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The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty

3.6  ·  Rating details ·  619 Ratings  ·  63 Reviews
From the First Lady of unauthorized, tell-all biography, this is the first real inside-look at the most powerful–and secretive–family in the world. From Senator Prescott Bush's alcoholism, to his son George Herbert Walker Bush's infidelities, to George Walker Bush's religious conversion, shady financial deals, and military manipulations, Kitty Kelley captures the portrait ...more
Hardcover, 705 pages
Published September 14th 2004 by Doubleday (first published 1999)
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Nov 22, 2008 rated it liked it
Well, this was pretty much trash. Since I listened to it on audio, I guess that it could be classified as "ear candy". In my defense, I needed a book to listen to while en route to Hilton Head that wouldn't distress my husband. So I stooped to his "Bush is an idiot" mentality and picked this up at the library. I will admit that he stayed awake and listened to it on the trip down I-95. Most of the book is a rehash of rumors about the Bush family that have circulated for years. But the information ...more
Jul 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
An interesting look at the First Family of America. After Seven years of Bush in the White House, I thought it'd be interesting to find out what makes his family tick. After reading this book, I have come to the conclusion that they are all totally crazy, but that's my opinion and I digress. The author shows how the Bush Family got it's start in politics and money through the Grandfather, Prescott Bush. It should have stopped with him. Instead, we had one president who was constantly vying for h ...more
Jul 14, 2009 rated it liked it
Now that idiot-boy dry drunk Dubya, aka the Worst President in the History of the Universe, is safely out of office and the resulting widespread damage is still being assessed, I said to myself, "Sure, I'll read this hatchet job on him and his whole rotten family - that family I love to hate." Said family includes of course Dubya's bumbling, appallingly politically opportunistic daddy, George Bush Senior; sour-tempered, volatile Bush matriarch, Barbara; creepy brother Jeb; and brother Neil, aka ...more
May 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
My expectations were low. I never read a Kitty Kelley book before, so it's clear that her critics had done their work on me. While some sour grapes relatives had their say, the book had far more meat than I expected. There was plenty of written record, and there are the all so telling (if they could be read) sealed and missing records.

Kelley's presentation about the Bush intra-Family, Bush-Yale, Bush-Reagan Bush-Republican Party, relationships etc. provided the glue for putting the missing piece
Dec 19, 2007 rated it liked it
This book was a lot better than I thought it would be. I figured it would be another Bush trashing book. But it's really not. It starts back with Samuel Bush who is 43's great grandfather and shows you how the Bushes came about on both sides of the family. It talks about Sen. Prescott Bush's failures and his successes in detail. I enjoyed how Barbara and George met, fell in lust and then continued to be married. She talks about 41's affair with Jennifer Fitzgerald, but does it with suspicion on ...more
Jul 16, 2010 rated it did not like it
I picked up this book because I was legitamitly interested in the Bush family history. Around page 200 when she gets into the lives of the two Bush presidents, her tone is not only disrespectful but malicious. I had just finished her book on Oprah which seems to glow with praise despite the damning facts presented. I was severly frustrated by having to skim through her repeated attacks on the presidents and her assumptions that the Bushes were morally corrupt liars that routinely did anything to ...more
Will Byrnes
Perhaps in the title they should have highlighted part of the sub-title, The Real Story of the Bush DyNASTY. These are mostly awful human beings. Prescott had at least some redeeming value, as a supporter of a few civil rights bills. But 41 is a horror, interested in bending over to anyone who can get him the power he wants. Neither 41 nor his kids, nor his grandkids were worth much as students. Their claim to fame was sports. They are all hyper-competitive. A serious racism runs through the fam ...more
JoAnn   W.
Nov 01, 2007 rated it really liked it
Kitty Kelly has a gossip columnist style of writing, and her biographies are often somewhat sensational. But she has never been sued for being inaccurate. In this book, she writes the story of three generations of the Bush family -- our current president's grandparents, parents, and GW Bush and his siblings. I found it a very interesting account of a family that has made a huge impact on American history and on the lives of every American today.
May 14, 2010 rated it liked it
This book solidified my view of the Bush Family -- rich thugs with connections in the upper strata which pretty much guaranteed they would get what they wanted, go where they wanted, appoint who they wanted with no remorse nor sense of responsibility for anything. Since no one has sued Kitty Kelley I guess it is safe to say she was right on the money... soooo enough said...
Linda Stock
Apr 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Linda by: found it at a book sale
I learned so much about the Bush family from this book! I feel I now understand a lot more about the Bush presidents than I did. Sometimes it helps to understand. :-)
Mar 29, 2009 rated it did not like it
Her entire purpose seemed to humiliate and ridicule rather than reveal and inquire...she's a small-minded, cheezy, hack.
Sep 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
**#71 of 120 books pledged to read/review during 2017**
Jun 29, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommended to s by: Books editor
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was a fun political read that generated a lot of controversy when it was released, mostly because Bush supporters jumped all over it, but I don't recall the book being seriously discredited as a result. And Kelley is a good researcher. This is lite political history, that is for certain - it reads more like a 650 page magazine article than a serious study. But heck (and I hope I dont sound like George Bush 1 here), there is nothing wrong with that from time to time. All things in moderation ...more
Jul 29, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Let me start with a disclaimer: I am not a Bush fan. I don't agree with a lot of his views and I have to stifle an urge to laugh when he appears on TV.

I find the family quite intriguing: a father and son presidencies. Not unprecedented but this time it happens during my lifetime. Naturally, I am curious about the book.

Initially, I didn't have high regard for Kitty Kelley who seems to offend everyone and was known, at least to me, for her Unauthorized Biography of Nancy Reagan (I didn't read the
Jan 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Okay. This is not my usual kind of thing...Kitty Kelley, the Bush family...however, I read the book by Curtis Sittenfeld, An American Wife....loosely based on Laura Bush. I think that this peaked my interest.

Kitty Kelley is reading the audiobook version of this that I am listening to. It's very interesting to hear about a family that is so radically different from my own experience.

Who knew that Barbara Bush had such a difficult relationship with her incredibly critical mother? Okay, maybe all
Ed Taylor
Apr 05, 2013 rated it liked it
I believe this book is fairly accurate but appears to try to keep from doing the Bush family any favors. It really goes after the generations of the family with each family becoming more corrupt and having a greater feeling of privilege. It paints the Bush's as living a lie. They show one side on camera and a different side behind closed doors. They do favors and pay-offs to keep negative news out of the press. And, the means for sure justifies the end. Documents hidden affairs while shunning a ...more
Mar 02, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: biographie
Diese Buch befaßt sich mit der Bush-Dynastie und belegt durch überdeutliches Hantieren mit Anekdoten, Einsprengsel und sonstigen Hinweisen alle bereits bekannten Vorurteile. Die akribische Arbeit der Autorin ist hierbei nicht unterzubewerten, allerdings macht die Detailfülle ein flüssiges Lesen nahezu unmöglich. Wird auch die Chronologie in etwa gewahrt, ist doch ein sprunghaftes Vorgehen nicht gerade dazu angetan, den Leser bei der Lektüre zu fesseln. Jedenfalls kann jeder, der GWB für, gelinde ...more
Jul 07, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok, I've never read anything by Kitty Kelley before and I was intrigued to see if it is all that it is cracked up to be. Yes, ultimately I liked it; but in truth, I wanted MORE DIRT! I thought it would be really scandalous (and of course from the Bush family perspective it was) but I wanted MORE! There were some very interesting tid-bits that I never knew (especially about Bush 41's love life) but it wasn't all that exciting in the end. My other criticism was that she spent A LOT of time on Pres ...more
Aug 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
Definitely not an authorized biography of the Bush dynasty, but I found it a far better book than I expected. I was impressed with the breadth and depth of the people she had talked to. It would have been hard for her to have made up the many revelations about the Bushes and how they made their money. As she states, there are people who make money and people who earn money, with the Bushes definitely being the former. No wonder they was so little fiscal responsibility under their reign.

Feb 12, 2011 rated it liked it
Pretty good book. A little heavy on the personal opinion and speculations, but appears to be well-researched for the most part. Certainly not a boring book. A bit "gossipy" at times, but was interesting to read about some of the back room stuff that you'd never have seen reported in the news. It paints a very different picture of Barbara Bush especially, from what her public image has been. It's obvious that Kitty Kelly is a liberal and that that slanted her writing at times, but overall, it was ...more
Oct 25, 2013 rated it liked it
It doesn't get much more comprehensive than 700+ pages covering 100+ years. And while Kelley attributes many facts to former employees of one Bush or another (who could have a grudge), most things are attributed to actual family members and things they forgot they said in their own memoirs or past interviews. The one thing that differentiates this biography from the others of hers I had to read is that she extensively editorializes.
Jul 09, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Folks who like political history
This work needs serious overhauling, lots of repetitive information, however, it's a terrific study of the past 50 years of American politics, delving into the inner machinations of partisan politics with particular attention paid to the Republican revolution and of course the dynastic Bush family, who come across as venal, mercenary, inept, petty, and appallingly destructive.
Jan 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book was a fascinating study of Prescott, George Herbert Walker, and W, the leading members of a family that chose power over money as the path to dominance. I can safely say the Bush family would never join Goodreads because, according to Kitty Kelly, the family only had one book in its entire Kennebunkport home.
Aug 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Kelley starts way back on both sides to the parents of the elder George Bush and also the upbringing of Barbara. You learn she has some insecurities and defensiveness and that he is not the squeeky clean husband that he has been made out to be. Plenty of scandle also in the early years of college. She also reveals some hidden secrets regarding George Jr. and Laura that were surprising.
J. Ewbank
This is an interesting, but long read and look at both President's Bush and their families.

It is interesting and WOW!! they are human like the rest of us.

Don't always enjoy this type of writing because sometimes it appears as if there are other things working than just history. Best history comes later and this is more in the form of a tell-all.

However it is interesting.
Sep 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
Bijzonder kritisch en vooral georiënteerd op de smeuïge affaires en negatieve karaktertrekken.
Globaal beeld: overambitieus, aristocratisch (recht op ambten), arrogant, brutaal tegen ondergeschikten, stijlloos.
Dec 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
This book is surprisingly non-dishy and is actually pretty boring - especially the stuff about Preston Bush. I've found previous Kitty Kelley books pretty entertaining this one not so much. In fact, I thought it was an awesome Christmas gift when I turned the last page. I'm so glad I'm finished!
David Vanness
The author's work should be with the gossip sheets at the cash register. Originally, I had planned to read some of her other titles. However, I won't now let her interfere with quality literature.
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Kitty Kelley is an American investigative journalist and author of several best-selling unauthorized biographies of celebrities and politicians. Described as a "poison pen" biographer, her profiles frequently contain unflattering personal anecdotes and details, and their accuracy is often questioned. Though many of her books have topped the best sellers list, Kelley's credibility and sources have ...more
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