In the introduction, the younger Bush tells of a visit he had with the famed historian David McCullough. During the course of their conversation, McCullough relates that one of the biggest disappointments of written history was the fact that John Quincy Adams never wrote a biography of his father. The unique nature of a father/son relationship which shares the rarest of the positions – President of the United States – offers possible insight to historians that typical biographies cannot. Thus, McCullough urged George W. Bush to write the biography of George H.W. Bush.
McCullough was correct – it was important to write such a book, but given the nature of the U.S. political scene, and possible state secrets, 41: A Portrait of my Father, does little to compare presidencies or provide any unique insights into how they both handled tough situations.
What it does say is this: George H.W. Bush was a man of values and morals, treated everyone with respect, and was esteemed by everyone who knew him. The fact that his political career survived Watergate intact is a testament to that fact. The high standards he expected of himself was also expected of his family, and the younger Bush showed how he adopted these principles throughout his presidency and beyond.
All in all, it’s a nice tribute from a son to a father.
3 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2014