Decision Points is a memoir by former U.S. President George W.
Bush. It was released on November 9, 2010, and the release was
accompanied by national television appearances and a national tour.
The book surpassed sales of two million copies less than two months
after its release, breaking the record previously held by former
President Bill Clinton’s memoir My Life.
Decision Points also opened
at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list.
2 Advance and publicity campaign
4 See also
6 External links
Bush's 481-page memoir is broken up into 14 chapters. The first two
chapters are about his life before the presidency. The first chapter
is about notable events in his earlier life such as his decision to
quit drinking in 1986. The second chapter is about his decision to run
for Governor of Texas, and then President of the United States. The
remaining twelve chapters are about events during his presidency: the
September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the wars in
Afghanistan, aid to developing countries, the "surge" (a decision to
deploy more U.S. troops to
Iraq in 2007), domestic issues (including
Medicare Part D, Social Security reform, No Child Left Behind, and
Immigration reform), the federal response to Hurricane Katrina,
embryonic stem-cell research, and the financial crisis of 2008. He
wrote with the research assistance of former White House Deputy
Director of Speechwriting Christopher Michel.
In the book, Bush described his moral dilemma over stem-cell research.
He extensively consulted members of his administration about the pros
and cons of the issue, learning about the benefits of stem-cell
research while trying to find ways to avoid encouraging abortions. He
likened his concern of the wrong application of the policy to the
Aldous Huxley novel Brave New World. Bush writes that his decision to
only use existing lines has been vindicated by recent successful
research undertaken with non-embryonic stem cells. His opposition
of abortion was inspired by him seeing (and holding) a jar of his
mother's miscarried fetus during his childhood.
Bush also talked about the 2000 election in detail and mentioned that
he thought he had lost until
Karl Rove called to say that Florida was
too close to call. The closeness of the election led to the 36-day
legal battle over Florida and its 25 electoral votes. Bush was
eventually declared the winner when the Supreme Court stopped a court
ordered recount in a controversial 5-4 decision on December 18, 2000.
Bush notably did not mention losing the popular vote but did make note
of the controversy surrounding the election, including the presence of
protesters at his 2001 inauguration.
Bush also discusses his decision to send troops to Iraq, initially and
again 2007, arguing that Saddam Hussein's refusal to comply with the
United Nations needed to end, as well as arguing that failure to send
more troops to
Iraq in 2007 could have resulted in a situation similar
to the Vietnam War. In Afghanistan, he noted the difficulties of
Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden. He states that a few
months before the end of his term his administration planned a
strategy of sending more troops to Afghanistan and increasing drone
strikes on Pakistan. He felt it was best to wait until his successor
took office for the U.S. military to employ this strategy.
Bush explains how he had to have long conversations with some
Republican members of Congress, during the financial crisis of 2008,
who were reluctant to support the bailout. Bush expressed to them his
anger that the government had to take such a drastic measure but
reminded them that he is supporting the bailout because he felt a risk
of an economic depression was not worth taking.
Bush expressed his views of the 2008 election. He stated that he was
disappointed that 2008 U.S. Republican presidential candidate John
McCain was reluctant to accept his endorsement and he believed that he
could have helped McCain's campaign. He referenced Barack Obama
several times, but positively and without criticism.
He wrote about his backward-looking last days in office,
I reflected on everything we were facing. Over the past few weeks we
had seen the failure of America's two largest mortgage entities, the
bankruptcy of a major investment bank, the sale of another, the
nationalization of the world's largest insurance company, and now the
most drastic intervention in the free market since the presidency of
Franklin Roosevelt. At the same time, Russia had invaded and occupied
Georgia, Hurricane Ike had hit Texas, and America was fighting a
two-front war in
Iraq and Afghanistan. This was one ugly way to end
Advance and publicity campaign
Bush has stated that he began writing the book the day after he left
office. He was paid $7 million for the first 1.5 million copies.
In tandem with book-publication appearances, Bush hosted a November 16
groundbreaking ceremony for the
George W. Bush
George W. Bush Presidential Center at
Southern Methodist University
Southern Methodist University in Dallas. The event gathered some
2,500 guests, including hundreds of former administration officials.
Former Vice President
Dick Cheney said at the event, "When times have
been tough or the critics have been loud, you’ve always said you had
faith in history’s judgment, and history is beginning to come
around." In turn, Bush said of the recently hospitalized Cheney, "He
was a great vice president of the United States, and I’m proud to
call him friend."
Reaction to the book began far in advance of its earliest release,
even a sneak peek at a draft, as reported by
Tim Dowling of The
Guardian in April 2010, six months before its publication. Quotations
from the draft were published without comment, except for proposed
cover pictures for the book.
The New York Times' Peter Baker, who was given an advance copy of the
book, assessed Bush's political standing as the book release rolled
out in appearances with Oprah Winfrey, Matt Lauer, and Candy Crowley.
At the same time as Baker, on the Times opinion pages columnist
Maureen Dowd focused unfavorably on repeated instances in the book of
Bush feeling "blindsided" but concluded that while his
"decision-making leaves something to be desired, his story-telling is
good." To illustrate the last point, Dowd recounted the story in which
Vladimir Putin had bragged that his black Labrador, Koni, was
"[b]igger, stronger, and faster than Barney."
Stephen Harper later
"drolly noted [to Bush], 'You’re lucky he only showed you his
Journalist Tim Rutten wrote for the
Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times recommending the
book, which he found "unexpectedly engrossing" and better "than many
of his detractors expected." Rutten particularly highlighted Bush's
expressed concerns about faulty intelligence on Saddam Hussein's
pursuit of weapons of mass destruction as well as Bush's regrets about
the Hurricane Katrina. Seeing a "disarming candor" combined with an
"almost alarming off-handedness about the implications of what's being
said", Rutten compared Bush's attitudes to the characters in
The former Chancellor of Germany, Gerhard Schroeder, stated, "The
former American president is not telling the truth." He was referring
to Bush's allegation that Schroeder had promised to support the 2003
invasion of Iraq. Schroeder responded that he had promised only that
he would support action against
Iraq were found to have been
involved in the September 11 attacks. "This connection, however, as it
became clear during 2002, was false and constructed."
The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph ran a negative review by journalist Mick Brown.
Brown remarked that "Bush is no great literary stylist" and that the
"writing seldom rises above the workmanlike" while some "language is
distinctly odd." Brown stated that Bush comes across as "likeable",
but Brown concluded that "conspicuously absent from this book is any
acknowledgement, or even honest appraisal, of the larger failings of
Journalist Michael Barone wrote for
National Review praising Bush for
admitting to "serious errors up front". Barone cited Bush's statement
that he should have stayed in
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Baton Rouge, Louisiana and deployed
active-duty troops quickly in order to assist Hurricane Katrina
victims as well as Bush's admission that he failed to see the "house
of cards" in America's financial sector.
List of United States Presidential autobiographies
A Journey by Tony Blair
Spoken from the Heart
Spoken from the Heart by Laura Bush
Known and Unknown: A
Memoir by Donald Rumsfeld
At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA by George Tenet
In My Time: A Personal and Political
Memoir by Dick Cheney
^ a b "'Decision Points': George Bush's
Memoir Coming Soon".
Huffington Post. 2010-04-25. Retrieved 2010-04-26. first1=
missing last1= in Authors list (help)
^ Associated Press (2010-12-23). "Chart-topping
George W. Bush
George W. Bush memoir
'Decision Points' sells 2 million copies". The Los Angeles Times.
^ Halper, Daniel (December 27, 2010). "Media Ignores Bush Success With
Decision Points". The Weekly Standard. Retrieved October 23,
^ "Christopher Michel – President Bush Memoirs Collaborator and
Speechwriter". OneDublin.org. 07-08-2010. Check date values in:
^ Curtis, Bryan, "Bush's Ghostwriter", The Daily Beast, March 9, 2010
1:13 am. Retrieved 2010-11-07.
^ a b Michael Barone (November 15, 2010). "Bush's Decision Points".
Retrieved October 23, 2012.
^ a b "
Book review: 'Decision Points' by George W. Bush". Los Angeles
Times. November 10, 2010.
^ a b Mick Brown (12 November 2010). "
Decision Points by George Bush:
review". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 31 December
^ Simon, Mann (2010-11-11). "'Man of Steel' barely rates a mention in
Bush memoirs". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2010-11-15.
^ Baker, Peter, "Now Appearing: George W. Bush", The New York Times,
November 6, 2010 (November 7, 2010 p. WK1 NY ed.). Retrieved
^ Baker, Peter, "Bush and Cheney Reunite at Library Groundbreaking",
The New York Times
The New York Times Caucus blog, November 16, 2010, 2:12 pm. Retrieved
^ Dowd, Maureen, "‘Blindsided’: A President’s Story", November
6, 2010 (November 7, 2010 p. WK9 NY ed.). Retrieved 2010-11-07.
^ "Ex-Chancellor Schröder Says Bush 'Is Not Telling the Truth'".
Spiegel Online. November 9, 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-11.
Decision Points website
C-SPAN Q&A interview with Bush about Decision Points, January 30,
Amazon.com's book reviews and description
Barnes & Noble's editorial reviews and overview
OnTheIssues.org's book review and excerpts
George W. Bush
President of the United States
President of the United States (2001–2009)
Governor of Texas
Governor of Texas (1995–2000)
Owner of the Texas Rangers (1989–1998)
Born July 6, 1946
Legislation and programs
War in Afghanistan
Status of Forces Agreement
No Child Left Behind
No Child Left Behind Act
Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act
USA Freedom Corps
Department of Homeland Security
Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty
"War on Terror"
President's Council on Service and Civic Participation
Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy
Military service controversy (
Killian documents controversy
Killian documents controversy and
Governorship of Texas
Prairie Chapel Ranch
Clinton Bush Haiti Fund
Axis of evil
State of the Union address
United States House of Representatives elections, 1978
Texas gubernatorial election 1994
Presidential campaign 2000
Republican Party presidential primaries, 2000
Republican National Convention 2000
United States presidential election, 2000
Bush v. Gore
United States presidential election, 2004
As the subject of books and films
Miss Me Yet?
A Charge to Keep
A Charge to Keep (1999)
Decision Points (2010)
41: A Portrait of My Father (2014)
Portraits of Courage
Portraits of Courage (2017)
Laura Bush (wife)
Barbara Pierce Bush (daughter)
Jenna Bush Hager
Jenna Bush Hager (daughter)
George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush (father
Barbara Bush (mother)
Jeb Bush (brother)
Neil Bush (brother)
Marvin Bush (brother)
Dorothy Bush Koch
Dorothy Bush Koch (sister)
Prescott Bush (grandfather)
George P. Bush
George P. Bush (nephew)
Miss Beazley (dog)
Spot Fetcher (dog)
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