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Home > Books & Journals > Book Review Last Updated: 14:22 03/09/2007
Book Review #48: January 29, 2003

"BUSH AT WAR" by Bob Woodward

Reviewed by Hiroko Kawai

Author: Bob Woodward
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Inc
Date/Time: 2002
Pages: English text 378 pages (Hardcover)
ISBN: 0-7432-0473-5


This book is an authoritative, insightful and informative description of the decision making process of the Bush White House in the war on terror. Woodward, an assistant managing editor of The Washington Post, provides an informative story of the Bush administration in the three months following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, during which the U.S. prepared for war in Afghanistan, took steps toward a preemptive strike against Iraq, strengthened national defense, and a well–funded CIA began a war against terrorism around the world.

Based on hundreds of interviews with officials in the White House, including four hours with President Bush himself, Woodward smartly provides readers in-depth, behind-the-scenes looks at the new, unproven President and his advisors as they counter the worst act of terror ever in the U.S. and fight an unprecedented war.

Woodward analyzes president Bush's leadership style and presents him as a man of action continually pressing his cabinet for concrete results. Woodward also covers the so-called Bush Doctrine –-the policy that the U.S. would not only go after terrorists everywhere but also those governments or groups that harbor them.

Woodward's work is fascinating, particularly because of his access to major players such as National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and CIA director George Tenet are impressively described.

In Woodward's writing the relationship between Powell and Rumsfeld (and to a lesser degree Powell and Cheney) is often strained, exposing their different stances regarding how to deal with Iraq and whether alliance building or unilateralist action is most appropriate. Furthermore, Woodward describes how CIA director George Tenet prepared a paramilitary team to infiltrate Afghanistan to set the groundwork for invasion, and how this ushered in a new era of cooperation between the defense department and the CIA.

The following is the list of contents:
Author' note
A note to readers
Cast of Characters
Stories (1-22)
Photography Credits
About the Author

This book is worth reading for those interested in the Bush administration legacy and his leadership style, and may shed light on how the gap between the U.S. and other nations over how to contain Iraq has expanded.

About the Author
Bob Woodward, an assistant managing editor of The Washington Post, has been a newspaper reporter and editor for more than 30 years. He has authored or co-authored eight No.1 national nonfiction best sellers, including four books on the presidency. These are Shadow (1999), The Agenda (1994), The Final Days (1976), and All the President's Men (1974).

The following is the Washington post's website:

The publisher's website is at:

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