelical Christian beliefs, has handicapped his presidency.

[NOTE: Manicheanism, a religious sect from 3rd century Persia, promulgated the idea that the world is divided between the powers of good and evil. Though often deemed a heresy, it has had a large influence on Christianity, especially through the writings of Augustine of Hippo.]

Greenwald argues that this world vie
...more
Kcatty
Apr 14, 2014 Kcatty marked it as could-did-not-finish
4/14/2014 Okay so apparently Glenn Greenwald won an award for his investigative journalism. Good for him. Maybe he should stick to writing articles and blogs because honestly I don't think his books are very good.

BREAKING NEWS! I actually agree with Greenwald about something! [link]
And now on to the rant.
*
So I elected to ignore my own advice from a couple weeks ago and checked out this book. I should have heeded my experience with Glen Greenwald, though. This book...yeah no.

Let's recap:
I never g
...more
James
Although published back in 2008, this is still an informative read for those of us look back at the sheer breadth and depth of destruction brought about by the George W. Bush administration. That Bush 43 was the worst president in American History is difficult to dispute and Greenwald provides a cogent analysis of the "whys" and "how is it possible" aspects despite the fact that the economic debacle of 2008 brought about by de-regulation polices promoted by the Bush Administration had not yet ta ...more
Paul
Greenwald makes a good argument - that the Bush administration's policy-making vision has been handcuffed by a Manichean world view. Problem is, Greenwald could have done one of two things. He could have used new primary material - as in gone out and interviewed a bunch of officials and policy wonks - to show how the administration's world view impacted policy-making. Or he could have taken a larger view and dug deeply into the intellectual history of the Bush administration's vision. Joke all y ...more
Christopher Mcquain
A deeply rigorous and informative book about the simplistic mindset of our last President and its horrendous implications. Long on scholarship, but short on prose style; Greenwald is a lawyer and a blogger, not a nonfiction artist like Emerson or Didion, and it shows in the passable but indifferent writing. Still, Greenwald the writer's penchant for redundancies and brittleness doesn't impede Greenwald the researcher/journalist the way it would in a book with a less informational aim. I ultimate ...more
Nanci Mcclellan
This was an insightful read when it came out in 2007. Bush was not inherently evil but Cheney was. The combination of Bush as President and Cheney as VP became a perfect storm with the fall out being felt to this day.
Jeff
Oct 26, 2007 Jeff rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: nobody
There's some good content in this book, but I don't think it had an editor: it's 4x longer than it needs to be, and filled with excessively earnest prose and superlative adverbs. Words like "clearly," "undoubtedly," and "manifestly" abound, and usually modify assertions that are not clear, undoubted or manifest to supporters of the war, the Bush admin, etc., and for which you should really have footnotes (there are no endnotes either) to back you up.

He's a much better blogger than he is an autho
...more
Greg
I forced myself to read this book all the way through, hoping that I'd stumble across something that I could consider worth internalizing. Nope...didn't happen. Oh, I suppose those that share this authors world view will revel in his vitriolic diatribe against President Bush, Neoconservatives and Christians, but for me, it was just more of the same 'ol Bush bashing that we've listened to for the last seven years. Not worth the paper used to bring it to print; should have saved a tree.
Handel
Major fan of Greenwald's Web site and written work. Unlike most political writers, he has an appreciation for history and an understanding that in today's culture, it is good to remind those in power of what they have said in the past and of holding people to who they truly are. When I had my vague college notions of being a political journalist, this is who I would like to be.
Mia
A lot of the book felt like being hit over the head with the same overly simplistic message. There wasn't a lot of depth or insight to the research or writing, which isn't to say that Greenwald doesn't have a point. He does, and it's a valid one, but it could have been said in fewer pages or with greater analysis and/or better overall writing.
Megan
Glenn Greenwald writes a very readable, fired-up blog for Salon. That said, this book was a chore. His specific chapters on the events leading up to the Iraq War are worth reading but I could have used about 100 fewer pages on the theme of Bush's "Manichean morality." The editor was really asleep at the wheel on those introductory chapters.
Adam
Written like a thesis or term page, it was a little redundant, but gets to the point at page 40. Depressing, yet relatable to anyone with a capitalist mentality. Really looking forward to Laura Bush's memoir now. Must read, will enjoy reading again 3 years from now.
Will
Only read one chapter - I love Greenwald's work, but this book would be of more interest to someone who doesn't already agree with most/all of his premises. As always, he is great about pointing out various people's hypocrisy.
Doug Allen
i dig glenn greenwald. a lot. this book gets repetitive at times, but only because greenwald is so detailed about his criticisms that he backs each one up with a LOT of examples.
Claire S
If were to be able to stand it, and were useful, would be good to know these details. The Dubai ports deal? Duh.. what's that? Eek..
Trey
Actually not that good. I felt like anyone who took a philosophy and political science class could've written this book.
Bridget
I think greenwald is a great writer but he did get quite repetitive.
Kris

Amazing that we have a Constitution left.
Bill McCracken
Meh. Moldy blog posts.
Fawn
Jul 15, 2007 Fawn added it
i love glenn greenwald.
Mike
pretty good.
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Glenn Greenwald is an American lawyer, columnist, blogger and author who worked as a constitutional and civil-rights litigator prior to becoming a contributor (columnist and blogger) to Salon.com, where he focuses on political and legal topics. He has also contributed to other newspapers and political news magazines, including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The American Conservative, T ...more
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“The fact that war is the word we use for almost everything—on terrorism, drugs, even poverty—has certainly helped to desensitize us to its invocation; if we wage wars on everything, how bad can they be?” 16 likes
“The same president who has insisted that core moralism drives him has brought America to its lowest moral standing in history.” 7 likes
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