George H. W. Bush is much too modest to brag about what he accomplished as the forty-first president of the United States. As a result, the conventional wisdom about his presidency misses many of his greatest achievements. Now this unique insider account by former chief of staff John H.Read more...
George H. W. Bush is much too modest to brag about what he accomplished as the forty-first president of the United States. As a result, the conventional wisdom about his presidency misses many of his greatest achievements. Now this unique insider account by former chief of staff John H. Sununu finally gives this indispensable president full credit for the positive impact he had on the United States and the world.
Though Bush is rightfully remembered for orchestrating one of the largest and most effective military campaigns in history the first Gulf War Sununu argues that this success overshadowed many of his other significant accomplishments. Most important, of course, was Bush's calm and capable leadership during the collapse of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Through skillful command and his own special brand of diplomatic tact, Bush helped shape a world in which the United States emerged as the lone superpower.
These foreign policy achievements alone should earn Bush 41 a place in the front ranks of U.S. presidents, but his domestic accomplishments were equally impressive. During his single term in office, Bush passed more domestic legislation than almost any other president, which included strengthening civil rights, breaking a twelve-year logjam to enact environmental protections, passing the Americans with Disabilities Act, and negotiating the 1990 budget agreement that generated federal surpluses and a decade of economic growth.
The Bush presidency also had an outsize impact on the subsequent American political landscape. Bush alumni such as Dick Cheney, Robert Gates, Colin Powell, and Roger Ailes have continued to reshape global policy, diplomacy, and media, and Clarence Thomas the most ardent and principled originalist in American history still plays an influential role on the Supreme Court.
As chief of staff, Sununu was an active participant in and front-row observer to the most significant events of the Bush presidency. Respectful yet scrupulously honest, he reveals policy conflicts and clashes, as well as inside alliances among the diverse personalities in and out of the White House, giving credit and candid criticism where it's deserved.
The Quiet Man goes behind the scenes of this unsung but highly consequential presidency, which set the stage for the twenty-first century, and illuminates the man at its center as never before."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-05-04
- Reviewer: Staff
Sununu, an engineering dean at Tufts University and three-term governor of New Hampshire, became President George H.W. Bush's White House chief of staff after playing a key role in the contentious 1988 New Hampshire primary. Since leaving government, he has been a prominent talking head on cable television. This chronicle recounts the 1989–1993 Bush presidency. It's easy to see why Bush and Sununu got along in respective roles as Good Cop and Bad Cop. Both were smart, capable technocrats. Bush was calm and personable; Sununu was protective, brusque, and partisan. The author's loyalty to his former boss is absolute, unswerving, and reverential. He witnessed profoundly important transitions in geopolitics, including the Gulf War and fall of the Soviet Union, recounted here in valuable detail. Readers encounter Margaret Thatcher and Mikhail Gorbachev working behind the scenes during the collapse of the USSR. They also encounter the riveting backstory to Operation Desert Storm. Supporting players in this account include Brent Scowcroft, George Mitchell, Bob Dole, Richard Darman, and Tom Foley. It is marred by the unwise choice to stress Bush's unmemorable domestic record along with his adroit foreign policy. The boastful, idiosyncratic superstructure precludes much distanced analysis or balanced assessment. This seemingly unghosted, honestly wrought political memoir nonetheless makes for a valuable addition to the literature on the 41st president of the U.S. Agent: Keith Urbahn, Javelin Group. (June)