Bush the bookworm

Some interesting and surprising titles on Dubya’s holiday reading list – well he is off for 5 weeks. Just hope he doesn’t try and read them upside down!

Bookworm Bush’s holiday reading

Jamie Wilson in Washington
Wednesday August 17, 2005
The Guardian

George Bush: all booked up. Photo: PA
George Bush has never had a reputation as a bookworm, but for a man derided by his critics as an intellectual lightweight the president’s holiday reading list packs a punch.

As well as brush cutting, mountain biking and fishing, the president will also be tucking into Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky during his five-week summer sojourn on his Texas ranch. The other tomes are reported to be Alexander II: the Last Great Tsar by Edvard Radzinsky and The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History by John M Barry.

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“There’s nothing on that list that is a beach read, or even a busman’s holiday,” Peter Osnos, of the PublicAffairs publishing house, told the Los Angeles Times. “It’s a fair bet that George Bush is the only person in the entire US who chose those three books to read on vacation.”

Kurlansky, whose book charts the rise and fall of what was once seen as the world’s most strategic commodity, said he was surprised Mr Bush had taken his 484-page book to the ranch. “My first reaction was, ‘Oh, he reads books?'”

The president, who has often been ridiculed for his occasional mangling of the English language, has gone out of his way to let people know he does read books and newspapers.

But that has not stopped some advisers from highlighting his literary deficiencies. He is “often uncurious and as a result ill-informed”, his former speechwriter David Frum wrote in his memoir, adding that “conspicuous intelligence seemed actively unwelcome in the Bush White House”.

Earlier this year his wife, Laura, told the White House Correspondents Association dinner: “George and I were just meant to be … I was the librarian who spent 12 hours a day in the library, yet somehow I met George.”