Political Book Summaries, Reviews and Opinions

Political Book Summaries, Reviews and Opinions

Book Review: State of Denial by Bob Woodward


State of Denial: Bush at War, Part III by Bob Woodward is a definitive break from his two previous Bush at War books which we reviewed here and here.  Finally, instead of being a dispassionate chronicler, Woodward takes a critical look at the bungled Iraq War.  Bungled is an understatement as Woodward illustrates gross incompetency, willful shifting of accountability and, as the title states, a denial of the reality of what was occurring in Iraq.  The style remains the same yet the tone has shifted to a building condemnation as Woodward uses his omniscient style to blatantly illustrate the problems among the political players and the military.

Perhaps the most striking aspect of the book is the portrayal of Donald Rumsfeld as a megalomaniac.  The question arises about actually how accurate or overstated this picture is considering that Woodward does not reveal all his sources.  Yet even Rumsfeld’s sit down interviews with Woodward reflect the Secretary of Defense as evasive and non accountable, almost flippant, with regards to the bungled war.  The problem that is never really addressed is: What is Rumsfeld’s motivation to be an obstructionist, power hungry, micro-managing, military despising, prick, as he was portrayed by Woodward?  You never really get a sense of what drives Rumsfeld but it’s very hard to chalk up his poor performance to incompetence.  He takes on an enigmatic persona that never really gets cracked.

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Another book review by politicalbooks.org

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