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The Right Man:
According to former White House speechwriter David Frum, George W. Bush is "a good man who is not a weak man. He is impatient, quick to anger; sometimes glib, even dogmatic, often uncurious, and as a result ill-informed." All the same--well, look at the book's title. Frum chronicles a tenure spent serving a president whom he comes to admire more after the events of September 11, 2001. It is after working with Bush in times of war that Frum says of Bush "outweighing the faults are his virtues: decency, honesty, rectitude, courage, and tenacity." The Right Man creates an arc in that Frum is originally dubious of Bush's leadership capacity and ends up sold on Bush as commander-in-chief. But in truth, Frum never has far to go. He's impressed with Bush from the start and when war comes, he's more impressed. And while the book is as much about the author as the president, sections, such as an argument with Barbra Streisand and a Washington Post gossip storm may strike the reader as somewhat petty. Fortunately, there are entertaining helpings of candor: the stringent White House dress code, infighting among cabinet members, and unbelievably cool Air Force One trips. Also of particular interest are events surrounding the controversial phrase "axis of evil": Frum helps coin it, his wife boasts of that fact in an e-mail to friends, the e-mail is widely forwarded, and, soon after, Frum resigns. While both he and the White House deny he was fired, Frum is so insistent on the fact that he quit on his own that it really makes you wonder. The Right Man is a multifaceted glimpse at the life of a White House insider and a president in a time of crisis; it should appeal to readers curious to learn about the inner workings of the American presidency. --John Moe [via]