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As the country mourns the loss of the 41st President of the United States, we look for ways to remember who he was as a statesman, a father, and a man. Bush 41 lived an absolutely remarkable life, as an ambassador to China, leader of the CIA, vice-president, and then president and father of a president. With that in mind, there is no shortage of information about him out in the world and if you, like me, are looking for ways to learn more about who Bush was beyond what the news is covering, these five books are a great place to start.

41: Portrait of My Father by George W Bush

Forty-three men have served as President of the United States. Countless books have been written about them. But never before has a President told the story of his father, another President, through his own eyes and in his own words. A unique and intimate biography, the book covers the entire scope of the elder President Bush’s life and career, including his service in the Pacific during World War II, his pioneering work in the Texas oil business, and his political rise as a Congressman, U.S. Representative to China and the United Nations, CIA Director, Vice President, and President.  The book shines new light on both the accomplished statesman and the warm, decent man known best by his family. In addition, George W. Bush discusses his father’s influence on him throughout his own life, from his childhood in West Texas to his early campaign trips with his father, and from his decision to go into politics to his own two-term Presidency.

George and Barbara Bush: A Great American Love Story by Ellie LeBlond Sosa

“To begin with I was in love and I am in love so that’s not hard,” Barbara Bush told her granddaughter Ellie LeBlond Sosa on her porch in Kennebunkport, Maine. Sosa had asked for the secret to her and President George H.W. Bush’s77-year love affair that withstood World War II separation, a leap of faithinto the oil fields of West Texas, the painful loss of a child, a political climb to the highest office, and after the White House, the transition back to a “normal” life.  Through a lifetime’s worth of letters, photographs, and stories, Sosa and coauthor Kelly Anne Chase paint the portrait of the enduring relationship of George and Barbara Bush. Sharing intimate interviews with the Bushes and family friends, this is a never-before-seen look into the private life of a very public couple.

Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush by Jon Meacham 

From the Pacific to the presidency, Destiny and Power charts the vicissitudes of the life of this quietly compelling American original. Meacham sheds new light on the rise of the right wing in the Republican Party, a shift that signaled the beginning of the end of the center in American politics. Destiny and Power is an affecting portrait of a man who, driven by destiny and by duty, forever sought, ultimately, to put the country first.

All the Best, George Bush: My Life in Letters and Other Writings by George HW Bush

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. 


My Father, My President: A Personal Account of the Life of George HW Bush by Doro Bush

When George H. W. Bush asked Doro to write this memoir, she contacted hundreds of his friends and associates; conducted scores of interviews with dignitaries including Bill Clinton, Mikhail Gorbachev, and General Colin Powell; tapped the memories of family members, including her mother, her four brothers, and of course, her father himself; and collected information from the former president’s never-before-released files. “Now for the first time, a complete portrait of George H. W. Bush emerges. Doro reveals her father as a young man courting his future wife, Barbara, and how the death of their first daughter brought them closer. Doro tells how they raised five children through much of her father’s long and storied career in public service, and offers details about this tenures as head of the Republication National Committee during Watergate, ambassador to the U.N., America’s liaison to China, and vice president for eight years under Ronald Reagan.” “Doro also provides an insider’s look at how the 41st president dealt with crises and challenges, all while keeping his humor and personality intact, and how he still does so while aiding victims of the 2004 tsunami and Hurricane Katrina. She shows how he felt when two of his sons entered politics – and when his eldest made it to the top – and sheds new light on his friendship with former rival Bill Clinton.

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Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member