The author of Jackie, Ethel, Joan: Women of Camelot returns to explore the women of the Bush presidential dynasty: not only First Ladies Barbara and Laura, but the family's other women, whose stories have been left out of history.
Taraborrelli engagingly presents the background and stories of these three women ... Using public records, memoirs, interviews, and secondhand sources, the author portrays the women of the Bush family as far more interesting, and occasionally more ambitious, than the men ... Similar to Taraborrelli's other books, this is a gossipy read for those who enjoy biography.
Taraborrelli admiringly illustrates how each woman evolved from tolerating to relishing the spotlight they shared with their husbands, blossoming publicly despite their private challenges. But though this book is chock full of interviews, archival research and gossipy material about the Bush women, there’s little indication of how, or even if, their time in Washington and the monumental events they witnessed shifted their outlook on the world and on the nation they served. Nor do we get much sense that these women recognized the extreme privilege they were granted by merely marrying into the right family ... Where Taraborrelli excels is in excavating the personal histories of the three women and how they were forever shadowed by painful episodes in their lives ... But there’s no exploration or analysis of how these events affected their personal politics and views of America and the world—what they learned, what they felt. And Taraborrelli doesn’t seem interested in finding out ... They created a singular, admirable legacy, and this book portrays them as genuine, struggling human beings. It says a lot. I wish it said more.
A glossy dissection of the women members of a family that has loomed large over decades of U.S politics ... Taraborrelli...has his work cut out for him in finding intrigue in the Bush story—this isn’t Camelot territory—but he digs deep and locates plenty of interesting details ... As in previous books, Taraborrelli doesn't shy from clichés ... Writing in dozens of brief, punchy chapters and making good use of ample research, including many interviews with those who worked in the households of the various branches of the family, the author assembles a colorful mosaic of lives that didn't always fit comfortably together. Taraborrelli gives the Bushes the royal treatment.