George Bush: The Life of a Lone Star Yankee Review

George Bush: The Life of a Lone Star Yankee
by Herbert S. Parmet
Scribner, Nov., 1997.
Hardcover, 511 pages.
ISBN: 068419452X.
Ordering information:

George Bush by Herbert S. Parmet

By now the major parts of George Bush's life are well-known. He grew up in a large, happy, orderly household in Greenwich, Connecticut. After graduating from Phillips Andover Academy he joined the Navy to become a highly-decorated pilot during World War II. After the war, he graduated from Yale and moved to Midland, Texas, where he built a successful oil business and established close friendships which would aid him both in business and in his public service career. After the Bushes moved their growing family to Houston, Bush's business career continued to flourish, but he yearned for public office and won a seat in the House of Representatives after a failed bid for the U.S. Senate (in which his father, Prescott Bush, Sr., had served). Bush served in other political and government jobs (head of the Republican National Committee, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, the first delegate to China, and Director of the CIA) before becoming Vice president under Ronald Reagan and, then President of the United States in 1988.

Reading an officially sanctioned biography may seem trite to some, but George Bush: A Lone Star Yankee is an important book to read during these troubling times, when the President and many of his current and former Cabinet members are scandal-ridden. For example, George Bush's commitment to improving race relations, private sector-led assistance for the needy, and a better education system were based on his notable efforts as a businessman, community leader, and public servant, not stolen from others and polished for the greatest appeal in response to public opinion polls. This telling of Bush's life story illustrates several important truths: that true public service is a valuable and rare thing; that character is important and does matter; that substance is more important than seduction; and that George Bush is a complex, thoughtful and dynamic world leader who should be remembered as one of this century's best presidents when judged on his accomplishments. A Lone Star Yankee reminds us that real leadership comes from solid credentials built on a record of success and action, not from a smooth tongue and a charming personality.

--Doug Jacobson

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