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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.
Published: Scribner on
ISBN: 9781439160343
List price: $13.99
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I enjoyed this book and would reccomend it highly. I learned a lot about the scenes behind the White House from a first ladies perspective. It also told about hoe much Laura Bush has done for women and education.more
I enjoyed this book. I learned more about the first lady and her behind the scenes job at the White House and the world. It was interesting to see her husband's administration from her point of view. I also learned about protocol for state dinners and dinners. She has more depth than she was given credit for in the press. She has done hard work for the health and education for the women of the world.more
I have only read about 1/3 of the book but I wanted to post something about it because I would like to encourage others to read it, regardless of their politics. It is truly worth the read.The book is written with such honesty and openness that you feel almost as if Laura Bush is speaking directly to you. Her soft spoken demeanor is apparent from page one. You can feel the sincerity of the author as she opens herself to public scrutiny. There is nothing phony about her or the book. She is what you saw when she was First Lady and she continues to be, the genuine article. She has no guile.From the first page I was smitten with the story of her life. She grew up almost parallel to the time in which I did and her descriptions of those years are dead on.Tears often came to my eyes in just the first dozen and a half pages because I was so moved as she described the lives of her ancestors, her parents, her family. She was not born with a silver spoon in her mouth; she does not sound spoiled or uppity, she has no bitterness and she never complains. Her story feels heartfelt and real. She is grateful for everything she has been given in her life. The language of the book is easy to read and the emotions engendered in me, by the descriptions, were profound and deep. I believe these same feeling will be evoked for other readers, as well. How different she sounds than many of our current politician's wives!At this point, I would like to update my comments. I am pretty much through 3/4's of the book now and I have to say I think it should be read by all young adults in high school so they can get an accurate and gentle portrayal of what goes on in the White House even under the most dire circumstances. The serenity Laura Bush exhibits, the calm confidence and good humor in the face of threats, insults and tragedies is an example for all to follow. Only those with the most extremely biased politics will find fault with this book because there is no finger pointing, no insults, no anger at anyone at all, for that matter.During her tenure as First Lady, the White House experienced so many tragedies for which there was no blueprint in advance to help deal with the situation. From 9/11, to Katrina, to the beltway sniper, to the shoe bomber, to the tsunami, the shuttle explosion, the wars, abu ghraib, the suspected weapons of mass destruction, the demonstrations, the anthrax scare, the demonization of the Bush family and more, this White House never faltered, never made personal attacks against anyone, although it was criticized by a largely politicized media blitz of hate and in my opinion, they would have been within their rights to do so. When she discusses the press coverage, her pain and anguish over the way they falsely portrayed her and her husband is quite evident. The only time there is any indication of displeasure is when she discusses some of the rudest members of the press corps. Now that I have finished the book I can only say that Laura Bush is a real lady, not only the former First Lady. The President was a gentleman and he had class as well. They would serve as good examples for anyone wanting to choose a career in politics.more
I will begin by saying that I liked this book! Overall, I thought it seemed like sincere account of the life of the former first lady. The first part of the book about her life growing up in small Midland, Texas was my favorite. The way she describes the intricacies of her family life and her childhood captivated my attention. After her marriage and progression into the political world, I felt that the tone because a bit more detached; however, I realize including every detail would have been impossible. Another thing that annoyed me at first was the statements that were included seemingly for her to defend her husband’s decisions, but I got over that. After all, they are married, and it is natural for her to want to stand by his side in difficult times. The point of the book is not what she would have done as President! I liked the flow of the book, and I liked her polite and genuine voice. She also included many facts about many international tragedies that occurred over the eight years in the White House, and I further realized just how draining the task as world leader was and continues to be. I also enjoyed hearing about her humanitarian contributions as well as the philanthropic contributions of so many others who strive to help their neighbors and truly improve the condition of this world. I think people who generally respect Laura Bush and the job she did accompanying her husband through a grueling eight years would enjoy this read. If you hate all things Republican and all things Bush, then let me remind you that this probably is not the memoir for you.more
Read all 5 reviews

Reviews

I enjoyed this book and would reccomend it highly. I learned a lot about the scenes behind the White House from a first ladies perspective. It also told about hoe much Laura Bush has done for women and education.more
I enjoyed this book. I learned more about the first lady and her behind the scenes job at the White House and the world. It was interesting to see her husband's administration from her point of view. I also learned about protocol for state dinners and dinners. She has more depth than she was given credit for in the press. She has done hard work for the health and education for the women of the world.more
I have only read about 1/3 of the book but I wanted to post something about it because I would like to encourage others to read it, regardless of their politics. It is truly worth the read.The book is written with such honesty and openness that you feel almost as if Laura Bush is speaking directly to you. Her soft spoken demeanor is apparent from page one. You can feel the sincerity of the author as she opens herself to public scrutiny. There is nothing phony about her or the book. She is what you saw when she was First Lady and she continues to be, the genuine article. She has no guile.From the first page I was smitten with the story of her life. She grew up almost parallel to the time in which I did and her descriptions of those years are dead on.Tears often came to my eyes in just the first dozen and a half pages because I was so moved as she described the lives of her ancestors, her parents, her family. She was not born with a silver spoon in her mouth; she does not sound spoiled or uppity, she has no bitterness and she never complains. Her story feels heartfelt and real. She is grateful for everything she has been given in her life. The language of the book is easy to read and the emotions engendered in me, by the descriptions, were profound and deep. I believe these same feeling will be evoked for other readers, as well. How different she sounds than many of our current politician's wives!At this point, I would like to update my comments. I am pretty much through 3/4's of the book now and I have to say I think it should be read by all young adults in high school so they can get an accurate and gentle portrayal of what goes on in the White House even under the most dire circumstances. The serenity Laura Bush exhibits, the calm confidence and good humor in the face of threats, insults and tragedies is an example for all to follow. Only those with the most extremely biased politics will find fault with this book because there is no finger pointing, no insults, no anger at anyone at all, for that matter.During her tenure as First Lady, the White House experienced so many tragedies for which there was no blueprint in advance to help deal with the situation. From 9/11, to Katrina, to the beltway sniper, to the shoe bomber, to the tsunami, the shuttle explosion, the wars, abu ghraib, the suspected weapons of mass destruction, the demonstrations, the anthrax scare, the demonization of the Bush family and more, this White House never faltered, never made personal attacks against anyone, although it was criticized by a largely politicized media blitz of hate and in my opinion, they would have been within their rights to do so. When she discusses the press coverage, her pain and anguish over the way they falsely portrayed her and her husband is quite evident. The only time there is any indication of displeasure is when she discusses some of the rudest members of the press corps. Now that I have finished the book I can only say that Laura Bush is a real lady, not only the former First Lady. The President was a gentleman and he had class as well. They would serve as good examples for anyone wanting to choose a career in politics.more
I will begin by saying that I liked this book! Overall, I thought it seemed like sincere account of the life of the former first lady. The first part of the book about her life growing up in small Midland, Texas was my favorite. The way she describes the intricacies of her family life and her childhood captivated my attention. After her marriage and progression into the political world, I felt that the tone because a bit more detached; however, I realize including every detail would have been impossible. Another thing that annoyed me at first was the statements that were included seemingly for her to defend her husband’s decisions, but I got over that. After all, they are married, and it is natural for her to want to stand by his side in difficult times. The point of the book is not what she would have done as President! I liked the flow of the book, and I liked her polite and genuine voice. She also included many facts about many international tragedies that occurred over the eight years in the White House, and I further realized just how draining the task as world leader was and continues to be. I also enjoyed hearing about her humanitarian contributions as well as the philanthropic contributions of so many others who strive to help their neighbors and truly improve the condition of this world. I think people who generally respect Laura Bush and the job she did accompanying her husband through a grueling eight years would enjoy this read. If you hate all things Republican and all things Bush, then let me remind you that this probably is not the memoir for you.more
A remarkable book. Whatever one wishes to think about the 8 years they were in the White House, it is astonishing how much they did in so many fields that the press seems mostly to have ignored. This is a story that needs to be loudly told everywhere people read books. It is also a tribute to both Laura and George that their lives have meshed so closely all these years.more
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