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Award-winning author and journalist Bob Woodward turns his attention to the presidency of George W. Bush. Before the acts of terrorism on 11 September, George W. Bush's presidency had been beset by numerous problems. Not only was it in many peoples eyes invalid, very few people took him seriously as a world statesman. Then following one violent mindless act of terrorism, G Award-winning author and journalist Bob Woodward turns his attention to the presidency of George W. Bush. Before the acts of terrorism on 11 September, George W. Bush's presidency had been beset by numerous problems. Not only was it in many peoples eyes invalid, very few people took him seriously as a world statesman. Then following one violent mindless act of terrorism, George W. Bush became a president that his country could rely on, one they felt they could trust to lead them through these difficult times. And the world saw a man who was decisive and resolute, a president who was seemingly determined to route out the people who had carried out the heinous acts. But one year after the attacks how has the 44th President of the United States fared? And what were the actual behind the scenes discussions that took place whilst the country was rocked by the crisis? Bob Woodward has been shadowing the President since those fateful events, he was allowed unprecedented access to closed-door meetings and briefings and this masterful book is a look at what really happened.


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Award-winning author and journalist Bob Woodward turns his attention to the presidency of George W. Bush. Before the acts of terrorism on 11 September, George W. Bush's presidency had been beset by numerous problems. Not only was it in many peoples eyes invalid, very few people took him seriously as a world statesman. Then following one violent mindless act of terrorism, G Award-winning author and journalist Bob Woodward turns his attention to the presidency of George W. Bush. Before the acts of terrorism on 11 September, George W. Bush's presidency had been beset by numerous problems. Not only was it in many peoples eyes invalid, very few people took him seriously as a world statesman. Then following one violent mindless act of terrorism, George W. Bush became a president that his country could rely on, one they felt they could trust to lead them through these difficult times. And the world saw a man who was decisive and resolute, a president who was seemingly determined to route out the people who had carried out the heinous acts. But one year after the attacks how has the 44th President of the United States fared? And what were the actual behind the scenes discussions that took place whilst the country was rocked by the crisis? Bob Woodward has been shadowing the President since those fateful events, he was allowed unprecedented access to closed-door meetings and briefings and this masterful book is a look at what really happened.

30 review for Bush at War

  1. 5 out of 5

    Fergus

    The Man sees what he wants to see, And disregards the rest. Simon & Garfunkel, The Boxer. George W. Bush was itching for a fight, we all thought, after the horror of 9/11. But, hindsight being perfect, we might rather tartly say now that he was cruising for a bruising. Delayed, perhaps, but it's upon us. Many cringed at invading Iraq and Afghanistan, and I and quite a few of my friends were among them. The Man sees what he wants to see. While Woodward caves in here to Bush and says the President did The Man sees what he wants to see, And disregards the rest. Simon & Garfunkel, The Boxer. George W. Bush was itching for a fight, we all thought, after the horror of 9/11. But, hindsight being perfect, we might rather tartly say now that he was cruising for a bruising. Delayed, perhaps, but it's upon us. Many cringed at invading Iraq and Afghanistan, and I and quite a few of my friends were among them. The Man sees what he wants to see. While Woodward caves in here to Bush and says the President didn't actually disregard the rest, we've got to wonder. The fact that whole vast persecuted peoples were summarily displaced with no other recourse than brute indigence was monstrous. To us Canadians Hell is murky, it's that simple. No! It isn't and wasn't simple. But 'Stormin' Norman' had been as enthusiastic as Doctor Strangelove was initially, too, alas. Was the President like that here? This book purports to be behind-closed-doors factual, but time will tell if the flies on the wall eventually have their say (what's the Buzz, friends?). Colin Powell, for instance (may he rest in peace) admitted his myopic mistakes before going to his reward. So who's to say? At well nigh 72, I'm afraid I see things much less clearly now. I'm losing my emphases and superlatives. What a mess. Well, was George W. Bush right to react aggressively, being then a youngish man? He had to do Something! you may say. But Hell is indeed murky. And it is eternal. And gentrification won't cut the mustard with the devil. Double, double Toil and Trouble... And we have a big sad lot of that on our hands now, friends.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Erik Graff

    The more I read Bob Woodward himself and the more I read about him, the more fishy I think he is. Having started his career in naval intelligence and professionally associated with Alexander Haig, Woodward went on to a meteoric rise through the newspaper industry to land in the right place and the right time to contribute to the unseating of Richard Nixon. The right place was The Washington Post, an occasional asset of the CIA. The right time was after Nixon had earned the ire of the Joint Chief The more I read Bob Woodward himself and the more I read about him, the more fishy I think he is. Having started his career in naval intelligence and professionally associated with Alexander Haig, Woodward went on to a meteoric rise through the newspaper industry to land in the right place and the right time to contribute to the unseating of Richard Nixon. The right place was The Washington Post, an occasional asset of the CIA. The right time was after Nixon had earned the ire of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for circumventing them in basing decisions and in the secret negotiations with Peoples' China. Ever the insider, Woodward churns these instant histories out every few months, their contents typified by extraordinary intimacy with the very principals he represents. Although the various assistants he cites may actually write these books, he gets the interviews and the presumed scoops which sell the copy. One wonders at such associations and at the compromises with truth that must be made to maintain such access.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Leo Jacobowitz

    Will go down in history as one of the flimsiest pieces of propagandist bullshit written by a pathetic sycophant of a writer....who just years later would turn on the administration....Everyone (outside of the early street protesters in my beloved San Francisco) was watching Powell's videos thinking they saw something and admiring Rumsfeld on how tough and handsome he was....pathetic, disgusting, cowardly and horrifying period. Now everyone is a Bush critic but I remember the cowards then. Will go down in history as one of the flimsiest pieces of propagandist bullshit written by a pathetic sycophant of a writer....who just years later would turn on the administration....Everyone (outside of the early street protesters in my beloved San Francisco) was watching Powell's videos thinking they saw something and admiring Rumsfeld on how tough and handsome he was....pathetic, disgusting, cowardly and horrifying period. Now everyone is a Bush critic but I remember the cowards then.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Keith

    On the recent 15th anniversary of 9/11 Politico Magazine published a very good story of President Bush's actions on that day. From the first whispered news in the Florida classroom to his return to the White House that night, the article gave the reader the sense of what it was like aboard Air Force One with so little information at hand. The Politico piece spurred my interest in what happened in the days and months following September 11. Bob Woodward's Bush At War provides a closely observed n On the recent 15th anniversary of 9/11 Politico Magazine published a very good story of President Bush's actions on that day. From the first whispered news in the Florida classroom to his return to the White House that night, the article gave the reader the sense of what it was like aboard Air Force One with so little information at hand. The Politico piece spurred my interest in what happened in the days and months following September 11. Bob Woodward's Bush At War provides a closely observed narrative of the discussions and actions, including disagreements, among the president's national security team. The book is essentially focused on the Afghanistan mission and deals with Iraq mostly in an appendix. Yet the reader can sense the Iraq problem looming in the background. Woodward admirably uses the discussion to show how the agenda moved from a horror at the idea of nation-building to reluctantly embracing it as a consequence of deposing Saddam. I wanted to read about this point of our history as it seems that the events of the recent past, events I followed closely via newspapers, magazines, television and the net are now less settled in my mind. Shall we discuss the beginning of the Civil War or the diplomatic discussions prior to World War One? I'm right there but events closer in time are harder to nail down. I suppose because they're still being interpreted. A journalist like Woodward is an excellent starting point for stirring one's memory.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Barry McCulloch

    What do you want from this book? The answer to this question will decide whether you should read it or enjoy doing so. If you want an analysis of Bush’s foreign policy up until the invasion of Iraq don’t buy it. Yet, if you want a documentary account of an epoch defining moment and the rise of unilateral foreign policy making then this is a must read. Woodward attempts to put you in the shoes of the administration during and after 9-11 up until the Iraq War and on the whole he does a good job. Y What do you want from this book? The answer to this question will decide whether you should read it or enjoy doing so. If you want an analysis of Bush’s foreign policy up until the invasion of Iraq don’t buy it. Yet, if you want a documentary account of an epoch defining moment and the rise of unilateral foreign policy making then this is a must read. Woodward attempts to put you in the shoes of the administration during and after 9-11 up until the Iraq War and on the whole he does a good job. You feel like you’re there experiencing seismic shocks to the system and wondering how to react; being guided by, above all, raw emotion as the threat of further attacks become ever more likely. It paints a rather more complex picture of policy making and the personality and motivations behind President Bush, which is in complete contrast to the once dominant caricature.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kandice

    I don't want to debate, but this book kept me in, and left me, in a state of supreme anger! I don't want to debate, but this book kept me in, and left me, in a state of supreme anger!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    "Where have I heard this before? Hey,this sounds familiar, too!" Because we HAVE heard it... Is this his literary agent's best work, yet? Face it, Mr Woodward's book tour ripped across your lawn, flashed from your TV, issued forth from the radio, and came to rest on your kitchen table folded up right next to your morning coffee. Thanks to an expert publicist, this book was excerpted, quoted, and publicly recounted by B.W. in over-the-air interviews. Bob Woodward's face, name, voice, and bio str "Where have I heard this before? Hey,this sounds familiar, too!" Because we HAVE heard it... Is this his literary agent's best work, yet? Face it, Mr Woodward's book tour ripped across your lawn, flashed from your TV, issued forth from the radio, and came to rest on your kitchen table folded up right next to your morning coffee. Thanks to an expert publicist, this book was excerpted, quoted, and publicly recounted by B.W. in over-the-air interviews. Bob Woodward's face, name, voice, and bio strafed the media until saturation was achieved. This is not quite fiction or non-fict but something like a dramatization of actual events. Despite his unfettered access to W and the relatively brief interval since the actual events, this book is not an objective account of what happened between Sept 11, 2001 and the run-up to an invasion of Iraq. However, there are enough substantiatd facts arranged more or less chronologically. that B.W. is probably accurate in his characterization of the key players and their relationships to each other. However, as events unfold, scene after scene takes on a distinctive hue... a subtle yet subjective tone. My ribs hurt from getting a "Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge" every time Bush says something. Also, Bush is the only character in the book whose "relaxed" style of speaking, grammatical gaffs, colloquialogistics and all, are included.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kelley

    In Bush at War, Woodward presents a very insightful insiders' view of the 9/11 and its aftermath as the Bush administration waged war against Afghanistan and debated war against Iraq. Woodward's research and writing style are to be admired. One never gets a hint of his own view of all what he wrote here. Considering the debate that raged during this time, it's good to know that Woodward maintained his neutrality throughout. I have always been intrigued with the insider perspective of this event, In Bush at War, Woodward presents a very insightful insiders' view of the 9/11 and its aftermath as the Bush administration waged war against Afghanistan and debated war against Iraq. Woodward's research and writing style are to be admired. One never gets a hint of his own view of all what he wrote here. Considering the debate that raged during this time, it's good to know that Woodward maintained his neutrality throughout. I have always been intrigued with the insider perspective of this event, and even so, I learned several new things from this book. What is amazing about Woodward is that is he able to inspire the confidence of so many high ranking officials right up to the president, and that they share their deepest insights with him. Perhaps because Woodward is so impartial, he is able to gain the trust of the key participants, whether in this book or in many of his other excellent books. Bush at War will not disappoint the serious student of the conflict. It can get a bit tedious to read this book at times, and a little overwhelming as conversations are reported and shift quickly throughout this book. This distraction aside, Bush at War is a solid book well worth the read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    W

    Tiresome book about a war launched under false pretenses.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Laura Gembolis

    Reading this book in 2010, I find much of the information familiar. I am surprised by Bush's attempt to focus his team on Afghanistan over Iraq. According to this book, Bush wanted something the team could define as success. Afghanistan seemed anything but an easy success. I was surprised how early on the focus was primarily Afghanistan and that with a different team how different things could have been. Reading this book in 2010, I find much of the information familiar. I am surprised by Bush's attempt to focus his team on Afghanistan over Iraq. According to this book, Bush wanted something the team could define as success. Afghanistan seemed anything but an easy success. I was surprised how early on the focus was primarily Afghanistan and that with a different team how different things could have been.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Marc

    About the response on 11/9/01 and the war in Afghanistan. Based on reports from the National Security Council and extensive interviews with all key players

  12. 4 out of 5

    Carey Nelson

    My first bit of research before Mr. Woodward's (first?) book on Trump lands next month. What's done is done and I learned a lot from this about things I wasn't plugged into as an eighth grader. What an experience to read an account of the start of the war then the next day read in the NYT about the same war seventeen years later crossing three presidencies and having no exit strategy. The abridged audiobook was jarring in places. My first bit of research before Mr. Woodward's (first?) book on Trump lands next month. What's done is done and I learned a lot from this about things I wasn't plugged into as an eighth grader. What an experience to read an account of the start of the war then the next day read in the NYT about the same war seventeen years later crossing three presidencies and having no exit strategy. The abridged audiobook was jarring in places.

  13. 4 out of 5

    SeanMcAneny

    Bob Woodward is back in the news for perhaps some irresponsible journalism. Looks like in the 18 years between this book and now absolutely nothing has changed.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    This book is about President Dubya and the first 100 days after September 11, 2001. It chronicles the goings-on of the President and his inner circle of advisers: Vice-President Cheney, Secretary of State Powell, Secretary of Defense Rumsfield, CIA Director Tenet, and National Security Adviser Rice. How did they react to 9-11? What was their advice to the President? Did they all agree with each other? Woodward answers those questions and more, and reveals some interesting tidbits. For example, P This book is about President Dubya and the first 100 days after September 11, 2001. It chronicles the goings-on of the President and his inner circle of advisers: Vice-President Cheney, Secretary of State Powell, Secretary of Defense Rumsfield, CIA Director Tenet, and National Security Adviser Rice. How did they react to 9-11? What was their advice to the President? Did they all agree with each other? Woodward answers those questions and more, and reveals some interesting tidbits. For example, President Clinton never authorized a hit on bin Laden because he believed it violate the legal ban on assassination. I'm not so sure - I thought that applied only to heads of state. But Woodward makes it pretty obvious that Clinton was never very serious about arresting or killing bin Laden. On the other hand, neither was Dubya until after 9-11. He knew bin Laden and al-Queda were problems, but it took 9-11 to do something about them. "We're at war," Bush told Cheney on 9-11, then said to his staff, "That's what we're paid for, boys. We're going to take care of this. And when we find out who did this, they're not going to like me as president. Somebody is going to pay." You'd think that al-Queda hitting the U.S.S. Cole and bombing our embassies in Africa would have made Clinton realize this, and Dubya before 9-11, but it didn't. So he and his staff got together and hashed out the war strategy that unfolded in Afghanistan. It was largely Tenet's plan - he and his aides proposed using the Northern Alliance to take out the Taliban while Special Forces directed air attacks and hunted down bin Laden. The CIA had been paying a group of Afghans to track bin Laden's movements, which they were very good at, and even offered at times to take bin Laden out. But Clinton wouldn't authorize it. The book's real value lies in describing the relationships between the advisers. Powell rarely agreed with Rumsfield and Cheney - ever the reluctant warrior, he considered overly aggressive and too dismissive of building a coalition. Rumsfield and Tenet sometime clashed, especially when Rumsfield felt that CIA was directing the entire war. Rice was the referee who kept everyone talking and the president informed on the mood and opinions of the advisers. For example, two weeks into the bombing, many were discouraged by the lack of progress in achieving the objective: destroying al-Queda and taking out the Taliban. Rice sensed this and told Dubya, who the next day rallied his troops by telling them he believed in the plan, it was a good plan, and they should stick with. Powell and Tenet were encouraged, because they knew that Dubya was really conveying his belief in them. Dubya's thinking and management style are also interesting. He handles his staff well, by letting them all speak their piece and constantly challenging them for new ideas and new solutions. He considers himself almost an instigator, spurring argument and discussion. I think he values Powell because he does often disagree with Rumsfield and Cheney, giving Dubya an important second opinion. Woodward is very good at keeping his own opinion out of this book. This is straight, no-frills reporting - who said what to who and when. Nowhere do we know what the author thought of anything that was going on. It's one of the strong points of the book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ken

    Very interesting. I thought it was fairly non-biased. It frequently felt a little jumbled in terms of flow. Near the beginning of the book, Woodard made it appear as though the Bush Admin wasn’t prioritizing the UBL/aQ threat adequately. He referenced the sequencing of the National Security Presidential Directives (NSPD) . In particular, the one addressing aQ was number 9. Woodard states, “meaning eight other matters had been formally assessed, vetted, agreed upon and signed off on as policy by t Very interesting. I thought it was fairly non-biased. It frequently felt a little jumbled in terms of flow. Near the beginning of the book, Woodard made it appear as though the Bush Admin wasn’t prioritizing the UBL/aQ threat adequately. He referenced the sequencing of the National Security Presidential Directives (NSPD) . In particular, the one addressing aQ was number 9. Woodard states, “meaning eight other matters had been formally assessed, vetted, agreed upon and signed off on as policy by the president before al Qaeda.” What Woodard does not mention, is the level of effort and vetting that goes into the assessment and securing the concurrence of the various stakeholders in matters as serious as NSPDs. The fact that 8 other matters were signed first didn’t necessarily mean al Qaeda was a lesser priority, it more than likely meant that the topic was more serious and thus the process took longer in order to make sure they had it correct.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Stefan

    Bush At War is a insightful and highly readable account of President Bush’s administration following September 11. Bob Woodward does an excellent job at describing the different schools of thought and management style of the key characters in the Bush government (Powell’s disagreement with Rumsfeld over foreign policy being one example). Reading this book really helped me to grasp why the Bush administration acted the way it did and how political ideologies and personal agendas influenced the co Bush At War is a insightful and highly readable account of President Bush’s administration following September 11. Bob Woodward does an excellent job at describing the different schools of thought and management style of the key characters in the Bush government (Powell’s disagreement with Rumsfeld over foreign policy being one example). Reading this book really helped me to grasp why the Bush administration acted the way it did and how political ideologies and personal agendas influenced the course of action taken by the United States in response to the September 11 terrorist attack. I really appreciated how the author tried for the most part to show the issues, personalities, and events involved to the reader directly and instead of constantly presenting his own judgments and assumptions (Woodward did do some analysis, but clearly explained how and why he reached his conclusions).

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jacob

    I thought this book would contain dramatic insight into the Bush presidency, and the decisions made immediately after 911. It was not dramatic, and I only found my interest piqued toward the end of the book. Too much, "Cheney said this," then "Powell said this", and finally "Rice said this. " It was a crappy situation we got into after 911, lots of good, lots of bad things happened as a result. What would you have done, what would someone else have done? The more I read about Bush, the more I sy I thought this book would contain dramatic insight into the Bush presidency, and the decisions made immediately after 911. It was not dramatic, and I only found my interest piqued toward the end of the book. Too much, "Cheney said this," then "Powell said this", and finally "Rice said this. " It was a crappy situation we got into after 911, lots of good, lots of bad things happened as a result. What would you have done, what would someone else have done? The more I read about Bush, the more I sympathize with his decisions. After repeatedly reading about his desire for world peace and elimination of suffering, I often think he would have been a great peace time President. This book gives you the opportunity to see the struggle President Bush faced when presented with history as we now know it. Overall unbiased, but kinda boring.

  18. 4 out of 5

    R. Jones

    Bob Woodward is very good at keeping his opinion out of the narrative. This is quality journalism - but that's all it really is. The book focuses on the 100 days following the September 11 attacks, and the Bush administration's discussions and decision making processes. It's nice to see the process from the inside, but we know how it all turned out, and I don't think Woodward offers anything too insightful, here. Informative, yes. Insightful, no. Bob Woodward is very good at keeping his opinion out of the narrative. This is quality journalism - but that's all it really is. The book focuses on the 100 days following the September 11 attacks, and the Bush administration's discussions and decision making processes. It's nice to see the process from the inside, but we know how it all turned out, and I don't think Woodward offers anything too insightful, here. Informative, yes. Insightful, no.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Alice-catherine

    A fast and easy read. I finished it in two nights. It was super interesting and I learned a lot that I don't remember from when 9/11 happened. A fast and easy read. I finished it in two nights. It was super interesting and I learned a lot that I don't remember from when 9/11 happened.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Dennis Littrell

    Ruffles no feathers This is not a "fly on the wall" sort of report. It is a reconstruction of meetings, conversations and thoughts focused on President Bush as he orchestrated the military response to 9/11. Bob Woodward, the celebrated Washington Post journalist who with Carl Bernstein wrote All the President's Men about the Watergate scandal during the Nixon administration, demonstrates here that he has entree (and is trying to keep it) at the highest levels of the Bush administration including Ruffles no feathers This is not a "fly on the wall" sort of report. It is a reconstruction of meetings, conversations and thoughts focused on President Bush as he orchestrated the military response to 9/11. Bob Woodward, the celebrated Washington Post journalist who with Carl Bernstein wrote All the President's Men about the Watergate scandal during the Nixon administration, demonstrates here that he has entree (and is trying to keep it) at the highest levels of the Bush administration including lengthy interviews with the president himself. Much of the material in the book comes from these interviews, where the participants recall their thoughts, motivations, and reconstruct their words. Woodward weaves into his text both direct quotes and reconstructed quotes, the former with quotation marks, the latter without. The story itself is rather bland and unrevealing. Most of the action is clearly off camera, the deviling details left to those lower on the change of command. The various secretaries report to the president and get his views and his orders and then they meet again. Some of the progress in the war is reported on. Spin is discussed. Bush prepares for and gives speeches. Scenarios and long-term consequences of various actions are bandied about. The high level players posture and engage in dialogue. We do feel some of the tension between Rumsfeld and Powell and there is an occasional bit of peek and undertone displayed but overall the language is what one would expect to find in official documents. Nonetheless Bush-watchers will find this book very interesting in that a clear picture of George W.'s leadership style and substance emerges. I think that was Woodward's goal, and I think he did a good job of achieving it. Here are two quick examples of Bush revealing himself: Taking a kind of Harry Trumanesque "the buck stops here" stance, Bush says, "...I don't need to explain...why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being president...I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation." (p.146) Or, when advised by Rumsfeld that the bombers leaving Missouri for the 15-hour flight to Afghanistan might tip off "the start of operations," Bush responded, "Let them go. Try some disinformation." (p. 204) Clearly, President Bush's presidency is a practical presidency. We see this today with the emphasis on "nation building" in Iraq, a 180-degree turn from his stance both during the 2000 election campaign and during the bombing of Afghanistan when he reiterated again and again that he did not believe in using the US military for nation building. (See especially page 192.) But more than anything we see Bush and Company preoccupied with visualizing how their actions will appear to the public via the media. This is nothing new. John F. Kennedy worked tirelessly to manage the press, with varying degrees of success, as has every president since. We have to go back to JFK's immediate predecessor, Dwight Eisenhower to find a president that felt comfortable putting substance before spin. Perhaps it is no coincidence that Ike was the last president to be elected before the majority of American homes had television. Revealing how commonplace spin has become, Woodward writes, "The president, focused as always on the public relations component, asked Defense to work with Hughes [White House counselor Karen Hughes] on the themes that were going to be used in the announcement of military action." (p. 189) Notice the "as always" and the use of the word "themes." The postmodern president has no choice but to be a master of spin since in today's world perception of what has happened and why is often at least as important as what really happened. Rumsfeld's style on public relations is contrasted somewhat in that he comes across as believing that the best way to handle the media is to give them no more information than is absolutely necessary. For example, he is quoted on page 176 as saying, "I think the precedent is bad of having to go out and make your case publically...because we may not have enough information to make our case next time..." The role that National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice plays in the Bush administration was what most surprised me about the information I got from this book. She is not just a token black woman in the White House. It is clear that Bush relies on her to both coordinate the input of the other participants at the highest level and to advise and guide the president himself. Rice comes across as someone who thinks clearly, rises above petty squabbles, works hard, and has the ear of the president. Powell's famous patience and level-headedness and cautious style also come through vividly. Rumsfeld's preoccupation with guarding his rear and protecting his turf and its prerogative powers is also well-illustrated. Bottom line: this is the sort of book that serious politicos must read, but will probably speed-read. --Dennis Littrell, author of “The World Is Not as We Think It Is”

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dennis Murphy

    Bush at War by Bob Woodward is an invaluable resource for understanding the early Bush administration as it pertains to the War on Terror and the Intervention in Iraq. I picked up my copy from Audible, and found it to be a fantastic listen. There will be a few surprises in store, and much of the book's main areas of interest will be found within the conflict among Bush's cabinet officials. Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell come across remarkably well, though most of the members of Bush's team co Bush at War by Bob Woodward is an invaluable resource for understanding the early Bush administration as it pertains to the War on Terror and the Intervention in Iraq. I picked up my copy from Audible, and found it to be a fantastic listen. There will be a few surprises in store, and much of the book's main areas of interest will be found within the conflict among Bush's cabinet officials. Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell come across remarkably well, though most of the members of Bush's team come across better than expected. Rumsfeld and Cheney both have been spared from their future caricature, though Rumsfeld comes across as overly hawkish - apparently desiring an invasion of Iraq before the intervention in Afghanistan even took place. That contains the underlying tragedy of the book, much attention is made for future AQ attacks on the homeland that will not happen, and much fear and loathing is placed upon Saddam for a crime they are convinced he committed, but would ultimately be innocent of. The ultimate reality that would seize American Foreign Policy with the disaster that followed the Iraq War was predicted by some people here, in reports and meetings that took place in tail-end of 2001. Its a remarkable book, vital to any comprehensive understanding of modern American history. 93/100

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

    Wow, I'm really late to the party on this book by Bob Woodward. Starting to do some background research on the Afghanistan war and started with this title. Back in 2001, I was a year out of college, and was already beginning to feel that the second Bush administration was rudderless, and perhaps, did not know what they were doing. Granted, it was early in the Bush administration, so perhaps a pass could be given for some of the learning curve. Reading this book demonstrates to me that there was v Wow, I'm really late to the party on this book by Bob Woodward. Starting to do some background research on the Afghanistan war and started with this title. Back in 2001, I was a year out of college, and was already beginning to feel that the second Bush administration was rudderless, and perhaps, did not know what they were doing. Granted, it was early in the Bush administration, so perhaps a pass could be given for some of the learning curve. Reading this book demonstrates to me that there was very little cohesion in the White House during this period of time, and perhaps, understandable so. But you could also clearly see the tensions between members of the president's staff and cabinet. I certainly appreciated reading the account of the early strategizing and diplomatic moves made in the aftermath of 9/11. The book read quickly, and I appreciate that it was fact driven with no opinion given by Bob Woodward. I'm looking forward to continuing my research and will use this book as a launching pad to other books discussing this important conflict that we have been waging since 2001.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Klein

    A book originally designed to discuss Bush's first year in office, the thesis took a drastic turn to describe the events among the Bush administration's principal players in the post-9/11 runup to the war on Al-Qu'aeda and the Taliban. Describes conversations between Bush, Powell, Cheney, Rummy, and Rice, among other key players, that executed the war and redirected the administration's attention toward Iraq. It was interesting to read this book the the election environment, and to read the sect A book originally designed to discuss Bush's first year in office, the thesis took a drastic turn to describe the events among the Bush administration's principal players in the post-9/11 runup to the war on Al-Qu'aeda and the Taliban. Describes conversations between Bush, Powell, Cheney, Rummy, and Rice, among other key players, that executed the war and redirected the administration's attention toward Iraq. It was interesting to read this book the the election environment, and to read the section on the war on Iraq right after the first Kerry-Bush presidential debate. The book and the debate underscored for me the fundamental, core values behind Bush's plan for his presidency: defeating "evil," restoring world peace, and making decisions and taking actions to make the first two goals a reality. Iraq--a preemptive attach to get rid of "evil" and create democracy, US-style, in the Middle East.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    AUTHOR: Bob Woodward TITLE: Bush at War DATE READ: 1/16/21 TIME/PLACE: 6:14 pm, Living Room Recliner RATING: 6/10 FIRST SENTENCE: Tuesday, September 11, 2001, began as one of those spectacular pre-fall days on the East Coast, sunny, temperatures in the 70s, light winds, the sky a vivid light blue. GENRE: Non-fiction (900s) PUB DATE/PUBLISHER: 11/18/02, Simon & Schuster TYPE: Hardback # OF PAGES: 356 SERIES/STAND-ALONE: stand alone CHALLENGE: 2020 52 books in 52 weeks - Written by a blogger LIST READ: USA To AUTHOR: Bob Woodward TITLE: Bush at War DATE READ: 1/16/21 TIME/PLACE: 6:14 pm, Living Room Recliner RATING: 6/10 FIRST SENTENCE: Tuesday, September 11, 2001, began as one of those spectacular pre-fall days on the East Coast, sunny, temperatures in the 70s, light winds, the sky a vivid light blue. GENRE: Non-fiction (900s) PUB DATE/PUBLISHER: 11/18/02, Simon & Schuster TYPE: Hardback # OF PAGES: 356 SERIES/STAND-ALONE: stand alone CHALLENGE: 2020 52 books in 52 weeks - Written by a blogger LIST READ: USA Today Bestseller list CHARACTERS: George W Bush, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet, Condoleezza Rice LOCATION: Washington DC, Afghanistan, Iraq, Crawford TX, NYC NY, Pentagon VA, Camp David MD TIME FRAME: Sept 11-Dec 20, 2001 COMMENTS: Not my preferred genre. Although interesting to learn the thoughts and actions of President Bush and his team (including Powell and Rice) on the inside for a year after 9/11 (2001).

  25. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    Not so good--a fact by fact description of how the Bush administration fought the was in Afghanistan. Not much insight; it seemed that the government had really bad info on Afghanistan, they were using old Russian maps, had no contacts in the south part of the country, etc. Nonetheless, they put together a credible attack on the Taliban (who were working with al Qaeda). The goal was to get Usama bin Laden; along the way, they had (surprisingly) to put a government in place (they didn't want to t Not so good--a fact by fact description of how the Bush administration fought the was in Afghanistan. Not much insight; it seemed that the government had really bad info on Afghanistan, they were using old Russian maps, had no contacts in the south part of the country, etc. Nonetheless, they put together a credible attack on the Taliban (who were working with al Qaeda). The goal was to get Usama bin Laden; along the way, they had (surprisingly) to put a government in place (they didn't want to take this role, they thought the Afghans would do it). Good news: Bush really worked hard at governing Bad news: The invasion didn't seem to be well planned--they were responding to what they thought the Americans would like after 9/11; Iraq wasn't really part of it, but Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld all hated Iraq (not so much Rice and Powell). I'm sure that part of the impetus to invade Iraq was because they thought the American public needed a big success.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Hanks

    Interesting account of a time period I remember quite well, from a very unique perspective. The author did his best to give a blow-by-blow account of the time period immediately after 9/11 from the viewpoint of president Bush, and his top advisors and cabinet members. He pulled from meeting transcripts and minutes, and personal interviews regarding specific events. It painted the picture of what was going on in the minds of some very influential people at a time of extreme crisis. Because of the Interesting account of a time period I remember quite well, from a very unique perspective. The author did his best to give a blow-by-blow account of the time period immediately after 9/11 from the viewpoint of president Bush, and his top advisors and cabinet members. He pulled from meeting transcripts and minutes, and personal interviews regarding specific events. It painted the picture of what was going on in the minds of some very influential people at a time of extreme crisis. Because of the people involved, it gave a glimpse into the conflict in Afghanistan from an extremely high-level view. Why go to war at all? Is this a correct/moral course of action? If we do, what do we want to accomplish? What are the consequences of our doing so? How do we accomplish our goals? How will this affect the region? etc. These people had to struggle with some REALLY tough questions.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Greg

    Interesting to have read the other Bush at War books and then return back to the beginning. It felt to me like some things were missing but I can’t quite put my finger on them. I’ve read these books but not studied them so I can’t be certain but I find myself wondering if when this book was written, there was still a lot that Woodward was unable to uncover at the time that would have changed the book. There were hints toward the end of criticisms of the Bush Whitehouse’s 9/11 response but much o Interesting to have read the other Bush at War books and then return back to the beginning. It felt to me like some things were missing but I can’t quite put my finger on them. I’ve read these books but not studied them so I can’t be certain but I find myself wondering if when this book was written, there was still a lot that Woodward was unable to uncover at the time that would have changed the book. There were hints toward the end of criticisms of the Bush Whitehouse’s 9/11 response but much of this book seemed to cover the honeymoon period. Which makes it an interesting historical artifact.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    Fast paced, enjoyable read. Shows Bush as determined to be a strong leader after a terrible crisis. The catch is neither he or any of his cabinet really know what to do, and have not prepared. The incredible technological advantage proves to not be the end all steam roller many figured it would be. Bush was a better leader than many give him credit for, and also much more thoughtful. This book does not make him into an incredible president, but also proves he is not a blood thirsty maniac. A goo Fast paced, enjoyable read. Shows Bush as determined to be a strong leader after a terrible crisis. The catch is neither he or any of his cabinet really know what to do, and have not prepared. The incredible technological advantage proves to not be the end all steam roller many figured it would be. Bush was a better leader than many give him credit for, and also much more thoughtful. This book does not make him into an incredible president, but also proves he is not a blood thirsty maniac. A good man, solidly bottom middle of the pack for presidents who was handed a nightmare less than a year into his presidency.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Silliman

    Worth revisiting, 20 years after the events depicted. Woodward's narrative follows Bush and his war cabinet as they react the events of 9/11, decide what they're going to do, and figure out how to do it. Woodward has a clearer vision of what some players are doing than others. He has lots of access to Colin Powell and little to Dick Cheney. But it still becomes apparent how much of Bush's response was driven by style, more than carefully considered policy, and how a grand vision of America's pla Worth revisiting, 20 years after the events depicted. Woodward's narrative follows Bush and his war cabinet as they react the events of 9/11, decide what they're going to do, and figure out how to do it. Woodward has a clearer vision of what some players are doing than others. He has lots of access to Colin Powell and little to Dick Cheney. But it still becomes apparent how much of Bush's response was driven by style, more than carefully considered policy, and how a grand vision of America's place in the world was deviled at every step by the details of what actually happened and what happened next.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Van

    This book offered powerful insight on the steps that led up to the Afghan and Iraq wars. With all of Bush's failing, I learned to respect him as a patriotic American President, trying to do his best to protect the country. However, his inexperience and naïve as President made him easily manipulatable by Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and so on. Bush didn't understand the power of a President. By asking questions, like a CEO, would inevitably set the motion toward war. Those around time orchestrat This book offered powerful insight on the steps that led up to the Afghan and Iraq wars. With all of Bush's failing, I learned to respect him as a patriotic American President, trying to do his best to protect the country. However, his inexperience and naïve as President made him easily manipulatable by Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and so on. Bush didn't understand the power of a President. By asking questions, like a CEO, would inevitably set the motion toward war. Those around time orchestrated the situation to war to the point of no return.

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