For the “Political Memoir” book of my reading challenge, I picked “Decision Points” by former President George W. Bush. I bought this book years ago, never had the urge to read it until now. I went into this book thinking, ” This is actually one of the memoirs I can relate to historically because I was alive and actually politically aware for most of it.
With that being said, I have mixed feelings about President Bush. I don’t think anyone can disagree that he was a rather polarizing figure as President. He went through some real hardships in his presidency that few Presidents have seen in recent decades; 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, Iraq War, Afghanistan War, financial meltdown of 2008, etc. It would be easy to sit back and be critical of a lot of the decisions he made because he made some ones I disagreed with, but that is not what this review is going to be about. I don’t envy the position he was put in those times and definitely wouldn’t want the job of President.
“Decision Points” is a shorter memoir, blunt, straight to the point…..more or less, reflective of its author. It doesn’t spend a whole lot of time in any particular area; zipping through Bush’s pre-President days. You would be guessing right if you thought Bush spent most of the time time talking about the two wars and the lead up to both engagements. I don’t believe this bogs the story too much and he leaves the subjects for awhile to talk about Katrina and combating Aids in Africa (among other topics pre-war).
The thing I appreciated most about this book was honesty. President Bush legitimately came across genuine in talking about his successes and more importantly, his failures. I have never read a public figure previously who was humble enough to admit that hindsight was 20/20 and if given a second chance, he would have presented himself/done things differently. It takes a big person to do that and I really admire him for it. This is not a rubber stamp from me saying everything he did was great, but more of an understanding that I understand better now where he was coming on issues he faced.
I believe he is right that it will be a long time in history judging his legacy as President, but reading this book helps me appreciate his trials, how he made decisions and what unfortunately keeps him up at night with choices he made as President. Decision Points is a solid book that isn’t filled with right wing political wing rhetoric. The book is more about a man who tried his best to improve America as President and wanted to relate to the average person in explaining his vision and choices while in the Oval Office.