The Quiet Man: The Indispensable Presidency of George H.W. Bush

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9780062384287: The Quiet Man: The Indispensable Presidency of George H.W. Bush

In this major reassessment of George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st president of the United States, his former Chief of Staff offers a long overdue appreciation of the man and his universally underrated and misunderstood presidency.

“I’m a quiet man, but I hear the quiet people others don’t.”—George H. W. Bush

In this unique insider account, John H. Sununu pays tribute to his former boss—an intelligent, thoughtful, modest leader—and his overlooked accomplishments. Though George H. W. Bush is remembered for orchestrating one of the largest and most successful military campaigns in history—the Gulf War—Sununu argues that conventional wisdom misses many of Bush’s other great achievements.

During his presidency, the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union collapsed. Bush’s calm and capable leadership during this dramatic time helped shape a world in which the United States emerged as the lone superpower. Sununu reminds us that President Bush’s domestic achievements were equally impressive, including strengthening civil rights, enacting environmental protections, and securing passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the 1990 agreement which generated budget surpluses and a decade of economic growth.

Sununu offers unparalleled insight into this statesman who has been his longtime close friend. He worked with Bush when he was vice president under Ronald Reagan, helped him through a contentious GOP primary season and election in 1988, and as his chief of staff, was an active participant and front-row observer to many of the significant events of Bush’s presidency. Reverential yet scrupulously honest, Sununu reveals policy differences and clashes among the diverse personalities in and out of the White House, giving credit—and candid criticism—where it’s due.

The Quiet Man goes behind the scenes of this unsung but highly consequential presidency, and illuminates the man at its center as never before.

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From the Back Cover:

George H. W. Bush is much too modest to brag about what he accomplished as the forty-first president of the United States. As a result, the conventional wisdom about his presidency misses many of his greatest achievements. Now this unique insider account by former chief of staff John H. Sununu finally gives this indispensable president full credit for the positive impact he had on the United States and the world.

Though Bush is rightfully remembered for orchestrating one of the largest and most effective military campaigns in history—the first Gulf War—Sununu argues that this success overshadowed many of his other significant accomplishments. Most important, of course, was Bush's calm and capable leadership during the collapse of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Through skillful command and his own special brand of diplomatic tact, Bush helped shape a world in which the United States emerged as the lone superpower.

These foreign policy achievements alone should earn Bush 41 a place in the front ranks of U.S. presidents, but his domestic accomplishments were equally impressive. During his single term in office, Bush passed more domestic legislation than almost any other president, which included strengthening civil rights, breaking a twelve-year logjam to enact environmental protections, passing the Americans with Disabilities Act, and negotiating the 1990 budget agreement that generated federal surpluses and a decade of economic growth.

The Bush presidency also had an outsize impact on the subsequent American political landscape. Bush alumni such as Dick Cheney, Robert Gates, Colin Powell, and Roger Ailes have continued to reshape global policy, diplomacy, and media, and Clarence Thomas—the most ardent and principled originalist in American history—still plays an influential role on the Supreme Court.

As chief of staff, Sununu was an active participant in and front-row observer to the most significant events of the Bush presidency. Respectful yet scrupulously honest, he reveals policy conflicts and clashes, as well as inside alliances among the diverse personalities in and out of the White House, giving credit—and candid criticism—where it's deserved.

The Quiet Man goes behind the scenes of this unsung but highly consequential presidency, which set the stage for the twenty-first century, and illuminates the man at its center as never before.

About the Author:

John H. Sununu served three terms as governor of New Hampshire and was cochairman of George H. W. Bush's 1988 presidential campaign, as well as his chief of staff from 1989 to 1991. Prior to becoming governor, Sununu was associate dean of the College of Engineering at Tufts University and president of the JHS Engineering Company. After leaving the White House, he was the conservative host of CNN's Crossfire and won a Cable Ace Award. He lives with his wife, Nancy, in Hampton Falls, New Hampshire.

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