Book Reviews: A Presidential Twofer — Bubba & Dubya
I really hate to be so negative about another writer’s efforts, but, bless his heart, this book was a major disappointment, being not so much a biography as a screed against anyone who might have uttered a discouraging word against the Clintons, from Rush Limbaugh to the New York Times–yes, the New York Times. I fully expected to read that Monica Lewinksy just accidentally fell face first into Clinton’s lap with her mouth open and a vast right wing conspiracy blew it all out of proportion.
The funny thing is that in the attempt to show Bill Clinton was caught up in a “Kafkaeque,” persecution, Tomasky turns him into a weak, hapless victim of circumstances and his political enemies. Consequently, I didn’t really learn much about the man who was such a gifted politician and a dominant personality in American politics for the last quarter century.
The best thing about this book is that it is mercifully short. (1 of 5 Stars)
I was going to conclude my self-inflicted survey of American Presidents at the end of the last millennium, because the closer I got to current events, the more bios seemed to be hysterical than historical. But this biography popped up in Arthur Schlesinger’s series and I thought, what the heck, I’ll have just one more read for the road.
Anyone who paid much attention to Democrats and media reports at the time might ask themselves how such a “dolt” got elected President twice. Well, this book answers that question in a pretty straightforward and even-handed way, rounding out who George W. Bush really was, hitting both high and low points. Love him or hate him, at least it’s clear how the Bushes became the only other father-son Presidents since the Adams family. (4 of 5 Stars)
In my trek through the lives of America’s CEOs, I’ve read at least 15 of The American Presidents series books. Bubba’s & Dubya’s editions represent the worst and the best of the series. Sometimes it was the only choice for lesser known Presidents. Other times, it saved me a great deal of time by offering an alternative to wading through thousands of pages in multi-volume biographies for individuals that, frankly, I wasn’t that interested in (e.g., Ford, Carter). Overall, the series is a great resource for getting a quick overview of our nation’s leaders.
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