Faith. Friends. Family...
“Insight into how a President tries to both reassure and inspire.”
—from the Introduction by Barbara Bush
During the four years that George Herbert Walker Bush served as President of the United States, the Berlin Wall came crashing down, scandals in the Savings and Loan industry shook the country’s financial confidence, Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega was ousted, and the resurgent American military rolled through the dunes of Kuwait and Iraq in Operation Desert Storm. Throughout the tumult, Bush kept his perspective by relying on what he calls “heartbeat,” a codeword for the bedrock values that have both shaped his life and guided his stewardship of the nation.
“We can find meaning and reward by serving some higher purpose than ourselves, a shining purpose, the illumination of a Thousands Points of Light. And it is expressed by all those who know the irresistible force of a child’s hand. . . .”
Here, in words taken from speeches, press conferences, off-the-cuff remarks and writings both during his presidency and in the years after he left office, a very personal side of George Bush emerges, revealing a warm and witty man of core principles and global vision. Whether inspiring the nation on the eve of the Gulf War, relating the pain of losing the 1992 Presidential election to Bill Clinton, or expounding on his experiences with personalities as diverse as Margaret Thatcher, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Bart Simpson, George Bush’s words reflect a sparkling intellect and wry humor, as well as an unshakeable belief in the strength of the American people.
“We cannot hope only to leave our children a bigger car, a bigger bank account. We must hope to give them a sense of what it means to be a loyal friend; a loving parent; a citizen who leaves his home, his neighborhood, and town better than he found it.”
Now, the book Publishers Weekly said included “plenty of thoughtful moments” has been newly updated. Heartbeat adds Bush’s response to September 11th ; it also includes his remembrances of Stephen Ambrose and Lionel Hampton, as well as reflections on the “Greatest Generation,” baseball, and other Presidents, including his son.
“When the record of our time is finally written, I hope it will be the story of the final triumph of peace and freedom throughout the globe—the story of the sunrise in mankind’s age-old aspirations.”
Jim McGrath has worked for George Bush since 1991, at the White House, as his post-presidential spokesman, and currently as his speechwriter. McGrath studied journalism and government at the University of Maryland, and lives in Houston.