August 19, 2016

SHOULDN'T HIS BDS HAVE WORN OFF BY NOW?:

It's Impossible to Count the Things Wrong With the Negligent, Spurious, Distorted New Biography of George W. Bush (WILL INBODEN, AUGUST 15, 2016, Foreign Policy)


When I first heard that acclaimed historian and presidential biographer Jean Edward Smith was writing a biography of former President George W. Bush, I recall telling a fellow historian that I was cautiously optimistic it would be a well-crafted, insightful book and that I looked forward to its publication. I had read some of Smith's earlier works, including biographies of former presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and of Dwight D. Eisenhower, and found the books to be elegantly written, carefully researched, and deeply insightful. But my optimism was tempered by the fact that the materials and perspectives of history are not yet available to Smith, or to any other would-be biographer of Bush.

How wrong I was to be optimistic at all.

Readers should be forewarned that this essay is longer than the customary book review. I beg their indulgence, because Smith's biography, Bush, is so replete with factual errors and specious judgments that an extended set of corrections and remonstrances seems warranted for the sake of the historical record. All the more so because I am not aware of any other reviews to date that have identified the many flaws in the book. If anything, it has received some surprisingly positive assessments from the generally credible Peter Baker and Morton Kondracke in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, respectively. As I hope to demonstrate, such favorable reviews are wholly unwarranted.

Posted by at August 19, 2016 9:47 AM

  

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