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2008 non-fiction book by Jacob Weisberg

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Seeking to understand the reasons behind the failed Bush Presidency.

  • Nov 26, 2008
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Trying to understand just what went wrong over the past 8 years was my primary motivation for picking up "The Bush Tragedy".  To say that I was disappointed in his presidency would be a gross understatement.  In "The Bush Tragedy" author Jacob Weisberg offers up an intimate look at George W. Bush, his family and his inner circle of trusted advisors in an attempt to explain many of this President's ill-advised actions and policy initiatives since 2001.  It is fascinating reading.

Throughout "The Bush Tragedy" , Weisberg compares George W. to Prince Hal in the Shakespearian play "Henry V".  The similarities between the two men are remarkable.  It turns out that George W. Bush is a very complex individual whose personality was shaped and formed by a complicated relationship with his father, the former President and his brother Jeb with whom he has been in competition with all of his life.   His father's failure to defeat and remove Saddam Hussein in the Persian Gulf War in 1991 and his subsequent defeat at the hands of the despised Bill Clinton in 1992 would leave an indelible mark on Bush 43.  He was bound and determined to do things differently if he was elected President.  After the disputed election of 2000, George W. would surround himself with a cadre of advisors who were idealogically driven and would ultimately contribute to the undoing of this presidency.  This circle would include his political advisor Karl Rove, Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to name but a few. Weisberg points to numerous situations after 9/11 where these individuals and others would mislead the President and encourage him to pursue flawed policies including the war in Iraq. These decisions would prove to be the President's undoing.  Of course George W. Bush's own lack of intellectual curiosity would contribute mightily to his downfall as well.

I would have to agree with Time political columnist Joe Klein who opined that Jacob Weisberg has written " a scorching, powerful and entirely plausible account of this perverse family saga."  After reading "The Bush Tragedy" I feel that I have a much better handle on just what has happened in this country during the Bush 43 years.  It really is quite tragic.  This is a well-written and highly informative book that is well worth your time.   Recommended.
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August 17, 2009
Great review - looking forward to reading this one!
May 24, 2009
I'm a HUGE Shakespeare fan and I never thought about that correlation but, now that you mention it...I've always known that the number one inspiration for the Iraq War was his father's failure in the Persian Gulf. I agree with the book that he may have been a puppet; however, he had a huge role to play and he was given excuses for his poor business sense and behavior for his entire life. I will not play into that. He took a seven month vacation as soon as he got in office! I can go on forever but, thanks for this great review! I'll have to check this out!
February 13, 2009
Oliver Stone's film "W" offered an interesting point of view as well. I'm not into Shakespeare so I can't comment of the HENRY V reference, but I find W's failings in that case to be very similar to Nixon's. He too surrounded himself with people of dubious quality when the very nature of the presidency depends on a man's ability to surround himself with the best possible advisors. It would also help if the president himself had a brain.
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Paul Tognetti ()
Ranked #2
I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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About this book



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

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

Here is the bitter and fascinating truth of the early years of the Bush dynasty, with never-before-revealed information about the conflict between the two patriarchs on George W.'s father's side of the family–the one an upright pillar of the community, the other a rowdy playboy–and how that schism would later shape and twist the younger George Bush; his father, a hero of war, business, and Republican politics whose accomplishments George W. would attempt to copy and whose absences he ...

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ISBN-10: 1400066786 (hbk.)
ISBN-13: 9781400066780 (hbk.)
Author: Jacob Weisberg
Genre: Political Science
Publisher: Random House
Date Published: January 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
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