Skip to main content

BookTuesday: Decision Points

Today for BookTuesday, I’ve got the autobiography of President George W. Bush, Decision Points. It’s published by Broadway Books, but I received my copy free from Waterbrook/Multnomah. Here’s the Amazon Link where you can get paperback, hardcover, or Kindle versions:

Decision Points

Right now, the only Presidential legacy more divisive in this country than President George W. Bush’s is President Barrack Obama’s legacy. If you want to stir up a fuss, wildly praise one or attack the other and then you’ll either hear rampant support from those who agree or vicious response from those who disagree.

Naturally, similar bickering has followed President Bush’s personal memoir, Decision Points. It is an autobiographical retrospect focused on the President’s eight-year term of office, though it touches on his pre-presidential years in the first 80 pages and recounts his post-White House time in a brief wrap-up.

In all, this book is about President Bush’s view of the events that occurred within his Presidency, from the Florida recount to walking out of the Oval Office on Inauguration Day for President Obama. He gives his views of the decisions he made and some of his reasons behind those decisions.

He does sound defensive at times through this book. This is hardly surprising: after attempting to be a strong leader during a crisis, he was often criticized for his decisions. The crises, though, rarely offered the opportunity to explain his decision-making rationale. Presenting that information now will naturally seem defensive. In truth, though, if I wrote a memoir of a previous ministry role or two, I would sound pretty defensive—criticism brings that out in many people.

The overall effect of this book was to make clear what many people thought during the opening years of the “War on Terror:” the US Government was at a complete loss of how to deal with it. President Bush virtually admits to feeling uncertain about what to do, but there was no one else that was prepared for the situation either. Rightly considered, prior Presidents, including his own father, had not truly faced terrorism alone and when they had, they had backed down from a confrontation. Moreover, clearly the rules were being made up as things went on: most of the “rules” had to do with international relations and very little clear about how to handle extra-national combatants.

Note that actually, the rules of war allow for non-uniformed combatants captured in civilian areas or non-combat areas to be executed simply for their presence under certain circumstances (Third Geneva Convention, Article 4) and President Bush could have simply adopted this idea and had any al-Qaeda fighter shot dead. He did not and rather had to adjust and re-adjust the rules of war and rules of engagement because the existing rules simply did not address the situation adequately.

The writing in this book is easily comprehended. President Bush does not try to bury the reader under odd lingo or jargon, and speaks straightforwardly. Many a blogger and preacher, myself included, could borrow from that habit. Some have stated that a ghost writer had to have done this: if so, then either President Bush had the wisdom to pick a good ghost or he writes well enough that his elitist critics can’t acknowledge he did it. Either way, the book’s in his name, so he’s responsible for it. (Look up Randy Richards’ dissertation on Paul’s use of an amanuensis for more info.)

This book well records President Bush’s view of how he handled the major decisions of his time in office. It provides his rationale, and it is easily accessible. I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to get past the foxy hagiography or the timely demonification of him. Get the info from the horse’s mouth and make your decision about his legacy from there.

 

Disclosure: Free book in exchange for the review. Second: I no longer participate in Amazon Affiliates, so I receive no income if you click through and buy the book.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Curiosity and the Faithlife Study Bible

Good morning! Today I want to take a look at the NIV Faithlife Study Bible. Rather than spend the whole post on this particular Study Bible, I’m going to hit a couple of highlights and then draw you through a few questions that I think this format helps with.



First, the basics of the NIV Faithlife Study Bible (NIVFSB, please): the translation is the 2011 New International Version from Biblica. I’m not the biggest fan of that translation, but that’s for another day. It is a translation rather than a paraphrase, which is important for studying the Bible. Next, the NIVFSB is printed in color. Why does that matter? This version developed with Logos Bible Software’s technology and much of the “study” matter is transitioning from screen to typeface. The graphics, maps, timelines, and more work best with color. Finally, you’ve got the typical “below-the-line” running notes on the text. Most of these are explanations of context or highlights of parallels, drawing out the facts that we miss by …

Foolishness: 1 Corinthians 1

In Summary: 1 Corinthians opens with the standard greeting of a letter from the Apostle Paul. He tells who he is with (Sosthenes) and who he is writing to. In this case, that is the “church of God that is in Corinth.” He further specifies that this church is made up of those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be saints. 
He then expresses the blessing/greeting of “grace and peace” from God. From there, Paul reflects on his initial involvement with the Corinthian people and the beginning of the church. After that, though, there are problems to deal with and Paul is not hesitant to address them. He begins by addressing the division within the church. Apparently, the church had split into factions, some of which were drawn to various personalities who had led the church in times past. There is no firm evidence, or even a suggestion, that Paul, Cephas, Apollos, or anyone else had asked for a faction in their name. Further, the “I follow Christ” faction may not have been any le…