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Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President

3.6  ·  Rating details ·  237 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews

A renowned Washington, D.C.–based psychoanalyst examines George W. Bush's public persona–and asks serious questions about whether he is fit for the office he holds.

In Bush on the Couch Frank offers a comprehensive psychological profile of President George W. Bush using the principles of Applied Psychoanalysis, the discipline of psychoanalyzing public and historical figur

Hardcover, 247 pages
Published 2004 by Regan Books
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Bill  Kerwin

Some interesting, although rather obvious, insights into the president's personality. Of particular note is his view of Bush as a "dry drunk," or untreated abstaining alcoholic, and how the judgmental, rigid nature of such a person's world view dovetails perfectly with Bush's Christian fundamentalism and military adventurism.

Still, it should be said that any psychiatrist's attempt to analyze a public figure purely on the basis of the public record, without the benefit of a single clinical interv
Jan 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in America's situation and future
Scary and thought-provoking. Dr. Frank continues the time-honored tradition of psychological analysis of prominent people that is one of the key tools of our own government in its dealings with foreign leaders and also an element of modern political campaigns; his research has been thorough and his conclusions, all based on the documented history of the president and his family, are rooted in established and time-tested psychological theory. He looks not only at George W. Bush but also at our ow ...more
Jul 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: americans who have been nervous about government in the past 6 years
The author psychoanalytically profiles Bush from afar, gleaning what he can from interviews with loved ones, public transcripts, articles, school and work records, etc. -- in the same way that the FBI profiles world leaders and public figures from afar for the U.S. government.

He begins with the obvious, and often-speculated points (like the President's possible learning disorder/dyslexia), and then moves down the pike to name some psychological characteristics that I found fascinating (and a bit
I am an empathetic person, perhaps to a fault. I should feel incredible empathy for George W. Bush but I don't and I never will. The man is a pathetic, alcoholic sociopath and deserves our complete scorn and rejection for the terrorism he has unleashed upon the world. As he is wont to do, I wich we could rewrite our history. Well written and insightful book, incredibly end-noted in all its living and gory color. GWB needs to be put away.
Jul 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loaned this book to my therapist. She still hasn't given it back to me! This is a very interesting diagnosis of our leader's mental health, by a foremost and well-credentialed doctor in the field. Read at your own peril. You'll have nightmares for weeks!
Aug 19, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kathy by: Annie
I thought I would like this book more than I did, only because I relish anything that exposes W for the incompetent and dangerous individual I believe him to be. However, while I'm no expert in psychology, there were really no significant revelations in this book. Frank frequently references Freud (Jung only once), with whom most people are probably at least somewhat familiar; however, he relies largely on the work of Melanie Klein (and others), of whom I knew nothing. Therefore, anything he sai ...more
Mar 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Is George W Bush a malignant narcissist? Dr. Frank makes a convincing argument for just that, delving into Pres. Bush's past, he utilizes forensic psychology to create a profile of a very troubled man.

I first read this book, just after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. I came away from it with a better understanding of what drove not only President Bush, but Secretary Rumsfeld and Vice President Cheney.

There are those who would question the validity of his assessment, given that Bush was never a pat
I loved this book more then words. From the attention grabbing cover to the insightful information about Bush and the world's mind point, this book shoudl have been read by everyone before Bush got into offce. This is well foot-noted and researched. It looks to the pieces of his life that would seem to influence him today. I felt sadness in reading one of the things that influenced our president at a young age. This book is very intriguing. It goes back into Bush family history and delves into w ...more
Beverly Ritz
Aug 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent insight on GWB and his pathology. Well written and interesting. I read the companion book "Obama on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President", and found, unequivocally, that President Obama possessed mentally, emotionally and deliberately (in a careful and unhurried way) far more sound characteristic traits than President Bush, whom I found unsettling about his upbringing; and many of those flaws made its way to the U.S. Presidency! An excellent study of human nature and what motiva ...more
May 05, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I remember reading this just before the '04 election, while I was organizing for the New Hampshire primary, and thinking "Thank god the bastard will soon be out of office."

The best thing about Bush was how fast he faded away; even cracking jokes about him isn't funny anymore. It was as though the man existed in momentary spurts of stupidity and silence, and when those moments were gone there was nothing left but the horror of his presence.

Anyway, Mr. Frank's book was completely necessary at th
Jul 19, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It wouldn't take Freud to spot Bush as a sadistic, megalomaniac, Neanderthal with "Daddy" issues. At times, the most liberal of readers, however, wonder where where psychology ends and pure dislike of Bush's politics begins. While this reader is certain Bush is all the above and more, an exercise for the good doctor would be to analyze the piss out of a politician on the Democrat side. Let's face it, for good or ill, Bill would definitely fill a book.
Toby Decker
Oct 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book which showed how this deeply psychologically scarred individual was unfit to be President.

Produced in 2005, it answered the question why such a troubled person would seek the presidency, starting with his self-medication (alcohol) in prep school, through college until his "born again" status in 1985.

While one does not have to love psychology to understand the findings, it nevertheless provides an insight in how some people come to be who they are.

Jul 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent analysis of the persona of George W Bush. The author uses speeches and other sources to build a picture and understanding of the mind of Bush. It is fascinating and alarming. The author describes the early childhood of the President along with critical life alterning losses in a clear and compassionate style.
The reader is not over burdened with psychological language yet is is not simplistic.
This is a must read for those who are interested in the "new" Republican party.
Mar 04, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the family book for this year (thanks to Lora and Adam). The analysis is very freudian, which i don't really like (the gender constructs and assumptions about Mother and Father) but at the same time it is a fascinating read. i agree with others who have said that it makes them both more scared of and bush and sad for him...
Lisa Fagan
Sep 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The content was so stomach turning, but then again the truth can be at times. To be sure, it is five-star worthy if for no other reason than the sheer amount tenacity required to complete a work like this. Undoubtedly, Frank must possess the trait spades! Very hard to get thru, but I'm glad I made it out the other side.
Aug 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very frightening book--Bush analyzed by a psychologist with very good writing skills. How was this man ever elected? He tortured animals as a child, tortured "brothers" in his fraternity house, and had fist fights with his father; apparently, his efforts to quit drinking "cold turkey" have not gone well either. Careful who I'd recommend this one to, though.
It's a fun read, with a lot of good insights, but obviously biased and made me want to psychoanalyze the author as much as read his analysis of Bush. The updated version is interesting to compare to the original because a lot of what he predicted proved to be so accurate.
Toby Decker
Discusses how his charm fools some people to think he is a "nice, good ole boy" when he is anything but a nice guy.
IN hindsight a prescient book of an imbalanced chap whose incompetence has ranked him as the worst US President - including Buchanan.
Aug 17, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
An amusing attempt to psychoanalyze the Prez, blaming his dislike of ambiguity on attitudes common to recovered alcoholics. I wonder if he's at all trying to reference the NR article from the 70s, "Kissinger on the Couch."
Mar 21, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I enjoyed this book, I definitely felt like it was written by someone who dislikes George W. Bush. There was some information in it that I found to be useful and new but mostly it was a rehashing of things I already knew.
Kay Pratt
Sep 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't agree with all of Frank's opinions but his ideas are worth reading and thinking about. Dr. Frank also wrote a book about Obama and I assume he will continue writing analyses of presidents. He needs to try to be a little less biased toward liberal politics.
Feb 08, 2008 marked it as partially-read
Shelves: non-fiction
I started reading this but put it down after 60 pages or so. I might pick it back up again, might not. The author is such a hard-core Freudian that I have to take his interpretation with a grain of salt.
Jim Noyes
I had not made the "dry drunk" connection until I read this. While there is some criticism to diagnosis without actually talking to the "patient" certainly some observations that the author supports.
So, according to this analyst, Bush is a dyslexic, hyperactive, sadistic, alcoholic who wants to kill his father. Why am I not surprised?
Ross Blocher
Jun 29, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm no fan of George W. Bush, but this book read as pure speculation and relied on discounted psychoanalytic theories. A waste of time to read.
Micky Livingston
Feb 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Great description of our 42nd President. Gives the reader a clear understanding of why Bush is like he is. I recommend this book.
Corinthia Soukup
Very interesting insight into our 'great president'. I actually broke up with it about 3/4 of the way through, but liked it until then. It's VERY wordy, and I LOVE words.
This book does what Oliver Stone's W. does not.
Aug 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Explained a LOT
Jan 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Well written. Frightening. Thank God, the end is near.
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