Day By Day

Monday, December 29, 2008

The History Reader

Several months ago I attended a concert in the company of two lovely ladies [and, of course, "She Who Must Not Be Named"]. The women were both from Europe and, though happy to be living in America, were unrelenting in their criticism of our political culture and our current President. At one point one of them leaned close and half-whispered the opinion that President Bush's great failing is that he, unlike European leaders, has never read any history. I pointed out that Bush's undergraduate degree from Yale was in history and that he was, according to people close to him, an avid reader of history. She simply disbelieved me.

Well, from Karl Rove comes confirmation of Bush's fascination with history. He writes:

[President Bush's] reading this year included a heavy dose of history -- including David Halberstam's "The Coldest Winter," Rick Atkinson's "Day of Battle," Hugh Thomas's "Spanish Civil War," Stephen W. Sears's "Gettysburg" and David King's "Vienna 1814." There's also plenty of biography -- including U.S. Grant's "Personal Memoirs"; Jon Meacham's "American Lion"; James M. McPherson's "Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief" and Jacobo Timerman's "Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number."

Each year, the president also read the Bible from cover to cover, along with a daily devotional.

And, Rove assures us, this heavy routine of serious reading, especially of history, has been going on for several years.

Read the whole thing here.

Interestingly enough, the comments section attached to the article evinces precisely the same reaction I received from the women with whom I talked -- the readers simply refused to believe that President Bush is an avid reader of serious works.