“Bush at War”

Bob Woodward

This is the story of the George W. Bush and his advisors during the three months following September 11. It’s a fascinating account of the aftermath of the attacks as seen from the White House and of the president’s conduct of the war with Afghanistan.

Thanks to Woodward’s fly-on-the-wall view (thanks, in turn, to his incredible sources) we see a president whose leadership comes, not from his intellect, but from his own certainty, his belief in objective right and wrong, and from his ability to choose and manage advisors.

There are hints in the books of the wider story, especially the story of U.S. special forces in Afghanistan, but “Bush At War” for the most part stays focused on the White House. No doubt it will eventually be superseded by more complete stories, but for now it’s probably the best account of Bush during those unforgettable weeks. I hope Woodward is even now gathering material for a similar book on the war with Iraq.