Destiny and Power

Destiny and Power

The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush

Book - 2015
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In this brilliant biography, Jon Meacham, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, chronicles the life of George Herbert Walker Bush. Drawing on President Bush's personal diaries, on the diaries of his wife, Barbara, and on extraordinary access to the forty-first president and his family, Meacham paints an intimate and surprising portrait of an intensely private man who led the nation through tumultuous times. From the Oval Office to Camp David, from his study in the private quarters of the White House to Air Force One, from the fall of the Berlin Wall to the first Gulf War to the end of Communism, Destiny and Power charts the thoughts, decisions, and emotions of a modern president who may have been the last of his kind. This is the human story of a man who was, like the nation he led, at once noble and flawed.

His was one of the great American lives. Born into a loving, privileged, and competitive family, Bush joined the navy on his eighteenth birthday and at age twenty was shot down on a combat mission over the Pacific. He married young, started a family, and resisted pressure to go to Wall Street, striking out for the adventurous world of Texas oil. Over the course of three decades, Bush would rise from the chairmanship of his county Republican Party to serve as congressman, ambassador to the United Nations, head of the Republican National Committee, envoy to China, director of Central Intelligence, vice president under Ronald Reagan, and, finally, president of the United States. In retirement he became the first president since John Adams to see his son win the ultimate prize in American politics.

With access not only to the Bush diaries but, through extensive interviews, to the former president himself, Meacham presents Bush's candid assessments of many of the critical figures of the age, ranging from Richard Nixon to Nancy Reagan; Mao to Mikhail Gorbachev; Dick Cheney to Donald Rumsfeld; Henry Kissinger to Bill Clinton. Here is high politics as it really is but as we rarely see it.

From the Pacific to the presidency, Destiny and Power charts the vicissitudes of the life of this quietly compelling American original. Meacham sheds new light on the rise of the right wing in the Republican Party, a shift that signaled the beginning of the end of the center in American politics. Destiny and Power is an affecting portrait of a man who, driven by destiny and by duty, forever sought, ultimately, to put the country first.

Praise for Destiny and Power

"Altogether fair, insightful . . . a portrait made especially compelling by the author's remarkable access to Bush's private White House diaries. This is a timely, first-rate book!" --David McCullough

"What a spectacular and moving portrait this is--not only of a remarkably classy man but of the era that shaped him! It is hard to imagine a biographer more fitted than Jon Meacham to write what will surely be the definitive work on George Herbert Walker Bush." --Doris Kearns Goodwin

"This astonishing book is both timely and timeless. . . . A fascinating and insightful portrayal of the life of an exemplary American citizen." --Walter Isaacson

"Jon Meacham's timely and intimate biography of George Bush 41 is a welcome reminder of this modest president's call to service, from the cockpits of World War II to the Oval Office and the end of the Cold War." --Tom Brokaw

"This riveting biography by the incomparable Jon Meacham gives George H. W. Bush his well-deserved place in history." --Michael Beschloss
Publisher: New York : Random House, c2015
ISBN: 9781400067657
Branch Call Number: B BUSH Meac
Characteristics: xxiv, 836 pages, [32 unnumbered pages of plates] : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm


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Feb 02, 2018

As noted by Meacham, the opinion of George H. W. Bush's presidency has vastly improved since he left office. While this might be due in part to comparisons with his son George W. Bush's polarizing two terms, after reading this comprehensive sweep of Bush 41's life, I would say that what people really miss about the period was his lack of partisanship and "hot rhetoric", which was antithetical to his character. George H. W. Bush was not a man with a vision, but the country- and the world- benefited from someone who was able to maintain calm and patience while dramatic, historic events were unfolding all around him.

May 03, 2016

George H. W. Bushes life

Jan 26, 2016

Ah, a real bio would have been most welcome: on the Walker side, their money came from being slave traders - - on the Bush side, they were favored by the Rockefeller family, which owned Buckeye Steel Castings [Frank Rockefeller], where a senior Bush was successful [wonder if they had anything to do with blowing up those competitors' refineries for the Rockefellers?] - - George H.W. Bush's grandfather was the first president, and one of the founding members of the most anti-worker organization ever, the National Association of Manufacturers [NAM].
There has always been either a Walker or Bush at Goldman Sachs? Most interesting. Prescott Bush was important in covering up Bush's desertion of his fellow aircrew, bailing out and leaving them to die while in WWII. Also at the beginning of WWII, the Union Banking Corporation, of which Prescott Bush was a senior executive and director, would have ALL their assets confiscated by the government under the Trading With the Enemies Act - - they transferred gold and other assets for the Nazis!

Dec 25, 2015

It was interesting to be reminded of events in the past and Bush 41's part in it. I think he sometimes looked through rose-colored glasses--especially where Bush 43 was concerned. Of course, he is the father and it's hard to judge one's child objectively. The first chapter about earlier generations was a little "gagging". All the nicknames, like Bucky, and Pressy. I expected to hear someone was called Buffy or Muffy. Their's was a well-to-do family with servants and expectations and entitlements due. Most women could play several sets of tennis and still play with their children if someone else cooked, cleaned, etc. Parenting skills were a little amiss, as well. We have had enough Presidents Bush.


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