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Extended Audio Sample Spoken from the Heart Audiobook, by Laura Bush Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (3,484 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Laura Bush Narrator: Laura Bush Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2010 ISBN: 9781442305212
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In this brave, beautiful, and deeply personal memoir, Laura Bush, one of our most beloved and private first ladies, tells her own extraordinary story. 

Born in the boom-and-bust oil town of Midland, Texas, Laura Welch grew up as an only child in a family that lost three babies to miscarriage or infant death. She vividly evokes Midland's brash, rugged culture, her close relationship with her father, and the bonds of early friendships that sustain her to this day. For the first time, in heart-wrenching detail, she writes about the devastating high school car accident that left her friend Mike Douglas dead and about her decades of unspoken grief.

When Laura Welch first left West Texas in 1964, she never imagined that her journey would lead her to the world stage and the White House. After graduating from Southern Methodist University in 1968, in the thick of student rebellions across the country and at the dawn of the women's movement, she became an elementary school teacher, working in inner-city schools, then trained to be a librarian. At age thirty, she met George W. Bush, whom she had last passed in the hallway in seventh grade. Three months later, "the old maid of Midland married Midland's most eligible bachelor." With rare intimacy and candor, Laura Bush writes about her early married life as she was thrust into one of America's most prominent political families, as well as her deep longing for children and her husband's decision to give up drinking. By 1993, she found herself in the full glare of the political spotlight. But just as her husband won the Texas governorship in a stunning upset victory, her father, Harold Welch, was dying in Midland.

In 2001, after one of the closest elections in American history, Laura Bush moved into the White House. Here she captures presidential life in the harrowing days and weeks after 9/11, when fighter-jet cover echoed through the walls and security scares sent the family to an underground shelter. She writes openly about the White House during wartime, the withering and relentless media spotlight, and the transformation of her role as she began to understand the power of the first lady. One of the first U.S. officials to visit war-torn Afghanistan, she also reached out to disease-stricken African nations and tirelessly advocated for women in the Middle East and dissidents in Burma. She championed programs to get kids out of gangs and to stop urban violence. And she was a major force in rebuilding Gulf Coast schools and libraries post-Katrina. Movingly, she writes of her visits with U.S. troops and their loved ones, and of her empathy for and immense gratitude to military families.

With deft humor and a sharp eye, Laura Bush lifts the curtain on what really happens inside the White House, from presidential finances to the 175-year-old tradition of separate bedrooms for presidents and their wives to the antics of some White House guests and even a few members of Congress. She writes with honesty and eloquence about her family, her public triumphs, and her personal tribulations. Laura Bush's compassion, her sense of humor, her grace, and her uncommon willingness to bare her heart make this story revelatory, beautifully rendered, and unlike any other first lady's memoir ever written.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A deeply felt, keenly observed account of her childhood and youth in Texas—an account that captures a time and place with exacting emotional precision and that demonstrates how Mrs. Bush’s lifelong love of books has imprinted her imagination.”

    New York Times

  • “Mrs. Bush’s delicate rendering…sets this book far apart from the typical score-settling reminiscences of politicians or their spouses…Spoken from the Heart reveals Laura Bush to be a beautiful writer, a keen observer and a tender soul who drew on her roots to live a life in the public eye with compassion and grace.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “This is Laura Bush, unplugged... She comes across with a keener eye, a sharper tongue and a readier laugh than in interviews during the eight years while her husband was president.”

    USA Today

  • “A real, moving, intimate story.”

    People

  • “Wide-ranging…candid…deeply personal…A beautifully written book.”

    Ann Curry, The Today Show

  • A #1 New York Times Bestseller
  • A Publishers Weekly Bestseller
  • An Audie Award Finalist

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ellie Revert | 2/17/2014

    " I think she's a fine person, and a good wife. It was interesting to put things in order. We certainly did not agree with her husband in many ways, but she hits just the right note of supporting him. Glad I read it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Song | 2/16/2014

    " I read a memoir to understand a person's thought processes during life's moments. While the beginning of the book was filled with those moments, I read very little of that in the rest of the book. She spent a lot of time talking about place settings and White House events, and she also talked about policies established during their time in office. It was informational for me but not entertaining, and that is why I've given this book three stars. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jo | 2/14/2014

    " This book is not about President Bush, it is Mrs. Bush recollections of her life, beginning with growing up in Texas and continuing through her marriage and their time in the White House. As other reviewers have said, her descriptions of growing up in Texas are positively lyrical. I also found interesting the insights into her relationship with George (especially since I just finished reading Decision Points). I also found interesting how much she acted as a representative of the President during his time in office, in foreign travels, domestic travels, and before Congress. It was rather fascinating to learn about that side of her. It's true that she doesn't give her opinion of many of the dignitaries she meets as First Lady, but I think that seeming detachment is part of her grace in refusing to say a negative word about (almost) anyone. I listened to the audiobook and she narrates it herself. Charming. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Liza | 2/6/2014

    " I listened to this one on CD and it was nice to hear her words from her own mouth! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Frédérique | 2/3/2014

    " Must read if you've already read Curtis Sittenfeld's American Wife. There is more than meets the eye with Laura here! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gayla Dalton | 2/3/2014

    " I liked hearing about Laura Bush's early life, the latter years were not as good. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kay | 1/28/2014

    " I enjoyed this book very much. It gave an inside view of what went on in the White House and the government during the Bush years and why some of the decisions were made. It really gives you a different perspective compared to what the press said. It also tells about all the good causes that she was involved in and all the service she did. Her early years were interesting but a little too long in the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Coleta | 1/15/2014

    " THe part I liked the most was her life up to the Whitehouse. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Debra | 1/7/2014

    " I really enjoyed seeing things from Mrs. Bush's perspective. I liked her before; I respect her even more after reading the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Fran | 12/30/2013

    " A very interesting look into the life of a very charming First Lady. I felt like I was sitting at the kitchen table speaking with Laura about her life experiences. I found myself to be in no rush to finish this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lanell | 11/22/2013

    " I am not a political person at all but to read about the stress and pressures of running our country it made me appreciate the Presidents job. It was also interesting to see how the position affected their children. I am grateful I am not faced with making decisions that affect so many people. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Teresa | 2/3/2013

    " Long read but an amazing story. I liked Laura Bush before I read her book. Now I have nothing but respect for her. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mandy | 12/10/2012

    " There were some interesting stories in this book, but it was too slow for me. She has had a unique life as an only child, and her personality is totally different than I expected. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laurie | 11/12/2012

    " This is a wonderful book! I highly recommend the CD version. Mrs. Bush reads her book and that just makes it special and personal. This book truly is "spoken from her heart!" "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Betty | 9/4/2012

    " WONDERFUL BOOK WITH A GOOD VIEW OF HER LIFE AND THE MANY ACCOMLISHMENT AS A FIRST LADY "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Julia DelSignore Peoples | 8/1/2012

    " ok, well i didn't finish it. i just couldn't. I got to page 120 ish and couldn't read anymore. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rebecca Henderson | 4/21/2012

    " I loved the opening section with descriptions of West Texas in the 1950s, the same time and place of my father's childhood stories. But the rest of it was too overly detailed and tedious for my liking. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maresa | 4/6/2012

    " Interesting in the end, but oh so hard to get into "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nancy | 12/20/2011

    " Got the facts from Laura ... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Evelyn | 12/6/2011

    " This book is so aptly named. Laura Bush has to be one of the most gracious and generous people in America. What a treasure that she has shared so much of her heart with us through this book and through her life of service. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cdenning5 | 5/22/2011

    " A little repetitive and slow, but interesting "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen | 5/3/2011

    " Very good book. I enjoyed reading about her relationship w/her mother-in-law and about her childhood. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dianne | 4/25/2011

    " Loved it. What a classic First Lady she was and always will be. Loved reading about what Texas was like when she grew up and what the Bush family was really like before either of the Georges were President. Fascinating! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan | 4/23/2011

    " I listened to this as an audio book and thoroughly enjoyed listening to the authors reading. Bush history from another point of view. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jen | 4/21/2011

    " I like Laura Bush and her quiet but strong demeanor. I'm looking forward to reading about her life from her perspective. This was a good book, it is about her life, not her husband's. It was interesting to read about all that Mrs. Bush has been involved in. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shannon | 4/16/2011

    " Very well written, warm & engaging look at former First Lady Laura Bush's life. Interesting to read about her early years and then her perspective on events that occurred during her time in the White House. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tonya | 4/16/2011

    " Great book! She tells about her family and life growing up, and finally gets to say what really went on in the White House that the left-wing media didn't report. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amy | 4/15/2011

    " I really enjoyed listening to this book. I have always liked Laura Bush because she is a librarian also! She is a gifted writer. I really liked her discription of what happened to her on 9/11. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda | 4/10/2011

    " Good description of the Bush era from Laura's perspective. Also included her life before George. It was interesting to read about historical events which paralleled my life. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laura | 4/9/2011

    " I thoroughly enjoyed reading this biography. Mrs. Bush writes well and is definitely worth the read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Margery | 4/9/2011

    " Loved reading this gracious lady's autobiography. "

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About the Author
Author Laura Bush

 Laura Bush, First Lady of the United States from 2001 to 2009, is known for her support of literacy and education. She founded both the National Book Festival and the Texas Book Festival among numerous other volunteer and philanthropic projects. She is author of her memoir, Spoken from the Heart, as well as a coauthor of the children’s book, Read All About It!, with her daughter Jenna Bush Hager.