In one of the debates during the 2004 election, President George W. Bush famously encapsulated his elected position in one short sentence, "I'm the decider." However inelegantly stated, it aptly sums up the modern presidency. As others, including other presidents, have admitted, by the time an issue reaches the Oval Office, all of the easy or noncontroversial decisions have been made by lower level officials. The thorny problems that remain, often seeming to be choices with only bad options, are the ones that demand the president's attention.In his post-White House memoir, "Decision Points," Bush (43) offers his perspective on such significant problems that he faced, including 9/11 and the ensuing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the response to Hurricane Katrina, and the 2008 financial crisis. While not a traditional autobiography by an ex-president -- which, it should be noted, his father refused to write after he left the White House -- it offers a clear vision of how the former president believes his administration should be judged.As much as Bush is interested in justifying his decision-making to an American public that overwhelmingly viewed his job performance negatively by the end of his second term, it is clear that this book is largely motivated by an urge to provide thorough "on the record" accounting of his presidency for future historians. In many ways, it seems an attempt to balance out the popular "behind the scenes" books written by Bob Woodward, which grew increasingly critical of Bush's decisions.Unashamedly, it is a careful argument for seeing the president's eight years in office much more sympathetically. Therefore, those with preconceived notions of Bush are unlikely to have those views changed in this favorable self-assessment. Even so, the president comes across, at times, as a much more thoughtful and considered person here as he describes the context within which he governed at key points.Little in this book will surprise most people who pay attention to political news, and much familiar territory is covered about the response to 9/11 and the decisions to go to war. At the outset, Bush also tells, again, of his decision to give up drinking alcohol. The book's high point is likely the discussion around the surge of forces in the Iraq War, where Bush's decision had little popular support and went against the support of key people in his own administration, but which ultimately proved successful. The unexpected decision to significantly increase US funding to fight HIV/AIDS, with many examples of positive consequences, also makes a strong impression.On the other hand, chapters on the response to Hurricane Katrina -- almost certainly the low point of Bush's presidency -- and the worldwide "Freedom Agenda" that was touted in his Second Inaugural Address are disappointing. Despite a shiny gloss on each story, there is ultimately little to commend about either aspect, and Bush seems unwilling and unable to offer a candid assessment of shortcomings in both instances. Frequent pointing to various communication problems does little to explain the problems with the response to Katrina, and repeatedly insisting that the world is freer does not make it so.Most interesting, at least to me, was the final chapter on the economic crisis at the end of Bush's tenure. In contrast to the surge, where the unpopular president made a confident, "Damn the torpedoes!" decision, here the beleaguered president caves to advice contrary to his guiding principles. Perhaps history will show that there were simply no good decisions to be made at the time, only less catastrophic ones, which is Bush's assessment. In any event, this discussion offers a glimpse of the frustrating limitations that all presidents must feel when approaching large problems.If at times too implicitly self-congratulatory, the book is certainly a reasonable presentation and justification of the Bush presidency. Far less over-the-top than Bill Clinton's memoir, the book is ultimately a satisfying read for political junkies, with a conversational tone that is largely successful (but occasionally downright hokey).