In this candid and gripping account, President George W. Bush describes the critical decisions that shaped his presidency and personal life.
George W. Bush served as president of the United States during eight of the most consequential years in American history. The decisions that reached his desk impacted people around the world and defined the times in which we live.
Decision Points brings readers inside the Texas governor's mansion on the night of the 2000 election, aboard Air Force One during the harrowing hours after the attacks of September 11, 2001, into the Situation Room moments before the start of the war in Iraq, and behind the scenes at the White House for many other historic presidential decisions.
For the first time, we learn President Bush's perspective and insights on:
His decision to quit drinking and the journey that led him to his Christian faith
The selection of the vice president, secretary of defense, secretary of state, Supreme Court justices, and other key officials
His relationships with his wife, daughters, and parents, including heartfelt letters between the president and his father on the eve of the Iraq War
His administration's counterterrorism programs, including the CIA's enhanced interrogations and the Terrorist Surveillance Program
Why the worst moment of the presidency was hearing accusations that race played a role in the federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina, and a critical assessment of what he would have done differently during the crisis
His deep concern that Iraq could turn into a defeat costlier than Vietnam, and how he decided to defy public opinion by ordering the troop surge
His legislative achievements, including tax cuts and reforming education and Medicare, as well as his setbacks, including Social Security and immigration reform
The relationships he forged with other world leaders, including an honest assessment of those he did and didn't trust
Why the failure to bring Osama bin Laden to justice ranks as his biggest disappointment and why his success in denying the terrorists their fondest wish--attacking America again--is among his proudest achievements
A groundbreaking new brand of presidential memoir, Decision Points will captivate supporters, surprise critics, and change perspectives on eight remarkable years in American history--and on the man at the center of events.
Showing 1-10 of the 17 most recent reviews
1 . A Great Read
Posted March 28, 2011 by Sheila M Forney , Brick NJI thoroughly enjoyed reading President Bush's account of the events
surrounding his presidency. The book is easy to read and very interesting.
It was nice to hear his side of the stories-quite enlightening after the
misinformation we were given by the liberal media during his terms of
office. His integrity comes shining through. He and Mrs. Bush were a class act and they are sorely missed!
2 . What makes President Bush tick.
Posted March 28, 2011 by Richard Cappetto , MoodusThis is a great first scorce history, and can be used by historians for years and years to come. President Bush takes on the major decision he made and tells us why he made those decisions. Love him, hate him or be indifferent you will get good insight into the man here.
3 . excellent
Posted March 28, 2011 by KC , CTReally shows how the mainstream media shapes our perception. I think most reporters would gladly trade their scholastic credentials for his any day.
4 . Europe should read this!
Posted February 26, 2011 by Adam Dubya , CopenhagenThis is a very good book (after the first chapter). It's really about what the title says, decision points, and how he had very complex decisions to make. Europeans think GWB is just all bad, but they know nothing about the man, his experience, education and thoughts. He really impressed me with this book.
5 . OK but hoped for more.
Posted January 31, 2011 by Mike Gougler , Newberg, ORGW has insisted that he will let the scholars in the future judge his presidency. His book gives the impression that be wants to positively influence that judgement. His input and that of his ghost writer ("editor") is reasonably easy to identify. Not surprisingly he does not spend any time on Scott McClennan, his press secretary before Perino. Read Scott's book: "What Happened" to add some balance to GW's description of his presidency. I expect that there will be books written specifically to criticize GW's impressions and conclusions. GW supporters will not read them, GW critics will recommend them; save your money and donate it to a program that encourages literacy.
6 . Interesting
Posted January 01, 2011 by Abby , Vancouver, BCAlthough I am a Canadian...and not quite familiar with American politics....I was interested in Bush's take on different subjects. He definately had his challanges....9-ll, Iraq, Katrina, etc. He got a little long winded on certain subjects but overall, I enjoyed this book.
7 . revealing
Posted December 29, 2010 by Stu Baxter , Sycamore, ILThis book tells you a lot about the man and how the decisions were made. I always liked him and liked him more after reading this book. Good snappy read.
8 . Excellent read
Posted December 21, 2010 by Herb , BramptonAfter reading this book, I have changed my opinion on Mr. Bush, It proves again how the media choose what they want to report on. After reading the Katrina incident, I realized the mistakes that were done, but Bush was not the main reason it failed. I recommend this book to anyone who wishes to have a glimpse of what it takes to be a president and the decisions that have to be made.
9 . Now you get both sides to the story!!
Posted December 10, 2010 by Scott Frei , Rockdale, TexasIt's straight from the heart and a great inside view to everything from W's presidential campaign to 9-11. He probably shares more than he should, but as he explains, honesty is in his Texan nature.
Great descriptions about the heart breaking loss of his sister to heart warming stories about the cufflinks his father gave him after winning an election.
Say what you will about the former president, but it's foolish to think the media gives the entire story....... now we have it.
10 . Quite a deception
Posted December 07, 2010 by Michel , BeaconsfieldIt is probably one of the worst book I have read. The story goes back and forth with no real link in between the stories. What a deception to read after deciding to strike Irak he finds comfort in seeing his dog. True enough, it gives some hindsight into the big American politics. Furthermore, I have to acknowledged that G. W. Bush has encountered lots of difficult times going from 9-1-1 to the economic crisis that all of us are still living with. My review is to show my deception in the writing of the book. The book is not well written, very simplistic and the choice of wording somehow sounds childish. A lot of the book shows attachment to the religious factor which does not bring anything to me and looks more of using that connotation to justify, explain some of his decisions. That is ludicrous at best. All in all, nice review of how politics is played on the international side and national side but a very disappointing book.
November 09, 2010
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Excerpt from Decision Points by George W Bush
Years from now, historians may look back and see the surge as a forgone conclusion, an inevitable bridge between the years of violence that followed liberation and the democracy that emerged. Nothing about the surge felt inevitable at the time. Public opinion ran strongly against it. Congress tried to block it. The enemy fought relentlessly to break our will.
Yet thanks to the skill and courage of our troops, the new counterinsurgency strategy we adopted, the superb coordination between our civilian and military efforts, and the strong support we provided for Iraq's political leaders, a war widely written off as a failure has a chance to end in success. By the time I left office, the violence had declined dramatically. Economic and political activity had resumed. Al Qaeda had suffered a significant military and ideological defeat. In March 2010, Iraqis went to the polls again. In a headline unimaginable three years earlier, Newsweek ran a cover story titled "Victory at Last: The Emergence of a Democratic Iraq."
Iraq still faces challenges, and no one can know with certainty what the fate of the country will be. But we do know this: Because the United States liberated Iraq and then refused to abandon it, the people of that country have a chance to be free. Having come this far, I hope America will continue to support Iraq's young democracy. If Iraqis request a continued troop presence, we should provide it. A free and peaceful Iraq is in our vital strategic interest. It can be a valuable ally at the heart of the Middle East, a source of stability in the region, and a beacon of hope to political reformers in its neighborhood and around the world. Like the democracies we helped build in Germany, Japan, and South Korea, a free Iraq will make us safer for generations to come.
I have often reflected on whether I should have ordered the surge earlier. For three years, our premise in Iraq was that political progress was the measure of success. The Iraqis hit all their milestones on time. It looked like our strategy was working. Only after the sectarian violence erupted in 2006 did it become clear that more security was needed before political progress could continue. After that, I moved forward with the surge in a way that unified our government. If I had acted sooner it could have created a rift that would have been exploited by war critics in Congress to cut off funding and prevent the surge from succeeding.
From the beginning of the war in Iraq, my conviction was that freedom is universal--and democracy in the Middle East would make the region more peaceful. There were times when that seemed unlikely. But I never lost faith that it was true.
"Mr. President, we are witnessing a financial panic."
Those were troubling words coming from Ben Bernanke, the mild-mannered chairman of the Federal Reserve, who was seated across from me in the Roosevelt Room. Over the previous two weeks, the government had seized Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two giant housing entities. Lehman Brothers had filed the largest bankruptcy in American history. Merrill Lynch had been sold under duress. The Fed had granted an $85 billion loan to save AIG. Now Wachovia and Washington Mutual were teetering on the brink of collapse.
With so much turbulence in financial institutions, credit markets had seized up. Consumers couldn't get loans for homes or cars. Small businesses couldn't borrow to finance their operations. The stock market had taken its steepest plunge since the first day of trading after 9/11.
As we sat beneath the oil painting of Teddy Roosevelt charging on horseback, we all knew America was facing its most dire economic challenge in decades.
I turned to the Rough Rider of my financial team, Secretary of the Treasury Hank Paulson, a natural leader with decades of experience in international finance.
"The situation is extraordinarily serious," Hank said.
He and the team briefed me on three measures to stem the crisis. First, the Treasury would guarantee all $3.5 trillion in money market mutual funds, which were facing depositor runs. Second, the Fed would launch a program to unfreeze the market for commercial paper, a key source of financing for businesses across the country. Third, the Securities and Exchange Commission would issue a rule temporarily preventing the short-selling of financial stocks.
"These are dramatic steps," Hank said, "but America's financial system is at stake."
He outlined an even bolder proposal. "We need broad authority to buy mortgage-backed securities," he said. Those complex financial assets had lost value when the housing bubble burst, imperiling the balance sheets of financial firms around the world. Hank recommended that we ask Congress for hundreds of billions to buy up these toxic assets and restore confidence in the banking system.
"Is this the worst crisis since the Great Depression?" I asked.
"Yes," Ben replied. "In terms of the financial system, we have not seen anything like this since the 1930s, and it could get worse."
His answer clarified the decision I faced: Did I want to be the president overseeing an economic calamity that could be worse than the Great Depression?
I was furious the situation had reached this point. A relatively small group of people--many on Wall Street, some not--had gambled that the housing market would keep booming forever. It didn't. In a normal environment, the free market would render its judgment and they could fail. I would have been happy to let them do so.
But this was not a normal environment. The market had ceased to function. And as Ben had explained, the consequences of inaction would be catastrophic. As unfair as it was to use the American people's money to prevent a collapse for which they weren't responsible, it would be even more unfair to do nothing and leave them to suffer the consequences.
"Get to work," I said, approving Hank's plan in full. "We are going to solve this."
I adjourned the meeting and walked across the hallway to the Oval Office. Josh Bolten, Counselor Ed Gillespie, and Dana Perino, my talented and effective press secretary, followed me in. Ben's historical comparison was still echoing in my mind.
"If we're really looking at another Great Depression," I said, "you can be damn sure I'm going to be Roosevelt, not Hoover."