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On Ambling into History

Other books will analyze Bush's political philosophy, his place in history, the mechanics of his rise to power. This, by contrast, is a book about what America's president is like: his personality and predilections, manners and mannerisms, temper and tastes. This is history as anecdotage — a collection of the "small moments" that parallel the larger events — and seeks to make human sense of Bush. [Author Frank] Bruni self-deprecatingly refers to his "motley and inconclusive collection of stray details that might or might not be relevant," but this mosaic of minor moments is more than that: it forms a fascinating if unfinished portrait of a complicated and in some ways elusive man, who needs a comfort pillow and feasts on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches; who speaks lightly (and often incomprehensibly) but feels deeply and weeps easily; who runs furiously as a hobby, but ambles gently as a career.

Who wants to read an entire book on George W. Bush, when you can just read this excellent (New York Times) review, by Ben Macintyre, which not only shares some of the juicier details, but also offers some good perspective on what it's like, for a reporter, to travel with and report on a politician and how he handles himself? Not me.

(Then again, I'm kind of lazy. If you're curious — and not quite so lazy as I — you can also read an excerpt here.)

April 3, 2002 12:06 AM

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