Ambling Into History by Frank Bruni
The Unlikely Odyssey of George W. Bush

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Synopsis

In many ways George W. Bush did not seem built for the presidency or the paces necessary to win it. He was a laid-back good-time guy with little appetite and limited talent for formal oratory, someone who often projected affability more easily than authority. He was a homebody who seemed to prefer surroundings and situations that were utterly familiar to those that were risky and unpredictable. His interests could be narrow and his efforts to expand them only fitful.

But he got there, and after September 11, 2001, confronted a challenge more daunting than many of his predecessors had faced. In the wake of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Bush was left with the responsibility to lead Americans through a time of unusual anxiety and uncertainty, to inspire and reassure them. Could he do it?

In Ambling Into History, Frank Bruni, who covered Bush's presidential campaign and first eight months in the White House for the New York Times, mines the countless hours during which he observed and interacted with Bush to explore that question,and to present sides of Bush that readers have never encountered. He looks to small moments for big truths, going behind the scenes and offering fresh insights into Bush's oft-chronicled weaknesses, sometimes overlooked strengths, and his journey-alternately earnest and reluctant-from an innate levity to a newfound gravity.

Bruni also takes readers on his own trip through the strange maze of presidential politics, wryly chronicling life in the insular "bubble" of political reporting and its frequently dispiriting effect on the coverage that politicians get. It is a candid, eloquent, and illuminating adventure that shows why Newsweek called Bruni "probably the most influential" reporter on the Bush beat.

 

About Frank Bruni

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Frank Bruni, a reporter in the Washington bureau of the New York Times, now writes full-time for the Times Sunday magazine. For his previous work on other subjects, he was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing and a winner of the Polk Award for Metropolitan Reporting. He has appeared on ABC-TV's Nightline and other programs to talk about the Bush campaign and presidency.
 
Published March 1, 2002 by Harper. 288 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Humor & Entertainment. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Ambling Into History

Kirkus Reviews

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Traveling with the candidate, Bruni initially found him superficial, childish, and largely unknowledgeable about world affairs—unprepared and even unmotivated to be president.

Mar 25 2002 | Read Full Review of Ambling Into History: The Unl...

Publishers Weekly

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Bruni, White House correspondent for the New York Times, aims to entice readers who want to know more about their commander-in-chief, yet he focuses on the seemingly trivial aspects of Bush's personality, small moments that he believes "reveal every bit as much about Bush as large ones": Bush st...

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Star Tribune

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Review: A New York Times reporter who spent more than a year following the 2000 Bush campaign, offers a candid, elegantly written portrait of the man who became president and the role of the media in shaping perceptions of him.

Mar 16 2002 | Read Full Review of Ambling Into History: The Unl...

Deseret News

But while Frank Bruni covered Bush during the 2000 presidential campaign, the writer discovered the politician was surprisingly playful, casual, nonchalant — even silly — on numerous occasions.

Mar 31 2002 | Read Full Review of Ambling Into History: The Unl...

The American Prospect

He cites Bush's feigned anger that Chris Matthews, the host of NBC's Hardball and a known Winston Churchill buff, thought Bush studied up on Churchill just to impress an interviewer: "Do you think," Bush complained, "that I'd take time out of my life to research what the hell you like?"

Apr 26 2002 | Read Full Review of Ambling Into History: The Unl...

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