United States v. George W. Bush et al.
By revisiting public statements, official documents and journalistic reports from the months leading up to the Iraq invasion, de la Vega builds a legal case that President Bush and top members of his administration engaged in a conspiracy to "deceive the American public and Congress into supporting the war." Drawing on her experience as a federal prosecutor, as well as the work of scholars and legal experts, she brings a well-honed legal perspective to the issue. She presents her argument in transcript form as a hypothetical weeklong presentation to a grand jury, including extensive testimony from three fictional investigative agents. Despite her somewhat specialized approach, the author clearly defines the legal terms and issues and avoids jargon. If anything, the book feels casual and straightforward to a fault: awkward asides about room temperature and coffee breaks, meant to humanize de la Vega's hypothetical grand jurors, are contrived; in explaining some of her claims, she relies too much on an analogy to the Enron fraud. Still, whenever she focuses on the issues at hand—most compellingly in her final analysis of the administration's spurious claims about Iraq's nuclear weapons program—de la Vega makes a persuasive case. (Dec. 1)