George W. Bush's Reading List

It seems fitting, with all this talk of Obama's favorite books, to mark the 2,922nd and final full day of the presidency of George W. Bush by listing his own recent reading. A few weeks ago, Karl Rove mounted a spirited defense from the Wall Street Journal op-ed pages of his former boss's reading habits, although it's pitched less as a story of intellectual curiosity and growth than a boys-will-be-boys competition, complete with an ironic "junior bowling finals" trophy for the winner. According to Rove, for the past three years, he and W. competed to see who could read the most books. Rove won each time, but some of the totals they put up (Rove won 110 to 95 in 2006), well: that's as many books as I could hope to read in a year, and that--in theory--is my job. (Though anyone who asks me, "So what do you do, read books all day?", has been sorely disabused of that idea...) It does make one wonder how he found the time, unless he was able somehow to read while mountain biking.

Rove listed many of the books on Bush's list for each year. For some of the biographies he just listed a subject, so I'm speculating--with a "(?)"--on which one he read:

2006:

2007:

2008:

Rove closes with some gripes at the "small-minded critics" who dismissed Bush as a man who'd never cracked a book, when of course he had graduated from Yale and Harvard, although it should be said that the whole construction of Bush as a brush-clearin' good ol' boy from Midland was an inside job. Perhaps it's only now, with his client no longer running for office, and reading made cool again, that W. can be revealed as that most suspect of political men: an intellectual. --Tom

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