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Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White Houseby Peter Baker
Synopses & Reviews
In Days of Fire, Peter Baker, Chief White House Correspondent for The New York Times, takes us on a gripping and intimate journey through the eight years of the Bush and Cheney administration in a tour-de-force narrative of a dramatic and controversial presidency.
Theirs was the most captivating American political partnership since Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger: a bold and untested president and his seasoned, relentless vice president. Confronted by one crisis after another, they struggled to protect the country, remake the world, and define their own relationship along the way. In Days of Fire, Peter Baker chronicles the history of the most consequential presidency in modern times through the prism of its two most compelling characters, capturing the elusive and shifting alliance of George Walker Bush and Richard Bruce Cheney as no historian has done before. He brings to life with in-the-room immediacy all the drama of an era marked by devastating terror attacks, the Iraq War, Hurricane Katrina, and financial collapse.
The real story of Bush and Cheney is a far more fascinating tale than the familiar suspicion that Cheney was the power behind the throne. Drawing on hundreds of interviews with key players, and thousands of pages of never-released notes, memos, and other internal documents, Baker paints a riveting portrait of a partnership that evolved dramatically over time, from the early days when Bush leaned on Cheney, making him the most influential vice president in history, to their final hours, when the two had grown so far apart they were clashing in the West Wing. Together and separately, they were tested as no other president and vice president have been, first on a bright September morning, an unforgettable “day of fire” just months into the presidency, and on countless days of fire over the course of eight tumultuous years.
Days of Fire is a monumental and definitive work that will rank with the best of presidential histories. As absorbing as a thriller, it is eye-opening and essential reading.
"The complex partnership of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney undergirds this authoritative narrative of their tumultuous eight years in Washington. Baker (The Breach), the senior White House correspondent for New York Times, skillfully navigates how Bush, a national security neophyte, came to rely heavily on the former Wyoming congressman and secretary of defense, a consummate Washington insider. Although Cheney became one of the most influential vice presidents in American history and grew to relish his Darth Vader reputation, Baker upends the popular perception that Bush did his bidding. The president and the vice president were wholly in sync on the issue that mattered most, Iraq. Cheney's relations to Secretary of State Colin Powell and other officials deteriorate after Americans fail to be greeted like liberators or find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Cheney's star wanes further after Hurricane Katrina, reaching rock-bottom after a notorious duck hunting accident, while other officials like Condoleezza Rice grow closer to the president. Baker concludes that Bush was without a doubt his own man with a 'solid' record on issues like AIDS in Africa and prescription drugs for seniors, but has his legacy undone by Iraq. Though the author also catalogs domestic episodes from his disastrous nomination of White House counsel Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court and the financial meltdown of 2007-2008, the conduct of the war carries the book. Baker delivers a fast-paced read that deftly weaves the trials and tribulations of the Bush presidency into a monumental tale of hubris and missed opportunities for greatness. Agent: Raphael Sagalyn, The Sagalyn Literary Agency. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From the senior White House correspondent for The New York Times comes the definitive history of the Bush and Cheney White House—a tour de force narrative of those dramatic and controversial eight years.
Taking readers into the offices of the West Wing and the cabins of Air Force One, Peter Baker tells the gripping inside story of the Bush and Cheney era. Theirs was the most fascinating American partnership since Nixon and Kissinger, an untested president and his seasoned vice president confronted by one crisis after another as they struggled to protect the country, remake the world, and define their own relationship along the way. Packed with revealing anecdotes and told with in-the-room immediacy, Days of Fire narrates two profoundly significant and conflicted terms marked by 9/11, Iraq, Katrina, jihad, nuclear proliferation, genocide, and economic collapse.
George W. Bush was one of the most polarizing presidents of our time, jettisoning decades of foreign policy pragmatism to redefine America's mission as a crusade to bring freedom to the world. Yet his early dream of transforming Republicans into the party of "compassionate conservatism" and building an "ownership society" were dashed by two consuming wars and a devastating financial crash. At his side was Dick Cheney, the trusted adviser who became the most influential vice president in history only to watch as Bush drifted away, leaving the two at odds over a wide array of fundamental issues. Baker's interviews with more than two hundred players—White House aides, cabinet secretaries, generals, senators and congressmen, relatives and friends of both men—help reveal the truth of their complicated and shifting relationship.
Days of Fire is the first book to capture in a truly defining way all eight years of the most consequential presidency in a generation. It is an essential history and thrilling reading.
About the Author
Peter Baker is the Chief White House Correspondent for The New York Times and a regular panelist on Washington Week on PBS. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Breach, about Bill Clinton’s impeachment, and, with his wife, Susan Glasser, of Kremlin Rising, about Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
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