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Outline ReviewIn lieu of a memoir, All the Best, George Bush collects correspondence and diary entries from the former U.S. president to show, as he says, "what my own heartbeat is, what my values are, what has motivated me in life." The letters begin in 1942--when, fresh out of high school, Bush volunteered for U.S. Navy flight school--and continue to the brink of the 21st century, as the retired chief executive worries about the Melissa virus infecting his office's server and keeping his visiting grandchildren in line. ("I realize," he muses, "Keep the freezer door closed from now on and I mean it lacks the rhetorical depth of This will not stand or Read my lips.") All the Best hits all the highlights of Bush's career, from the Texas oil business to his role as ambassador to China, then CIA director, vice president under Ronald Reagan, and finally president himself. Along the way, he reveals a personality that is at turns compassionate, respectful, silly, doting, and resolute--a man for whom being a father and a grandfather matters as much as, and maybe even more than, being leader of the free world. Fans and detractors alike will find in All the Best an intimate human portrait that offers as sure a self-definition of Bush's personal life as A World Transformed did his presidential career.
The most intimate and revealing look at one of America's most private public figures.
Though reticent in public, George Bush has openly shared his private thoughts in his correspondence throughout his life. Fortunately, since the former president does not plan to write his autobiography, this collection of letters, diary entries, and memos, with his accompanying commentary, will fill that void.
Organized chronologically, the volume begins with eighteen-year-old George's letters to his parents during World War II, when, at the time he was commissioned, he was the youngest pilot in the Navy. Readers will gain insights into Bush's career highlights -- the oil business, his two terms in Congress, his ambassadorship to the U.N., his service as an envoy in China, his tenure with the Central Intelligence Agency, and of course, the vice presidency, the presidency, and the postpresidency. They will also observe a devoted husband, father, and American. Ranging from a love letter to Barbara and a letter to his mother about missing his daughter Robin after her death from leukemia to a letter to his children two weeks before Nixon's resignation to one written to them just before the beginning of Desert Storm, the writings are remarkable for their candor, humor, and poignancy.
As the Bushes continue to emerge as a major political family, this portrait of its unassuming patriarch is timely and important. That George Bush is allowing this much of the collection to be published is remarkable in itself. All the Best, George Bush provides a surprisingly intimate and insightful portrayal of the forty-first president of the United States.
As the author writes in his Preface: "So what we have here are letters from the past and present. Letters that are light and hopefully amusing. Letters written when my heart was heavy or full of joy. Serious letters. Nutty letters. Caring letters, and rejoicing letters....It's all about heartbeat."
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