Bush at War
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Bush at War (Bush at War #1)

3.4 of 5 stars 3.40  ·  rating details  ·  2,079 ratings  ·  130 reviews
Award-winning author and journalist Bob Woodward turns his attention to the presidency of George W. Bush. Before the acts of terrorism on 11 September, George W. Bush's presidency had been beset by numerous problems. Not only was it in many peoples eyes invalid, very few people took him seriously as a world statesman. Then following one violent mindless act of terrorism, G...more
Paperback, 382 pages
Published July 1st 2003 by Pocket, (first published November 1st 2002)
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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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
Nathan
Sep 17, 2007 Nathan rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Vikas Datta
As good as being at the ringside when these momentous decisions were being taken, but then we expect an incisive view from Mr Woodward
Jeff Carpenter
Lots of information but this book didn't do much for me.
Jon
Strangely boring. It could be that I've reached my threshold for War on Terror books, but I also couldn't help comparing the largely uncommentating narrative to Thomas Ricks' cutting analysis. I was surprisingly impressed by Bush: this account shows him taking a great deal of personal responsibility, holding back on Iraq until the Taliban was addressed, and essentially herding cats. It also shows the unfocussed mess that the War on Terror was from the getgo, and the disturbing lack of concern fo...more
Scott Porch
My brief review upon first reading in 2003:

More like Bush at Bore. I, frankly, expected a more interesting read. The dialogue among the principals was detailed and extremely revealing, but the book had such a colorless pallor that it hardly mattered. No one’s eyes narrowed. It never rained. They just talked and talked and talked.


I reread the book in 2008 in effort to read all four books in the series, and it was a more engaging read the second time through. I think it benefited from perspective.
Taruia
This first in a current set of five titles detailing the various US Administrations from 9/11 onwards details the decision to attack Afghanistan by the main players in the Executive Branch of Government - Bush (II), Rice, Powell, Rumsfeld, Chaney et al. The book was well written as you would excpect from Woodward, without setting the world on fire. It was light on analysis (but this was to be expected to a certain extent) but he was able to interview the main protagonists giving a 'insiders' vie...more
Boris
How we dealt with Afghanistan right after 9/11. How the CIA really didn't know what they were doing. How they succeeded in throwing the Taliban out of power in three months.
How we could have gotten out of the country in November, 2001 with better results for the US than we are getting after thirteen years of war and occupation. How competent people were thrown out of the Bush administration (Colin Powell). How decisions were made without any regard for facts or reality.
Why it really matters who...more
Dufour
Reads like a long newspaper article. Not a lot of "surprise factor" for me because this has all come out in other analysis and news over the past few years. However, it's still one of those books that should be required reading for folks who want to know "what happened" at the senior level of our government after 9/11. That said, I also think it's incumbent upon readers of this (and Woodward's subsequent books) to explore other perspectives of the post-9/11 White House before making judgments ab...more
Hortense
Unforgivable. Here is the reporter who gave us Nixon chewing his pill bottle tops when his special assistant to the President in charge of removing pill bottle tops wasn't available. Mounting tolls of death. Mourning bells, cheap tricks. Money trails.

What the fuck happened to this man? What, did he look into Bush's eyes or something? If so, personally, I would run the other way as fast as I could manage. This turn of his is unexplained as far as I am concerned, and I don't want to hear any more...more
Kim
Mar 14, 2013 Kim rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: usa
A good read. Are we getting all the dirt? I guess not. Are we getting some dirt? Yup. It's odd to read the book in 2013, almost precisely ten years after the first CIA paramilitary teams entered Iraq to start up Gulf War II. It thus seems more like "literature" than a "report", because it seems like fiction someone wrote over the public broadcasts and non-secret information of the time, rather than the who-said-what-in-the-meetings play it seems to be. That's why I rate it 4/6, as a book, a good...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
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