For my wife and me, vacation planning includes selecting books to read. In order to limit the luggage weight (we are yet not Kindle people), we try to find books of mutual interest. Two that we agreed upon were the memoirs of George W. Bush and Tony Blair. Together, it was a commitment of 1,150 pages, but we were up to the challenge.
Several friends had recommended GWB’s book, yet it was still a tough decision to select it. I was and still am very much a Bush man, but I generally stay away from memoirs. I prefer to read biographies with the detached analysis of a third party. Since the administrations of Messrs. Bush and Blair overlapped in time, and because I have a deep respect for Blair as a stand-up gentleman, I felt pairing the two would be fascinating. I also wanted to read Blair’s perception of the Bush years’ major issues, such as the war on terror.
At 477 pages and the shorter of the two, Bush came up to bat first. My impression of his book is that it is eminently readable, well-organized and well-written – not well-written in the manner of a Philip Roth novel, but clear, concise and communicative. After all, that’s what it was written to do – communicate.
My wife actually read it first, and on more than one occasion, stated "If the Bush haters only read this book, they would …" I rolled my eyes, knowing that the Left's irrational hostility towards GWB could never be assuaged. However, if you are a Bush-lover or an independent thinker, you gain the true sense of the man by reading the book. He is humble, reverent and respectful. He identifies clearly what he would like to have redone, and where he thinks he could have done better. As Tony Blair wrote in his book, you finish knowing that Mr. Bush’s efforts as President were honest and what he believed were in the best interests of the country.
I was most proud of the positions that Bush took on stem cell research and the war on terror. Bush’s stance on the use of stem cells was extremely well thought-out and based on established science. He did not neglect the effects of the scenario presented by Aldous Huxley in Brave New World. I consider myself scientifically literate, having read (among others) Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time as well as the books of Dr. Richard Feynman, and nobody will ever convince me that Bush's decision was not thoroughly and scientifically derived. Of course, his assumptions – and the resulting policy – were found to be accurate in 2008.