First Son George W. Bush and the Bush Family Dynasty

Bill Minutaglio, Author Crown Publishers $25 (384p) ISBN 978-0-8129-3139-6
How did George W. Bush, ""the turbulent cosmos inside every family gathering in Maine,"" rein in his impulsiveness and his temper, his resentment and his considerable wild side, to become the smiling prophet of ""compassionate conservatism,"" two-term governor of Texas and current front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination? In a detailed but poorly organized biography, Minutaglio, a reporter at the Dallas Morning News, delves sympathetically into the blessings and disadvantages that George ""Dubya"" experienced growing up as the grandson of the formidable Connecticut senator Prescott Bush and as the son of the 41st president of the United States. Bush's youth was not normal: President Nixon once ordered a military plane to pick up Bush for a date with his daughter. Minutaglio presents Bush as a man who has overcome the burdens of crushing expectations and a recurrent identity problem, a man with strong Texas roots, superior political skills and hot emotions. Readers who care about the summer's most popular political question (Did Bush snort cocaine?) won't find an answer here, though Minutaglio is quite candid about the first son's former proclivities for liquor (Bush says he has been sober since 1986). In the end, however, the book is diminished by Minutaglio's apparent inability to separate important points from inconsequential details. More personal than political, this slightly unfocused character study makes no strong assessment of Bush's performance as governor and no predictions about what a Bush presidency might look like. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/04/1999
Release date: 10/01/1999
Compact Disc - 978-0-375-41022-2
Paperback - 388 pages - 978-0-609-80867-2
Analog Audio Cassette - 3 pages - 978-0-375-41021-5
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