January 28, 2014

'Days of Fire'? Peter Baker's book is barely kindling

Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White HouseDays of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White House by Peter Baker

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


Why do I say what I do? Veteran New York Times reporter Peter Baker has too much "mainstreamitis," too much "have-a-beer-itis," in this over-length tome.

Per the first, this book reads exactly like it was written by who it was: not "Peter Baker," but a decade-plus White House correspondent for a major mainstream paper. Take torture, for example. In the index, it links to pages that don't actually use the word, but, euphemisms or softenings.

Per the second? Baker seems to have that stereotypical "guy I'd have a beer with," as it was called in 2000 and again in 2004, man-crush on W.

As a result, other than looking at some details of how Bush wasn't totally Cheney's puppet, and even more details about how, after office, every Bush Administration official, including the Head Cheese and Darth Cheney, who has written a book, or been interviewed for a partisan one, has told at least one lie about one major interaction with other Bushies, there's not much here. On length, it could have been cut 150 pages without much loss.

I was on the 2/3 star border, but, this book is getting too much unworthy praise, so I went down rather than up.



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