The CV Generation
Characterizing a whole generation is a bit of a mug’s game,but some generalizations seem to work.It seems that the “greatest generation”put a lot of experience under their belts in short order.The obligations and opportuni-ties that World War II presented accelerated the accumula-tion of impressive line items on résumés.That’s the thought that struck me as I reflected on my tour of George H.W.Bush’s Presidential Library at Texas A & M University.
The men of my father’s generation had great résumés. They were in ahurry, many having delayed that résumé-building by serving in World War II. Even with the stiff competition of an entire generation of greatrésumés, George H.W. Bush’s stands out. He was in the right place atthe right time, chose the right place at times and generally did theright thing.George Bush’s library at Texas A & M University is a long drive fromeverywhere—Houston being closest, a couple of hours away. Itcontains his family, navy and political memorabilia, including Yalesports pictures, the same model car he drove to Texas after the war andCIA spy gear. Bush accomplished so much that his library appears tobe the largest free-standing audio-visual résumé in the world.Six months after Pearl Harbor, on his 18
birthday, Bush enlisted in thenavy. He flew 58 combat missions, was shot down, bailed out, wasdecorated and promoted. After the war, he completed his Yale degreein economics in two and a half years while excelling in baseball, frater-nity life and the Skull and Bones Society.Father and Senator Prescott Bush helped clear the path at Yale and inbusiness when his son George went to work in the oil fields. Becoming a millionaire in his own right, mainly in offshore-drilling technology,cleared the path to politics.Bush was a trail-blazing Republican in a Texas then dominated by strong, conservative Democrats. He was a county chair in 1964, lost when he ran for the senate, but then became the first Republican torepresent Houston in the House. Among the votes he cast was one toend the military draft.