The book “State of Denial” by Bob Woodward, the story of the George W. Bush presidency and the Iraq war, is one of the most remarkable histories I have ever read.
It is a work of great effort and meticulous, documented detail. It was compiled from personal interviews enabled by the renown of its author, and from speeches. Taken as a whole it constitutes an objective history of the bureaucratic and all too human interactions that determined, and are still affecting, the direction of our nation and world events. Here, behind the scenes and in their own words is the story of the decision makers who grappled with the angst following 9/11, an event that defined a presidency. It is the story of how we came to wage the wrong war with the wrong opponent, and how our government wrapped itself in patriotism to deny its mistake. It is the story of well-meaning powerful people, fatally flawed by hubris.
There is little here of Woodward himself. The real creativity is in the editing because, as in “Obama’s Wars”, he lets the words of the principals themselves tell the story. It is a public-office primer that, in my opinion, should be required reading for all future administrations. And for voters too. Truly, this book is essential to understanding that president and what happened in those 8 tumultuous and fateful years.
In my opinion, anyone who has George W. Bush’s recent book, Decision Points” on her book shelf and does not also have State of Denial beside it is in . . . denial.
A summary in haiku:
Jets shock the towers
The WMD were missing
Patriots in denial