Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush

Destiny and Power The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush From Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times bestselling author Jon Meacham comes a sweeping yet intimate biography of George H W Bush Based on rigorous research hours of private interviews

  • Title: Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush
  • Author: Jon Meacham
  • ISBN: -
  • Page: 279
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • From Pulitzer Prize winner and 1 New York Times bestselling author Jon Meacham comes a sweeping yet intimate biography of George H W Bush Based on rigorous research, hours of private interviews, and extraordinary access to Bush s diaries and to his family, Destiny and Power paints a vivid and affecting portrait of the distinctive American life of a man from the Greates From Pulitzer Prize winner and 1 New York Times bestselling author Jon Meacham comes a sweeping yet intimate biography of George H W Bush Based on rigorous research, hours of private interviews, and extraordinary access to Bush s diaries and to his family, Destiny and Power paints a vivid and affecting portrait of the distinctive American life of a man from the Greatest Generation his childhood in Connecticut, his heroic service in World War II, his entry into the Texas oil business, and his storied rise in politics from congressman to U.N ambassador to head of the CIA to forty first president of the United States Get A Copy Online StoresAudibleBarnes NobleWalmart eBooksGoogle PlayAbebooksBook DepositoryAlibrisBetter World BooksIndieBoundLibraries Kindle Edition, 794 pages Published November 10th 2015 by Random House More Details ASIN B00VZZ2OY4 Edition Language English Other Editions All Editions Add a New Edition Combine Less Detail Edit Details Friend Reviews To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up Reader QA To ask other readers questions about Destiny and Power, please sign up Recent Questions How do I download it on a IPad like 3 years ago Add your answer I would like to download Destiny and Power how do I proceed for IPad like 3 years ago Add your answer See all 3 questions about Destiny and Power Lists with This Book HBO s Real Time with Bill Maher Featured Books and Authors 92 books 9 voters Biography Published in Year 2015 20 books 1 voter More lists with this book Community Reviews Showing 1 30 4.26 Rating details 4,319 ratings 541 reviews All LanguagesEnglish 530 Espa ol 2 Suomi 1 More filters Sort order Oct 20, 2015 Matt rated it it was amazing review of another edition Shelves audiobook The world lost a great man In this highly educational biography of George H.W Bush, Meacham offers the reader an insightful look into the life and times of the 41st President of the United States With scores of interesting anecdotes wrapped in a fluid narrative, the author brings to life a man who sought to influence American politics in the latter part of the 20th century, while trying to keep from being subsumed in the shadow of his presidential predecessor Bush was a man of honour and dign The world lost a great man In this highly educational biography of George H.W Bush, Meacham offers the reader an insightful look into the life and times of the 41st President of the United States With scores of interesting anecdotes wrapped in a fluid narrative, the author brings to life a man who sought to influence American politics in the latter part of the 20th century, while trying to keep from being subsumed in the shadow of his presidential predecessor Bush was a man of honour and dignity, but also held firm to his beliefs, which changed as life shaped them Meacham depicts the elder President Bush as a man of numerous perspectives, three of which rise as themes throughout the tome Bush was a passionate family man, an ever ready compromiser, and the effective political figure, personas that spanned his entire life at least up to the the publication of the book Meacham helps personalize Bush to the reader while not shying away from the lustre garnered from a life of privilege in Connecticut that hung over the man for his entire public life A wonderfully refreshing biography that will keep the reader enthused until the final pages, not to be missed by the curious and those willing to open their minds to rediscovering this man.Family was the lifeblood of George Herbert Walker Bush, and proved to be a means of support his entire life From his early years, Bush always had a strong relationship with his family, be they his parents, grandparents, or siblings This love of family grew when he left to fight in the Pacific Theatre during the Second World War Meacham explores the love Bush had for his fellow navy men and the pain of losing them during a Japanese bombing campaign late in the war Bush began thinking of his own family when he married Barbara Pierce, a woman for whom he held as much regard From the birth of George W Bush, the elder Bush saw a new type of familial love, which only grew as children joined the brood It was the crippling illness and eventual death of his daughter, Robin, that the author uses to best personify the family While the entire family was crushed, Bush did all he could to keep the family on track, but was devastated in private and away from prying eyes As head of his own family, Bush sought to provide for them, which meant entertaining options out in Texas, where oil exploration and processing could garner a substantial wage Bush never shied away from ventures that would foster a sense of upward mobility, producing a self made man who chose not to ride on the coat tails of his family or its name As his children grew, Bush continued to foster the passion of family, from grandchildren through to other non blood relations, never forgetting the passion instilled in him by his mother, Dorothy, or the support his children were able to offer him From his highest moments through to his worst feelings, Bush always turned to his family for support, and offered just as much to those who struggled and needed his shoulder Even in his latter years, when the next generation took up the reins of political power, Bush sought to counsel and advise his sons, offering praise or a strong shoulder, when needed Meacham depicts George Bush as a man whose reliance on family proved essential and who would never compromise on their importance.Bush spent his entire life as a man of compromise, seeking to keep his options open as he sought upwards mobility Bush proved himself the true negotiator from a young age, bartering with his family in order to win their approval When he married Barbara, Bush sought to compromise with her as he took them out of their comfort in Connecticut and to the barren wasteland of Texas Compromise ensued from here as the oil business had them move throughout the state, with Barbara acting in a firm but agreeable way Even when Bush sought to run for political office he had to compromise on some of his beliefs, finding himself running as a Republican in a strong southern Democratic area Appeasement outweighed personal beliefs, to a point, as Meacham argues throughout the political narrative embedded in the biography Bush could not shake his rich boy upbringing, but was able to cobble together enough support from business interests and the general public that he could make his way to Congress and represent his constituents effectively, namely by finding common ground As shall be discussed below, Bush compromised from there, touted as an up and comer by Richard Nixon By 1980, compromise helped him garner the presumably impossible role of vice presidential running mate alongside Ronald Reagan, which did cement a friendship between the bitter rivals It was after serving as second in command for a time that Bush realised that he had to reinvent himself again if he wanted to run for and capture the GOP nomination in 88 His moderate views needed sharpening and his persona a strong polish ahead of the run for the White House Meacham illustrates this compromising as being for the betterment of the party, while Bush allowed his own beliefs to evolve, or at least morph into something else, as politics and age shaped him as a right of centre thinker As president, Bush had to open new avenues of compromise, even though he led a military powerhouse With the economy in a state of disrepair, compromise from his Read my lips, no new taxes gaffe forced Bush to determine that he needed others, even at the zenith of his power However, compromise proved a political downfall, when the electorate chose not to renew his time as POTUS in 92, making room for the next generation While some depicted Bush as a man who had little leadership material because of his lack of an iron clad set of beliefs, this compromising manner fostered the sort of compassionate persona that Bush never wanted to lose.With the power of a family foundation and the ability to compromise, Bush entered the world of politics well armed for the trench battles ahead Coming from a family where monetary influence could sway those in politics, Bush sought to follow his own father, Prescott, into the world of American politics The elder Bush was a senator who, after some staggering, was able to find his way and sought to push George H.W Bush towards the political promised land After a move to Texas to pursue oil, Bush had to reinvent himself to the southern base As a rich Republican from the New England, Bush had a difficult time making a name for himself in the Democratic south, home to the fiery Lyndon Johnson Bush faltered, as his father had, but was able to secure a seat in the House of Representatives, where he began planting seeds of a political future Even after a crippling loss in a Senate run, Bush caught the eye of Nixon, who brought him into the fold, first as Ambassador at the United Nations and then heading up the Republican National Committee While life in Congress was a sobering experience, Bush found his political acumen when trying to steer the GOP through Watergate and worked hard to prove himself as he watched Nixon implode President Ford rewarded him with a post in China, where he tried to strengthen the still new relations with that Communist country Meacham explores how Bush surmised that the next stop on his political journey might have been a means to ensure he suffered a slow political death, when Ford put him into the Director s chair at Central Intelligence An apolitical spot if ever there were one, Bush against tried to remain calm and do all he could to support the president, while wondering if his own presidential ambitions might be lost Ford s loss in 76 to Carter left Bush in a position to rebuild his political acumen, as Carter sought to place Democrats in key positions Bush used this time to help garner name recognition for the Republican primaries of 1980 Standing in his way was political Goliath, Ronald Reagan Meacham builds up his narrative and uses this rivalry as a central part of the book, pitting the moderate Bush against the strongly conservative Reagan, the face of the new Republican Party s values The journey found the two men coming to a compromise proof that Bush s ways did bring him success and leading America into a new decade of conservatism By the time Bush took the helm in 89, America was in a severe Reagan hangover, though Bush took it upon himself to differentiate his presidency A military campaign against Iraq and economic struggles at home forced Bush to play a less than all powerful role in the political realm, though Meacham does balance criticism with praise during this period However, his single term presidency may stymie some from offering too much positive outlook on his time in the White House Still, he did not blame others, choosing to accept the decision and hold his head high As politics ran through his veins, Bush attempted to shape his time in public eye with a mixture of compromise, strong family values, and a sense of leadership History will judge how effective he could be.Meacham offers an effective view of Bush in his retirement years, after leaving the public eye A resurgence of popularity seemingly came when his son, George W won two terms in the White House, though no one offers that the elder Bush used his son s power to act as puppet master Bush remained respectful and even sanguine when press coverage of his son s time in office came under scrutiny By the time Obama made it to the White House, Bush was secure in his retirement and sought not to appear too often in the public eye He did not need to be flashy to know that he made a difference Humbleness was his means of steering his own ship in the waning years.Meacham constructs a powerful biography of this 20th century political figure, mixing the public record with a collection of letter, interviews, reports, and diary entries With such a tremendous collection of documentation, it would be easy to weave a narrative that relies too heavily on one thing or another The author chooses of a leapfrog approach, never sitting too long on any one issue or time period While there were formative events throughout Bush s life, the reader is never stuck reading scores on anything, as the book offers a glance on the arc that was Bush s life, stopping in to analyse some of the important areas With an easy to read format and enticing style, the reader wants to forge ahead, learning with each chapter Keeping said chapters somewhat succinct also fosters a desire to read just a little , which can only help substantiate the readability of this biography The lay reader should not shy away from the book s length, for it is as fluid a read as it is education and entertaining.Kudos, Mr Meacham for this wonderful biography As you have done with other presidential figures, you offer the reader much insight and a passionate interest in your subject.Like hate the review An ever growing collection of others appears at flag 51 likesLike see review View all 15 comments Oct 15, 2018 Brian rated it really liked it review of another edition Sometimes you shape events by not making any mistakes Destiny Power was an unexpected read for me I enjoy biographies and Jon Meacham has written a few that are on my to read list This was the first I picked up I will be picking up the others I was only 10 years old when Bush was elected president, so although I do have memories of his presidency the consequence of the times I was living through were lost on me.First off, the text flows well, and is simply written Its narrative Sometimes you shape events by not making any mistakes Destiny Power was an unexpected read for me I enjoy biographies and Jon Meacham has written a few that are on my to read list This was the first I picked up I will be picking up the others I was only 10 years old when Bush was elected president, so although I do have memories of his presidency the consequence of the times I was living through were lost on me.First off, the text flows well, and is simply written Its narrative pace does a nice job of mostly keeping you in the world of George Herbert Walker Bush Too often biographies pull you in the author s element rather than the subjects This text avoids that trap.The book details the life of the 41st president of the United Sates in a deft manner and there were some unexpectedly very tender moments The death of Bush s daughter Robin from leukemia and a section where the text details a bout of depression that Barbara Bush suffered from a few years later are among some of the text s very human, and thus powerful, moments.Another decently written section deals with the 1980 Republican Convention and Ronald Reagan making up his mind about the choice for his running mate between former president Gerald Ford and Bush Of course, I was only 2 when it actually happened, but I did not know that it was such riveting political drama The tension is palpable at times in this part of the book.George Bush was many things, but this biography makes astoundingly clear that when it came to foreign policy he was an excellent president, leading the world safely and calmly through the fall of communism and the many possible volatile moments that could have accompanied it.Mr Meacham had unfettered access to President Bush s personal diaries and his entry on his final day in the Oval Office talks about the honor of the office and the fact that no one could lay personal misconduct at his feet Considering what his successor did in that same office it leaves the reader a little in despair that Bush s generation has passed from leadership and its role in history.In reading Destiny Power , it is obvious that the author admires his subject and accepts the flaws in him, as we all should, as part of the human condition I learned a lot while reading this text, and enjoyed doing so I will leave off with something that Bush said once that struck me with its simple profundity, There are no magical solutions to our problems The real answers lie within us We need than a philosophy of entitlement We need to all pitch in, lend a hand, and do our part to help forge a brighter future for this country flag 39 likesLike see review View all 10 comments Nov 21, 2015 Steven Z rated it liked it review of another edition With the rollout of Pulitzer Prize winning biographer Jon Meacham s new book DESTINY AND POWER THE AMERICAN ODYSSEY OF GEORGE HERBERT WALKER BUSH what emerged in the media was the elder Bush s criticisms of Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney s poor service in the administration of his son Many pundits have questioned the senior Bush s judgement since another son, Jeb is in the midst of his own presidential campaign Whatever motivated the senior Bush it has created a great deal of buzz around Mea With the rollout of Pulitzer Prize winning biographer Jon Meacham s new book DESTINY AND POWER THE AMERICAN ODYSSEY OF GEORGE HERBERT WALKER BUSH what emerged in the media was the elder Bush s criticisms of Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney s poor service in the administration of his son Many pundits have questioned the senior Bush s judgement since another son, Jeb is in the midst of his own presidential campaign Whatever motivated the senior Bush it has created a great deal of buzz around Meacham s latest biography After successful histories of Andrew Jackson, Thomas Jefferson, and the relationship between Winston Churchill and Franklin D Roosevelt, Meacham s latest effort is not quite on the level of his previous work In Meacham s defense it is difficult to write a critical biography of a subject that is still alive, and as time has separated him from his presidency he has become popular than ever George H.W Bush was a lifetime Republican who served in Congress, the head of the Republican National Committee, held a number of important jobs in the Nixon and Ford administrations, and later served as Ronald Reagan s Vice President Always a loyal party man he never could quite gain the confidence of the conservative wing of his party He was always seen as a Rockefeller eastern liberal Republican and he constantly had to prove his bonafides to conservatives If he were a candidate for office today, Bush would be relegated to the junior varsity on the debate stage on many issues To Bush s credit as Meacham points out repeatedly in his narrative, he embraced compromise in public life and engaged his foes in the passage of important legislation as he was willing to buck his own party to do what he believed was right.After reading Meacham s description of Bush s childhood in Connecticut, Kennebunkport, and South Carolina it is obvious what former Texas Governor Anne Richards meant about Bush s presidential candidacy in 1988, when she stated at the Democratic National Convention that for eight straight years George Bush hasn t displayed the slightest interest in anything we care about And now that he s after a job that he can t be appointed to, he s like Columbus discovering America Poor George, he can t help it he was born with a silver foot in his mouth 334 35 The Bush children of the 1930s were insulated from want, but they were raised to feel a sense of obligation to others According to Meacham, the Bush family code was to disguise one s ambition, and hunger to win For years I had difficulty accepting Bush s authenticity and sincerity as I watched him flip flop on issues in order to get elected in 1980 and 1988 and avoid the charge that he was an eastern establishment Republican I must admit that for over half of Meacham s narrative I became somewhat convinced that my view was harsh after reading the intimate details of Bush s patriotism leaving his privileged education to become a naval pilot during World War II and how he reacted and handled being shot down in the Pacific with the loss of his radioman and tail gunner We see Bush as the supporting husband taking care of a spouse dealing with depression Further, we are privy to Bush as a father and family man dealing with the passing of his daughter Robin at the age of three from leukemia, witnessing a distraught person who exhibits the traits we would all hope to have in a similar situation.The book comes across as a conversation between the author and the reader At times one gets the feeling that Meacham is interviewing the former president conveying Bush s view of his life, issues, and historical perspectives We are exposed to the major events in American history from 1964 on as they are intertwined with Bush s political career The weakness is that part of the narrative comes across as an extensive magazine article intertwined with a degree of analysis Meacham for the most part is content with explaining Bush s motivations for his decisions without delving deeply enough into their ramifications A case in point is Bush s vote against the 1964 Civil Rights Act, but a few pages later we learn he voted for the 1968 Fair Housing Act, as if the later vote canceled out the weakness of character reflected in the first vote We read a great deal about Bush s personality and his commitment to the family ethos as represented by his father, Prescott Bush, but not enough of what can be described as the edginess of politics and its cut throat nature As I read the first few hundred pages I wondered how such a nice person became such a duplicitous politician who would lie about his knowledge concerning the Iran Contra deal apart from the Nicaraguan aspect , the use of the Willie Horton commercial in 1988 and his alliance with the likes of Lee Atwater and Roger Ailes, his reversals on abortion, taxes, and other issues to make him palatable to be Ronald Reagan s running mate What I gathered from Meacham s narrative is that Bush according to the family credo was that winning was most important, but that is covered up by a political pragmatism rather than following what the author presents as his core principles.Meacham does a credible job discussing the major aspects of Bush s career His successful run for the House of Representatives and defeat as he tries to win a Senate seat in the 1960s We learn of his stint as UN Ambassador under Richard Nixon, envoy to China, and CIA Head under Gerald Ford, highlighting the domestic and international machinations of each The reader is placed inside his campaign against Ronald Reagan in 1980 and the development of their working relationship since Ronald and Nancy Reagan did not think much of the Bushes at the outset Meacham constantly points to Bush s winning personality as his key asset and we can see how effective he is in winning over the President and developing a strong personal relationship during the Reagan administrations The reader has an insider s view of the White House during the first Reagan administration and the role that Bush played Then, the second administration seems to disappear in the narrative except for a discussion of Iran Contra and the duplicitous role played by Bush By 1988 Bush must earn his next governmental position, the presidency, something he seems to have sought since his entrance into politics in the 1960s, because there are no longer any appointments coming his way because of the networking that had rewarded him for decades in business and politics.Meacham s focus and analysis seems to take a sharper turn as he deals with the 1988 presidential campaign as he examines the mistaken choice Bush admits to in choosing Dan Quayle as his running mate We follow the campaign and the errors of the Dukakis team as we see the former Massachusetts governor foolishly riding in a tank in New Jersey and is forced to deal with the prison furlough program that brought about the Willie Horton ad Once elected, Meacham accurately explores Bush s successes in foreign policy and the difficulties he faced in dealing with Congress over domestic legislation during his term in office.I am very familiar with Bush s personal belief that he thought that he should receive the major credit for winning the Cold War, and I am certain that believers in the Reagan cult would beg to differ However, Bush senior must be commended for the way he handled the fall of the Berlin Wall and the personal relationship he was able to develop with Mikhail Gorbachev that fostered arms control and a lessening of tensions between the former Cold War competitors Meacham takes us from the night the Wall was breached through the difficult diplomacy that resulted in the reunification of Germany Though the definitive account of those heady days have yet to be written, Meacham s narrative praising Bush for his calm and steady approach to events and his diplomacy, particularly with the Soviet Union and NATO members forms an excellent summary Bush has the reputation of overseeing a strong foreign policy that resulted in his words, a new world order, where the bipolar Cold War was replaced by a new unipolar world This characterization can be easily argued, but Meacham chooses not to in the same way as he glances over the American invasion of Panama to replace Manuel Noriega Perhaps if he would have delved into the background relationship between the American national security establishment and the drug trafficking Panamanian dictator the reader would be provided a clearer picture Further, Meacham leaves out some important details in the run up to the American invasion of Iraq after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait The reader is provided with a detailed account of Bush s handling of the crisis, but what is missing is an accurate description of the messages we sent to the Iraqi dictator at the end of July, 1990 right before the invasion To his credit, Meacham explores the meetings between Saddam and American Ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie whose career took a strong hit after the invasion took place Perhaps if the administration would have laid out clearer instructions, Glaspie s messages to Saddam would not have been so misinterpreted to the point where he believed that the United States would not remove his forces from Kuwait militarily Bush is to be credited with putting together an international coalition against Saddam, and unlike his son he realized the vacuum that would be created if American troops marched on Baghdad in March, 1991 and that once the predictable civil war between Shi ites and Sunni would evolve, Iran would emerge as the true winner Another aspect that Meacham should have explored closely is the Bush family s relationship with the Saudi royal family and what impact it had on American policy Craig Unger s HOUSE OF BUSH HOUSE OF SAUD is worth consulting.Meacham correctly points out that Bush did have a domestic agenda as he repeatedly refers to Bush s diaries to support the idea that the president wanted to improve the lives of everyday Americans His successes include a raising of educational standards and enhancements for the Head Start program, amendments to the Clean Air Act, and the Americans for Disability Act However, once Bush had to deal with economic policy as the American economy fell into recession he ran up against a conservative wall in Congress led by Newt Gingrich Once he decided to turn away from his famous read my lips promise when he won the Republican presidential nomination and agreed to raise federal taxes to deal with the budget crisis he just reaffirmed the belief of conservatives that he was not one of them Again, to Bush s credit he put political pragmatism and his country ahead of those in his party who may have pursued the actions of the Ted Cruz s of today Meacham hits the nail on the head when states that Bush could mold an international coalition, but he could not convince his own party to back their president 448 Meacham provides an in depth account of the 1992 presidential campaign and the rivalry with the egoistic Ross Perot that resulted in the election of Bill Clinton The author puts the reader on the debate stage as Bush stares too long at his watch and has difficulty remembering the price of hamburger For Bush it was very difficult for a member of the greatest generation to lose the presidency to someone who he then characterized as a draft dodger However, Meacham is correct in pointing out that the reason Bush lost the election was that he did not seem to be that committed to his own election victory Time and again Meacham pointed to Bush s diaries that expressed doubts as to whether he should have run Once out of office, Bush could theoretically relax, reflect, and enjoy his family For the most part he did, but he was worried about the course of his son s presidency and the tone set by Bush 43 s administration commentary Overall, Meacham received unparalleled access to Bush 41 on a personal level as well as the availability to his diaries and many of those who served his political career and administration Meacham has written what appears to be an authorized biography that will be well received, but could have been a bit incisive and balanced flag 18 likesLike see review View 2 comments Jan 13, 2016 Bob rated it it was amazing review of another edition Shelves presidential biographies Summary Meacham traces the life of our 41st president from his family s roots and values that shaped a man both deeply committed to service and country, and also highly competitive and ambitious The biography traces both his skillful leadership in handling the transition from the Cold War era, and the inability of this deeply private man to communicate his deep care for and desire to serve his country that cost him a second term.Reading this biography suggested to me that George H W Bush is Summary Meacham traces the life of our 41st president from his family s roots and values that shaped a man both deeply committed to service and country, and also highly competitive and ambitious The biography traces both his skillful leadership in handling the transition from the Cold War era, and the inability of this deeply private man to communicate his deep care for and desire to serve his country that cost him a second term.Reading this biography suggested to me that George H W Bush is perhaps under rated both as a president and a person For many, he is regarded as an asterisk between the Reagan and Clinton years And yet, as President, he skillfully navigated the nation in international relations at the end of the Cold War era that avoided provoking hard line reactionaries in the former Soviet Union, facilitating the reunification of Germany, the freedom of Soviet satellites from Communist domination, and the establishment of warm relations between the U.S and Russia He built an international coalition to decisively defeat Saddam Hussein s invasion of Kuwait and bring relief to the atrocities against Kuwaitis, containing Hussein without becoming embroiled in another Vietnam.While growing up in a privileged New England family, he was a genuine war hero, surviving being shot down after a bombing run at Chichi Jima Before going off to war, he married Barbara, beginning a lifelong partnership between two very strong individuals They experienced tragedy that deepened their compassion early in marriage, losing their daughter Robin to leukemia They built their own fortune in the Texas oil industry of the 1950s He served in the U.S House of Representatives, then lost a Senate race in 1964 in the midst of Lyndon Johnson s landslide victory over Barry Goldwater Subsequently, he served in Republican party leadership, as U.N ambassador, our ambassador to China and as C.I.A director.There was the complicated relationship with Ronald Reagan Losing to Reagan after a promising beginning in Iowa, criticizing Reagan s age and voo doo economics he is selected as running mate, despite Nancy Reagan s opposition He turns out to be the ideal Vice President who becomes a trusted friend by never stealing the limelight, and is asked by Nancy to give Reagan s eulogy, which he did paying tribute not only to Reagan but to Nancy.The drive for success, for power accounted for the weaknesses and flaws in his story compromised positions on civil rights in the early years, the Willie Horton ads in the Presidential campaign, the famous read my lips promise that he broke when it became clear that only additional tax revenues could address the nation s fiscal problems in the early 1990 s Meacham explores the drive in his character that led to these compromises At the same time, we see a president willing to do what he saw in the best interests of his country even though it contributed to his loss of the presidency, ironically laying the groundwork for budget surpluses in the Clinton years We also see a very private man torn by the political necessities of glad handing, wearying of the process in the 1992 election, outshone by the young Democrat from Arkansas.As impressive as anything else is the life he lived after his one term presidency He kept a low profile and eventually became good friends even with Bill Clinton, as the two former presidents worked on tsunami relief Meacham writes about his relationship with his presidential son and there is no evidence of the father second guessing the son, even on Iraq He dismissed comparisons on this score with the response that these were different circumstances, different wars Rather the relationship was one of pride and support, allowing the son to be his own person and only offering counsel when asked Generally, he was generous with his words even of political foes The few exceptions Donald Rumsfeld always a rival and Dick Cheney, whose vice presidency Bush 41 criticized after the fact.Years earlier, I read Kevin Phillips American Dynasty, which is a much sinister view of the Bushes as an inter generational political dynasty His account and Meacham s are very different Perhaps it was the fact that Phillips book was written during the height of criticism of Bush 43 s Iraq policies just before the 2004 elections This seems a much measured appraisal and a pleasure to read It presented a man of both great ambition and generally high principle as well as one far decent than he was given credit in his 1992 defeat While acting in his own best political interests at times, what was striking were the times he acted in service to the country, even at the expense of his own interests, whether as CIA director, vice president, or in the 1990 budget deal raising taxes I was struck with how fortunate we were to have one with his foreign policy skill at the denouement of the Cold War While his presidency is still in the recent past and will be subject to continuing discussion, Barack Obama s assessment on awarding the Medal of Freedom to George H W Bush in 2010 may be the most fitting As good a measure of a president as I know is somebody who ultimately put the country first and it strikes me that throughout his life he did that, both before he was president and while he was president, and ever since flag 14 likesLike see review Dec 27, 2018 Steve rated it really liked it review of another edition in 2015, Destiny and Power The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush by Jon Meacham is the most recent full scale biography of the 41st president Meacham is a presidential historian and author whose biography of Andrew Jackson won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize He has also written about Thomas Jefferson and Franklin Roosevelt and is currently working on a biography of James and Dolley Madison.With 601 pages of text and nearly 200 pages of in 2015, Destiny and Power The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush by Jon Meacham is the most recent full scale biography of the 41st president Meacham is a presidential historian and author whose biography of Andrew Jackson won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize He has also written about Thomas Jefferson and Franklin Roosevelt and is currently working on a biography of James and Dolley Madison.With 601 pages of text and nearly 200 pages of notes and bibliography, Destiny and Power is not a light read Yet this meticulously researched and largely sympathetic biography feels sprightly than it appears In his customary style, Meacham has written a thoughtful, well informed and exquisitely articulate life and times.It is uncommon for a biographer and his or her subject to meet and even extraordinary for an author to receive the type of cooperation Meacham received from George H W Bush For than a decade, Bush sat for numerous interviews, provided access to his personal diaries and encouraged the cooperation of his family and political colleagues This is one of the book s greatest strengths but also one of its latent weaknesses.As a result of this intimacy between biographer and subject, the reader is treated to a degree of familiarity which cannot be captured in most presidential biographies In many respects, Meacham s biography often feels like the memoirs Bush 41 never wrote but with a professional patina.Bush s pre presidency takes up just over half the book while one third of the biography is allocated to his single term in the White House The final sixty pages are spent reviewing Bush s retirement with an emphasis on his relationship with Jeb, George and Bill Clinton.The earliest decades of Bush s life are nicely covered but seem to pass too quickly, particularly since the author had a unique opportunity to explore his subject s years at Andover, in the Navy and in his business career with even greater depth Similarly, Bush s early political career retreats too rapidly his transition into politics, his first campaign for Congress, and his service at the UN, RNC and CIA hardly linger long enough to leave a distinct impression.The narrative s pace slows once Bush seeks the presidential nomination in 1988 But while Meacham s description of the president elect assembling his inner circle is often fascinating there is very little insight into how he selected most of his Cabinet And, throughout the book, important supporting characters such as James Baker, Bob Dole and Dan Quayle receive only the briefest of introductions.Iraq s invasion of Kuwait and Bush s response features prominently in Meacham s coverage of the Bush presidency these four chapters are among the most interesting in the book And the most intriguing of Meacham s revelations may be Bush s thoughts on Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld and their impact on the Bush 43 presidency.Ironically given its length, if Meacham s biography has one overarching flaw, it s that it is not nearly long or detailed enough As a result, while it covers discrete events well and always seems to know what is on Bush s mind too frequently it fails to answer questions that fall out of the narrative, or to probe deeply, or to fully analyze or assess.Overall, Jon Meacham s biography of George H W Bush is very good but fell short of my expectations Because as revealing as this biography proves to be largely due to the relationship between author and subject it is never as deep, critical or penetrating as I hoped But it provides an otherwise excellent if admiring review of the remarkably eventful life and career of George H W Bush.Overall rating 4 starsNote Bush was to live another three years after this biography was published And while he reviewed much of the manuscript he apparently exerted no editorial influence Meacham, of course, was chosen to deliver one of the eulogies at George H.W Bush s funeral flag 9 likesLike see review View 2 comments Dec 21, 2015 Cora rated it really liked it review of another edition George H W Bush is in some ways a neglected figure in recent American history Ronald Reagan supposedly won the Cold War abroad and defeated big government at home, leaving nothing for Bush to do but betray the Gipper s legacy A comparison with an earlier generation s view of JFK and Lyndon Johnson would be instructive, I think Bush s reputation improved during his son s administration, as he was seen as the good ones whose legacy was tarnished by a feckless son Bush 41 s positive quali George H W Bush is in some ways a neglected figure in recent American history Ronald Reagan supposedly won the Cold War abroad and defeated big government at home, leaving nothing for Bush to do but betray the Gipper s legacy A comparison with an earlier generation s view of JFK and Lyndon Johnson would be instructive, I think Bush s reputation improved during his son s administration, as he was seen as the good ones whose legacy was tarnished by a feckless son Bush 41 s positive qualities were discovered or in some cases invented out of whole cloth And yet this didn t engender a strong interest in Bush s legacy, any than Jeb Bush s reputation as the smart Bush created an interest in Florida education policy.For that reason, Jon Meacham s DESTINY AND POWER is a welcome read despite the his often hagiographic tone On the foreign policy front, George H W Bush looms particularly large his administration did the lion s share of work on NAFTA helped to secure the unification of Germany within NATO and led the country and a coalition of nations to war against Iraq after the invasion of Kuwait A generation on, it seems as if America is still living out the implications of these decisions On the domestic policy front the 1990 budget agreement and the Americans with Disabilities Act both seem like substantial accomplishments To my mind, Bush is a important president than his immediate predecessor.Meacham tells the story of Bush s presidency ably and briskly, and he does particularly well when recounting the major moments of his private life getting shot down as a Naval pilot over Chichi jima, the loss of his daughter Robin, age three, to leukemia However, as a chronicler of Bush the man I m afraid he pales in comparison to Richard Ben Cramer s biography in WHAT IT TAKES, perhaps because his reliance on access to the Bush family permits a level of white washing.Central to the book is a nostalgic appreciation not only for Bush s character but for an older generation of public spirited elite WASPs from which Bush sprang The original title was THE LAST GENTLEMAN This struck me as unconvincing For example, Meacham describes that Poppy Bush was pushed to achieve on the one hand while being punished for talking about himself on the other hand When, as a child, he said after a match that I was off my game, his mother witheringly replied, _You_ don t have a game This doesn t encourage modesty since modest accomplishments were not to be tolerated as much as deception Bush seems to have learned from this how best to disguise his ambition in a cloak of public spiritedness and please powerful men through targeted acts of sycophancy Bush , Richard Nixon wrote once, plays our line beautifully Also in regards to Bush s character, it s worth examining why his electoral strategy so often relied on race baiting, from his 1964 opposition to civil rights to his 1970 rhetoric against welfare queens, not to mention his repeated invocation of Willie Horton during the 1988 campaign This doesn t sit well with the widespread notion of Bush as a gentleman, and Meacham is not the biographer to delve too deeply into this subject Curiously, Meacham does disabuse the reader of another pro Bush 41 myth that took root after 2003 Poppy was apparently eager to get on the record as a supporter of the Iraq invasion With all of Meacham s limitations, I found that they bothered me much less than similar errors might be in a biography of a prominent figure Bush 41 is too often neglected, and if Meacham s judgments aren t always sound he leaves enough evidence to reach another conclusion Hopefully DESTINY AND POWER encourages others to take Bush, and his legacy, seriously flag 9 likesLike see review View 2 comments Nov 27, 2015 Jean rated it it was amazing review of another edition Shelves audio book, non fiction, us history, history George H W Bush is one of the few presidents that did not write his autobiography after leaving office Jon Meacham has produced the official biography on H.W Bush I have read a number of Meacham s books including American Lion which won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize.Meacham did extensive research for the book and was allowed access to Bush s diaries and numerous interviews with family and friends Needless to say he also had access to the presidential papers and other archive materials Bush George H W Bush is one of the few presidents that did not write his autobiography after leaving office Jon Meacham has produced the official biography on H.W Bush I have read a number of Meacham s books including American Lion which won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize.Meacham did extensive research for the book and was allowed access to Bush s diaries and numerous interviews with family and friends Needless to say he also had access to the presidential papers and other archive materials Bush 41 comes across as an ambitious and emotional man, which is different from the aloof and polished figure we normally see Meacham also reveals him to be a witty observer of other people s quirks Bush 41 was raised in privilege but did service to the country in World War II and as an elected official The book covers his life from birth to the current date I found the last quarter of the book the most interesting.The book is well written and meticulously researched Meacham comes off neutral and lacking ideological fervor that allows him to paint a picture of Bush that is new The book does have an affectionate feel for Bush, but Meacham has a judicious balanced approach to the material The book also provides quite a bit of new information that makes the book well worth the read I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible The book is long at 800 pages or 25 hours Paul Michael does a good job narrating the book flag 9 likesLike see review Apr 23, 2018 Marc rated it really liked it review of another edition Shelves biographies I ve been wanting to read a Jon Meacham book for a while I chose George H W Bush out of curiosity for the one term president with the huge glasses stuck between Reagan and Clinton I enjoyed Meachum s highly readable prose and interesting use of quotes from Bush s personal papers The book took several years to write and the author had a privileged access to the 41st president I found the era between 1966 to 1980 to be the most interesting part of his life from his first term in congress to h I ve been wanting to read a Jon Meacham book for a while I chose George H W Bush out of curiosity for the one term president with the huge glasses stuck between Reagan and Clinton I enjoyed Meachum s highly readable prose and interesting use of quotes from Bush s personal papers The book took several years to write and the author had a privileged access to the 41st president I found the era between 1966 to 1980 to be the most interesting part of his life from his first term in congress to his second political life on the Reagan ticket Bush was a real risks taker who never shrank from complicated challenges I especially enjoyed the details about the relationships with his bosses and foes Nixon, Ford, Carter, Perot, Buchanan, Reagan, Gingrich, Clinton, Dukakis Only downside no punches pulled at all in this book I would not described this biography as well balanced but I think it worth the read George H W Bush had class as a politician, could compromise and make real friendship with fellow democrats Something that is rare to see these times on Capitol Hill flag 8 likesLike see review View all 4 comments Mar 23, 2017 11811 Eleven rated it it was amazing review of another edition Great biography The tension was sometimes so palpable I forgot I already knew how it all turned out As for the man himself, few would disagree about his honor and integrity Obama calls him one of our most underrated presidents It doesn t surprise me that he lost his reelection attempt It s not easy to govern with pragmatism and expect undying support from the extreme wing of your political party I respect any president who does what he thinks is right knowing it will hurt him politica Great biography The tension was sometimes so palpable I forgot I already knew how it all turned out As for the man himself, few would disagree about his honor and integrity Obama calls him one of our most underrated presidents It doesn t surprise me that he lost his reelection attempt It s not easy to govern with pragmatism and expect undying support from the extreme wing of your political party I respect any president who does what he thinks is right knowing it will hurt him politically Politics would benefit from people with such character flag 6 likesLike see review Nov 08, 2015 Jake Hahn rated it it was amazing review of another edition This is the best biography I have ever read When I saw it was over 800 pages I was worried there might be alot if boring filler This was not the case at all I was thoroughly entertained throughout the book I came away with a new found respect for this Bush after reading this I was especially happy with his stand against the John Birchers.I won this book on good reads but it was after I bought the Kindle edition flag 6 likesLike see review View 1 comment Jul 08, 2017 Dan rated it it was amazing review of another edition Meacham is a top rate historian and Destiny and Power The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush may be his best work I would even go so far as to say that this is also one of the best Presidential biographies that I have read An impressive achievement given that George H.W Bush historically ranks as a pretty average president In addition to Meacham s obvious chops as a Pulitzer Prize winning author, this biography is a good read because there is so much source material peppered wit Meacham is a top rate historian and Destiny and Power The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush may be his best work I would even go so far as to say that this is also one of the best Presidential biographies that I have read An impressive achievement given that George H.W Bush historically ranks as a pretty average president In addition to Meacham s obvious chops as a Pulitzer Prize winning author, this biography is a good read because there is so much source material peppered with anecdotes This is a consistent read which was generally sympathetic to Bush although a few controversies were addressed Meacham dispels some myths including one that Bush enjoyed enormous family wealth Bush was certainly well connected but the wealth from his oil startup didn t come until he and Barbara were married for than a decade Meacham was able to interview Bush many times over the course of the ten years it took to prepare the biography and even handedly tells us about the young Bush, his military service in WWII, business success, fatherhood and his political life through his presidency There are few other presidents who served in so many different roles within the federal government and the DC establishment U.S congressman, UN Ambassador, Chairman of the RNC, U.S Envoy to China, CIA director, Vice President, President and was a Navy fighter pilot in WWII Meacham shows us that Bush was ambitious and fiercely competitive but also that he didn t always have the campaign charisma to match rivals, including the outsized personalities of Reagan 1980 Republican nomination and Clinton 1992 presidential election Although his outward persona could be perceived as tepid and even at times awkward, George H.W Bush was a fighter and an obedient public servant He was able to succeed at the highest level of government during the largest scandals in the 1970s Watergate and 1980s Iran Contra This biography is a mere 600 pages, which is about the right length for a one term president who has had so many other accomplishments Bush s biography provides an excellent context for those interactions with many other famous people in American presidential history including Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan and Bush Jr Would highly recommend this well organized and well paced read to anyone regardless of political belief, especially those with a broad interest in 1970s and 1980s national politics flag 4 likesLike see review View 2 comments Jul 07, 2017 Jerome rated it really liked it review of another edition A readable, balanced and thorough if not exhaustive biography of Bush The narrative is well paced and insightful although, on the whole, it doesn t add much new A lot of it deals with the Bush family background and its impact on his character Meacham describes Bush s vice presidency and how he had both the good and bad fortune to follow Reagan into the White House, as well as how Bush s presidential successes seemed to outweigh his failures Meacham also covers how Bush always downplayed his A readable, balanced and thorough if not exhaustive biography of Bush The narrative is well paced and insightful although, on the whole, it doesn t add much new A lot of it deals with the Bush family background and its impact on his character Meacham describes Bush s vice presidency and how he had both the good and bad fortune to follow Reagan into the White House, as well as how Bush s presidential successes seemed to outweigh his failures Meacham also covers how Bush always downplayed his own ambition even while thinking that he was always the best man for whatever position he was in.I don t know if I d describe the book as hagiographic, but it did seem to veer in that direction at times, almost like Meacham was ghostwriting a memoir for Bush the book also relies heavily on interviews with him, and Meacham doesn t always critique them Meacham s criticism often seems to coincide with Bush s self criticism, and there is little on his campaign against Dukakis, for example The section on the Vice Presidency also seems skimpy it s basically just about how Reagan and Bush worked together It also seems like there are anecdotes than analysis.A fair, vivid and well written biography flag 4 likesLike see review Dec 02, 2015 Alexw rated it it was amazing review of another edition I read the Meacham book, The American Lion about Andrew Jackson which won the Pulitzer and if that book won the Pulitzer then Destiny and Power should have no trouble winning this years Pulitzer Bush dictated his notes for years and turned them over to Meacham so you get his story as it happened warts and all Bush struggles with the media who labelled him a wimp even though he was the youngest fighter pilot in WW 2, his contempt of draft dodger, Bill Clinton and his absolute awe for Ronald Re I read the Meacham book, The American Lion about Andrew Jackson which won the Pulitzer and if that book won the Pulitzer then Destiny and Power should have no trouble winning this years Pulitzer Bush dictated his notes for years and turned them over to Meacham so you get his story as it happened warts and all Bush struggles with the media who labelled him a wimp even though he was the youngest fighter pilot in WW 2, his contempt of draft dodger, Bill Clinton and his absolute awe for Ronald Regan Get your political fix on this book before the 2016 Presidential election makes us all cynical of the election process flag 4 likesLike see review Mar 17, 2019 Casey Wheeler rated it it was amazing Shelves biography, history cold war, presidents, us history, nonfiction, world war ii I have read a number of the author s other biographies and nonfiction and I have found them to be informative and interesting This book is well researched and written The author s writing style makes this an an engaging read instead of a dry recitation of history I learned a great deal about our 41st President as Meacham had access to many of the documents and interviews that other biographers did not George H.W Bush s approach to politics and leadership was developed from a family belief i I have read a number of the author s other biographies and nonfiction and I have found them to be informative and interesting This book is well researched and written The author s writing style makes this an an engaging read instead of a dry recitation of history I learned a great deal about our 41st President as Meacham had access to many of the documents and interviews that other biographers did not George H.W Bush s approach to politics and leadership was developed from a family belief in service to others He was the last President from the greatest generation and struggled at time to the shift in leadership to the baby boomers The end result being that he was our last one term president to date That said, historians are continually upgrading his time as president from the immediate view after he left office.I strongly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in presidential biographies and George Herbert Walker Bush in particular flag 3 likesLike see review May 31, 2018 Sassa rated it liked it review of another edition 3.75 starst quite a 4.I enjoyed the peripheral chapters the most the beginning chapters including George H W Bush s ancestry, childhood, education, marriage and service in WW 2 and the final chapters discussing his volunteerism and stance during his son s George W Bush s presidency.It is great fun to recall the names of Bush s administration and to read back door negotiations.A life motto of Bush, engrained by his mother was Tell the truth Don t blame people Be strong Do your bes 3.75 starst quite a 4.I enjoyed the peripheral chapters the most the beginning chapters including George H W Bush s ancestry, childhood, education, marriage and service in WW 2 and the final chapters discussing his volunteerism and stance during his son s George W Bush s presidency.It is great fun to recall the names of Bush s administration and to read back door negotiations.A life motto of Bush, engrained by his mother was Tell the truth Don t blame people Be strong Do your best Try hard Forgive Stay the course The Bushes were to win, but not brag succeed, but not preen.Bush s most telling characteristic is that he is a very loving and devoted father and grandfather His gentle, thoughtful and polite political behavior may be the end of the genre I just go about my business, he dictated Work hard, and get the job done I hate the negative things that are said about me, but I know nothing to do but to fight back in this state Time marched on But there is always a tomorrow, Bush told his diary Remember that always Interesting note Though not totally open The New York developer Donald Trump mentioned his availability as a vice presidential candidate to Lee Atwater Bush thought the overture strange and unbelievable Books, especially novels, were always a part of Bush s life The Bush children read Two Years Before the Mast, Tess of the d Urbervilles, and Mutiny on the Bounty.A key biblical verse much repeated in the Bush household came from the First Epistle to the Corinthians Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful, a variation of the Gospel text from St Luke For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required Pretty much every day we d have a Bible verse, usually at breakfast, On the Finback, after Bush was rescued from a downed fighter plane during WW 2, as a mental escape he read C S Forester s Captain from Connecticut, Lloyd C Douglas s The Robe, Paul Hughes s Retreat from Rostov, and John Dos Passos s Number One.I also enjoyed the many photos included We live in a special time, too, because we can watch internet clips of events described in the book.It is a thick book, but I would estimate that at least 30% is notes and photography That is not official, just my estimate flag 3 likesLike see review Sep 12, 2017 Gery rated it it was amazing review of another edition Shelves us politics, favorites Coming closer to my goal of reading a biography about every US President, I was looking forward to reading this highly rated book by the Pullitzer Prize winning author Jon Meacham A truly enjoyable biography of the forty first president of the United States, Meacham skillfully crafts a compelling narrative of George H W Bush s life, describing in enough but not excessive detail Bush s early life and moral upbringing so as to allow the reader to interpret his policy decisions based on his pe Coming closer to my goal of reading a biography about every US President, I was looking forward to reading this highly rated book by the Pullitzer Prize winning author Jon Meacham A truly enjoyable biography of the forty first president of the United States, Meacham skillfully crafts a compelling narrative of George H W Bush s life, describing in enough but not excessive detail Bush s early life and moral upbringing so as to allow the reader to interpret his policy decisions based on his personality I thoroughly enjoyed such behind the scenes insights as Bush offering Gorbatschew his personal month long schedule, which the latter happily accepted noting that he had to modernize and make his own schedule and office efficient.While reading the book, I felt like I could grasp some of the personal struggles Bush 41 went through in his election campaign against Ronald Reagan, and then his decision to accept the Vice Presidential position on the Reagan Bush ticket in 1980 While Meacham describes Bush as having his differences on policy with Reagan, I believe it would have been appropriate to expand on the either ignorance naivety or the outright delusive campaign promise that under a Bush presidency there would be no new taxes It was mentioned that Bush called out Reagan s 1980 campaign commitment of supply side economics as voodoo economics While I can understand that Bush would not criticize then President Reagan for dramatically increasing the national debt through the so called voodoo economics in his position as VP, I believe it to be unfair to not question Bush s motivation in promising no new taxes Surely Bush did not believe that keeping the US government on track with Reagonomics could in any way benefit the United States.This being said, I still enjoyed the book I believe Bush 41 will in several decades be considered one of the most honest, unpartisan and patriotic Republican Presidents of the 20th century His generally moderate views and willingness to work together with Democratic leadership throughout his presidency are reasons as to why I hold George Herbert Walker Bush in high esteem flag 2 likesLike see review Jan 25, 2019 Matthew Gagnon rated it really liked it Shelves biographies and memoirs I had been meaning to read a biography of George H.W Bush for a while, and this is one of the few true biographies about him that has been published, and of course it was well received When Bush passed away, the book moved up on my list, and I just finished reading through it.Full disclosure I am a professional in the field of politics and public policy, I am a Republican, and I am and always have been very fond of the Bush family I am also from Maine, where the Bushes spend a lot of time a I had been meaning to read a biography of George H.W Bush for a while, and this is one of the few true biographies about him that has been published, and of course it was well received When Bush passed away, the book moved up on my list, and I just finished reading through it.Full disclosure I am a professional in the field of politics and public policy, I am a Republican, and I am and always have been very fond of the Bush family I am also from Maine, where the Bushes spend a lot of time and which features prominently in the book , so keep all that in mind as you read my review I m a political junkie, and I m certainly biased.So, with that out of the way, I did enjoy the book, but with some caveats First, the good Obviously I am quite familiar with former President Bush, with his being such a public figure for so long However, I have never read a full biography on him, he never wrote a true memoir, and he was a one term president sandwiched between two incredibly compelling, borderline revolutionary presidents So he often gets lost in the shuffle As such, it was really nice to hear the story, so to speak The early life, his father and grandfather, his war service, Barbara and the family he started, his business career, early political plans, his complicated career, running for president and losing to Reagan, the vice presidential years, running for president and winning, the presidential years, running for president and losing again and the transition to Clinton, the post presidency and his son s tenure it is all there.Meacham does a good job of making you a fly on the wall to Bush s life, and you leave the book feeling like you genuinely got a picture of his life, and got to know him You understand his worldview, why he was the way he was, how he thought, how he saw things, and what his motivations were for a variety of things you saw as a consumer of the news.However, on the negative side, I will say that the book left me feeling empty in a lot of ways I don t think this is necessarily Meacham s fault, because if he gave me a lot of the things I would have wanted, the book would have been four or five times longer, or split into multiple volumes But none the less, I was left with the feeling that much of what I was learning was surface level, superficial, and lacking depth.The entire book views Bush s career through a political lens I suppose some of that is a reflection on the man himself, but I did not get a lot of information about the things that he did, but rather I got a narrative regarding his political machinations A great example of what I am talking about is his career in the 1970s, arguably the most important ten year window in his entire life as it gave him so much of the resume and so much of the experience and skill he would need to become vice president and then president Great, so what did we get about that period We basically got the politics behind it Why did Nixon or Ford decide to put him somewhere Why did Bush want a certain job, and why did he not want a job he ended up getting How did he view these positions as impacting his future aspirations for Senate, or a future presidential campaign We got all that.What didn t we get The actual work he did in all of those places.Oh, don t get me wrong, we certainly got some of the stuff he did there I know about, for instance, how a memo he approved as CIA Director would go on to affect the politics of Cold War era Soviet policy in the United States under Reagan and Bush But did I get some of the interesting, behind the curtain knowledge of things he did as the nation s top spook No, I did not.I didn t get anything of any substance about what he did as U.N Ambassador, Chairman of the Republican Party, Ambassador to China or as Director of the CIA Nothing beyond vague generalities, that is What I did get was all tied to political ladder climbing, and not much else.Perhaps that is simply a reflection of Bush himself and how he viewed politics To him, much of this was a means to an end serving the country and being the man making the big decisions at the end But part of the reason I wanted to read this was to learn some of the actual things he did in these varied and interesting jobs I left the book feeling like I didn t get that at all.Now, all of that said, to say that spoiled the book would be a lie It was well written, and very interesting At the end of the day, it was a character piece, than anything else, and the whole book was built upon examining who George Bush was, why he was the way he was, and how his life impacted the nation around him.On those notes, he hit it out of the park.So, I absolutely recommend the book, so long as you understand what you are getting out of it, and are interested in learning about politics and character For depth, you ll have to go elsewhere flag 2 likesLike see review View 1 comment Aug 01, 2017 Theresa rated it it was amazing review of another edition I really enjoyed this book It was simultaneously inspiring and depressing to read about a President who spent the majority of his life in service to his country and was guided not only by ambition, but by what was best for the country It depressed me at times because I couldn t help but compare President Bush s character with President Trump The book is a bit longer than I would have liked at the beginning when discussing Bush s ancestors and I would have been interested in exploration o I really enjoyed this book It was simultaneously inspiring and depressing to read about a President who spent the majority of his life in service to his country and was guided not only by ambition, but by what was best for the country It depressed me at times because I couldn t help but compare President Bush s character with President Trump The book is a bit longer than I would have liked at the beginning when discussing Bush s ancestors and I would have been interested in exploration of the process of writing the ADA The writing about the foreign policy events was very thorough and fascinating And of course, reading about his relationship with his son when W was President and his post presidency relationship with Bill Clinton was interesting Meacham got amazing access and asked great questions I highly recommend this flag 2 likesLike see review May 19, 2019 Andrew rated it it was amazing As it professes to be toward the very end, this book is a contribution to the historical conversation about the 41st American president It offers what I think is a fair and positive viewpoint Criticisms are made when the author thinks they re due, and praise given when it s seen as due as well Often enough, the author seems befuddled by the paradoxes of 41 s character, worldview, and decision making The portrait is drawn of a man of a particular time who has his own ideas of right and wrong, As it professes to be toward the very end, this book is a contribution to the historical conversation about the 41st American president It offers what I think is a fair and positive viewpoint Criticisms are made when the author thinks they re due, and praise given when it s seen as due as well Often enough, the author seems befuddled by the paradoxes of 41 s character, worldview, and decision making The portrait is drawn of a man of a particular time who has his own ideas of right and wrong, and which seem at times to collide with expediency or what others think about him, but who remains consistent to the basic principle of treating other people right even when he thinks they might not deserve it and being willing to compromise and put himself out of the way in order to see that things are done that he believed were in the country and the world s best interests The book itself is very read able, surprisingly so for a book of this kind I d recommend it flag 2 likesLike see review Nov 30, 2015 E rated it liked it review of another edition I admire George Herbert Walker Bush When I was a Republican I described myself as a Bush Republican until that term took on equivocal meanings I think he was the best president of my lifetime Nixon to Obama I admire his great skill at foreign policy, his decency, his pragmatism, and what I think is a genuine goodness.Meacham appears to admire the same things, as this book paints Bush in a very positive light as representing a bygone era in American politics, the last of a breed of mid twe I admire George Herbert Walker Bush When I was a Republican I described myself as a Bush Republican until that term took on equivocal meanings I think he was the best president of my lifetime Nixon to Obama I admire his great skill at foreign policy, his decency, his pragmatism, and what I think is a genuine goodness.Meacham appears to admire the same things, as this book paints Bush in a very positive light as representing a bygone era in American politics, the last of a breed of mid twentieth century leaders like Eisenhower But Meacham is also clear that along with the patrician virtues he gained from his family and upbringing there was also great ambition and a desire for power which could lead Bush to do things to win which didn t fit this image of his character I easily concede that the 88 campaign was one of the roughest and helped to spawn a new era in politics that is very unlike Bush himself Meacham writes, however, that while Bush would fight to win power, he generally seems to have used it to good effect and within limitations.This biography made news for its candid statements about Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, though there is much in the book The biographies advantage is a reliance upon George and Barbara s journals and extensive interviews with them and other members of the Bush family, inner circle, and political opponents and colleagues.What frustrated me about the book would have been a little settled had Author s Note at the end been part of a preface Meacham wrote, My aim in the book was to paint a biographical portrait of the forty first president This is neither a full life and times nor a history of the Bush family it is, rather, an attempt to give readers a sense of a singular and complicated man whose life and career span so much of our history The episodic portrait frustrated me The LA riots merited a paragraph and no analysis There was no discussion of our foreign policy toward the Aquino government, important at the time Etc I expressed these frustrations with Michael while I was reading it In this Author s Note Meacham writes, Because many readers will have lived through the Bush 41 years there will doubtless be those who will argue with the exclusion of this episode or that issue or with my choice of narrative emphasis So be it So, I had hoped for thorough analysis.One strange bit analysis lacking is how Bush 41 s Iraq War contributed to the on going world crisis in the Middle East, despite his best efforts to keep it measured And how his attempts to forge a post Cold War world that fulfilled the vision of the UN s founders floundered without him and his team at the helm.So, I enjoyed the book and its insights into a man I admire while also disliking the books shortcomings flag 2 likesLike see review Aug 04, 2016 Vheissu rated it liked it review of another edition Shelves history, politics society, military and international affairs I suppose I have been spoiled by Robert A Caro s magnificent biographies of Lyndon Johnson and was, consequently, a bit disappointed by Jon Meacham s biography of George H.W Bush But only just a bit disappointed, because the work elevated my esteem for Bush 41, at least as far as his foreign policy is concerned.Who won the Cold War Reagan Truman Gorbachev The question matters less than who created the post Cold War world Meacham convincingly argues that in large measure it was G.H.W I suppose I have been spoiled by Robert A Caro s magnificent biographies of Lyndon Johnson and was, consequently, a bit disappointed by Jon Meacham s biography of George H.W Bush But only just a bit disappointed, because the work elevated my esteem for Bush 41, at least as far as his foreign policy is concerned.Who won the Cold War Reagan Truman Gorbachev The question matters less than who created the post Cold War world Meacham convincingly argues that in large measure it was G.H.W Bush Not that Bush had no help Gorbachev and Kohl even Yeltsin deserve a lot of credit, too The fact that Germany reunited as a Western ally, that the Soviet empire cracked and crumbled, and that the other Soviet satellites soon fell into the Western orbit all without an overreaction by the Red Army and, probably, war are all due at least in part to the steady and reassuring diplomacy of President Bush.George Bush s new world order, indeed, seems to be falling apart in 2016 Russia is once again a revisionist state, changing international borders by force and brow beating America s NATO allies A candidate for president of the United States makes contingent American support for its Baltic allies, and expresses nonchalance about nuclear proliferation China is turning the South China sea into a Chinese lake, threatening the vital sea lanes between the Indian Ocean and the Sea of Japan In my opinion, international security is entering a new and perhaps not U.S dominated order Makes one almost nostalgic for the simpler world of Bush 41.Another development during the Bush years has special relevance to 2016 the presidential election of 1992 Bush s unsuccessful re election effort marked the first time that the right wing broadcast industry had an important effect on the campaign 1992 featured a populist, anti establishment candidate with little political experience Ross Perot , a fire breathing cultural warrior Pat Buchanan , and a deeply wounded candidate with serious trust issues Bill Clinton Sound familiar flag 2 likesLike see review Feb 18, 2017 Nathanael rated it really liked it review of another edition Imagine a world governed by modest, polite, talented, driven people A war hero turned businessman turned politician Such was ours a mere thirty years ago History is kinder to Bush 41 than 1992 s voters.A good book breezy read for a 600 pager flag 2 likesLike see review Nov 12, 2015 Sojourner rated it it was amazing review of another edition Shelves reviews Destiny and Power The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush by Jon Meacham is a hugely engaging, sharp, and well balanced portrayal of a President who shaped the history and destiny of American people for good or for bad, and whose actions and inactions will continue to reverberate even in the lives of the generation to come Author Jon Meacham has done a splendid job in fishing out details which were not in the public domain, and painted a portrait of a President who was as good as hi Destiny and Power The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush by Jon Meacham is a hugely engaging, sharp, and well balanced portrayal of a President who shaped the history and destiny of American people for good or for bad, and whose actions and inactions will continue to reverberate even in the lives of the generation to come Author Jon Meacham has done a splendid job in fishing out details which were not in the public domain, and painted a portrait of a President who was as good as his words.The author s approach succeeded in drawing the best out of the subject, which reflects the qualities of the forty first President of the United States of America He may have been dealt a harsh blow by his debacle in the 1992 Presidential election which he lost decisively to someone he considered a draft dodger for avoiding Vietnam War, but I m sure history will treat him kindly and remember him as one of the best Presidents America has ever had flag 2 likesLike see review Nov 19, 2015 Rob rated it liked it review of another edition I love me a good presidential biography And this is a good one, just not a great one My idea of great McCullough s bio of Truman and Caro s bio of Johnson Those books were immaculately researched and impeccably written This book is those things, yes, but I can t help but feeling as if Meacham feels perhaps a little too much sympathy for his subject Meacham clearly views his subject as a good man and on that, I m convinced, whatever my politics may be , but I suspect he s trying to get me I love me a good presidential biography And this is a good one, just not a great one My idea of great McCullough s bio of Truman and Caro s bio of Johnson Those books were immaculately researched and impeccably written This book is those things, yes, but I can t help but feeling as if Meacham feels perhaps a little too much sympathy for his subject Meacham clearly views his subject as a good man and on that, I m convinced, whatever my politics may be , but I suspect he s trying to get me to by into the notion that Bush is also a great man Sorry, not buying that Perhaps the issue is that Meacham is writing the bio of a living person to whom he had access, which makes it difficult for him to be completely open in his assessment Whatever the case may be, this ranks as a very good, but short of great presidential bio flag 2 likesLike see review View 1 comment Dec 29, 2015 Michael Fineberg rated it it was amazing review of another edition Unbelievable research and very clear writing It s a remarkable effort by the author and an enjoyable read for me I learned a great deal about how the inconsistencies in Bush s life might have been rooted in his past and beliefs It was fascinating Of special interest to me was the way the author took us through the 1970s and all the twists and turns of the Nixon and Ford years flag 2 likesLike see review Nov 22, 2015 Russell R Miller rated it it was amazing review of another edition A good man, faithfully revealed.What needs to be said Honest, faithful and decent in character subtle, wary of the tides of public acclaim or pundits pontifications, and always steady as she goes for the nation Jon Meacham like a great portraitist captures his man flag 2 likesLike see review Nov 14, 2015 Chris Carson rated it it was amazing review of another edition Excellent biography, balanced and filled with interesting background stories Well done, Jon Meacham flag 2 likesLike see review Apr 06, 2019 David Cook rated it it was amazing Shelves biography us presidents I am on a quest to complete biographies of all the US presidents Based on the reviews I chose Meacham s bio of George H W Bush Meacham does a great job conveying the life and character of George Hebert Walker Bush and to a lesser extent Barbara At times I felt that the man described in the book was overshadowed by the politics of the era This book brings out the decency, sincerity, and humanity of HW From his earliest years, Bush was a good and decent person Raised in Connecticut as the I am on a quest to complete biographies of all the US presidents Based on the reviews I chose Meacham s bio of George H W Bush Meacham does a great job conveying the life and character of George Hebert Walker Bush and to a lesser extent Barbara At times I felt that the man described in the book was overshadowed by the politics of the era This book brings out the decency, sincerity, and humanity of HW From his earliest years, Bush was a good and decent person Raised in Connecticut as the son of a Senator, Prescott Bush, he was motivated by duty than privilege which he certainly enjoyed His service in WWII as a decorated fighter pilot was exemplary He served on equal footing and never sought special treatment due to his family prominence The war seemed to cement in him the qualities of the greatest generation and he later became the last President of that generation Perhaps later presidents who did not serve but seem so willing to engage in war could learn from his example.At times he was guided by political expediency, as when he opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act because his party required it of him Other times, when less beholden to party ideology he was willing to push back against radical ideology such as when he opposed the influence and philosophy of the John Birch Society in Texas politics.As President, he was able to melt the ice of Cold War attitudes due to his relationships with Gorbachev and later Yeltsin resulting in a largely peaceful end to the Cold War It was interesting to me to realize that he was reluctant to pursue regime change in Iraq It was his son who later pursued a different policy and toppled Iraq and left a nation in ruin It was interesting to learn of HW s distaste for Rumsfeld and to some degree Cheney for their hawkishness Later his friendship and partnership with Bill Clinton, when they joined together on disaster relief, again was an example of principle over party He was highly criticized by some in Republican leadership for working together with Clinton He ignored the criticism and developed a close relationship with Clinton.The lesson and question raised by the book, as it relates to current US politics, is whether someone like HW can have success in today s political environment HW was a pragmatic non ideological politician, willing to compromise once valued qualities Can such a leader survive today Unfortunately, political success in today s world seems to depend on being the most ideological Today, compromise is seen as a violation of the loyalty to ideological purity I am not sure we will see another leader like George Herbert Walker Bush and that is not good news for our collective future Favorite Quotes Americans tend to prefer their presidents on horseback heroes who dream big and sound trumpets There is, however, another kind of leader quieter and less glamorous but no less significant whose virtues repay our attention There is greatness in political lives dedicated to steadiness than to boldness, to reform than to revolution, to management of complexity than to the making of mass movements I still feel that there is a disconnect honor, duty, and country it s just pass The values are different now, the lifestyles, the accepted vulgarity, the manners, the view of what s patriotic and what s not, the concept of service All these are in the hands of a new generation now, and I feel I have the comfort of knowing that I have upheld these values and I live and stand by them I have the discomfort of knowing that they might be a little out of date On Wednesday, April 9, 1969, Bush, who was just beginning his second term as a congressman, flew to see the former president at LBJ s ranch at Stonewall, Texas, about 220 miles from Houston Mr President, I ve still got a decision to make and I d like your advice, Bush said My House seat is secure no opposition last time and I ve got a position on Ways and Means I don t mind taking risks, but in a few terms, I ll have seniority on a powerful committee I m just not sure it s a gamble I should take, whether it s really worth it Son, Johnson said, I ve served in the House And I ve been privileged to serve in the Senate, too And they re both good places to serve So I wouldn t begin to advise you what to do, except to say this that the difference between being a member of the Senate and a member of the House is the difference between chicken salad and chicken shit The former president paused Do I make my point When he was thirteen, he used an anti Semitic epithet to describe a Jewish friend Thinking of the moment than seven decades later, Bush volunteered the story and cried, shaken by guilt over a remark made in the 1930s He shook his head in wonder at his own insensitivity Never forgotten it Never forgotten it The classmate remained a Bush friend and supporter for many years flag 1 likeLike see review Oct 14, 2016 Phil rated it it was amazing review of another edition The reason my attention was drawn to this book was a symposium I watched on BookTV in which the author shared a stage with John Boehner Several times during the discussion between the two, Meacham would bring up stories about George H W Bush showing him to be not only a gentleman who practiced civility with everyone but also someone dedicated to bipartisan efforts to see important things got done.Then came the moment late in the conversation when Meacham asked Boehner directly, When is the R The reason my attention was drawn to this book was a symposium I watched on BookTV in which the author shared a stage with John Boehner Several times during the discussion between the two, Meacham would bring up stories about George H W Bush showing him to be not only a gentleman who practiced civility with everyone but also someone dedicated to bipartisan efforts to see important things got done.Then came the moment late in the conversation when Meacham asked Boehner directly, When is the Republican Party going to take responsibility for someone like Donald Trump Boehner did not have an answer but I knew then I had to read this book I wasn t disappointed I can truthfully say it was the finest biography I ve ever read.Not only does the reader get to find out about this most remarkable man but the reader also gets an education into what politics really is all about It s about two things, things that are sometimes at odds with each other It s about winning and it s about serving If you don t win, you can t serve and Bush knew this well Bill Clinton called politics and a contact sport a position with which Bush would completely agree While running for Congress Bush took a stand again the Civil Rights bill, He did so not because he thought the bill a bad idea but rather to give him a chance to win Then when he did win, just as his father, Prescott Bush, had taken a stand against Joe McCarthy which made him terribly unpopular within his own party, Bush supported the passage of the fair housing legislation which he firmly believed in He became as unpopular in his own party as was his father before himAgain and again throughout his career he continued to make these stands He did so to serve the best interests of the nation which always came first to him.His career was in itself a remarkable story After graduating from Andover at age 18 he immediately joined the navy and trained to fly bombers off of carriers during WWII On one of his first flights out his task was bomb a communications tower the Japanese had built to give them early important information on what the Allied armies were planning For two days bombers had been sent out to take it out because of heavy defenses built around the facility hurling up toward the bombers huge amounts of flak He had been as unsuccessful as everyone else on his first run but on his second run he took it out.The flak also tore up his plane He told his two man crew to abandon the plane but got no response from them When it came time for him to jump he first checked see if they were still on the plane He could not find them.When he jumped, he pulled his rip cord too soon and it forced his head to collide with the back wing Another few inches lower and he would have been decapitated Instead he incurred only a nasty gash on his forehead Safely landing in the ocean all he could do was wait and see who got to him first, the Japanese or the Americans He was scared to death He was 20 years old.The deaths of his two crewman haunted him for the rest of his life.After the war, he struck out on his own eschewing a comfortable life in investment banking to move to Texas and learn the oil business He did well and became relatively wealthy His first attempts at politics were unsuccessful but he persevered and finally won a Congressional seat where he became known for working across the aisle to get things done.With Nixon in office the President asked him to become Ambassador to the United Nations He did so believing when the President asked you to serve, that s what you did.He brought to the position at the UN a special touch of respect, honesty and a directness many members found not only unusual but refreshing He would invite ambassadors to his parents residence for weekends of horseshoes, fast rides in their boat, excellent meals, wines and in the evening fine bourbon with cigars mixed with a great deal of conversation He was beginning to be known internationally and he was also learning quickly the issues worldwide.Nixon was up for re election so he asked him to take over the Republican National Committee He hated leaving the UN but again felt like he had no choice Had he known what was coming he has said he never would have taken the job.He had the responsibility of holding the Republican Party together during the Watergate hearings and its aftermath The task was monumental as well as thankless and took a toll on him not only mentally but also physically.Watergate came out of nowhere to make his job that much harder as he tried holding the party together during the hearings In 1974 Nixon sent him as an envoy to China.In China he was under strict orders from Kissinger not to socialize but only to handle the infrequent messages from the Chinese to the US government This last less than a week when he sent Kissinger a message he was going to do this job his way The next day he and Barbara got on their bikes wearing casual clothes and yellow People s Liberation Army caps and began touring the city and talking with people Day after day they did so The people began to recognize them and accept them.They also began attending social functions and inviting people to their home for the same He formed relationships with the Chinese leadership When it came time for China s entrance to the UN, Bush was shocked to find Nixon had decided Taiwan was out and by abstaining from the vote basically welcomed China in It was left to Bush to explain the move to the Taiwanese After Nixon resigned, Ford asked Bush to take over the CIA which he did from 1976 to 1977.In 1980 Reagan reluctantly asked him to run as his vice president He did not trust Bush and it was a real struggle for him to gain his trust and did he ever Reagan never held a meeting without Bush present and Bush never made a public statement without first going over it with Reagan They formed a bond never seen before between the President and his Vice President.After eight years as Vice President he ascended to the Presidency During his term, he witnessed the collapse of the Soviet Union which he carefully monitored through his friendship with Gorbachev Bush played it low key telling his staff there would be minimal public statements on the issue and absolutely no gloating.He gave Gorbachev just enough backing to help him survive a coup attempt, the fall of the Berlin wall and the subsequent reunification of the two Germanies Bush passed the Americans with Difficulties Act, a feat President Obama told the author no Republican today would ever attempt to or even vote for.When Saddam invaded Kuwait, he put together an international coalition including Arab states to unleash Desert Storm and drive him back into Iraq and then as promised, he withdrew the troops.By the time he was to run again, the nation had changed It was now a nation savagely divided between the Bill Clintons of the world and the Newt Gingrinchs of the world and there was no place for him.The defeat devastated him and his family but as always he was gracious in defeat and worked hard to make the transition as easy as possible.He and Clinton became very close friends after Clinton s presidency and worked together raising money for relief in Somalia and in New Orleans after Katrina.I will forgo the George W Bush presidency and his reaction to it for another time but his reaction to it is historically important.President Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom and called him not only one of the country s best president but very possibly the best there s ever been President Obama firmly believes Bush will be judged by history not only kindly but also with great acclaim.With failing health and bound to a wheel chair, Bush retreated from public life though friends from all over the world came to call on him at his house in Houston.Ever the gentleman he graciously received them all At age 90 with 70 years of public service behind him has turned his attention to his grandchildren and great grandchildren He s got some things to teach them That s the last thing left to him he needs to do I have no doubt he will flag 1 likeLike see review Mar 15, 2018 Rich Szabo rated it it was amazing review of another edition This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here I really enjoyed Meacham s biography of the 41st president George HW Bush The book was a fascinating peek into the life of not just the man, but the two extraordinary families which converged to produce the man His maternal and paternal sides blended much like a modern day version of a marriage of two royal families We see Meacham expose his character development through his upbringing His compassion is evident from an early age His understated drive, competitiveness, and intensity are hidd I really enjoyed Meacham s biography of the 41st president George HW Bush The book was a fascinating peek into the life of not just the man, but the two extraordinary families which converged to produce the man His maternal and paternal sides blended much like a modern day version of a marriage of two royal families We see Meacham expose his character development through his upbringing His compassion is evident from an early age His understated drive, competitiveness, and intensity are hidden behind a patina of grace and charm His war experiences shape his outlook on life, as does the loss of a young daughter I had the fortune, as a high schooler, to see Bush in Cleveland speak during his 1980 primary campaign against Reagan, and to hear him utter his now famous phrase voodoo economics He lost a bitter battle with the conservative supply side spender supply side economics had never before been tried We learn the story of how Bush became Reagan s VP against Reagan s wishes, and yet as time passed, how Bush and Reagan became good friends I was surprised to learn that Bush had signed the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Clean Air Act amendments of 1990, and did all of the groundwork for NAFTA He worked with the opposition controlled Congress, and his presidency is a study in the kind of bipartisanship that was common in earlier years Highly recommend Meacham s book for an intriguing look back into the past, and a hopeful reminder of what is possible if politicians work together for the good of the country flag 1 likeLike see review previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next new topicDiscuss This Book There are no discussion topics on this book yet Be the first to start one Share Recommend It Stats Recent Status Updates Readers also enjoyed

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    1. Jon Meacham

      Jon Meacham is the editor of Newsweek, a Pulitzer Prize winning bestselling author and a commentator on politics, history, and religious faith in America.

    648 thoughts on “Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush”

    1. The world lost a great man In this highly educational biography of George H.W Bush, Meacham offers the reader an insightful look into the life and times of the 41st President of the United States With scores of interesting anecdotes wrapped in a fluid narrative, the author brings to life a man who sought to influence American politics in the latter part of the 20th century, while trying to keep from being subsumed in the shadow of his presidential predecessor Bush was a man of honour and dign Th [...]


    2. Sometimes you shape events by not making any mistakes Destiny Power was an unexpected read for me I enjoy biographies and Jon Meacham has written a few that are on my to read list This was the first I picked up I will be picking up the others I was only 10 years old when Bush was elected president, so although I do have memories of his presidency the consequence of the times I was living through were lost on me.First off, the text flows well, and is simply written Its narrative Sometimes you sha [...]


    3. With the rollout of Pulitzer Prize winning biographer Jon Meacham s new book DESTINY AND POWER THE AMERICAN ODYSSEY OF GEORGE HERBERT WALKER BUSH what emerged in the media was the elder Bush s criticisms of Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney s poor service in the administration of his son Many pundits have questioned the senior Bush s judgement since another son, Jeb is in the midst of his own presidential campaign Whatever motivated the senior Bush it has created a great deal of buzz around Mea Wi [...]


    4. Summary Meacham traces the life of our 41st president from his family s roots and values that shaped a man both deeply committed to service and country, and also highly competitive and ambitious The biography traces both his skillful leadership in handling the transition from the Cold War era, and the inability of this deeply private man to communicate his deep care for and desire to serve his country that cost him a second term.Reading this biography suggested to me that George H W Bush [...]


    5. in 2015, Destiny and Power The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush by Jon Meacham is the most recent full scale biography of the 41st president Meacham is a presidential historian and author whose biography of Andrew Jackson won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize He has also written about Thomas Jefferson and Franklin Roosevelt and is currently working on a biography of James and Dolley Madison.With 601 pages of text and nearly 200 pages of in 2015, Destiny and Power The American Odyssey of Geor [...]


    6. George H W Bush is in some ways a neglected figure in recent American history Ronald Reagan supposedly won the Cold War abroad and defeated big government at home, leaving nothing for Bush to do but betray the Gipper s legacy A comparison with an earlier generation s view of JFK and Lyndon Johnson would be instructive, I think Bush s reputation improved during his son s administration, as he was seen as the good ones whose legacy was tarnished by a feckless son Bush 41 s positive quali George H [...]


    7. George H W Bush is one of the few presidents that did not write his autobiography after leaving office Jon Meacham has produced the official biography on H.W Bush I have read a number of Meacham s books including American Lion which won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize.Meacham did extensive research for the book and was allowed access to Bush s diaries and numerous interviews with family and friends Needless to say he also had access to the presidential papers and other archive materials Bush George H W [...]


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