They are commonly known as 43 and 41, father and son, George W and George H.W. Bush. The son’s announcement this week that he had written a book about his father, to be published on November 11, 2014, caught many off guard because it had been a closely-held secret (see The secret George W. Bush book project by David Nather at Politico):
News of the book came as a surprise to the political world, even among people who follow the Bush saga closely. Matt Schlapp, George W. Bush’s former political director and now the chairman of the American Conservative Union, said he had “no inkling” of the project — no talking points to help promote it, or even a heads up.
“The first I heard of it was on the news,” said Steve Munisteri, the chairman of the Texas Republican Party, who recalls meeting George W. Bush several times when Bush was an operative on his father’s presidential campaign in 1988.
Without a book deal — but he was probably pretty certain he could find one, being a former president and all — George W quietly worked on the project. The book contract came and, as of now, it is untitled although as we discussed it in my household, one title suggested was “43 on 41.” Seriously — who better to write it than his son … unless, of course, Barbara Bush were to take up pen and paper. Now that could trump George W!
I read the news as it was released on the George W. Bush Facebook site on July 30, immediately posting the news to my own Facebook wall. Accompanied with the photo above was the personal message, “George H. W. Bush is a great father and a great man. I have loved writing his story. I hope you enjoy reading it this fall.”
A link to the press release from Crown Publishers announced the news (see President George W. Bush to publish personal biography about his father, President George H.W. Bush):
George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States, has authored a personal biography of his father, George H. W. Bush, the 41st President. The currently untitled book will be released in the U.S. and Canada by Crown Publishers on November 11, 2014, in print and digital formats. Random House Audio will simultaneously issue an audio edition. The hardcover edition has an anno
unced first printing of one million copies.
Tina Constable and Molly Stern, both Senior Vice Presidents and Publishers at The Crown Publishing Group, jointly acquired world, audio, electronic, and first and second serial rights to the work. Robert Barnett of Williams & Connolly represented President Bush and negotiated the exclusive submission. Ms. Stern will edit the book in collaboration with Mary Choteborsky, Senior Editor.
Forty-three men have served as President of the United States. Countless books have been written about them. But never before has a President told the story of his father, another President, through his own eyes and in his own words. A unique and intimate biography, the book covers the entire scope of the elder President Bush’s life and career, including his service in the Pacific during World War II, his pioneering work in the Texas oil business, and his political rise as a Congressman, U.S. Representative to China and the United Nations, CIA Director, Vice President, and President. The book shines new light on both the accomplished leader and the warm, decent man known best by his family. In addition, George W. Bush discusses his father’s influence on him throughout his own life, from his childhood in West Texas to his early campaign trips with his father, and from his decision to go into politics to his own two-term Presidency.
“George H. W. Bush is a great servant, statesman, and father,” said President George W. Bush. “I loved writing the story of his life, and I hope others enjoy reading it.”
Said Maya Mavjee, President and Publisher of The Crown Publishing Group: “As the only father and son to each have served as President of the United States since John and John Quincy Adams, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush occupy a unique position in history. In this heartfelt, intimate, and illuminating portrait of his father, George W. Bush brings to vivid life his unique perspective of the personal qualities and principles that have animated George H. W. Bush’s extraordinary life of service to country and family.”
And the press release ended with this factoid that liberals and Bush-bashers don’t want to hear:
Mr. Bush’s previous book, DECISION POINTS, a memoir focused on the most consequential decisions in his personal and political life, was published by Crown in November 2010 and is the bestselling Presidential memoir of all time, with more than three million units sold to-date in the U.S. alone across all formats.
Politico noted, “Bookstore owners are expecting heavy interest from political junkies.” Um, yeah. Not just political junkies but Bush admirers and history lovers:
“It is quite unusual enough to have a son writing a biography of the father, but when both were former presidents it is quite a conversation starter,” said Bradley Graham, co-owner of Politics and Prose, the popular Washington, D.C. bookstore.
Sign me up….
White House photo by Eric Draper/Courtesy George W. Bush Presidential Library