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Candidate Books

Mitt Romney: The Man, His Values and His Vision
, by Lisa Ray Turner and Kimberly Field

Real Change
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The Revolution: A Manifesto
, by Ron Paul, published April 2008

Tim Pawlenty: The Sam's Club Republican
, by J. A. McClure

The Audacity of Hope
by Sen. Barack Obama (D, IL)

Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics
, by Joe Biden

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The America We Deserve
, by Donald Trump

Do the Right Thing
, by Mike Huckabee

, autobiography by Rudolph Giuliani

America by Heart
, by Sarah Palin

Book Reviews


(click a book cover for a review or other books by or about the presidency from

A Matter of Character: Inside the White House of George W. Bush, by Ronald Kessler

(Click for Amazon book review)


Ron Kessler was "granted extraordinary access" to Bush and his administration for this book, to present "the George W. Bush the public never sees." It's obvious why Bush did so: Kessler is a True Believer. This book is as much an anti-Clinton screed -- opening and closing with Bill-bashing & Hillary-bashing & taking asides in every chapter to point out their immoral ways -- as it is a pro-Bush campaign book.

The "historian" in Kessler slips to describing Lyndon Johnson as a megalomaniac; Jimmy Carter as a compulsive -- all Democrats are fair game -- while Reagan, Bush Senior, and George W. are the counterpoints of good character. (Nixon does get dissed too; and Ford is ignored).

This book is ostensibly an impartial description by a well-known investigative reporter. In fact, it more reads like personal advocacy of Kessler's pet issues, most notably education. Kessler spends dozens of pages hyping "phonics", including a personal anecdote of how the phonics program in the Cambridge Massachusetts schools saved his career as a young student.

It's difficult to tell where journalism ends and where advocacy begins in this book -- but isn't that the core issue of the 2004 campaign?

-- Jesse Gordon, editor-in-chief,, August 2004

P.S. Kessler wrote a much more historical book about the Secret Service, in 2011. Our much more positive review there was because we didn't read this review first! (and because Kessler found our website and sent us an advance copy of the new book!)

   Dick Cheney: Donates $100,000s from Halliburton, so not compensation.
   George W. Bush: Arrested for drunk driving, plead guilty, paid fine.
   George W. Bush: A "carefree lad" who drank but never did drugs.
   George W. Bush: Spiritual reawakening ended beer and bourbon consumption.
   George W. Bush: Required Texas schools to teach phonics over whole language.
   George W. Bush: Pushed standardized testing as a top legislative priority.
   George W. Bush: No Child Left Behind Act implements phonics nationally.
Energy & Oil
   George W. Bush: Kyoto Treaty is the "emperor with no clothes".
Foreign Policy
   Colin Powell: Powell's job: diplomatic solutions & disagree with Rumsfeld.
   Donald Rumsfeld: Rumsfeld's job: military solutions & disagree with Powell.
   George W. Bush: Foreign affairs is interpersonal leadership, not knowledge.
Health Care
   George W. Bush: Medicare bill uses market-based solutions to reduce costs.
Homeland Security
   Dick Cheney: Urged shooting down hijacked planes on 9/11.
Principles & Values
   George W. Bush: Comforted mother Barbara at age 7 when his sister died.
   George W. Bush: Cheerleader at Andover & Yale; as full of energy now.
   George W. Bush: IQ of 120 puts him above 90% of the population.
   George W. Bush: Member of secret society Skull and Bones & a fraternity guy.
   George W. Bush: Bush's smirk shows he's perturbed, not that he's arrogant.
   George W. Bush: Character determines your path; we are not the author.
War & Peace
   Colin Powell: Arafat must end terrorism to get to two-state solution.
   Colin Powell: Bush & whole Cabinet agreed on multilateral approach on Iraq.
   Dick Cheney: US beat communism because of leadership & military force.
   George W. Bush: During Vietnam, did not protest, & counseled supporting war.
   George W. Bush: Bush Doctrine: harboring terrorists treated as terrorism.
   George W. Bush: First president to use the term "Palestine".
   George W. Bush: CIA argued against "16 words" but took responsibility.
   George W. Bush: Majority misunderstood that Bush connected Saddam with 9/11.
   Paul O'Neill: Contrary to O'Neill's claim, planning for Iraq began in 2002.
Welfare & Poverty
   George W. Bush: Compassionate conservatism means self-help over gov't help.
   George W. Bush: Faith-based charity doesn't violate church-state separation.

The above quotations are from A Matter of Character: Inside the White House of George W. Bush, by Ronald Kessler.

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Reprinting by permission only.

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