Kevin's Reviews > Decision Points

Decision Points by George W. Bush
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May 10, 2017

really liked it
Read from April 18 to May 10, 2017

No matter your opinion of GWB a lot of momentous events happened during his eight years in office; from the controversy of his election to 9/11 from Iraq and Afghanistan and Iraq to Katrina and TARP. Getting his perspective on them is worthwhile. What struck me most while listening, however, was how unique Bush's experience was. The son of a president wrestling with what it means to be a successful president; dealing with the consequences of his father's actions in Iraq; an awareness of the traps of perception and politics, and the circumstances of history, that prevented your dad from being re-elected even as you seek re-election; never getting the chance to have a clear winner declared on election night yet assuming the presidency; on and on it goes. Whether you think him and idiot or mis-underestimated, evil or just squishy, well-intentioned or badly served or all of the above at different times, what a unique historical figure.

If you are a policy wonk or have a philosophical bent you might be frustrated by the lack of detail and often simplified arguments provided. For the vast majority of the book the tone and style is relentlessly pragmatic. Bush faced decisions and he made them based on his principles, instincts and the advice of experts and staff. He lays out his thought process and rational but rarely seems willing to wrestle with deeper issues or more philosophical conundrums (the role of government, the efficacy of foreign intervention, the problems of a security state, etc.).

The central role of faith an family in his life, his confidence in his ability to make decisions and in his team, and his dry sense of humor all shine through however. An interesting historical perspective without much deep insight or literary flare.
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04/18/2017 marked as: to-read
04/18/2017 marked as: currently-reading
05/10/2017 marked as: read

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