"We are not the sum of our possessions. They are not the measures of our lives. In our hearts, we know what matters. We cannot hope only to leave our children a bigger car, a bigger bank account. We must hope to give them a sense of what it means to be a loyal friend; a loving parent; a citizen who leaves his home, his neighborhood, and town better than he found it."
-- from President George H. W. Bush's Inaugural Address, January 21, 1989
A charming collection of excerpts from the former president's speeches and other writings, Heartbeat reveals the basic ideals and beliefs that have served George H. W. Bush throughout his public and private life. He speaks often of what he calls "heartbeat." It is a simple word -- a code word -- referring to personal bedrock values concerning service, duty, honor, friends, faith, and particularly family.
As the Bushes prove themselves to be one of the most important political families in U.S. history, this warm and revealing look into the former president's guiding principles could not come at a more important time. Culled from Mr. Bush's speeches over the course of his presidency and beyond, Heartbeat discloses a surprising personal side to the forty-first president -- a warm, witty, and expressive man.
In chapters such as "1989: A New Breeze" and "1993-2001: Did It with Honor," the book features entertaining, eloquent, and emotional excerpts from the former president's words...
"Sure we must change, but some values are timeless. I believe in families that stick together, and fathers who stick around. I happen to believe very deeply in the worth of each individual human being, born or unborn. I believe in teaching our kids the difference between what's wrong and what's right, teaching them respect for hard work and to love their neighbors. I believe that America will always have a special place in God's heart, as long as He has a special place in ours...."
"Being president does have its advantages. And this is true: I have a TV set there in the White House with five screens, one big one in the middle, four small ones around it. Now I don't have to miss the nightly news when I watch Wheel of Fortune."
In this single, remarkable collection, Mr. Bush's speeches, interviews, and other statements paint a poig-nant portrait not just of the former president but of a man and a family.
A compilation of excerpts from George H.W. Bush's speeches, interviews and statements, Heartbeat: George Bush in His Own Words is not, writes editor Jim McGrath, "a political book," but rather an attempt to show the private man through his public words. The excerpts are short, ranging from a few paragraphs down to an aphoristic two lines. There are plenty of thoughtful moments, such as Bush's reflection on Martin Luther King Jr. ("His life was a metaphor for courage"), but overall, the balance seems to swing toward the humorous ("I'm President of the United States, and I'm not going to eat any more broccoli").