Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Bush's Chinese-Menu Memoir

Barack Obama "deserves my silence," he said in a speech this week, but the rest of the public will not be deprived as George W. Bush signs a contract for his selective White House memoirs.

The former President has chosen Richard Nixon as his literary model. His book, with the working title, "Decision Points," echoes Nixon's "Six Crises," but doubles down on the number with twelve.

There is a logic to the format, which avoids the unpleasantness of what happened after the Iraq invasion, just as his predecessor skirted the impeachment, concentrating on the inner agonies of a heroic figure shouldering the burdens of the Oval Office.

Call it a Chinese-menu memoir.

The Decider, we are told, will deal with "personal and presidential choices, from giving up drinking to picking Dick Cheney as his vice president to sending troops to Iraq. He will also write about his relationship with family members, including his father, the first President Bush, his religious faith and his highly criticized response to Hurricane Katrina."

Nixon's "Six Crises" similarly stopped short of Watergate by only covering events until 1960.

At the same time, we learn that Obama signed a deal before his inauguration for an abridged version of "Dreams From My Father" for children. Bush hasn't gotten around to reading the original but may be inspired now that he is embarked on a similar project about his presidency.

Update: Oops--"Six Crises" was published in 1962 before Watergate, but the comparison still holds. Maybe W would like to do some long interviews with David Frost.

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