Reviews for State of Denial : Bush at War, Part III


BooklistOnline.com Reviews
Bob Woodward has changed his tune. In Bush at War (2002) and Plan of Attack (2004), BushCo came out looking pretty good. Now, using many of the same facts and drawing on interviews with many of the same people (not, however, Bush and Cheney this time around), Woodward comes to a different conclusion. That cohesive team of war planners, the manly men of the first two books (and that includes you, Condi) are now suppressing the truth about Iraq: that violence is on the upswing and that the country is in direct danger of becoming a failed state. Like many others--writers, armed-services types, and Democrats--Woodward seems to see Rumsfeld as the villain of the piece, which is somewhat ironic, since the Secretary of Defense did speak to the author and is quoted directly. Looking at the big picture, there is not much here that readers don't know from reading the newspaper, or any other of the recent books on the subject, most especially Fiasco, by Woodward's Washington Post colleague, Thomas Ricks. It's the juicy details that keep readers turning pages, although many of the most startling anecdotes made the news even before the book was published, e.g., that the president will stay the course if only Laura and his dog Barney are supporting him. Unlike in the previous books, Woodward inserts himself into this one, though no reason is given for why he has turned against his subjects. Now that would make for a really interesting book. Copyright 2007 Booklist Reviews.

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Publishers Weekly Annex Reviews
If there ever was a crystalline indictment of a president's wartime decisions, this is it. In the third volume exploring the political carnage and bureaucratic infighting prompted by the September 11 attacks, legendary investigative journalist Woodward (Bush at War, Plan of Attack) dissects the Bush administration's conduct of the war in Iraq. The picture isn't a pretty one, and Woodward's disarming, matter-of-fact prose makes his page-turning account more powerful still. The incompetence and arrogance on display in the highest levels of the executive branch is as stunning-and as unsettling-as the dismay voiced by civilians and soldiers who endeavor and fail to open the administration's eyes to the failures in Iraq, from the complex security challenges to simple logistical matters like securing sufficient translators. Unable to manage the war they unleashed, the principals-President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and national security advisor, later Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice-fare poorly here. Many of the charges are familiar-the president lacks inquisitiveness, the vice president is obsessed with WMD, Rice is "the worst security advisor in modern times"-but gel anew in the light of Woodward's explication. The breakout star of this disturbing spectacle is Rumsfeld, who presides over the conflict with a supreme self confidence that literally leaves Woodward at a loss for words. If journalism is the first page of history, then Woodward's opus will be required reading for any would-be historians of the time. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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