"Since leaving the Oval Office, President Bush has given virtually no interviews or public speeches about his presidency," says a statement from Crown Publishing. And the reason for his silence? "Instead, he has spent almost every day writing 'Decision Points,' a strikingly personal and candid account revealing how and why he made the defining decisions in his consequential presidency and personal life."
Crown now announces that Bush's memoir, "Decision Points," will go on sale on Nov. 9, a week after the Nov. 2, 2010, midterm elections. Crown has also released an image of the cover, which shows Bush alone in the White House Rose Garden, a briefing book gripped in hand. Hardcover copies of "Decision Point" will sell for $35, with 1,000 autographed, clothbound books also available at $350 a copy.
According to Crown, "Decision Points" will not be a traditional memoir, but rather an account of certain key decision points in Bush's life. Central to the book will be the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Bush's election win in 2000, and his battle with alcohol.
A publishing source is reported to have said that Bush has finished a first draft of the book and is now editing it from his home in Dallas. Former White House speechwriter Chris Michel is said to be helping with research.
Bush's publisher also says that although the former president has been reluctant in the past to acknowledge any errors, in his memoir he "writes honestly and directly about his flaws and mistakes, as well as his historic achievements."
Exactly how revealing Bush will be is still unknown. Washington Post blogger Alan Cooperman offered his own hope that "Decision Points" will include a clearer account of Bush's religious conversion, which he says has been reported differently by different sources. "I know, a lot of folks will think, who cares about that – we want to know why he invaded Iraq, or something important," writes Cooperman. However, given the importance of religion in Bush's life, it's hard not to agree with Cooperman that the conversion story "seems like an important 'Decision Point.' "
Those curious, however, will have no choice but to wait. Or, they can pick up Laura Bush's memoir "Spoken from the Heart," which will be released next week on May 4, and hope to learn more about the former president in his wife's account of her own experience. Traditionally, memoirs by presidential spouses are big sellers – sometimes more popular than the books by their husbands.
Given that she revealed relatively little of her own perspective during her husband's years in office, Laura Bush's book may prove a particularly powerful draw.
Marjorie Kehe is the Monitor's book editor.