Summary and book reviews of All The Best, George Bush by George Bush

All The Best, George Bush

My Life in Letters and Other Writings

By George Bush

All The Best, George Bush
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  • Hardcover: Oct 1999,
    640 pages.
    Paperback: Oct 2000,
    640 pages.

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Book Summary

The most intimate and revealing look at one of America's most private public figures.

Though reticent in public, George Bush has openly shared his private thoughts in his correspondence throughout his life. Fortunately, since the former president does not plan to write his autobiography, this collection of letters, diary entries, and memos, with his accompanying commentary, will fill that void.

Organized chronologically, the volume begins with eighteen-year-old George's letters to his parents during World War II, when, at the time he was commissioned, he was the youngest pilot in the Navy. Readers will gain insights into Bush's career highlights -- the oil business, his two terms in Congress, his ambassadorship to the U.N., his service as an envoy in China, his tenure with the Central Intelligence Agency, and of course, the vice presidency, the presidency, and the postpresidency. They will also observe a devoted husband, father, and American. Ranging from a love letter to Barbara and a letter to his mother about missing his daughter Robin after her death from leukemia to a letter to his children two weeks before Nixon's resignation to one written to them just before the beginning of Desert Storm, the writings are remarkable for their candor, humor, and poignancy.

As the Bushes continue to emerge as a major political family, this portrait of its unassuming patriarch is timely and important. That George Bush is allowing this much of the collection to be published is remarkable in itself. All the Best, George Bush provides a surprisingly intimate and insightful portrayal of the forty-first president of the United States.

As the author writes in his Preface: "So what we have here are letters from the past and present. Letters that are light and hopefully amusing. Letters written when my heart was heavy or full of joy. Serious letters. Nutty letters. Caring letters, and rejoicing letters....It's all about heartbeat."

Dear Reader,

When I left office and returned to Texas in January 1993, several friends suggested I write a memoir. "Be sure the historians get it right" seemed to be one common theme. Another: "The press never really understood your heartbeat -- you owe it to yourself to help people figure out who you really are."

I was unpersuaded. Barbara, in her best-selling Barbara Bush: A Memoir, wrote a wonderful book about our days together both in and out of public life and about our family. Then last year General Brent Scowcroft and I finished our book, A World Transformed, which dealt with the many historic changes that took place in the world when we were in the White House.

I felt these two books "got it right" both on perceptions of the Bushes as a family and on how my administration tried to handle the foreign-policy problems we faced.

But then along comes my friend and editor Lisa Drew, who suggested that what was missing is a personal book, a book giving a deeper insight ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews
The New York Times Book Review - David Brooks

There isn't a single glittering sentence or brilliant observation in the lot of them. Nonetheless, these letters should be force-fed to those Perotista cynics who think that all politicians are slimeballs.

Kirkus Reviews

One must search carefully in this large brown carpet to find the silver and golden threads - but they are there.

Publishers Weekly

Refreshing and...will shed more light on the man's personal character and public persona than any memoir or biography could.

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