A book about President George H.W. Bush by President George W. Bush – how’s that for a bestseller homerun?
The anticipated biography will be titled “41: A Portrait of My Father,” publisher Crown announced Wednesday, along with the cover, a large portrait of the elder Bush with "41" in large typeface below.
The book will be published Nov. 11 with a planned first printing of 1 million copies.
“A unique and intimate biography, 41: A PORTRAIT OF MY FATHER covers the entire scope of the elder President Bush's life and career, including his service in the Pacific during World War II, his pioneering work in the Texas oil business, and his political rise as a Congressman, U.S. Representative to China and the United Nations, CIA Director, Vice President, and President,” Crown said in a statement. “In addition, George W. Bush discusses his father's influence on him throughout his own life, from his childhood in West Texas to his early campaign trips with his father, and from his decision to go into politics to his own two-term Presidency."
In a statement, George W. Bush called his father "a great servant, statesman, and father," and said "I loved writing the story of his life, and I hope others enjoy reading it."
What makes this different from any other political biography? Plenty.
For starters, this will be the closest thing to an autobiography of Bush 41. As USA Today pointed out, unlike other recent presidents, the elder Bush has never written a memoir, so this biography will be one of the first revealing explorations of his life and presidency.
What’s more, it’s the only presidential biography of a father written by his son, which adds a fascinating element. (Not surprising, given that the only other father-son presidential pair were John Adams and John Quincy Adams.)
“The relationship between the two presidents has long fascinated scholars, political insiders and the general public,” the AP reported in an earlier story about the book. “Many have speculated that the younger Bush felt competitive with his father, driven to surpass him and to gain his approval.”
It also reveals a side of the younger Bush the public rarely sees: George W. Bush the writer, painter, and thinker.
“It's … the kind of potentially revealing project we would not have expected from a president who abhorred introspection and discussions of his relationship with his father when he was in the White House,” Reuters columnist Steven Brill said in a piece about the forthcoming book. “Which … suggests that we may be seeing a weightier side of George W. Bush in his post-presidency.”
“Given the relationship between author and subject, [the biography] is certain to be a best seller,” Brill concluded.
And considering George W. Bush's memoir, “Decision Points,” sold more than 3 million copies in print and e-books, making it "the bestselling presidential memoir of all time,” according to Crown, we couldn’t agree more.
Husna Haq is a Monitor correspondent.