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Books by and about 2020 presidential candidates
Crippled America,
by Donald J. Trump (2015)
by Cory Booker (2016)
The Truths We Hold,
by Kamala Harris (2019)
Smart on Crime,
by Kamala Harris (2010)
Guide to Political Revolution,
by Bernie Sanders (2017)
Where We Go From Here,
by Bernie Sanders (2018)
Promise Me, Dad ,
by Joe Biden (2017)
Conscience of a Conservative,
by Jeff Flake (2017)
Two Paths,
by Gov. John Kasich (2017)
Every Other Monday,
by Rep. John Kasich (2010)
Courage is Contagious,
by John Kasich (1998)
Shortest Way Home,
by Pete Buttigieg (2019)
The Book of Joe ,
by Jeff Wilser (2019; biography of Joe Biden)
by Michelle Obama (2018)
Our Revolution,
by Bernie Sanders (2016)
This Fight Is Our Fight,
by Elizabeth Warren (2017)
Higher Loyalty,
by James Comey (2018)
The Making of Donald Trump,
by David Cay Johnston (2017)
Books by and about the 2016 presidential election
What Happened ,
by Hillary Clinton (2017)
Higher Loyalty ,
by James Comey (2018)
Trump vs. Hillary On The Issues ,
by Jesse Gordon (2016)
Hard Choices,
by Hillary Clinton (2014)
Becoming ,
by Michelle Obama (2018)
Outsider in the White House,
by Bernie Sanders (2015)

Book Reviews

(from Amazon.com)

(click a book cover for a review or other books by or about the presidency from Amazon.com)

A Matter of Character: Inside the White House of George W. Bush, by Ronald Kessler

(Click for Amazon book review)

BOOK REVIEW by OnTheIssues.org:

Ron Kessler was "granted extraordinary access" to Bush and his administration for this book, to present "the George W. Bush the public never sees." It's obvious why Bush did so: Kessler is a True Believer. This book is as much an anti-Clinton screed -- opening and closing with Bill-bashing & Hillary-bashing & taking asides in every chapter to point out their immoral ways -- as it is a pro-Bush campaign book.

The "historian" in Kessler slips to describing Lyndon Johnson as a megalomaniac; Jimmy Carter as a compulsive -- all Democrats are fair game -- while Reagan, Bush Senior, and George W. are the counterpoints of good character. (Nixon does get dissed too; and Ford is ignored).

This book is ostensibly an impartial description by a well-known investigative reporter. In fact, it more reads like personal advocacy of Kessler's pet issues, most notably education. Kessler spends dozens of pages hyping "phonics", including a personal anecdote of how the phonics program in the Cambridge Massachusetts schools saved his career as a young student.

It's difficult to tell where journalism ends and where advocacy begins in this book -- but isn't that the core issue of the 2004 campaign?

-- Jesse Gordon, editor-in-chief, OnTheIssues.org, August 2004

P.S. Kessler wrote a much more historical book about the Secret Service, in 2011. Our much more positive review there was because we didn't read this review first! (and because Kessler found our website and sent us an advance copy of the new book!)

 OnTheIssues.org excerpts:  (click on issues for details)
    Dick Cheney: Donates $100,000s from Halliburton, so not compensation.
    George W. Bush: Arrested for drunk driving, plead guilty, paid fine.
    George W. Bush: A “carefree lad” who drank but never did drugs.
    George W. Bush: Spiritual reawakening ended beer and bourbon consumption.
    George W. Bush: Required Texas schools to teach phonics over whole language.
    George W. Bush: Pushed standardized testing as a top legislative priority.
    George W. Bush: No Child Left Behind Act implements phonics nationally.
Energy & Oil
    George W. Bush: Kyoto Treaty is the “emperor with no clothes”.
Foreign Policy
    Colin Powell: Powell’s job: diplomatic solutions & disagree with Rumsfeld.
    Donald Rumsfeld: Rumsfeld’s job: military solutions & disagree with Powell.
    George W. Bush: Foreign affairs is interpersonal leadership, not knowledge.
Health Care
    George W. Bush: Medicare bill uses market-based solutions to reduce costs.
Homeland Security
    Dick Cheney: Urged shooting down hijacked planes on 9/11.
Principles & Values
    George W. Bush: Comforted mother Barbara at age 7 when his sister died.
    George W. Bush: Cheerleader at Andover & Yale; as full of energy now.
    George W. Bush: IQ of 120 puts him above 90% of the population.
    George W. Bush: Member of secret society Skull and Bones & a fraternity guy.
    George W. Bush: Bush’s smirk shows he’s perturbed, not that he’s arrogant.
    George W. Bush: Character determines your path; we are not the author.
War & Peace
    Colin Powell: Arafat must end terrorism to get to two-state solution.
    Colin Powell: Bush & whole Cabinet agreed on multilateral approach on Iraq.
    Dick Cheney: US beat communism because of leadership & military force.
    George W. Bush: During Vietnam, did not protest, & counseled supporting war.
    George W. Bush: Bush Doctrine: harboring terrorists treated as terrorism.
    George W. Bush: First president to use the term “Palestine”.
    George W. Bush: CIA argued against “16 words” but took responsibility.
    George W. Bush: Majority misunderstood that Bush connected Saddam with 9/11.
    Paul O`Neill: Contrary to O’Neill’s claim, planning for Iraq began in 2002.
Welfare & Poverty
    George W. Bush: Compassionate conservatism means self-help over gov’t help.
    George W. Bush: Faith-based charity doesn’t violate church-state separation.

The above quotations are from A Matter of Character: Inside the White House of George W. Bush, by Ronald Kessler.

All material copyright 1999-2022
by Jesse Gordon and OnTheIssues.org
Reprinting by permission only.

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Page last edited: Feb 15, 2019