American History Maureen Dowd Bushworld

ISBN 13: 9780399152580

Bushworld

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9780399152580: Bushworld

From Washington to Kennebunkport to Texas to old Europe and new Europe, during the past two decades Maureen Dowd has trained her binoculars on the Bush dynasty, putting them, as both 41 and 43 have complained to her, "on the couch." Here she wittily dissects the Oedipal loop-de-loop between father and son and the Orwellian logic of the rush to war in Iraq. It's a turbulent odyssey charting how a Shakespearean cast of regents, courtiers, and neo-con Cabalists-all with their own subterranean agendas-hijack King George II's war on terror and upend the senior Bush's cherished internationalist foreign policy and Persian Gulf coalition.

As she's written about Bushworld, "It's their reality. We just live and die in it.'"

For thirty years, Maureen Dowd has written about Washington-and America-in a voice that is acerbic, passionate, outraged, and incisive. But nothing has engaged her as powerfully as the extraordinary agendas, absurdities, and obsessions of George the Younger. Drawing upon her celebrated columns, with a new introductory essay, she probes the topsy-turvy alternative universe of a group she has made recognizable by their first names, middle initials, nicknames, or numbers-41, the Boy Emperor, Rummy, Condi, Wolfie, Uncle Dick of the Underworld, General Karl, Prince of Darkness (Richard Perle), and her own nickname from W., the Cobra-as they seek an extreme makeover of the country and the world. Bushworld is a book that any reader who cares about the real world won't want to miss.

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Review:

If metaphors were cigarettes, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd would be a chain smoker. Through many years and countless columns spent chronicling the fall of George H.W. Bush and the ascension of George W. Bush, Dowd has employed analogies to feudalism, The Godfather, Mini-Me, traditional "mommy" and "daddy" roles, and scores more. In this, her first book, Dowd compiles well over a hundred columns and summarizes the Bush dynasty under a single comprehensive analogy: an alternate universe called Bushworld ("It's their reality. We just live and die in it.") Dowd, who as a reporter was assigned to cover the elder Bush, seems to have a soft spot for the guy even as she describes a president with no plans to do anything but remain president. But she is alarmed by the younger Bush whom she sees surrounding himself with dangerous ideologues and starting a poorly thought-out war with disastrous consequences. Each column is relatively short, and Dowd never shares much new information, but instead offers the kind of informed skeptical perspective that's essential when interpreting the public statements of policymakers. Dowd's cleverness sometimes gets in the way of clarity, and one occasionally wishes she'd quit kidding around and say something substantive, especially since the reader of Bushworld will likely be several years removed from the news that inspired a particular column. Cleverness can be a virtue for a writer as well, getting a laugh while perfectly illustrating a point, such as when she says of the notoriously cloistered W. "All presidents are in a bubble, but the boy king was so insulated he was in a thermos." Or when she says of the Iraq War's aftermath "for the first time in history, Americans are searching for the reasons we went to war after the war is over." --John Moe

About the Author:

A Washington native, Maureen Dowd became a columnist for the New York Times Op-Ed page in 1995, after reporting on the Reagan, Bush I, and Clinton White Houses. She is now covering her sixth presidential campaign-and the second generation of Bush presidents who went to war with the same Iraqi dictator. Before becoming a columnist for the New York Times Op-Ed page, she wrote a column, "On Washington," for The NewYork Times Magazine. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 1999 for distinguished commentary for chronicling the Clinton impeachment follies, as the Times entry put it, "with style as well as insight, with faultless instinct for hypocrisy in high places."

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