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The Bush Tragedy

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Paperback published by Random House Trade Paperbacks (Random House Publishing Group)

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About This Book
This is the book that cracks the code of the Bush presidency. Unstintingly yet compassionately, and with no political ax to grind, Slate editor in chief Jacob Weisberg methodically and objectively examines the family and circle of advisers who played crucial parts in George W. Bush’s historic downfall.

In this revealing and defining portrait, Weisberg uncovers the “black box” from the crash of the Bush presidency. Using in-depth research, revealing analysis, and keen psychological acuity, Weisberg explores the whole Bush story. Distilling all that has been previously written about Bush into a defining portrait, he illuminates the fateful choices and key decisions that led George W., and thereby the country, into its current predicament. Weisberg gives the tragedy a historical and literary frame, comparing Bush not just to previous American leaders, but also to Shakespeare’s Prince Hal, who rises from ne’er-do-well youth to become the warrior king Henry V.

Here is the bitter and fascinating truth of the early years of the Bush dynasty, with never-before-revealed information about the conflict between the two patriarchs on George W.’s father’s side of the family–the one an upright pillar of the community, the other a rowdy playboy–and how that schism would later shape and twist the younger George Bush; his father, a hero of war, business, and Republican politics whose accomplishments George W. would attempt to copy and whose absences he would resent; his mother, Barbara, who suffered from insecurity, depression, and deep dissatisfaction with her role as housewife; and his younger brother Jeb, seen by his parents as steadier, stronger, and the son most likely to succeed.

Weisberg also anatomizes the replacement family Bush surrounded himself with in Washington, a group he thought could help him correct the mistakes he felt had destroyed his father’s presidency: Karl Rove, who led Bush astray by pursuing his own historical ambitions and transforming the president into a deeply polarizing figure; Dick Cheney, whose obsessive quest to restore presidential power and protect the country after 9/11 caused Bush and America to lose the world’s respect; and, finally, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice, who encouraged Bush’s foreign policy illusions and abetted his flight from reality.

Delving as no other biography has into Bush’s religious beliefs–which are presented as at once opportunistic and sincere–The Bush Tragedy is an essential work that is sure to become a standard reference for any future assessment. It is the most balanced and compelling account of a sitting president ever written.


From the Hardcover edition.
Show less
This is the book that cracks the code of the Bush presidency. Unstintingly yet compassionately, and with no political ax to grind, Slate editor in chief Jacob Weisberg methodically and objectively examines the family and circle of advisers who played crucial parts in George W. Bush’s historic downfall.

In this revealing and defining portrait, Weisberg uncovers the “black box” from the crash of the Bush presidency. Using in-depth research, revealing analysis, and keen psychological acuity, Weisberg explores the whole Bush story. Distilling all that has been previously written about Bush into a defining portrait, he illuminates the fateful choices and key decisions that led George W., and thereby the country, into its current predicament. Weisberg gives the tragedy a historical and literary frame, comparing Bush not just to previous American leaders, but also to Shakespeare’s Prince Hal, who rises from ne’er-do-well youth to become the warrior king Henry V.

Here is the bitter and fascinating truth of the early years of the Bush dynasty, with never-before-revealed information about the conflict between the two patriarchs on George W.’s father’s side of the family–the one an upright pillar of the community, the other a rowdy playboy–and how that schism would later shape and twist the younger George Bush; his father, a hero of war, business, and Republican politics whose accomplishments George W. would attempt to copy and whose absences he would resent; his mother, Barbara, who suffered from insecurity, depression, and deep dissatisfaction with her role as housewife; and his younger brother Jeb, seen by his parents as steadier, stronger, and the son most likely to succeed.

Weisberg also anatomizes the replacement family Bush surrounded himself with in Washington, a group he thought could help him correct the mistakes he felt had destroyed his father’s presidency: Karl Rove, who led Bush astray by pursuing his own historical ambitions and transforming the president into a deeply polarizing figure; Dick Cheney, whose obsessive quest to restore presidential power and protect the country after 9/11 caused Bush and America to lose the world’s respect; and, finally, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice, who encouraged Bush’s foreign policy illusions and abetted his flight from reality.

Delving as no other biography has into Bush’s religious beliefs–which are presented as at once opportunistic and sincere–The Bush Tragedy is an essential work that is sure to become a standard reference for any future assessment. It is the most balanced and compelling account of a sitting president ever written.


From the Hardcover edition.
Product Details
Paperback (304 pages)
Published: October 14, 2008
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Imprint: Random House Trade Paperbacks
ISBN: 9780812978353
Other books byJacob Weisberg
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    In an Uncertain World
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    Robert Rubin was sworn in as the seventieth U.S. Secretary of the Treasury in January 1995 in a brisk ceremony attended only by his wife and a few colleagues. As soon as the ceremony was over, he began an emergency meeting with President Bill Clinton on the financial crisis in Mexico. This was not only a harbinger of things to come during what would prove to be a rocky period in the global economy; it also captured the essence of Rubin himself--short on formality, quick to get into the nitty-gritty. From his early years in the storied arbitrage department at Goldman Sachs to his current position as chairman of the executive committee of Citigroup, Robert Rubin has been a major figure at the center of the American financial system. He was a key player in the longest economic expansion in U.S. history. With In an Uncertain World, Rubin offers a shrewd, keen analysis of some of the most important events in recent American history and presents a clear, consistent approach to thinking about markets and dealing with the new risks of the global economy. Rubin's fundamental philosophy is that nothing is provably certain. Probabilistic thinking has guided his career in both business and government. We see that discipline at work in meetings with President Clinton and Hillary Clinton, Chinese premier Zhu Rongji, Alan Greenspan, Lawrence Summers, Newt Gingrich, Sanford Weill, and the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan. We see Rubin apply it time and again while facing financial crises in Asia, Russia, and Brazil; the federal government shutdown; the rise and fall of the stock market; the challenges of the post-September 11 world; the ongoing struggle over fiscal policy; and many other momentous economic and political events. With a compelling and candid voice and a sharp eye for detail, Rubin portrays the daily life of the White House-confronting matters both mighty and mundane--as astutely as he examines the challenges that lie ahead for the nation. Part political memoir, part prescriptive economic analysis, and part personal look at business problems, In an Uncertain World is a deep examination of Washington and Wall Street by a figure who for three decades has been at the center of both worlds. From the Hardcover edition.

    Still More George W. Bushisms

    Still More George W. Bushisms
    "Neither in French nor in English nor in Mexican"
    "There's an old saying in Tennessee -- I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee -- that says, fool me once, shame on -- shame on you. Fool me -- you can't get fooled again." With signature remarks like these, it's hardly surprising that George W. Bush's malapropisms have become renowned around the world. Editions of Bushisms have become bestsellers in Germany, France, and Italy, and they remain as popular in the United States as ever. Jacob Weisberg, faithful scribe, here presents the best of the latest crop: "There's only one person who hugs the mothers and the widows, the wives and the kids upon the death of their loved one. Others hug but having committed the troops, I've got an additional responsibility to hug and that's me and I know what it's like." "I'm the master of low expectations." "First, let me make it very clear, poor people aren't necessarily killers. Just because you happen to be not rich doesn't mean you're willing to kill."

    The Deluxe Election Edition Bushisms

    The Deluxe Election Edition Bushisms
    The First Term, in His Own Special Words
    The Bush era has been a special time -- for the deficit (back, and larger than ever), for the countries formerly known as our allies, and for the English language. Here it all is, straight from the horse's, er, mouth. With new Bushisms coming fast and furious in this election season, ace Bushism editor Jacob Weisberg offers a must-read compendium and "explanation" of the first term. Read President Bush's eye-popping description of his economic policy: "See, without the tax relief package, there would have been a deficit, but there wouldn't have been the commiserate -- not 'commiserate' -- the kick to our economy that occurred as a result of the tax relief." Got that? How about this analysis of the weapons proliferation problem, from the man with his finger on the Button: "Free nations don't develop weapons of mass destruction." Or his belief in the importance of staying connected to us all: "[A]s you know, these are open forums, you're able to come and listen to what I have to say." The Deluxe Edition also includes reality checks: coherent Bush statements about major issues that bear no relation to the truth. The Deluxe Election-Edition Bushisms is essential reading for everyone still wondering what the past four years have all been about.

    Palinisms

    Palinisms
    The Accidental Wit and Wisdom of Sarah Palin
    "I don't know if I should Buenos Aires or Bonjour, or... this is such a melting pot. This is so beautiful. I love this diversity. Yeah. There were a whole bunch of guys named Tony in the photo line, I know that." "We used to hustle over the border for health care we received in Canada. And I think now, isn't that ironic?" Sometimes she makes perfect sense. Sometimes she channels something deeper than sense. And sometimes she turns a phrase that is destined for immortality. Sarah Palin is not just the most controversial and significant non-office holder in America, she is a font of accidental wit and wisdom. Her truthy public statements--tweeted or spoken, planned or spontaneous--are endlessly entertaining to fans and foes alike. Jacob Weisberg, whose career as a curator of George W. Bushisms was made famous online, in books, in calendars, and even a DVD, is back with a new, and if possible, even more hilarious, source of malapropisms and mis-statements.

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