Mar 30, 11
Read in March, 2011
"SIGH". I wrote this word in the back cover as I finished this work, having walked away with a mixed experience.
From a literary standpoint, this is a quite accessible book in that is is clearly written in W's prose. Almost to a fault at times. As I previously noted, you don't normally expect to read phrases such as "I wanted to kick their ass" and "it really pissed me off" in a presidential memoir, but it is truly is what made him such an affable figure to some.
I believe that the format will not help to serve his legacy. By presenting the information in nearly an essay format for each "Decision Point", cohesiveness and chronology of his presidency suffer. Imagine reading a historical Quentin Tarantino movie where there is frequent cross references to out of sequence time frames. If the reader is not familiar with recent historical events, as may be the case years from now, their comprehension of this work my suffer through no fault of their own.
The majority of my mixed impressions of this book are political in nature. I voted against the man twice, still maintain that the Iraq conflict was costly and unnecessary, and that the man was an Bible-thumping simpleton that was being controlled by the more savvy members of his administration. Some of these impressions were minimally assuaged, while others were unflappable.
Although his insights into the stem cell issue were enlightening, there were other issues where his recounting of events is so naive that it borders on delusional. When speaking of the Patriot Act, he alludes to the trouble it was causing at home. No, not domestically where citizens were unhappy about wire tapping, for better or worse. But for his ACTUAL home, where the retired librarian Laura was upset that the act would dip into people's library records. Although I appreciate his candor when speaking about "enhanced interrogation techniques", I was not surprised that the showboating of supposed weapons factories and Colin Powell's tube of Anthrax in front of the UN were not even mentioned.
It benefits anyone to be informed about their history, especially for a nation as great as ours. I have no regrets after turning the pages of this book, and I encourage others to be open to the experience as well.