Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White House

Peter Baker, Author
Peter Baker. Doubleday, $35 (816p) ISBN 978-0-385-52518-3
Reviewed on: 09/30/2013
Release date: 10/22/2013
Compact Disc - 978-0-385-36236-8
Paperback - 800 pages - 978-0-385-52519-0
Compact Disc - 978-0-385-36234-4
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-385-36235-1
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The complex partnership of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney undergirds this authoritative narrative of their tumultuous eight years in Washington. Baker (The Breach), the senior White House correspondent for New York Times, skillfully navigates how Bush, a national security neophyte, came to rely heavily on the former Wyoming congressman and secretary of defense, a consummate Washington insider. Although Cheney became one of the most influential vice presidents in American history and grew to relish his Darth Vader reputation, Baker upends the popular perception that Bush did his bidding. The president and the vice president were wholly in sync on the issue that mattered most, Iraq. Cheney's relations to Secretary of State Colin Powell and other officials deteriorate after Americans fail to be greeted like liberators or find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Cheney's star wanes further after Hurricane Katrina, reaching rock-bottom after a notorious duck hunting accident, while other officials like Condoleezza Rice grow closer to the president. Baker concludes that Bush was without a doubt his own man with a "solid" record on issues like AIDS in Africa and prescription drugs for seniors, but has his legacy undone by Iraq. Though the author also catalogs domestic episodes from his disastrous nomination of White House counsel Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court and the financial meltdown of 2007-2008, the conduct of the war carries the book. Baker delivers a fast-paced read that deftly weaves the trials and tribulations of the Bush presidency into a monumental tale of hubris and missed opportunities for greatness. Agent: Raphael Sagalyn, The Sagalyn Literary Agency. (Oct.)
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