A Road Trip Through Texas: Day 3

I didn’t have a late start today! Or did I? Anyway, I began the day by visiting the George W. Bush Presidential Center on the SMU Campus here in Dallas. Fun fact: my initial plan was to do this Saturday. But, sleep.

The museum itself was extremely well done. This is probably my second favorite of the four I’ve now visited. It’s a good size and had a nice exhibit on presidential retreats I really enjoyed.

But I feel like I have to be fully transparent. There’s quite a bit on 9/11 and the War on Terror. Most of it is quality material. There’s a 9/11 memorial inside the museum. This part of the museum stands out among everything else. But when I visited the LBJ library in Austin I remember walking out thinking I’d learned quite a bit about the man, but also that the museum didn’t sugar coat anything. He left office because everything he was doing up to the 1968 election was being heavily criticized and there was a solid chance he’d lose, anyway. So he walked away.

But in the Bush 43 library there was nothing on the financial crisis. At the very end of the museum there’s a wall called Crisis Management and issues were simplified down to a sentence or two.

How can the stock market crash of 2008 and the subsequent recession it kicked off get no attention whatsoever? There was VERY little on Iraq. And of course there was no mention of the fact that he was leaving office with no political capital left. I don’t expect the museum to tear him down. But there was a lot going on during those 8 years and I think a presidential library administered by the National Archives and Records Administration should present the reality.

After leaving there I went to the Perot Museum of Science and Nature.

I had lofty expectations because it is so well reviewed online. It’s a brand new, modern museum. It’s interactive. And the entry fee is on the high side. But it seemed to be geared toward children way more than I was expecting. There’s an entire floor of games and robot stuff for kids.

They do have the largest T Rex in the world on display, so that was nice. But I made it through an entire science museum in half the time as the presidential library. That should be switched.

One thing I did like was the benches had these different fun little facts on them.

Tomorrow will be a long day, but only because I’m going to an Astros game here in Dallas!

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On Portraits of Courage

Portraits of Courage is a book of paintings done by George W. Bush. The paintings are of military veterans who have served since 9/11. The former president has come to know these veterans personally once he left office.

This is one of those times you have to forget about politics. All of his profits as the author will benefit the George W. Bush Military Institute, which means the money is going to veterans.

George W. Bush largely stayed silent during the years of his successor, but his first real foray into the public eye in nearly a decade is for a great cause. I can’t speak on the quality of the paintings in the book because I haven’t seen them, but I can speak on the quality of the stories alongside them. I’ll say it until I’m no longer able to, our military veterans represent the best we have to offer as a country. I fully understand that you may already have organizations you support, but this could be something you get behind.

Are you interested in Portraits of Courage?

On President’s Day

I think few people recall that President’s Day was originally meant to celebrate the birthday of George Washington. Now everyone just says President’s Day like we’re supposed to remember and honor all of our presidents. Nah. What I’m especially not going to do is honor the current president in any way.

But let’s make this about books. I’m still trying to figure out which book written by a president I’m going to read for my 2017 Reading Challenge. The one that still really sticks out for me is Decision Points. Of course written written by George W. Bush. Most definitely not because I agree with anything he stood for it enacted, but because his presidency was the first I experienced and understood just a tiny bit of what was going on. Also because his presidency was not a good one by any measure, I think it’d be interesting to learn about the decisions he made and those he didn’t.

But I’m likely going to amend the requirement to include books written about presidents. A few that come to mind who I think would be the subject of great books are FDR, Truman, LBJ, Lincoln, Washington, Jackson, and Nixon.

I’ve asked this before but I’ll ask again, tell me a book you enjoyed that was written by or about a president. Also, no one says it has to be an American president!

Also, the media can’t even agree on the proper way of writing out the holiday. Presidents Day. President’s Day. Or Presidents’ Day. Damn fake news. 😂

Our Presidents and Their Books

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Happy Presidents Day! Hopefully you’re off of work or school or whatever you have going on.

In honor of the holiday I took it upon myself to look into the history of U.S. presidents who have written books. The practice is fairly common today for outgoing presidents to write books about their presidencies. These often become mega bestsellers. I’m certain that President Obama will be writing about killing Bin Laden, the Affordable Care Act, and being the first African-American president in our nation’s history once he’s out of office. But that’s not happened yet, so let’s look at the books already written by former presidents.

Barack Obama

The current president has written a few books already, one of which was released during his presidency. I think most people know that he was a New York Times bestselling author before reaching the Oval Office. His books are The Audacity of Hope, Dreams from my Father, and Of Thee I Sing. The third title on that list is a letter to his daughters in which Obama writes tributes to great Americans and discloses that he sees their traits in his daughters. I haven’t read the book, but I definitely will at some point.

George W. Bush

Bush wrote the memoir Decision Points shortly after leaving office in 2009. It’s hard not to want to log into your Amazon account and order this book if you haven’t already done so. We had the September 11th attacks, wars started in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the start of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression during his presidency. It doesn’t matter what you think of Bush the president, I’d recommend this book so you can gain a new perspective of the realities of American presidency.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Before becoming president, Eisenhower was the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe during World War II. If you know nothing about the war, just know that there weren’t too many people with more important jobs during the war than his. He wrote Crusade in Europe in the years between the end of the war in 1945 and him taking office in 1953. The book tells the story of the war from his eyes. This man was responsible for planning and supervising the invasion of France and Germany, which is reason enough for you to read it.

John F. Kennedy

We all know the story of Kennedy’s assassination and we’ve heard the conspiracy theories surrounding that dreadful day. But JFK also wrote Profiles in Courage in which he profiled the heroic acts of eight Americans during different time periods in our nation’s history. It was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.

There have been many more presidents who have written books including Calvin Coolidge, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and more. This list on Goodreads has plenty to pick from.