Friday, December 26, 2008

Bush the Book Reader

WSJ, today, carries an Op-Ed by Karl Rove claiming that GW is a big time book reader.

According to Rove, he and GW even started a book reading contest:

It all started on New Year's Eve in 2005. President Bush asked what my New Year's resolutions were. I told him that as a regular reader who'd gotten out of the habit, my goal was to read a book a week in 2006. Three days later, we were in the Oval Office when he fixed me in his sights and said, "I'm on my second. Where are you?" Mr. Bush had turned my resolution into a contest.

By coincidence, we were both reading Doris Kearns Goodwin's "Team of Rivals." The president jumped to a slim early lead and remained ahead until March, when I moved decisively in front. The competition soon spun out of control. We kept track not just of books read, but also the number of pages and later the combined size of each book's pages -- its "Total Lateral Area."

GW ended up reading 95 books in 2006, 51 books in 2007 and 40 in 2008.

Among the books Rove mentions that GW read are:

In 2006, biographies of Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Carnegie, Mark Twain, Babe Ruth, King Leopold, William Jennings Bryan, Huey Long, LBJ and Genghis Khan to Andrew Roberts's "A History of the English Speaking Peoples Since 1900," James L. Swanson's "Manhunt," and Nathaniel Philbrick's "Mayflower." Eight Travis McGee novels by John D. MacDonald, Michael Crichton's "Next," Vince Flynn's "Executive Power," Stephen Hunter's "Point of Impact," and Albert Camus's "The Stranger".

In 2007, GW's books read included history ("The Great Upheaval" and "Khrushchev's Cold War"), biographical (Dean Acheson and Andrew Mellon), and current affairs (including "Rogue Regime" and "The Shia Revival").

In 2008, David Halberstam's "The Coldest Winter," Rick Atkinson's "Day of Battle," Hugh Thomas's "Spanish Civil War," Stephen W. Sears's "Gettysburg" and David King's "Vienna 1814." Biographies included U.S. Grant's "Personal Memoirs"; Jon Meacham's "American Lion"; James M. McPherson's "Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief" and Jacobo Timerman's "Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number."

Interestingly, Rove doesn't mention any economics books read by Bush.


  1. Maybe instead of reading those books, Bush should have been reading the offers in the mail from the bankers to give home loans to anyone, or looked at the dancing fat people on the internet ads pushing loans to anyone or maybe read some of those signs on the side of the road offering to teach people to flip houses and make fortunes. Then Bush might have gotten a clue that his push to increase the percentage of people buying homes was turning not only into a huge RE bubble but a huge credit bubble.

    Instead he read a bunch of books and kept on pushing loans to people who could not afford them all in the name of home ownership.

    Though he might still have time to read the book “The Creature from Jekyll Island” so he can know what Berneke and Paulson are really up too.


  2. He should read the Constitution.

  3. I vote for “The Creature from Jekyll Island”.