Monday, February 2, 2015

Decision Points - George W. Bush

  Crown Publishers
Release Date:
  November 9, 2010
Non-Fiction, Memoir
497 pages
My Rating:


 About This Book (from Amazon)

In this candid and gripping account, President George W. Bush describes the critical decisions that shaped his presidency and personal life.

George W. Bush served as president of the United States during eight of the most consequential years in American history. The decisions that reached his desk impacted people around the world and defined the times in which we live.

Decision Points
brings readers inside the Texas governor's mansion on the night of the 2000 election, aboard Air Force One during the harrowing hours after the attacks of September 11, 2001, into the Situation Room moments before the start of the war in Iraq, and behind the scenes at the White House for many other historic presidential decisions.

For the first time, we learn President Bush's perspective and insights on:

  • His decision to quit drinking and the journey that led him to his Christian faith
  • The selection of the vice president, secretary of defense, secretary of state, Supreme Court justices, and other key officials
  • His relationships with his wife, daughters, and parents, including heartfelt letters between the president and his father on the eve of the Iraq War
  • His administration's counterterrorism programs, including the CIA's enhanced interrogations and the Terrorist Surveillance Program
  • Why the worst moment of the presidency was hearing accusations that race played a role in the federal government’s response to Hurricane Katrina, and a critical assessment of what he would have done differently during the crisis
  • His deep concern that Iraq could turn into a defeat costlier than Vietnam, and how he decided to defy public opinion by ordering the troop surge
  • His legislative achievements, including tax cuts and reforming education and Medicare, as well as his setbacks, including Social Security and immigration reform
  • The relationships he forged with other world leaders, including an honest assessment of those he did and didn’t trust
  • Why the failure to bring Osama bin Laden to justice ranks as his biggest disappointment and why his success in denying the terrorists their fondest wish—attacking America again—is among his proudest achievements

A groundbreaking new brand of presidential memoir, Decision Points will captivate supporters, surprise critics, and change perspectives on eight remarkable years in American history—and on the man at the center of events.

How and Why I Acquired This Book

One of my informal reading goals is to read a memoir or biography from all of the U.S. presidents.  This was my start.  It was actually the very first book I put on my “To Read” shelf on Goodreads back when I started using it several years ago.  So it seemed fitting to go ahead and read it to kick off some of 2015’s reading goals.  Add to that the fact I was an adult (just graduating college) when he became president, and it was good to have personal connection to the events and issues discussed.


First, my political disclaimer.  I do tend to lean right and be more conservative than liberal.  However, I do not ever vote a straight Republican line (and, really, my ideals tend to line up more with the Libertarian party).  And I do not agree with all of the decision George W. Bush made during his presidency. 

Generally I like my non-fiction history, memoir, biography books to be written in chronological order.  This one wasn’t.  However, I was able to get over that fairly quickly into the book and grew to not just appreciate but like the fact Bush arranged his memoir by major topic (or “decision points”) in his administration.

Former president Bush begins his memoir with a brief overview of his family and some of his earlier work experience, including owner of the Texas Rangers and governor of Texas.  Then he moves into the different critical issues of his presidencies (stem cells, AIDS epidemic, 9/11, Katrina, etc.). 

I believe he handles each topic in a well-rounded and analytical way.  He admits where he made mistakes and where he felt there was only one option.  At other times, he expounds on the information surrounding the issue and the reasoning for the decision he made or the action he did or didn’t take. 

Questionable Content

There is some cursing in the book when different individuals are quoted.

Engagement, Entertainment & Investment

I think reading this book was a good experience.  It was eye-opening in that it made me realize in a way I hadn’t before that our leaders are just humans too.  Yes, they should be held to a high standard.  But they are capable (and going to) make mistakes just like the rest of us.  Unfortunately for them, their mistakes are on a world stage.  I feel like I’ve walked away from the reading with a greater understanding of some of the issues from 2001 – 2008 and of the man in charge.


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