Inside the George W. Bush Presidency

Edited by Michael Nelson, Barbara A. Perry, and Russell L. Riley

The presidency of George W. Bush has been the subject of extensive commentary but limited scholarly analysis in the years since he left office. 43 draws extensively, but not solely, from the recently released interviews of the Miller Center’s Presidential Oral History Program at the University of Virginia. This volume consists of ten chapters—written by some of today’s most eminent presidency scholars—examining key topics and themes, including 9/11, the unitary executive, Supreme Court appointments, compassionate conservatism, Cheney’s vice presidency, the Iraq War, and the financial crisis of 2008.

43 is an inside look at one of the most controversial, and consequential, presidencies in US history. The essays in this volume take seriously the complexities of a White House trying to respond to the most devastating attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor, examining both the successes and failures of this administration in the first systemic effort to mine the confidential, candid oral history interviews recorded with senior officials from the Bush presidency.

Relying heavily on insider accounts, the essays are critical, yet balanced, in providing assessments of Bush’s controversial victory in 2000; “endless wars” precipitated by the 9/11 terrorist attacks; and legislative battles over taxes, education reform, Medicare, and attempts to address the Great Recession. These landmark events are illuminated by conversations with the decision makers who made history.

“Now . . . finally . . . the members of the second Bush administration speak for themselves. Each of the contributors to this volume are experts at weaving the Miller Center’s oral history interviews in with new data and fresh interpretations of this tumultuous administration. The result is a book that is necessary reading for any student of the modern American presidency.”

—John Robert Greene, author of The Presidency of George W. Bush

“The unique primary research that informs this edited volume presents new and instructive perspectives on the George W. Bush presidency. Each chapter highlights insights from the Miller Center’s Presidential History Program on the forty-third president, providing information that is not available from other sources. This original study will be useful for scholarly research as well as classroom instruction.”

—Meena Bose, executive dean, Public Policy and Public Service Programs, and director, Peter S. Kalikow Center for the Study of the American Presidency, Hofstra University

About the Author

Michael Nelson is Fulmer Professor of Political Science at Rhodes College and a senior fellow at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center.

Barbara A. Perry is Gerald L. Baliles Professor and director of Presidential Studies at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center.

Russell L. Riley is White Burkett Miller Center Professor of Ethics and Institutions at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center.