Former President George H.W. Bush, revealed through his letters and writings from 1941 to 2010, is “worth its weight in gold…a valuable update of the life of an honorable American leader” (The Washington Post).
“Who knew that beneath George Bush’s buttoned-up propriety pulsed the warm heart of a prolific and occasionally poetic writer with a wacky sense of humor?” (People) Though reticent in public, George Bush openly shared his private thoughts in correspondence throughout his life. This collection of letters, diary entries, and memos is the closest we’ll ever get to his autobiography.
Organized chronologically, readers will gain insights into Bush’s career highlights—the oil business, his two terms in Congress, his ambassadorship to the UN, his service as an envoy to China, his tenure with the Central Intelligence Agency, and of course, the vice presidency, the presidency, and the post-presidency. They will also observe a devoted husband, father, and American. Ranging from a love letter to Barbara and a letter to his mother about missing his daughter, Robin, after her death from leukemia to a letter to his children written just before the beginning of Desert Storm, this collection is remarkable for Bush’s candor, humor, and poignancy.
“An unusual glimpse of the private thoughts of a public figure” (Newsweek), this revised edition includes new letters and photographs that highlight the Bush family’s enduring legacy, including letters that cover George W. Bush’s presidency, 9/11, Bush senior’s work with President Clinton to help the victims of natural disasters, and the meaning of friendship and family. All the Best, George Bush “will shed more light on the man’s personal character and public persona than any memoir or biography could” (Publishers Weekly).
To the present governors of Texas and Florida, his sons George and Jeb, who worried that they might upstage their famous dad, former President Bush wrote: "Do not worry when you see the stories that compare you favorably to a Dad for whom English was a second language." President Bush was indeed famously inarticulate in public. But in this collection of diary entries, memos and letters written between 1942, when he started navy flight school, to March 1999, when he wrote a friend to express his consternation that his e-mail server was down, Bush proves himself to have been a gracious and staggeringly prolific correspondent. There are long letters, such as the September 1944 missive to his parents relating how he was shot down over the Pacific. And there are truly funny diary entries from his presidency about the Scowcroft Award, a running gag in the Bush cabinet named after National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft, who apparently had an uncanny knack for napping in meetings: "A fantastic challenge by Ed Derwinski. very firm eye closure and a remarkable recovery gambit." Naturally, there are long letters to world leaders such as Deng Xiaoping, King Hussein, Mikhail Gorbachev and others about matters of historical import. Diary entries cover the Tiananmen Square massacre, the failed coup against Gorbachev, the Gulf War and other crises (though there's hardly anything about the Iran-contra scandal). Rarely does Bush display any partisan bitterness, and even then it's not very pungent (though he's consistently irked by the press). Bush must have been tempted to write a memoir intended to beat historians to the interpretive punch. This modest alternative is refreshing and, in many ways, will shed more light on the man's personal character and public persona than any memoir or biography could. It offers an intriguing picture of a man who takes fierce pride in his modesty.