41: A Portrait of My Father by George W. Bush

41: A Portrait of My Father

Reviewed by Allen Hott

A very entertaining, readable book written by a president who is the son of a president. It has been done before but only once before and that was John Adams and John Quincy Adams. However there has been a case of a grandfather (William Henry Harrison) and his grandson (Benjamin Harrison) both serving as U. S. president.

George W. Bush writes not only about his father as president but also about many things in his own presidential service because of his father’s implications, advice, and praise. George W. thinks very highly of his father and his accomplishments and defends him in those cases where the politicians, press, and others criticized George H.W. But in reading the story of the Bush family and how they all are truly a loving, forgiving family it is easy to see why and how he does think so highly of George H.W.

George H. W. came from a political family in the northeast (his father Prescott Walker Bush was a United States Senator) and one that truly believed in service. George H.W. joined the military on his eighteenth birthday. This was a move not entirely approved by his father who wanted his son to continue the tradition of going to Yale. However he also realized that with our country at war George H.W. should serve his country.

Early in September of 1944 Ensign Bush’s aircraft (he was the pilot) was hit by anti-aircraft fire while attacking a site. He, his gunner, and radioman all had to bail out. George H.W. hit his head on the way out of the plane but recovered when he hit the water. After half a day in the water paddling a raft that another plane had dropped for him, he was rescued. However he still thinks about his crewmen who were not found.

When he returned and on leave he married Barbara Pierce, his fiancée, and still his wife to this day. After leaving the military and having flown 58 combat missions and making 126 successful carrier landings, he did enroll at Yale and settle down with Barbara. Shortly after graduation however he moved to Texas to get into the oil business which fascinated him. He did well in the business and in raising a family with a ton of help from his wife.

But then he also spent much time serving the local area where he lived and eventually got into politics. He suffered several defeats and more would come even later but eventually he became governor of Texas.

George W. explains all the ins and outs of H.W.’s political life, his personal life, and how he never seems to look back but is always looking forward. Even to the extent that on the day he turned ninety he parachuted out a plane much like he has been doing every five years or so since he was in his seventies.

Many, many personal looks at a truly good man with a great family. How he has succeeded in many things even when it appeared he may have failed. And written by a son who could not love his father, mother, and family more! Well done!

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