Spoken from the Heart by Laura Bush

67%

12 Critic Reviews

LAURA Bush's new memoir, Spoken From the Heart, is really two books. The first is a deeply felt, keenly observed account of her childhood and youth in Texa...The second book is a thoroughly conventional autobiography by a politician's wife – a rote recitation of travel...
-Scotsman.com

Synopsis

In this brave, beautiful, and deeply personal memoir, Laura Bush, one of our most beloved and private first ladies, tells her own extraordinary story. 

Born in the boom-and-bust oil town of Midland, Texas, Laura Welch grew up as an only child in a family that lost three babies to miscarriage or infant death. She vividly evokes Midland's brash, rugged culture, her close relationship with her father, and the bonds of early friendships that sustain her to this day. For the first time, in heart-wrenching detail, she writes about the devastating high school car accident that left her friend Mike Douglas dead and about her decades of unspoken grief.

When Laura Welch first left West Texas in 1964, she never imagined that her journey would lead her to the world stage and the White House. After graduating from Southern Methodist University in 1968, in the thick of student rebellions across the country and at the dawn of the women's movement, she became an elementary school teacher, working in inner-city schools, then trained to be a librarian. At age thirty, she met George W. Bush, whom she had last passed in the hallway in seventh grade. Three months later, "the old maid of Midland married Midland's most eligible bachelor." With rare intimacy and candor, Laura Bush writes about her early married life as she was thrust into one of America's most prominent political families, as well as her deep longing for children and her husband's decision to give up drinking. By 1993, she found herself in the full glare of the political spotlight. But just as her husband won the Texas governorship in a stunning upset victory, her father, Harold Welch, was dying in Midland.

In 2001, after one of the closest elections in American history, Laura Bush moved into the White House. Here she captures presidential life in the harrowing days and weeks after 9/11, when fighter-jet cover echoed through the walls and security scares sent the family to an underground shelter. She writes openly about the White House during wartime, the withering and relentless media spotlight, and the transformation of her role as she began to understand the power of the first lady. One of the first U.S. officials to visit war-torn Afghanistan, she also reached out to disease-stricken African nations and tirelessly advocated for women in the Middle East and dissidents in Burma. She championed programs to get kids out of gangs and to stop urban violence. And she was a major force in rebuilding Gulf Coast schools and libraries post-Katrina. Movingly, she writes of her visits with U.S. troops and their loved ones, and of her empathy for and immense gratitude to military families.

With deft humor and a sharp eye, Laura Bush lifts the curtain on what really happens inside the White House, from presidential finances to the 175-year-old tradition of separate bedrooms for presidents and their wives to the antics of some White House guests and even a few members of Congress. She writes with honesty and eloquence about her family, her public triumphs, and her personal tribulations. Laura Bush's compassion, her sense of humor, her grace, and her uncommon willingness to bare her heart make this story revelatory, beautifully rendered, and unlike any other first lady's memoir ever written.
 

About Laura Bush

See more books from this Author
Laura Bush was First Lady of the United States from 2001 to 2009. She founded both the National Book Festival and the Texas Book Festival.
 
Published April 28, 2010 by Scribner. 492 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences, History. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Apr 24 2011
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for Spoken from the Heart
All: 12 | Positive: 8 | Negative: 4

NY Times

Excellent
on Apr 28 2010

...a deeply felt, keenly observed account of her childhood and youth in Texas...

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Guardian

Excellent
on Aug 07 2010

The book is elegantly written...and begins with lyrical accounts of the harsh Texan landscape, "a land of magnificent distances and empty range".

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Guardian

Above average
on May 16 2010

...Laura Bush is a more complex, interesting character than perhaps anyone had cause to guess.

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WSJ online

Good
on May 01 2010

..."Spoken From the Heart" reveals Laura Welch Bush to be a beautiful writer, a keen observer and a tender soul who drew on her roots to live a life in the public eye with compassion and grace.

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Globe and Mail

Good
on May 14 2010

Bush's voice is strongest at the beginning, where she recalls her childhood and formative years in lyrical detail.

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LA Times

Good
on May 08 2010

The former first lady's memoir is beautifully written, unselfconscious and hasn't an iota of political mean-spiritedness.

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The Telegraph

Above average
on May 14 2010

In contrast, Bush’s account of her life before and after George W is cautious, pleasantly soporific, sweetly uncontroversial and untroubled by self-doubt...

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Scotsman.com

Above average
on May 21 2010

LAURA Bush's new memoir, Spoken From the Heart, is really two books. The first is a deeply felt, keenly observed account of her childhood and youth in Texa...The second book is a thoroughly conventional autobiography by a politician's wife – a rote recitation of travel...

Read Full Review of Spoken from the Heart

Entertainment Weekly

Below average
on May 04 2010

The rest of the book lacks the sweetness and poignancy of these first pages. It becomes a weary recitation of trips taken, dresses worn, meals eaten — nothing more.

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Metro

Good
on May 11 2010

A passionate reader herself, Bush eloquently sketches her beginnings as an only child growing up in small-town Texas in the 1950s and 1960s.

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Statesman.com

Below average
on May 08 2010

What she gives you is pretty much what you expected to get. Digging deeper will turn up no greater revelation.

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EzineArticles

Below average
on Jun 19 2010

I only wish that I could have finished the book thinking that I really had a stronger connection with Laura Bush the person!

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Reader Rating for Spoken from the Heart
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