Synopses & Reviews
Get the inside story on America’s most powerful political dynasty.
President George W. Bush leads our nation in a time of unprecedented peril. But how well do we really know him or his remarkable family, whose history often mirrors the history of America? Now, in the first full-scale biography of the Bushes, Peter and Rochelle Schweizer trace the extraordinary trajectory of their rise to power.
Through a series of exclusive, surprisingly candid interviews with members of the family and close friends, the inner workings of this very private family are revealed: their marriages and friendships; the intense sibling rivalry between George W. and Jeb Bush; divisions between father and son over the Iraq war; even Jeb Bush’s plans to run for president in 2008. Never-before-seen private photos add even greater detail and depth to this fascinating family portrait.
And above all, we see George W. Bush the way his family does, as an intensely driven person who has a much more complex relationship with his father than has often been portrayed in the media. Family members talk about how he deals with the stresses of the war on terrorism, why he sees it as a “religious war,” and how his personal faith influences what he says and does.
The Schweizers also delve into the Bushes’ sensitive and secret business dealings, including their long history of involvement in the oil business. Their shrewd alliances with other American dynasties—including the Kennedys, Rockefellers, and Tafts—have all helped to quietly consolidate their power within the Republican Party.
Indeed, what makes the Bushes so successful is that they function less like the great political families before them and more like a high-tech startup: free-flowing, pragmatic, and opportunistic. It is this distinction that assures them an enduring presence on the nation’s political stage, making The Bushes essential reading for anyone who cares about America’s future.
"[W]hile this group portrait usefully gathers much family lore in a single, accessible source, the unbiased, authoritative story of the dynasty remains to be written." Publishers Weekly
"[T]his work is remarkably short on ideas, delving mostly into People magazine territory....Exclusively for true believers." Kirkus Reviews
"The Schweizers have penetrated to the heart of the Bush family. This is as close as anyone has ever been able to get." Doug Wead, author of All the Presidents' Children, and former aide to both Bush presidents
"Peter and Rochelle Schweizer provide an intimate and absorbing account of a family so secure in its aristocratic cocoon that its sons venture forth with courage bordering on abandon to the battlefields of business, war, and national politics." Robert Zelnick, Chairman of the Department of Journalism at Boston University, former ABC News correspondent, and author of Gore: A Political Life
Previous books have focused on the two Bush presidents as individuals or on the marriage of George and Laura Bush. This is the first book ever written on the family as a whole.
David Frum’s The Right Man gave readers one person’s view of the first year of the Bush White House. The Bushes presents the all-important backstory. In an unprecedented account of the family’s path to enormous wealth and to a level of political prominence and power that surpasses that of the Adamses, Roosevelts, and Kennedys, the Schweizers reveal the culture and values that make the Bushes tick.
Drawing on hours of interviews with Bush family members and friends, many of whom spoke on the record for the first time, the authors bring to light the inner workings of a family notorious for jealously guarding its privacy. They present never-before-published details about such sensitive matters as George W’s drinking problem, the family’s business dealings, the sibling rivalry between George and Jeb, and the special assignments George, Sr., and other family members carry out for the President. Their in-depth examination of the family’s approach to public service confirms George W’s and Jeb's insistence that they were never pushed into politics. While the Kennedys and other politically ambitious families are raised to meet specifically articulated expectations (and are punished for failure), the Bushes emphasize the family legacy, inculcating each generation with talk about how important politics is, making political involvement an integral part of the family’s identity. The decision to remain outside the political arena carries with it an unmentioned, but very real, sense of shame.
What distinguishes the Bush family most of all, however, is the lack of a top-down structure. Their free-flowing style resembles the establishment of a “brand,” not a dynasty. Pragmatic and opportunistic, it has not only gotten them where they are today, it ensures that future generation will follow in their footsteps.
About the Author
Peter Schweizer is a fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author of several books, including Reagan's War. Rochelle Schweizer is a writer and media consultant. They live in Florida with their two children.