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Laura Bush: An Intimate Portrait of the First Ladyby Ronald Kessler
Synopses & Reviews
When Laura Bush moved into the White House on January 20, 2001, everyone wanted to know what kind of first lady she would be. Would she be like Mamie Eisenhower? Would she follow in Barbara Bushs footsteps? Would she be another Hillary Clinton?
“I think Ill just be Laura Bush,” she would say.
On Saturday, April 30, 2005, the world got a glimpse of what that meant when she pushed aside the leader of the free world and stole the show at the White House Correspondents Association dinner. Wearing a shimmering lime green Oscar de la Renta gown, Laura wisecracked that she was a “desperate housewife” married to a president who was always asleep at nine.
Replayed constantly on the air, the stand-up routine with its impeccable comedic timing turned the first lady into a glittering star. But while the performance catapulted her to new status, it did not answer the question of who this former teacher and librarian really is and just what role she plays in influencing her husband and shaping his administration. The Bushes are more effective than the FBI or CIA at keeping secret what goes on behind the scenes at the White House, the ranch, or Camp David.
Now, New York Times bestselling author Ronald Kessler draws back that curtain in the first biography of Laura Bush to be written with White House cooperation. Based on interviews with her closest friends and confidantes from childhood to the present, as well as family members and administration heavyweights like Condoleezza Rice and Andrew Card, Kessler paints a portrait of a woman who, even as she ascended to the heights of political fortune and power, never lost touch with the bedrock American values she absorbed in her youth.
In this unprecedented account, Kessler reveals:
• How Lauras opinions have brought budget changes to a range of federal agencies and have affected her husbands policies, appointments, and worldview.
• Why Laura told her press secretary in May 2001 she did not want to do any more media interviews.
• What President Bush said to Laura at the dinner table after giving the “go” for the invasion of Iraq, and what his father, former President George H. W. Bush, wrote him the next day about the war.
• What Lauras own political opinions are and what her relationship with twin daughters Jenna and Barbara is really like.
• What Laura says in private about Hillary Clinton, media attacks on her husband, and his victory in the 2004 election.
• And why Laura, at the age of seventeen, missed a stop sign and caused a fatal accident that tragically left one of her best friends dead.
Laura Bush a remarkable look at the private world of this famously reserved woman, as well as the beliefs and attitudes that shape it. The book will surprise readers whose knowledge of the first lady comes from cautious media interviews and speeches.
Laura Bushs approval rating stands at 85 percent. Since opinion polls first began asking about them, no first lady has received a higher rating. This moving biography is the first to penetrate the secret world of the presidents stealth counselor who is one of our most admired public figures.
"After examining George W. Bush's White House in 2004's A Matter of Character, Kessler turns his attention to Laura Bush. He's the first author to secure her cooperation for a book project, and he speaks not only with her but with several of her close friends. The resulting portrait is unsurprisingly flattering; 'as first lady,' Kessler writes, Laura 'is in a class by herself.' In placing her on a pedestal, however, Kessler engages in a string of unsubtle jabs at her predecessor, assigning Hillary Clinton a range of faults from meanness to poor interior decorating skills. He also smoothes out some rough edges; Laura's widely quoted response to her future mother-in-law's query about what she did ('I read, I smoke and I admire') gets abridged to 'I read.' Kessler stays away from controversial issues, although he does reveal Laura's input into executive appointments and in areas such as increased funding for the arts. Best viewed as a sympathetic rebuttal to Ann Gerhart's critical The Perfect Wife, this inoffensive biography examines Laura Bush without ever quite explaining her." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
The first biography of Laura Bush written with White House cooperation is based on interviews with her closest friends and confidantes from childhood to the present. Kessler paints a portrait of a woman who never lost touch with her bedrock American values.
Laura Bush enjoys an eighty-five-percent approval rating; since opinion polls first began asking about them, no first lady has received a higher rating. Her star performance at the White House Correspondents Association dinner in April 2005 offered a rare public glimpse of the humor, intelligence, and confidence of a woman who, like her husband, maintains a tight circle of silence about life behind the scenes at the White House, the ranch, and Camp David.
LAURA BUSH is a remarkable, unprecedented look at the First Lady’s private world and the beliefs and attitudes that shape it. Based on interviews with lifelong friends, family, personal aides, and members of the administration, including Andrew Card and Condoleezza Rice, it discloses:
·Why Laura told her press secretary in May 2001 that she did not want to do any more media interviews
·What George Bush told her immediately after he ordered the Iraq invasion, and what his father, the former president, wrote him the following day
·How Laura’s opinions have resulted in budget changes for several federal agencies and have affected her husband's policies and appointments
·What Laura says in private about Hillary Clinton, media attacks on her husband, and her husband’s victory in the 2004 election
·Why Laura, at the age of seventeen, missed a stop sign and ran into a car driven by one of her best friends.
About the Author
RONALD KESSLER is the New York Times bestselling author of fifteen books, including A Matter of Character: Inside the White House of George W. Bush. A former investigative reporter for the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, Kessler has won sixteen journalism awards, including two George Polk Awards. He lives in Potomac, Maryland, with his wife, Pamela.
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