9781595230003 / 1595230009

A Matter of Character: Inside the White House of George W. Bush


Publisher:Sentinel HC



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About the book:

George W. Bush is a direct and decisive man who is much nicer to his Secret Service agents than Bill Clinton was, according to author Ronald Kessler, and smarter than his critics believe him to be. A Matter of Character, Kessler's examination of the 43rd U.S. President, treads lightly on policy issues as the author instead focuses on Bush's positive personality traits and relates how those traits are positive indicators of his ability as a policymaker and leader of the world's lone superpower. Kessler spoke to several Bush cabinet members, long time friends of Bush, and other associates who speak, perhaps not surprisingly, in glowing terms of what a great guy he is. As for the criticisms of Bush, such as handling of pre-9/11 intelligence, the war in Iraq, and the economy, Kessler dismisses them as the product of jealous former employees, and a pervasive, biased liberal media (particularly Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank). By attacking the accusers instead of thoroughly dissecting the accusations, Kessler misses out on an opportunity to defend the president in a more substantive way. The portrait that ultimately emerges of Bush is not a particularly complicated one. He appears to be a man without flaw, and the book presents a similarly simple view of the greater political landscape: Bush and his allies as honest, shrewd, and virtuous, all others as jerks, fools, and ditherers. A Matter of Character lacks the complexity of Plan of Attack, the book Bob Woodward wrote after gaining similarly close access to Bush and his cabinet. It's more like a forceful piece of campaign material, passionate in its advocacy of the candidate and complete with a heroic black-and-white photograph on the cover, which will give Bush supporters plenty to cheer about. --John Moe

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