by George H.W. Bush

Reviewed for Keeping APAce by Byron D. Varner, U.S. Navy (Retired)

The interesting format of this book immediately puts you at ease, as if you were reading letters from a relative or friend, or at least they will seem so by the time you have read the last chapter.

Being a contemporary of the former president in age and Navy flight training, I was impressed by his clarity in defining the American culture of those times and the strong influence that home, church, moral ethics and patriotism had on the average 18-year-old suddenly involved in World War Two.

Most 18-year-olds of today probably couldn't imagine being the straight arrows their grandparents were, but from my own experience I can tell you the majority of us thought just like George did. And, generally we were just as naïve as he was when we left home to go to war!

The many letters, diary entries, and other items in this book, attest to his high moral concepts and the importance of family and friends throughout his business experience, and political career as a Congressman, Ambassador to the United Nations, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Ambassador to China, Director of the CIA, Vice President and President. And these writings give you a look, warts and all, at a thoughtful, humble, funny, proud, loving, gracious, loyal and caring person whom most of the national media never seemed to know, nor wanted to!

Historically, politically and personally, this book is worthy of a place in your library. Vicariously, you will meet people from all walks of life, enjoy personal glimpses of foreign government leaders, and learn something about the intricate problems that face an American president. You will also get a revealing look at our national media and their utter disrespect, as well as an insight to partisan congressional politics, neither of which is a very pretty sight.

Shining through it all is his obvious great love for “Bar” and their children, their grandchildren, many friends and family dogs. It seemed a trait of the Bush clan to give family and friends special nicknames. His own was Pops.

George Bush is a prolific letter writer (I'm amazed that he saved so many of them) and has a special talent with words that made them special to recipients and enjoyable to readers of the story. The highlight of his own letters, I thought, was the one at the end of the last chapter — which on its own merit tells much about the “real George Bush.” He prefaces it with these words:

“This letter is slightly out of chronological order, but I decided it was a good way to end this book as I approach age seventy-five. It's a letter about 'life its ownself' and about a man who is very happily growing old.”

Too bad the media tried to sell the American public on the George Bush they fabricated, instead of the person he really was — the one you will meet and surely appreciate when you read his book.