41 A Portrait of My Father

41 A Portrait of My Father

by George W. Bush

Overview: 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.

Deanna Boe (12/06/18): This book was written 4 years ago. I tried to check it out of the library then, but didn’t have any luck; the waiting list was too long. When “41” passed away last week I remembered the book and was able to easily check it out. I couldn’t have asked for a better time to read this book. It coincided with all that was happening in terms of President George H. W. Bush’s funeral and added depth to all that I was hearing. If you have not read the book previously, now would be a great time to do so. Especially since we are so frustrated in terms of what is happening today in our government. Obviously, since it is written by “#41’s” son, it is biased, but how wonderful to read of the love of this son for his father. Who else could understand as much about his father’s life and presidency but a son who had also been president? This book will leave you with more respect and understanding for both “41” and “43,” even if you didn’t vote for either of them.

Yes, it is true that George H. W. was born into a wealthy family, but it is obvious he didn’t simply rely on that to make his way in the world. You see his character at the age of 18 when he could have easily avoided the military and gone to Yale but that was not the character of George H. W. He enlisted at the age of 18, flew missions in Asia at the age of 20, and almost died; it was simply the beginning of a remarkable life. The meeting of his future wife, Barbara, before he joined the military, is another secret to his success. (Remember the saying “Behind every successful man is a great woman.) What a phenomenal relationship they enjoyed for over 70 years, few are fortunate enough to know that type of love. It was the founding of this firm bond that produced such a thriving atmosphere for their successful children.

It must be pointed out that George H.W. gave credit to his own Mother who instilled in her children “do your best at all times….downplay their personal accomplishments and share credit with others….her cardinal rule was to never brag!” George H.W. took this to heart all of his life. That is why we have not heard more about all that #41 accomplished, he didn’t brag. Probably the most interesting point concerns his relationship with Mikhail Gorbachev and how little credit H.W. allowed himself to receive in terms of the peaceful collapse of Communist Russia.

George H.W. had a delightful sense of humor; it especially helped when he was V.P. under President Reagan, they both enjoyed looking at the funny side of everything. Bush wrote a note to Reagan telling about his trip to Finland. He described his visit to a Finnish sauna. “I felt a little self-conscious at first sitting around stark naked with four Finnish guys I’d never laid eyes on before. We all did the whole treatment including jumping in the ice cold ocean. We saw less of each other after the jumping into the ice cold water.”

Here is a man who didn’t brag, didn’t put people down, and loved a good sense of humor no matter the situation. How sad he didn’t get a second term in office. This was a worthwhile book, written by a son, who obviously loved his Father
Rating: ****

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