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American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush
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American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  856 ratings  ·  50 reviews
The Bushes are the family nobody really knows. This popular lack of acquaintance-nurtured by gauzy imagery of Maine summer cottages, gray-haired national grandmothers, July 4th sparklers & cowboy boots-has let national politics create a dynasticized presidency that would have horrified the Founders. After all, they'd led a revolution against a succession of royal Georges. ...more
Hardcover, 403 pages
Published January 5th 2004 by Viking (NYC) (first published January 1st 2004)
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Will Byrnes
A multi-generational look at the Bush family, as well as some others, their roles in important events in American history and how the present is merely the continuation of the past. There are many compelling points made here, not least of which is that the Bush tax policies acted to cement in place an American aristocracy. He also shows that Dubyah’s methodology of lies and obfuscation is one with past practices in the family. Very compelling stuff. But I did find the laundry list methodology us ...more
Samantha
Dec 24, 2007 rated it did not like it
Now I'm not a Bush hater or a Bush lover but I was hoping to learn some Bush history. This book isn't about the history of this family but a long argument on how they have messed up the entire world by their views. The beginnings of each chapter actually starts out pretty good then drags into statistics and unfounded statements of the writers belief. He tries to draw out comparsions of Clinton and Bush. Wait and buy this book on the bargain book table if you must read it. One of the worst politi ...more
Sarah
Mar 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Well, well, well. THis book was written in 2004 - presumably to help tank GW's second run. The book failed. I picked it up now because I was both amused and annoyed by the current memes noting our nostalgia for GWB. It was fact laden and tough slog to get through. Boring. Boring. Boring. But, there was enough relevance here to keep me going.

The author is primarily arguing against the Bush's dynastic intentions, and he definitely has an axe to grind; but the book appears well researched and very
...more
Mark Valentine
Mar 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
I can't believe I read this book! Sometimes I had to hide the cover behind a magazine so no one would see that I was reading it. I mean, really, reading about the Bush family makes me think playing Scrabble is actually enjoyable!

But I read it and I can now connect the dots between the Bush family and exactly why and how the United States invaded Iraq: OIL! The Bush's have enormous family holdings in it and stand to become the largest of the richest if the cards are played well.

Also, I was disma
...more
Dru
Jul 10, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics
Wow! Both my father and I read this book at the same time, so it took awhile, passing the book back and forth. But it was so intense, so fascinating that it was actually overwhelming to read beyond one portion of a chapter at a time. We remarked how each chapter might have as well been a textbook on it's own, with the huge amount of information that the author had. It was intriguing to see all of that in one book, the information about their forefathers, George H Bush and George W Bush. It was a ...more
Cwn_annwn_13
Dec 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
Good stuff here on the Bush Family and their many shady dealings going back to the 1800's. I mean it really is amazing how interwoven this bunch is with so many of the worst elements of the worlds power brokers for over a 150 years. If this book has a weakness its, although it brings up many of the the nefarious deeds and dealings of the Bush crime family, that it barely touches on or completely ignores the worst of the worst that the Bushs have been linked to over the years. It also tries a bit ...more
Erik Graff
Nov 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
I don't much like Obama, but I disliked the Bushes more. This book, a biography of the Bushes and the Walkers by a self-styled Eisenhower Republican, reminded me as to why and added several more reasons to the list. Reminiscent of recent works by another (in his case, a Goldwater) Republican, John Dean, Phillips' study credibly shatters the image(s) so carefully and successfully constructed by this family. Indictments should, but won't, follow.

...more
Amy
Jan 14, 2008 rated it did not like it
Well, let's say read most of it. I agree that this is a well-researched book, and it confirms much of what I have always suspected, but the author's style is so pedantic that I found it very tough slogging. I may not be able to bring myself to finish it (and that's truly unusual for me).
...more
Owen
Aug 12, 2008 rated it it was ok
A depressing read, but that's because of the subject not the author's fault. I did find this to include a little too much detail on Bush family history for a casual read but understandable given his intent of making a point. Worth a skim to help support some theories but not much more than that. ...more
Chris
Apr 27, 2009 rated it did not like it
I couldn't read this thing. I probably should have given it more time, but I was literally bored into sleep on several nights. I never found myself wanting to pick the thing up. I actually stopped reading altogether for several days until I subconsciously lost the book. ...more
AC
Mar 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Outstanding book -- K. Phillips at his best. Far broader than the title suggests...
Ellen
Jun 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Very well researched book about the Bush family, going back well before Georges H. and H.W. Bush to Prescott Bush and the Walkers (they were the highly successful capitalists who put the "Dubya" into the 41 and 43 presidents' names, and the massive fortunes into the dynasty's coffers), to this clan's exploits in what the author calls "crony capitalism." In these pages, we learn how the Walker-Bush clan amassed huge amounts of wealth and power in the energy, intelligence and defense sectors of th ...more
Alethea Hammer
Mar 03, 2015 rated it really liked it


One of the more interesting aspects of growing old is that they write history books about stuff you remember seeing in the headlines. This is an excellent book spanning 5 generations of a wealthy and powerful American family. Many books have been written about them. Most are either shameless political puff pieces or hostile conspiracy minded exposes. This book is balanced, well researched and firmly grounded in historical context. The author is never afraid to digress a bit to give historical ba
...more
Eric Hudson
Jul 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
The Bush Empire was in the making 100 years before Bush I was coronated President, and while we "slept" grew stronger to coronate Bush II. Those that read books like this are what stand between us and the coronation of Bush III. The problem with this book is that it tries to do far too much in terms of documenting not just the long Bush Dynasty in and out of office, but also the dynastic proclivity of our system of government, the continued rise of the neo cons, the religious right, etc, which m ...more
Pam
Dec 10, 2007 rated it it was amazing
The author doesn't hold back...he tells all and includes a 'damning assessment of the family's machinations to gain the White House and to subvert the very core of American democracy: government by and for the people'. If you dislike W now, read this and you'll despise his whole family and have good reasons for doing so. ...more
John
Feb 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
I was a little disappointed after reading the title that it wasn't easy potshots at the world's most worthy target, but rather a fact-based, rather dry account of the last century's rise of dynasty, military-industrial complex, and of course 4 generations of Bushes' feeding frenzy on said trends. But call me lazy. ...more
Ely
Jan 14, 2009 added it
The Bush/Walker family has played an immense role in the history of the 20th century both nationally and internationally. Kevin Philips is a thorough and impressive historical voice concerning American history. Power takes an interesting form when you know the right people, and you are part of the greater plan and one of a thousand points of light.
Loretta
Jun 10, 2011 rated it did not like it
this is so wrong!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!you are an idiot.. what do you think osoma, oops i meen obama.. not realy there is no difference in the two... obama took sooo long in coming out to tell us because he had to stop crying about having to kill his best friend... obama is nothing but lie after lie and u want to talk deceitful?
Len Egan
Jan 01, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
From this book I learned just how corrupt the Bush family is. The extent of it amazed me. I'm certainly glad that I never voted for him, and am sad that Gore did not pursue the Florida recount with more tenacity. ...more
Hubert
Nov 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Overview of four generations of Bushes and Walker and how they have used banking, intelligence, oil, and institutional / academic connections to maintain power over the last century. Strongly focuses on the origins of the military-industrial complex from the turn of the 19th/20th century.
Robin Haueter
Mar 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
Tells the story of how the Bush family got into and perfected making money out of the nexus of government and business.
Greg
Aug 16, 2008 rated it it was ok
Early anti-Bush book, a little too alarmist on the dynasty thing. Ignores historical corollaries in that regard.
Lobstergirl
Jan 15, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: own, american-history
Man those Bushes are deceitful.
Val
Aug 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
The subtitle tells the tale. Facinating family and political history. Pushing a political agenda for personal profit is a family trait.
Charles
Feb 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most thorough, well-documented and well written texts that explains so much about the US democracy, and especially its limits.
Sean Pratt
Aug 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sean-s
Excellent history of the Bush family and the difference between their perceived patriotism versus their selfish avarice.
Tara van Beurden
This book was a slog! Written around the time of Bush Jr’s second term, it lays out how the election of George H.W. and then George W. Bush indicates the beginning of a new dynasty style American electoral system, and all the issues this represents. I think this is a valid point, particularly after Hillary Clinton’s run for office, and all the comments made about Ivanka Trump eventually running for the office currently held by her father. But how the argument is laid out feels rather conspiracy ...more
Kenneth
May 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Highly readable, and full of information. The Bushes are a fascinating family, not quite as drab as Jeb looked on the campaign trail in 2016.
This is perhaps Kevin Phillips finest book. What really stood out to me here was the shady back round of Prescott Bush, the father of George Herbert Walker Bush #41, and his role with Union Banking and Brown Brothers Harriman in their trading with and supplying the Nazis right up to WWII.. Then you have the long time relation ship of #41 and the C.I.A, whic
...more
Joseph J.
Sep 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
As a sophomore in college this leader of the college Democrats was assigned the authors Emerging Republican Majority as a reading assignment-special report by his very Republican political science prof. Jump ahead two many years and Phillips, in the midst of a Republican nation, has penned a less that flattering picture of the finances and politics entwined in the Bush family. This is an interesting read, and those disapproving of the neoconservative foreign policy-and wars-of the Bush years wil ...more
Aatif Rashid
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Written with a vicious and uncompromising sharpness, this book details the history of the Bush family, who the author insightfully compares to the European royal families of the seventeenth century, in particular the English Stuarts. The book’s structure is thematic instead of chronological, an approach which works well as it allows Phillips to draw attention to how multifaceted the family is—banking, oil, east coast elitism, and Christian fundamentalism, all wrapped into a chilling portrait.
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