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New Yorker trashes Bush memoir

Over and over again: ‘Was Bush this incurious all his life?’

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John Byrne, Raw Story

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Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Thomas Sklarski

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For Bush, decisions happened without the weighing of evidence and options. He merely had to ask himself, “Who am I?”

If it were a question of the George W. Bush maxim "if you're not with us, you're against us," The New Yorker's George Packer is against us.

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In a sprawling, multi-thousand word review of Bush's new memoir, Decision Points, Packer is generous with aquiline, laser-like criticism. He begins by predicting the book's rapid demise (“Decision Points” will not endure) and concludes equally as sharp.

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"During his years in office, two wars turned into needless disasters, and the freedom agenda created such deep cynicism around the world that the word itself was spoiled," Packer writes. "In America, the gap between the rich few and the vast majority widened dramatically, contributing to a historic financial crisis and an ongoing recession; the poisoning of the atmosphere continued unabated; and the Constitution had less and less say over the exercise of executive power. Whatever the judgments of historians, these will remain foregone conclusions."

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Dead Certain: The Presidential memoirs of George W. Bush, George Packer, New Yorker
President George W. Bush prepared for writing his memoirs by reading “Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant.” “The book captures his distinctive voice,” the ex-President writes, in his less distinctive voice. “He uses anecdotes to re-create his experience during the Civil War. I could see why his work had endured.” Grant’s work has endured because, as Matthew Arnold observed, it has “the high merit of saying clearly in the fewest possible words what had to be said, and saying it, frequently, with shrewd and unexpected turns of expression.” Grant marches across the terrain of his life (stopping short of his corrupt failure of a Presidency) with the same relentless and unflinching realism with which he pursued Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. On several occasions, he even accuses himself of “moral cowardice.” Grant never intended to write his memoirs, but in 1884, swindled by his financial partner, broke, and with a death sentence of throat cancer hanging over him, he set out to earn enough money to provide for his future widow. He completed the work a year later, just days before his death, and Julia Dent Grant lived out her life in comfort.