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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Bush Library hosts author of George Bush biography

A crowded audience gave a standing ovation to former President George H.W. Bush Monday as he joined in for a discussion that celebrated his life, presidency and lasting legacy.

The George Bush Presidential Library hosted a panel discussion with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meacham Monday evening as the third installment of the George Bush Distinguished Authors series. Meacham discussed and answered questions about his most recent book, “Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush,” a biography of Bush that was published Monday.

Fred McClure, Chief Executive Officer of the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation, sat down with Meacham as part of the foundation’s ongoing author series. Meacham said he noticed early on in his work on the biography that Bush was much more complex than many people realize.

“I immediately found George Herbert Walker Bush to be a more complicated and interesting figure than he had been portrayed in the press and in the popular mind,” Meacham said. “I was sure that there was a great human drama here about the inevitable tension between service and success in politics.”

Meacham said Bush’s success came largely from a combination of his unwavering drive to serve and his undying competitive nature.

“He actually has a great deal in common with the founding fathers, as someone for whom public service was an ambient extension of himself; it was an expected part of his life,” Meacham said.

Meacham said some key milestones of Bush’s career included the first Gulf War and the collapse of the Soviet Union.

“I think the domestic record is one of the most underrated in modern American history,” Meacham said. “[Bush] signed the most sweeping civil rights legislation in a generation… Every building in America has been transformed by this man’s signature with the Americans with Disabilities Act.”

Meacham said he was happy with the final product of the biography.  

“There is no other presidential family — there are very few families period — who are as comfortable in their own skins, who are as confident that they did their best; they put the country first, and they believe that history will get this right.” Meacham said. “And because of that self-confidence, because of that grace, I was able to write a book of which I am enormously proud.”

Joshua Causey, an Army officer and current student at the Bush School, said attending the event allowed him to see former President Bush in a more personal light.

“I think men like George Bush tend to have an aura around them; a lot of people really don’t see them as a man,” Causey said. “I think from what we saw here today we realized that while George Bush is a great man, he’s a man, and I think it’s important to know that because no man’s perfect.”

Causey said he hopes Bush’s story will inspire today’s generation to share his dedication to service and fair leadership.

“We look at politics today and see a lot of partisanship in the news, and I think that, what people sometimes forget is that the most important part of being a leader is finding ways to work together,” Causey said. “When we look to do public service, it’s not about the administration, it’s about what’s right and good for our future.”

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