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Ten Minutes from Normal

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  307 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
"The rule of thumb in any White House is that nobody is indispensable except the president," said The New York Times, "but Karen Hughes has come as close to that description as any recent presidential aide." Karen Hughes has worked beside President George W. Bush since, as she says, "the motorcade was only one car and he was sometimes the one driving it." As counselor to t ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published December 3rd 2004 by Penguin Books (first published March 30th 2004)
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Danielle
Apr 20, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one
Is there a way to do half a star on this thing? This book is only on my list to see if my friends are paying attention. I bought this book at a signing at Wal-Mart solely so I could confront Karen Hughes about equating pro-choice people with the 9/11 terrorists. It was worth the $24.95 to stare into her empty soul. So I thought I would try reading it. And I couldn't get past chapter 4. Insipid. Pathetic. Total Crap.
Karen Wingate
Nov 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Karen Hughes, counsel to President George W. Bush, shares a candid look of what it is look to work closely with the POTUS. What a wonderful insider's look into a Presidential campaign, the Oval Office, and the impact of both on the personal lives of those who serve the President. Ever since I finished reading this book, I have quoted it to people several times and have loaned it out twice. It is an excellent read. I have a new respect for the daily lives and decisions of those in political offic ...more
Bryan Schmidt
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Read this a decade ago and remembered how inspiring it was. A great inside like at the White House and First Family and those who advised them through some incredibly tough decisions. Thoroughly enjoyable. Especially valuable to anyone interested in Christians and women in politics.
Karol
Dec 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned, read-in-2010
I have had this book on my shelves for quite awhile. The title really grabbed my attention, and it is appropriate not just for the crazy life of a person immersed in politics and PR/Communications, but especially for the events of 9/11.

There were parts of the book that were a little long - laundry lists of people and tasks, especially early in the book. As the author delved into her role in the Bush campaigns for governor of Texas and then president of the United States, it became more interesti
...more
Emily
Jun 16, 2009 rated it liked it
Intriguing woman who was closer to President Bush during his Texas governorship and early White House years than almost anyone else. Real testament to the American ideal that anyone can grow up to be anything. She honestly and thoroughly chronicled her struggles to balance career and family - just about every woman (and man) should identify with those frequently agonizing decisions.

Ms. Hughes also highlighted the difference between events themselves and how those events can be portrayed in the m
...more
Jennifer Hayes-vucetic
I found the sincerity of GWB heart warming and genuine.
Karen I was utterly disappointed with. You have the opportunity of a lifetime a pole position people train for, prepare there whole lives for and never attain. I feel like she sets women back by 50 years with her sniveling account of her time in this amazing position.
My take away... She talks about how nice everyone was to her and how much they all loved her. I feel like she's trying to justify her side but the quitting is inexcusable. I wo
...more
Cate
Mar 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Fascinating read from a definite GWB insider (and very loyal one, so keep that in mind).

I especially enjoyed reading the play-by-play on 9/11. The only way to get any sense of balance on GWB is to read first-hand accounts, versus Bush-bashing "objective" journalism, so this is one of those sources that gives some perspective on how things really went down.

Of course, you always have to keep in mind that one's perspective is always different when you're on the inside. I doubt Hughes would've said
...more
Christina
Jan 10, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010
This is a very detailed and through memoir, starting with Karen's childhood and running through her 18 month term in the White House. I enjoyed some of the details, especially of the presidential campaign and the events of September 11. In most other places, it was almost too detailed and I ended up having to skim some parts.

Karen is a strong Christian and it was interesting to see how her faith affected her decisions, especially her return to Texas. If you enjoy reading about how the White Hou
...more
Kelsey
Feb 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book is Karen Hughes' autobiography. Hughes was one of President Bush's closest advisers who left the White House to put her family first (which is why I picked the book up in the first place). While this book is about Karen Hughes, because she worked so closely with President Bush, it can't help but give an insider's perspective on the President and his administration. I loved the author's account of several various events that I recall hearing about on the news, but now I had the story fr ...more
Plschaus
Aug 13, 2011 rated it liked it
Not sure why I bought this book, because it sat on my shelf for a long time, but once I started it I found it interesting. It made me wonder what I would do in under those circumstances. Would I give up the power and recognition because my child was unhappy? Would Church & family life be considered my highest priority? Karen Hughes balanced all of these things the best she could while remaining President Bush's chief Counselor. It also gave a different perspective to the Bush years. What was ...more
Becky
Aug 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was a very insightful look into one of the highest positions in the US Government. Karen Hughes is a smart woman, and was one of the closest advisors to George W Bush during his time at the White House, and before. If you don't like "Dubya", you won't like this book. Karen Hughes clearly admires the man and there isn't a harsh word about him or his administration. I enjoyed this book as it made the George W Bush seem even more real and personable than I'd already gathered from other things ...more
Jane
Feb 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
I picked this book up because I was intrigued by the fact that Karen was right-hand "man" to George Bush, who I voted for for President. I wanted to get a glimpse into his real personality. I was not disappointed. I learned that George and Laura Bush are kind and caring people, people of integrity, and people of faith. Karen Hughes is also. I just had the opportunity to meet her at a women's event in Utah. She is amazing.
J. Ewbank
Apr 11, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: political
Occasionally I read one of these political books just to see what they think if going on etc.

This book is worth the read and the effort. I found it to be an interesting book because of the information it gives, but would not get entirely wrapped up in any political book beause most of them are pretty well slanted to their point of view.

J. Robert Ewbank author "John Wesley, Natural Man, and the 'Isms'"
Brigitta
May 16, 2014 rated it liked it
As a person not having an anti-Bush bias, this book was really not as awful as people are saying. It is a good look at how many different paths there are to the inner circle of politics. I loved how she gave up her high position to spend time with her family, something that is not the usual, all or nothing, rise to the top career mentality.
April
Mar 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
It's rare in today's world to find anyone who would give up their job for the sake of their children's happiness but that is exactly what Karen Hughes did when she left her job as a counselor to George W. Bush in 2002. This book is about her struggles to balance a personal life with a demanding job and deciding that it would not be possible.
Lauri
Feb 21, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
YUK! Like a laundry list of her daily activities! She's supposed to be a writer! This is the book which defined a whole new set of rules for Book Club: 1. The host must have already read the book. 2. The book must be available at the library (so 12 of us don't pay $25 for it!). BTW, I couldn't stand to finish it!
Laura
Aug 06, 2008 rated it liked it
This is one I'd like to get back to eventually. She was an adviser to Pres. Bush in Texas and on the campaign. After 2 years in DC she left to go back to Texas so her son could finish high school there. I checked it out from the library and never got finished, but it was interesting to see a woman's perspective at that level.
Julie
Aug 13, 2008 marked it as to-read
I started reading this book over a year ago...then life got me distracted! What I read of it was a good autobiography of Bush's adviser Karen Hughes...Being a political buff, I loved reading an insider's view of the campaign & political process, but being a mom, I also loved reading about Hughes' internal battle between balancing home and work.
Alissa
Dec 07, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
The campaign storis were most interesting to me as the author was the communications director. She talks a lot about faith, God and her christiantity - which I skimmed through as it was a little too evangelical. She does describe things briefly and I gained insight into President Bush.
Kristi
Feb 27, 2010 rated it liked it
I choose to read this book because of my career in public relations and found it an interesting personal story of behind-the-scenes politics. I like real-life stories and admire any woman that strives to find that balance between family and career.
Kim
Jan 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A great book about Hughes' struggle with motherhood vs. work ... As Bush's Press Secretary, her life was demanding and she was constantly travelling. The book really showed how she balanced it all and remained sane, while making big decisions about family first.
Dionne
Jul 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I didn't really like Hughes initially for some reason but after reading this book I really came away liking her a lot. I forget now why I ended up buying the book or if someone gave it to me.
Kathy
Apr 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
I love America and I like Karen Hughes for her love of family and her faith and I believe the nice things she writes about her boss, governor and then President George W. Bush.
Dad
Jul 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Wow! What a rat race they live in! Very interesting insight of a person on the President's staff.
Julie
Jul 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
Very interesting to see what goes on behind the scenes of an American President.
Megan
Feb 13, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love Karen & her description of George W. Smart, no-nonsense woman.
Budd Dwyer
Feb 16, 2010 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Mother Teresa
IF Eva Braun had written an autobiography it probably wouldn't have been as "sparkling" as the one from the "Queen of Death" of the Bush Regime. But it might have been more interesting.
Noel
Feb 19, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The information on Hughes and her journey to the White House was very interesting, but I found her deification of George W. Bush to be a little hard to swallow.
Naomi Blackburn
Sep 17, 2010 rated it liked it
Although I found the stories interesting, I thought her writing should have been more engrossing. I thought it was pretty cut and dry.
Karol
Nov 08, 2008 rated it liked it
Exciting to read about her career as she ascended to the inner circle of advisors to President Bush.
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Karen Hughes served as counselor to the president, was one of three people who ran his presidential campaign and worked as his communications director during his six years as governor of Texas. She is an elder and longtime Sunday-school teacher in the Presbyterian church. Mrs. Hughes lives with her husband and son in Austin, Texas, where she continues to advise President Bush from her home.
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