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Extended Audio Sample The Bush Tragedy Audiobook, by Jacob Weisberg Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (306 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jacob Weisberg Narrator: Robertson Dean Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2008 ISBN: 9781455189137
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In this first important consideration of the George W. Bush presidency and its profound impact on the state of the world, Jacob Weisberg traces the evolution of Bush’s political philosophy from its roots in his early life and his years as governor of Texas through the events of 9/11 and his turbulent two terms in office. With careful analyses, Weisberg offers an eye-opening assessment of Bush’s deeply conflicted relationship with his father, former President George H. W. Bush, and with major figures in the administration, including Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. This groundbreaking book of reportage, synthesis, and analysis will stand as the indispensable account of a presidency of enormous consequence.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Dazzling…If you read one book about George W. Bush and his presidency, this should be it.”

    Malcolm Gladwell, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Precisely because he does not think George W. Bush is a joke, Jacob Weisberg has been able to write a very witty and deeply penetrating profile of him.”

    Christopher Hitchens, New York Times bestselling author

  • The Bush Tragedy is a serious, thought-provoking effort to penetrate what instinct tells us must be an extraordinary family drama…Weisberg also provides a broad, dark, nuanced way of thinking about why we went to war.”

    Washington Post Book World

  • “[Weisberg] analyzes the central disaster of the Bush administration with skill and seriousness…it is precisely because Weisberg struggles for objectivity and fairness that his deeply negative conclusions are so damning.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “An unexpectedly compelling piece of armchair psychoanalysis.”

    Newsday.com

  • “Robertson Dean provides an enjoyable performance that works well with Weisberg’s prose. His deliberate cadence and well-placed emphasis makes the narration easy to follow and understand. Dean projects power and energy and is sure to have listeners looking for other audiobooks he reads.”

    Publishers Weekly

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paul | 2/20/2014

    " a second term, hard to believe. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eric Knibbs | 2/16/2014

    " Weisberg's writes well and his portrait is convincing and textured (and readable too); yet he treats Bush a little too gently. "

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

    " A compelling portrait of the Bush family, with parallels to Shakespeare's Henry IV, of a son that is willing to go to any lengths to outshine his father's legacy. With chapters devoted to Cheney and Rove (I didn't know his mother suicided, or that his father was gay!) the author adds layers to our current situation. Bush is not portrayed as a buffoon nor a monster, but Weisberg has done a great job of nailing his history of decision making, his belief in his own certainty and his sense of working on behalf of a spiritual mission. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mikki | 2/12/2014

    " Parents behavior and successes set up many facets of a son's personality. Decisions made to impress or top the father's successes have devastating consequences for country and the future successes of his own family. A good historical-psychological study. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dan | 2/8/2014

    " Generally, a very well-researched and reported work by a well-respected journalist. Only quibble is that Weisberg strains a little to hard to cast Bush pere et fils in their own personal Henry IV/V cycle and is a little heavy with the pop psychology. Bush, unprepared for his role as a wartime president, falls back on the two things which got him through his bout with the bottle: a rather unsophisticated faith and personal force of will. Good tools for self-help, but not diplomacy. Into this void step Cheney, whose goal is to advance the security state at all costs, and Rove, who envisions a domestic political scene dominated by Republicans. The results are well known and not pretty. In one of the most damning scenes, at the height of the anthrax scare in fall 2012, Cheney argues, against the advice of public health advisers, that all Americans must be vaccinated against the fungus, knowing full well that hundreds would die because of adverse affects of the vaccine. The vaccine is delivered, though by that time scare has passed. Bush is vaccinated as a show of god faith; Cheney refuses. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ann | 2/3/2014

    " Good book. I read much of the histories of the Bushes and Walkers in Kevin Phillips' book, Dynasty, but the implications for George W were a lot easier to grasp in The Bush Tragedy. For those who want more info, I definitely recommend Phillips' book which runs along many of the same lines as this one. However, Phillips brings a political economist's perspective. The dense arguments are worth the trouble. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Doug Seaberg | 1/19/2014

    " A lot of pop psychology, but a good recounting of recent history. Admittedly it is highly partisan, but it is an interesting perspective. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matthew Kresal | 1/17/2014

    " A fascinating book! A must-read for anyone seeking to understand the mindset of George W. Bush. Heck it's a must-read for anyone seeking to understand how and why things happened the way they did during the Bush years. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Paul Toth | 1/4/2014

    " Jesus Christ, for a while, I thought I was beginning to feel something approaching empathy. But in the end, it cannot be denied that the tragedy is ours, and so my empathy was actually directed towards myself, as usual. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elisabeth | 12/22/2013

    " Dysfunctional family screws up the entire world... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Doug | 12/14/2013

    " Gives a great overview of the Bush Administration and where it has gone wrong. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steve | 11/30/2013

    " A solid account of how the George W. Bush inner masculine adolescent conflict got played out (tragically) on the American and world stage. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Russell Scott | 11/25/2013

    " A really fascinating exploration of the Bush family psychology and how W.'s relationships with those around him led us to war. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hernease | 11/5/2013

    " When I'm finished, I'm sure this will be 5 stars. I'm currently on Chapter 3: Gospel According to Bush. The previous two chapters gave a surprisingly personal perspective of the Bush/Walker family. Jacob Weisberg is either quite insightful, or skillfully speculative. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Georgina | 10/28/2013

    " Fascinating psychological portrait of the most dangerous president of modern times. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Galina | 9/18/2013

    " I loved the family tree info. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris | 5/9/2013

    " This one is about W.'s relationships with his father and his brother Jeb. It gives some insight into why he's so stubborn. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura Tortorelli | 2/26/2013

    " This book accomplished something I never would have believed possible. It has made me feel sorry for President Bush. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Matt | 1/1/2013

    " A kind of psychological/tragic look at the influences on the Current Occupant. Don't know how sound the psychology is nor am I sure that he qualifies as tragic-maybe just pathetic-but it was an interesting read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mari | 11/1/2012

    " How a love-hate relationship affected the welfare of our nation and the world "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Diane Heath | 10/24/2012

    " Found this in the biography section but it is more an analysis/indictment of the Bush presidency.It is a very interesting read overall and the chapter on Dick Cheney is quite eye-opening. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kylie | 8/17/2012

    " I was expecting this to be a Bush-bash. It is obviously about how the author thinks Bush ruined his administration, but he handled it in a professional way. I didn't feel like he was forcing his opinion on me, just stating it. I surprisingly kind of liked it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Allen | 11/13/2011

    " Not just about Bush - also includes excellent background on Cheney and Rove. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah | 8/17/2011

    " Interesting and informative. Worth reading if you're at all interested in Bush or his history. Delves into the twisted relationship between his past and his actions today. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Glen | 5/7/2011

    " A sad commentary on the leadership of the country the past eight years. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anthony | 5/5/2011

    " As an Australian I knew little about the Bush family, other than they were politicians. So this was an informative read that let me better understand the situation over there. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah | 8/15/2010

    " Interesting and informative. Worth reading if you're at all interested in Bush or his history. Delves into the twisted relationship between his past and his actions today. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Doug | 7/12/2010

    " A lot of pop psychology, but a good recounting of recent history. Admittedly it is highly partisan, but it is an interesting perspective. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Scott | 3/24/2010

    " A pretty good book about a pretty bad president. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Russell | 11/16/2009

    " A really fascinating exploration of the Bush family psychology and how W.'s relationships with those around him led us to war. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kylie | 11/4/2009

    " I was expecting this to be a Bush-bash. It is obviously about how the author thinks Bush ruined his administration, but he handled it in a professional way. I didn't feel like he was forcing his opinion on me, just stating it. I surprisingly kind of liked it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bob | 9/24/2009

    " Weisberg convincingly explains the arc of the George W. Bush presidency by examining the dynamics of the Bush family. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris | 6/13/2009

    " This one is about W.'s relationships with his father and his brother Jeb. It gives some insight into why he's so stubborn. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Catwalker | 6/7/2009

    " Weisberg offers a psychological analysis of how George W. Bush, who is not a stupid man, ended up making so many stupid decisions as President. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Neil | 5/29/2009

    " too bad this wasnt around before we elected him twice....hard to believe this was real...ayaya "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mari | 1/24/2009

    " How a love-hate relationship affected the welfare of our nation and the world "

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About the Author

Jacob Weisberg is the editor-in-chief of Slate. He is a frequent commentator on National Public Radio. He previously worked for the New Republic and was a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a contributing editor to Vanity Fair. He is the inventor and author of the “Bushisms” series. He is also the author, with Robert Rubin, of In an Uncertain World. His first book, In Defense of Government, was published in 1996.

About the Narrator

Robertson Dean has played leading roles on and off Broadway and at dozens of regional theaters throughout the country. He has a BA from Tufts University and an MFA from Yale. His audiobook narration has garnered ten AudioFile Earphones Awards. He now lives in Los Angeles, where he works in film and television in addition to narrating.