President Bush's summer reading list is heavy on historyBreaking News
Bush, a former oil company chief, has not said why he picked Kurlansky's 484-page saga. "The president enjoys reading and learning about history," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said.
Kurlansky said he was surprised to hear that Bush had taken his book to the ranch: "My first reaction was, 'Oh, he reads books?' "
The author said he was a "virulent Bush opponent" who had given speeches denouncing the war in Iraq.
"What I find fascinating, and it's probably a positive thing about the White House, is they don't seem to do any research about the writers when they pick the books," Kurlansky said.
Barry, author of "The Great Influenza," said that he too had been a Bush critic. But his views have not deterred the administration from seeking his advice on the potential for another pandemic like the 1918 outbreak that claimed millions of lives worldwide.
Although Barry was not aware that the president planned to read the book, he said he had been consulting off and on with senior administration officials since its release in February 2004. He had lunch with Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt two weeks ago.
The administration, Barry said, was investigating what steps public officials could take to lessen the severity of a flu pandemic. A central theme of Barry's book is that the 1918 outbreak was exacerbated in America by the government's attempts to minimize its significance, partly to avoid undermining efforts to prevail in World War I.
"One lesson is to absolutely take it seriously," Barry said. "I'm not a great fan of the Bush administration, but I think they are doing that. The Clinton administration I don't think paid much attention to it as a threat."
Bush's choice of "Alexander II" appears to reflect his interest in books about transformational political leaders. Among those he has perused since becoming president are biographies of George Washington, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, Theodore Roosevelt, Richard the Lionheart and Peter the Great.
comments powered by Disqus
Walter McElligott - 8/17/2005
I didn't realize that Kurlansky's "Salt: A World History"
Radzinsky's "Alexander II: The Last Great Tsar" and Barry's "The Great Influenza were available on tape
May God Bless You & Yours
Official writer of "Sarchasm,"gulf between author of sarcastic wit & person who doesn't get it."
[2005 Washington Post Mensa Invitational]
John Edward Philips - 8/17/2005
How are Alexander II and the 1918 flu not history?
- Rubio Surges Into Second In New Hampshire
- Branstad Says Cruz Ran ‘Unethical’ Campaign
- Christie Highlights Santorum’s Endorsement of Rubio
- Portman Comes Out Against Trade Deal
- Megyn Kelly Gets a Book Deal
- A Big List of the Bad Things Clinton Has Done
- An Unambiguous Sign Sanders Won Last Night’s Debate
- Still Friends at the End
- Quote of the Day
- Trump Still Leads as Clinton Slips
- Clinton Can’t Shake Image as Wall Street’s Friend
- Maddow Doesn’t See Sanders Winning
- Why Does the Media Still Shield Chelsea Clinton?
- Bush Jokes His Mother May Have Abused Him
- Rubio Closes the Gap in New Hampshire
- Transcribed Document: Soviet Politburo Discussed CIA Billion Dollar Spy Adolf Tolkachev
- Pentagon withholds Iraq War photos showing detainee abuse
- These Rebels Have Amassed A Library From Syria’s Ruins
- Was 1916 fire at Canadian Parliament set by German saboteur?
- United Nations Calls On U.S. To Pay African Americans Reparations For Slavery
- Juan Cole says America’s inclination to turn to the military started with Manifest Destiny
- History Jobs Drop
- Paul Krugman gives credence to Robert J. Gordon's pessimism about American economic growth
- Harvard President Drew Faust Condemns Free Tuition Proposal from Outsider Overseers Ticket
- Andrew Roberts says Trump is the Mussolini of America with double the vulgarity