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Bush at War

(Bush at War #1)

3.50  ·  Rating details ·  3,739 ratings  ·  194 reviews
Award-winning author and journalist Bob Woodward turns his attention to the presidency of George W. Bush. Before the acts of terrorism on 11 September, George W. Bush's presidency had been beset by numerous problems. Not only was it in many peoples eyes invalid, very few people took him seriously as a world statesman. Then following one violent mindless act of terrorism, G ...more
Paperback, 382 pages
Published July 1st 2003 by Pocket, (first published November 1st 2002)
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Average rating 3.50  · 
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 ·  3,739 ratings  ·  194 reviews

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Erik Graff
Oct 11, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Woodward fans
Recommended to Erik by: A.M.
Shelves: history
The more I read Bob Woodward himself and the more I read about him, the more fishy I think he is. Having started his career in naval intelligence and professionally associated with Alexander Haig, Woodward went on to a meteoric rise through the newspaper industry to land in the right place and the right time to contribute to the unseating of Richard Nixon. The right place was The Washington Post, an occasional asset of the CIA. The right time was after Nixon had earned the ire of the Joint Chief ...more
Leo Jacobowitz
Will go down in history as one of the flimsiest pieces of propagandist bullshit written by a pathetic sycophant of a writer....who just years later would turn on the administration....Everyone (outside of the early street protesters in my beloved San Francisco) was watching Powell's videos thinking they saw something and admiring Rumsfeld on how tough and handsome he was....pathetic, disgusting, cowardly and horrifying period. Now everyone is a Bush critic but I remember the cowards then. ...more
Aug 08, 2008 rated it liked it
I don't want to debate, but this book kept me in, and left me, in a state of supreme anger! ...more
On the recent 15th anniversary of 9/11 Politico Magazine published a very good story of President Bush's actions on that day. From the first whispered news in the Florida classroom to his return to the White House that night, the article gave the reader the sense of what it was like aboard Air Force One with so little information at hand. The Politico piece spurred my interest in what happened in the days and months following September 11. Bob Woodward's Bush At War provides a closely observed n ...more
Jun 23, 2008 rated it it was ok
"Where have I heard this before? Hey,this sounds familiar, too!" Because we HAVE heard it...
Is this his literary agent's best work, yet? Face it, Mr Woodward's book tour ripped across your lawn, flashed from your TV, issued forth from the radio, and came to rest on your kitchen table folded up right next to your morning coffee. Thanks to an expert publicist, this book was excerpted, quoted, and publicly recounted by B.W. in over-the-air interviews. Bob Woodward's face, name, voice, and bio str
Sep 25, 2019 added it
Shelves: war
Tiresome book about a war launched under false pretenses.
Nov 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
In Bush at War, Woodward presents a very insightful insiders' view of the 9/11 and its aftermath as the Bush administration waged war against Afghanistan and debated war against Iraq. Woodward's research and writing style are to be admired. One never gets a hint of his own view of all what he wrote here. Considering the debate that raged during this time, it's good to know that Woodward maintained his neutrality throughout. I have always been intrigued with the insider perspective of this event, ...more
Barry McCulloch
What do you want from this book? The answer to this question will decide whether you should read it or enjoy doing so.

If you want an analysis of Bush’s foreign policy up until the invasion of Iraq don’t buy it. Yet, if you want a documentary account of an epoch defining moment and the rise of unilateral foreign policy making then this is a must read.

Woodward attempts to put you in the shoes of the administration during and after 9-11 up until the Iraq War and on the whole he does a good job. Y
Oct 04, 2015 rated it it was ok
About the response on 11/9/01 and the war in Afghanistan. Based on reports from the National Security Council and extensive interviews with all key players
Carey Nelson
My first bit of research before Mr. Woodward's (first?) book on Trump lands next month. What's done is done and I learned a lot from this about things I wasn't plugged into as an eighth grader. What an experience to read an account of the start of the war then the next day read in the NYT about the same war seventeen years later crossing three presidencies and having no exit strategy.

The abridged audiobook was jarring in places.
Sep 11, 2020 rated it did not like it
Bob Woodward is back in the news for perhaps some irresponsible journalism. Looks like in the 18 years between this book and now absolutely nothing has changed.
This book is about President Dubya and the first 100 days after September 11, 2001. It chronicles the goings-on of the President and his inner circle of advisers: Vice-President Cheney, Secretary of State Powell, Secretary of Defense Rumsfield, CIA Director Tenet, and National Security Adviser Rice. How did they react to 9-11? What was their advice to the President? Did they all agree with each other?

Woodward answers those questions and more, and reveals some interesting tidbits. For example, P
Aug 16, 2011 rated it liked it
Very interesting. I thought it was fairly non-biased. It frequently felt a little jumbled in terms of flow.

Near the beginning of the book, Woodard made it appear as though the Bush Admin wasn’t prioritizing the UBL/aQ threat adequately. He referenced the sequencing of the National Security Presidential Directives (NSPD) . In particular, the one addressing aQ was number 9. Woodard states, “meaning eight other matters had been formally assessed, vetted, agreed upon and signed off on as policy by t
Aug 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics
Bush At War is a insightful and highly readable account of President Bush’s administration following September 11. Bob Woodward does an excellent job at describing the different schools of thought and management style of the key characters in the Bush government (Powell’s disagreement with Rumsfeld over foreign policy being one example). Reading this book really helped me to grasp why the Bush administration acted the way it did and how political ideologies and personal agendas influenced the co ...more
Mar 14, 2015 rated it liked it
I thought this book would contain dramatic insight into the Bush presidency, and the decisions made immediately after 911. It was not dramatic, and I only found my interest piqued toward the end of the book. Too much, "Cheney said this," then "Powell said this", and finally "Rice said this. "
It was a crappy situation we got into after 911, lots of good, lots of bad things happened as a result. What would you have done, what would someone else have done? The more I read about Bush, the more I sy
R. Jones
Jun 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bob Woodward is very good at keeping his opinion out of the narrative. This is quality journalism - but that's all it really is. The book focuses on the 100 days following the September 11 attacks, and the Bush administration's discussions and decision making processes. It's nice to see the process from the inside, but we know how it all turned out, and I don't think Woodward offers anything too insightful, here. Informative, yes. Insightful, no. ...more
Sep 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
A fast and easy read. I finished it in two nights. It was super interesting and I learned a lot that I don't remember from when 9/11 happened. ...more
Dennis Littrell
Sep 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Ruffles no feathers

This is not a "fly on the wall" sort of report. It is a reconstruction of meetings, conversations and thoughts focused on President Bush as he orchestrated the military response to 9/11. Bob Woodward, the celebrated Washington Post journalist who with Carl Bernstein wrote All the President's Men about the Watergate scandal during the Nixon administration, demonstrates here that he has entree (and is trying to keep it) at the highest levels of the Bush administration including
Dennis Murphy
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Politically Engaged Americans, Modern American historians
Bush at War by Bob Woodward is an invaluable resource for understanding the early Bush administration as it pertains to the War on Terror and the Intervention in Iraq. I picked up my copy from Audible, and found it to be a fantastic listen. There will be a few surprises in store, and much of the book's main areas of interest will be found within the conflict among Bush's cabinet officials. Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell come across remarkably well, though most of the members of Bush's team co ...more
Wow, I'm really late to the party on this book by Bob Woodward. Starting to do some background research on the Afghanistan war and started with this title. Back in 2001, I was a year out of college, and was already beginning to feel that the second Bush administration was rudderless, and perhaps, did not know what they were doing. Granted, it was early in the Bush administration, so perhaps a pass could be given for some of the learning curve.

Reading this book demonstrates to me that there was v
Sarah Klein
May 19, 2020 rated it liked it
A book originally designed to discuss Bush's first year in office, the thesis took a drastic turn to describe the events among the Bush administration's principal players in the post-9/11 runup to the war on Al-Qu'aeda and the Taliban. Describes conversations between Bush, Powell, Cheney, Rummy, and Rice, among other key players, that executed the war and redirected the administration's attention toward Iraq. It was interesting to read this book the the election environment, and to read the sect ...more
AUTHOR: Bob Woodward
TITLE: Bush at War
DATE READ: 1/16/21
TIME/PLACE: 6:14 pm, Living Room Recliner
RATING: 6/10
FIRST SENTENCE: Tuesday, September 11, 2001, began as one of those spectacular pre-fall days on the East Coast, sunny, temperatures in the 70s, light winds, the sky a vivid light blue.
GENRE: Non-fiction (900s)
PUB DATE/PUBLISHER: 11/18/02, Simon & Schuster
TYPE: Hardback
# OF PAGES: 356
CHALLENGE: 2020 52 books in 52 weeks - Written by a blogger
Feb 16, 2021 rated it liked it
Not so good--a fact by fact description of how the Bush administration fought the was in Afghanistan. Not much insight; it seemed that the government had really bad info on Afghanistan, they were using old Russian maps, had no contacts in the south part of the country, etc. Nonetheless, they put together a credible attack on the Taliban (who were working with al Qaeda). The goal was to get Usama bin Laden; along the way, they had (surprisingly) to put a government in place (they didn't want to t ...more
Kevin Hanks
Aug 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Interesting account of a time period I remember quite well, from a very unique perspective. The author did his best to give a blow-by-blow account of the time period immediately after 9/11 from the viewpoint of president Bush, and his top advisors and cabinet members. He pulled from meeting transcripts and minutes, and personal interviews regarding specific events. It painted the picture of what was going on in the minds of some very influential people at a time of extreme crisis.

Because of the
Oct 21, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting to have read the other Bush at War books and then return back to the beginning. It felt to me like some things were missing but I can’t quite put my finger on them. I’ve read these books but not studied them so I can’t be certain but I find myself wondering if when this book was written, there was still a lot that Woodward was unable to uncover at the time that would have changed the book. There were hints toward the end of criticisms of the Bush Whitehouse’s 9/11 response but much o ...more
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fast paced, enjoyable read. Shows Bush as determined to be a strong leader after a terrible crisis. The catch is neither he or any of his cabinet really know what to do, and have not prepared. The incredible technological advantage proves to not be the end all steam roller many figured it would be. Bush was a better leader than many give him credit for, and also much more thoughtful. This book does not make him into an incredible president, but also proves he is not a blood thirsty maniac. A goo ...more
Dec 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book offered powerful insight on the steps that led up to the Afghan and Iraq wars. With all of Bush's failing, I learned to respect him as a patriotic American President, trying to do his best to protect the country. However, his inexperience and naïve as President made him easily manipulatable by Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and so on. Bush didn't understand the power of a President. By asking questions, like a CEO, would inevitably set the motion toward war. Those around time orchestrat ...more
Caleb Cherry
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics, history
Hopefully will have more time to include some of my notes a at a later date, but as you can see I'm closing this read far far later than I had actually finished the text.

One thing to note is how fast and how pervasive Iraq became part of the discussion in a book that chronicles executive planning and actions taken that was published a year or so before the '03 invasion.

Still plan on getting to the other two Woodward books on President Bush that follow 'Bush at War' this year.
Feb 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2019
The first in a series of four books following the presidency of George W. Bush, this account chronicles reactions, discussions and decisionmaking in the Bush administration during the first 100 days after 9/11. Woodward takes care to remain as objective as humanly possibly throughout, avoiding any personal opinions or judgment, making this a good basis from which to continue on to other books about these events.
Stephen P
A very interesting profile of the Bush war war cabinet following the 9/11 attacks. It was insightful to see how Bush led his team and how he used the differing opinions and competing agendas of his advisers in his decision-making and leadership processes. Regardless of your political perspective, this is an interesting and eye opening book.
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Robert "Bob" Upshur Woodward is an assistant managing editor of The Washington Post. While an investigative reporter for that newspaper, Woodward, working with fellow reporter Carl Bernstein, helped uncover the Watergate scandal that led to U.S. President Richard Nixon's resignation. Woodward has written 12 best-selling non-fiction books and has twice contributed reporting to efforts that collecti ...more

Other books in the series

Bush at War (4 books)
  • Plan of Attack
  • State of Denial
  • The War Within: A Secret White House History, 2006-08

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