Sunday, January 25, 2015

Book Review: 41 A Portrait of My Father by George W. Bush

41: A Portrait of my Father by George W. Bush is unique in that a former president (43) is writing about his father (41), a former president. This is a look into history and a love story of a strong family, a dynamic admirable man, and a salute to a true American hero. It’s also not overly gushy, and does have some minor comments or criticisms that hindsight 20/20 vision does give. I, personally, was hesitant to read the book since I wasn’t overly fond of George Jr., as president. (I think he’s a decent man and is doing a lot of good work as an ex-president). I am, however, very interested in George, Sr. and excerpts of the book intrigued me.  

Sure enough, 41: A Portrait of My Father is well written and has plenty of “Wow, I didn’t know that moments.”  George H.W. Bush was born into privilege but never overly took advantage of it. Graduated from high school, he volunteered to join the Navy in WWII and was the youngest torpedo bomber pilot. He returned home to marry Barbara Pierce, graduate from Yale, and then turning down lucrative Wall Street offers, headed west to Midland Texas to make a name for himself. After much success, he moved on to public service. There he encountered defeats, successes, and a long career in politics, diplomatic service to China, CIA director, and Vice President under Ronald Reagan. Then he earned his own presidency in 1988.  In one term, he oversaw the end of the Cold War, oversaw liberation of Panama and Kuwait, and guided the country through some tough economic times. Tax decisions cost him another term, but probably set the path for Bill Clinton’s economic successes.  

The key to the book is the man behind the accomplishments. George Sr. kept old friends, made new friends, shook hands across the aisle, wrote personal letters, stayed true to commitments and loyalty, valued America but was interested in the world, and is flat out a decent man with an excellent sense of humor. That is what shines through this book. He took pride in family and gave steady support to his wife and kids. From the cover – George H.W. Bush is one of the most beloved statesmen of the twenty first century. 41 is a stirring tribute to an inspiring father and great American 

I highly recommend this book for a glimpse into history and the Bush family. It’s a quick smooth read, and a powerful portrait of George H.W. Bush (forever 41). He’s now 90 + and in frail health, but still took his parachute jump in 2014. After finishing the book, you shall root for that jump at 95 and 100.


  1. Now, I am happy to see this review, as this is a book I had not heard about, but would love to read. Will have to check the local library.

  2. I think I would really like this book. I'll have to put it on my list of books to read. Thanks for the review!

  3. The only political biography I've read is of former Australian Prime Minister John Howard. He was very controversial, but he got a lot done.

  4. Sounds like an interesting read! Thanks!

  5. This sounds like an insightful look at the events leading up to Bush's presidency, as well as what he accomplished during his four years in the White House. It's amazing how he jumped out of an airplane when he was ninety! The fact that Sr. was able to groom Jr. to serve two terms as president was also remarkable! Another great review, Joanne!


  6. I hadn't heard about this book. Yes, he's a man to be admired and obviously one who loves his family.

  7. They're interesting people that has made history. Would be a good idea to read about their patriarch.

  8. Sounds like an interesting read. Thanks for this review.

  9. Sorry if this is redundant. It looks as though my comment didn't post. I respect you and your opinion, Joanne, so I do admit they have strong family values. George Sr. is commanding and tenacity, as a President should be. But George Jr missed out on the smarts. I wonder who his ghost writer was.

    1. I'm okay with what you are saying. I do think in this case, the book was written from the heart - no huge amount of smarts necessary.