Close cookie details

This site uses cookies. Learn more about cookies.

OverDrive would like to use cookies to store information on your computer to improve your user experience at our Website. One of the cookies we use is critical for certain aspects of the site to operate and has already been set. You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but this could affect certain features or services of the site. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, click here to see our Privacy Policy.

If you do not wish to continue, please click here to exit this site.

Hide notification

  Main Nav
Destiny and Power
Cover of Destiny and Power
Destiny and Power
The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush
Borrow Borrow Borrow
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST AND ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review | Time | NPR | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

In this brilliant biography, Jon Meacham, the Pulitzer Prize--winning author, chronicles the life of George Herbert Walker Bush. Drawing on President Bush's personal diaries, on the diaries of his wife, Barbara, and on extraordinary access to the forty-first president and his family, Meacham paints an intimate and surprising portrait of an intensely private man who led the nation through tumultuous times. From the Oval Office to Camp David, from his study in the private quarters of the White House to Air Force One, from the fall of the Berlin Wall to the first Gulf War to the end of Communism, Destiny and Power charts the thoughts, decisions, and emotions of a modern president who may have been the last of his kind. This is the human story of a man who was, like the nation he led, at once noble and flawed.

His was one of the great American lives. Born into a loving, privileged, and competitive family, Bush joined the navy on his eighteenth birthday and at age twenty was shot down on a combat mission over the Pacific. He married young, started a family, and resisted pressure to go to Wall Street, striking out for the adventurous world of Texas oil. Over the course of three decades, Bush would rise from the chairmanship of his county Republican Party to serve as congressman, ambassador to the United Nations, head of the Republican National Committee, envoy to China, director of Central Intelligence, vice president under Ronald Reagan, and, finally, president of the United States. In retirement he became the first president since John Adams to see his son win the ultimate prize in American politics.

With access not only to the Bush diaries but, through extensive interviews, to the former president himself, Meacham presents Bush's candid assessments of many of the critical figures of the age, ranging from Richard Nixon to Nancy Reagan; Mao to Mikhail Gorbachev; Dick Cheney to Donald Rumsfeld; Henry Kissinger to Bill Clinton. Here is high politics as it really is but as we rarely see it.

From the Pacific to the presidency, Destiny and Power charts the vicissitudes of the life of this quietly compelling American original. Meacham sheds new light on the rise of the right wing in the Republican Party, a shift that signaled the beginning of the end of the center in American politics. Destiny and Power is an affecting portrait of a man who, driven by destiny and by duty, forever sought, ultimately, to put the country first.

Praise for Destiny and Power

"Should be required reading--if not for every presidential candidate, then for every president-elect."--The Washington Post

"Reflects the qualities of both subject and biographer: judicious, balanced, deliberative, with a deep appreciation of history and the personalities who shape it."--The New York Times Book Review

"A fascinating biography of the forty-first president."--The Dallas Morning News

"When we rank, reconsider, laud, or denounce past Presidents, living or dead, we are taking stock of our own times. In that sense, the vindication of George H. W. Bush is a reflection of what we know we've lost. Jon Meacham's new biography of Bush, Destiny and Power, makes that plain from its very first pages."--The New Yorker

"The story of the forty-first man to hold the office sheds light not only on the country we...
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST AND ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review | Time | NPR | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

In this brilliant biography, Jon Meacham, the Pulitzer Prize--winning author, chronicles the life of George Herbert Walker Bush. Drawing on President Bush's personal diaries, on the diaries of his wife, Barbara, and on extraordinary access to the forty-first president and his family, Meacham paints an intimate and surprising portrait of an intensely private man who led the nation through tumultuous times. From the Oval Office to Camp David, from his study in the private quarters of the White House to Air Force One, from the fall of the Berlin Wall to the first Gulf War to the end of Communism, Destiny and Power charts the thoughts, decisions, and emotions of a modern president who may have been the last of his kind. This is the human story of a man who was, like the nation he led, at once noble and flawed.

His was one of the great American lives. Born into a loving, privileged, and competitive family, Bush joined the navy on his eighteenth birthday and at age twenty was shot down on a combat mission over the Pacific. He married young, started a family, and resisted pressure to go to Wall Street, striking out for the adventurous world of Texas oil. Over the course of three decades, Bush would rise from the chairmanship of his county Republican Party to serve as congressman, ambassador to the United Nations, head of the Republican National Committee, envoy to China, director of Central Intelligence, vice president under Ronald Reagan, and, finally, president of the United States. In retirement he became the first president since John Adams to see his son win the ultimate prize in American politics.

With access not only to the Bush diaries but, through extensive interviews, to the former president himself, Meacham presents Bush's candid assessments of many of the critical figures of the age, ranging from Richard Nixon to Nancy Reagan; Mao to Mikhail Gorbachev; Dick Cheney to Donald Rumsfeld; Henry Kissinger to Bill Clinton. Here is high politics as it really is but as we rarely see it.

From the Pacific to the presidency, Destiny and Power charts the vicissitudes of the life of this quietly compelling American original. Meacham sheds new light on the rise of the right wing in the Republican Party, a shift that signaled the beginning of the end of the center in American politics. Destiny and Power is an affecting portrait of a man who, driven by destiny and by duty, forever sought, ultimately, to put the country first.

Praise for Destiny and Power

"Should be required reading--if not for every presidential candidate, then for every president-elect."--The Washington Post

"Reflects the qualities of both subject and biographer: judicious, balanced, deliberative, with a deep appreciation of history and the personalities who shape it."--The New York Times Book Review

"A fascinating biography of the forty-first president."--The Dallas Morning News

"When we rank, reconsider, laud, or denounce past Presidents, living or dead, we are taking stock of our own times. In that sense, the vindication of George H. W. Bush is a reflection of what we know we've lost. Jon Meacham's new biography of Bush, Destiny and Power, makes that plain from its very first pages."--The New Yorker

"The story of the forty-first man to hold the office sheds light not only on the country we...
Available formats-
  • Kindle Book
  • OverDrive Read
  • EPUB eBook
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    2
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:

Recommended for you

Excerpts-
  • Chapter One One

    The Land of the Self-Made Man



    Is it not by the courage always to do the right thing that the fires of hell shall be put out?

    —The Reverend James Smith Bush, Episcopal clergyman and great-grandfather of George H. W. Bush

    Failure seems to be regarded as the one unpardonable crime, success as the one all-redeeming virtue, the acquisition of wealth as the single worthy aim of life.

    —Charles Francis Adams, Jr.

    To Samuel Prescott Bush—"Bushy" to his beloved first wife, Flora—the ocean seemed to go on forever. The view from the top of the Hotel Traymore overlooking the boardwalk in Atlantic City at Illinois Avenue was grand, and unique: A publicist for the hotel assured the press that the Traymore roof was "the most elevated point on the Atlantic coast south of the Statue of Liberty." ("In absence of evidence to the contrary," a reporter added, "we take his word for it.") A prominent Midwestern industrialist, Bush was at the Jersey Shore in the early summer of 1915 to take part in what was described as "the highest golf driving contest ever held in the history of the great Scotch game."

    In from Columbus, Ohio, where he presided over Buckeye Steel Castings, a manufacturer of railroad parts, the tall, angular Bush looked out from a makeshift tee atop the brick hotel two hundred feet above the beach. A favorite of well-heeled visitors to Atlantic City, the domed Traymore had just undergone renovations that Bankers' Magazine solemnly reported had turned the hotel into a showplace with "700 rooms and 700 baths"—the kind of construction project that was making grandeur ever more accessible to men who were building a prosperous business class.

    S. P. Bush was one such man. The son of an Episcopal clergyman, Bush, who was to become George H. W. Bush's paternal grandfather, had spent much of his childhood in New York and New Jersey. After college, Bush went west, finding his future at Buckeye, a company backed by the railroad baron E. H. Harriman and run, in the first decade of the new century, by a brother of John D. Rockefeller, Frank. President of Buckeye since 1908 and a director of numerous railway companies, S. P. Bush had grown rich. Now standing on the roof of the Hotel Traymore, he was part of an emerging American elite—one based not on birth but on success and achievement. Facing the Atlantic, in a long-sleeved dress shirt and formal trousers, Bush, driver in hand, took his stance and swung smoothly. He connected just the way he wanted to—cleanly and perfectly. The ball rose rapidly, a tiny spinning meteor. Bush's shot streaked out over the blue-green water, soaring over the white-capped waves before disappearing deep in the distance, the sound of its splash lost in the wind and surf.

    Bush won, of course. Though his opponents did what they could, they failed to surpass Bush's dramatic drive. It was not the most serious of competitions, but that did not matter. The New York Times reported Bush's triumph. A contest was a contest.

    To win was to be alive; to compete was as natural as breathing—a common code among the ancestors of George Herbert Walker Bush. Theirs is a story of big men and strong women, ambitious husbands and fathers taking unconventional risks—in business, in politics, even in religion—while wives and mothers who might have expected fairly staid lives adapt and emerge as impressive figures in their own rights. Across more than two centuries, maternal and paternal lines reinforced and supported one another, producing generation after generation driven by both the pursuit of wealth and by a sense of public...
About the Author-
  • Jon Meacham received the Pulitzer Prize for his 2008 biography of Andrew Jackson, American Lion. He is also the author of the New York Times bestsellers Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, American Gospel, and Franklin and Winston. Meacham, who teaches at Vanderbilt University and at The University of the South, is a fellow of the Society of American Historians. He lives in Nashville and in Sewanee with his wife and children.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 18, 2016
    America's 41st president shines as a nice guy with an edge of steel in this admiring biography. Pulitzer-winning historian Meacham (American Lion) styles Bush as the embodiment of Greatest Generation virtues: hard-working, dutiful, patriotic, well-mannered, friendly, fair-minded, and increasingly out of step with the ugly partisanship of latter-day politics. But beneath the soft affability he detects a fiercely competitive drive and go-it-alone nerve, especially when Bush decided to risk impeachment by launching the 1991 Gulf War against Iraq even without Congress's authorization. With access to Bush's genial-to-peevish diaries and extensive interviews with Bush, the author paints a warm, evocative portrait of a president who in office was tagged as a wimpy blur, one that supports later historical opinion in saluting his deft pragmatism in navigating the collapse of Soviet communism. But Meacham soft-pedals contradictions in Bush's character, like the very ungentlemanly 1988 presidential campaign against Michael Dukakis; and though Bush inaugurated America's resurgent military interventionism in the Middle East, a geopolitical watershed whose profound repercussions are still playing out, the book asks few serious questions about that troubled legacy. This is a vivid, well-written account that doesn't quite come to grips with its subject's pivotal place in history. Photos. Agent: Amanda Urban, ICM.

  • Kirkus

    An admiring life of the president who navigated the end game of the Cold War and stood up to Saddam Hussein.The more time that passes from the end of George H.W. Bush's one-term presidency, the more important he seems to grow, perhaps in contrast to the more dynamic and obviously flawed personalities of the presidents that served before and after him. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Meacham (Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, 2012, etc.), working in cooperation with Bush, his wife, Barbara, and their family, does a fine job of revealing the makeup of the man, destined--by virtue of his Eastern Ivy League pedigree and as second son of Prescott Bush, future Connecticut senator--for greatness. Competitive by nature, steady, and dependable--World War II pilot, devoted husband, and loyal Republican Party operative--Bush was decent perhaps to a fault. Americans seem to like their presidents given to grand gestures (see Teddy Roosevelt), but this went against Bush's buttoned-up, discreet style, to his frequent political misfortune. "He was a victim, in a way, of his instinct for dignity," writes Meacham. Bush's innate dignity indeed proved problematic early on with his move to big-oil Texas to set up roots in the late 1950s. The move was an attempt to forge his own destiny apart from his aristocratic East Coast family, but he never quite fit in. Part of Bush's early agony was caused by adopting positions that were far more conservative and right wing than were consistent with his true views--and then having to reverse them. In the end, he emerged from being eclipsed by larger personalities (Reagan, James Baker, Lee Atwater) to forge a steady, effective course during the world perils in Europe, China, and Iraq. In this meticulously researched but perhaps overlong biography, Meacham does his best with this "underwhelming" but noble subject. A revealing biography that should serve as the starting point for future evaluations of the 41st president. COPYRIGHT(1) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    June 15, 2015
    Random House executive editor Meacham lays claim to four "New York Times" best sellers, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning "American Lion". Here he clarifies what has made George Herbert Walker Bush tick by drawing on exclusive access to the diaries and other documents of Bush and his wife, Barbara, while also placing him in the context of the Bush political dynasty.

    Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • The Economist "[Jon] Meacham's book should be required reading--if not for every presidential candidate, then for every president-elect."--The Washington Post "Destiny and Power reflects the qualities of both subject and biographer: judicious, balanced, deliberative, with a deep appreciation of history and the personalities who shape it. If Meacham is sometimes polite to a fault, Destiny and Power does not suffer for it. His kinder, gentler approach succeeds in making George H. W. Bush a more sympathetic--and more complex--figure than if the former president had written his own doorstopper after all."--The New York Times Book Review "Jon Meacham, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his biography of Andrew Jackson, put an enormous amount of work into this volume: nine years of interviews, full access to the diaries of George H. W. and Barbara Bush, and an open door to family members and friends. Add to this Meacham's balanced journalism and smooth writing, and you have a fascinating biography of the forty-first president."--The Dallas Morning News "When we rank, reconsider, laud, or denounce past Presidents, living or dead, we are taking stock of our own times. In that sense, the vindication of George H. W. Bush is a reflection of what we know we've lost. Jon Meacham's new biography of Bush, Destiny and Power, makes that plain from its very first pages."--The New Yorker "Graceful prose, backed by diligent mining of the archives and access to an oral diary that Bush dictated throughout his presidency . . . The story of the forty-first man to hold the office sheds light not only on the country we were, but the one we've become."--Los Angeles Times "Meacham is a superb historian and he weaves a compelling historical narrative, drawing heavily on Bush's own contemporaneous diaries. The result is a fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpse into high-stakes decision making in a rapidly evolving world."--The Seattle Times "A gripping new biography of the forty-first president."
  • Doris Kearns Goodwin "The more time passes, the more the dust settles, the clearer it becomes that George H. W. Bush and the strengths of character he brought to his long service to this country deserve more attention and appreciation. And now comes Destiny and Power, Jon Meacham's altogether fair, insightful biography of the forty-first president--a portrait made especially compelling by the author's remarkable access to Bush's private White House diaries. This is a timely, first-rate book!"--David McCullough "What a spectacular and moving portrait this is--not only of a remarkably classy man but of the era that shaped him! It is hard to imagine a biographer more fitted than Jon Meacham to write what will surely be the definitive work on George Herbert Walker Bush."
  • Tom Brokaw "This astonishing book is both timely and timeless. Based on candid interviews and intimate letters and diaries, it provides a deep insight into the character of George H. W. Bush, flavored with colorful anecdotes depicting his relationships with people ranging from Gorbachev and Reagan to his sons George and Jeb. The result is a fascinating and insightful portrayal of the life of an exemplary American citizen."--Walter Isaacson "Jon Meacham's timely and intimate biography of George Bush 41 is a welcome reminder of this modest president's call to service, from the cockpits of World War II to the Oval Office and the end of the Cold War. Here you'll meet a man of patrician manners, wartime heroics, Texas assimilation, party and personal loyalty, with a refined sense of power that carried him into history. Meet the George Bush you didn't know."
  • Michael Beschloss "This riveting biography by the incomparable Jon Meacham gives George H. W. Bush his well-deserved place in history. Destiny and Power is full of surprises, revealing 41's import
Title Information+
  • Publisher
    Random House Publishing Group
  • Kindle Book
    Release date:
  • OverDrive Read
    Release date:
  • EPUB eBook
    Release date:
Digital Rights Information+
  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

Status bar:

You've reached your checkout limit.

Visit your Checkouts page to manage your titles.

Close

You already have this title checked out.

Want to go to your Checkouts?

Close

Recommendation Limit Reached.

You've reached the maximum number of titles you can recommend at this time. You can recommend up to 99 titles every 1 day(s).

Close

Sign in to recommend this title.

Recommend your library consider adding this title to the Digital Collection.

Close

Enhanced Details

Close
Close

Limited availability

Availability can change throughout the month based on the library's budget.

is available for days.

Once playback starts, you have hours to view the title.

Close

Permissions

Close

The OverDrive Read format of this eBook has professional narration that plays while you read in your browser. Learn more here.

Close

Holds

Total holds:


Close

Restricted

Some format options have been disabled. You may see additional download options outside of this network.

Close

You've reached your library's checkout limit for digital titles.

To make room for more checkouts, you may be able to return titles from your Checkouts page.

Close

Excessive Checkout Limit Reached.

There have been too many titles checked out and returned by your account within a short period of time.

Try again in several days. If you are still not able to check out titles after 7 days, please contact Support.

Close

You have already checked out this title. To access it, return to your Checkouts page.

Close

This title is not available for your card type. If you think this is an error contact support.

Close

An unexpected error has occurred.

If this problem persists, please contact support.

Close

Close

NOTE: Barnes and Noble® may change this list of devices at any time.

Close
Buy it now
and help our library WIN!
Destiny and Power
Destiny and Power
The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush
Jon Meacham
Choose a retail partner below to buy this title for yourself.
A portion of this purchase goes to support your library.
Clicking on the 'Buy It Now' link will cause you to leave the library download platform website. The content of the retail website is not controlled by the library. Please be aware that the website does not have the same privacy policy as the library or its service providers.
Close
Close

There are no copies of this issue left to borrow. Please try to borrow this title again when a new issue is released.

Close
Barnes & Noble Sign In |   Sign In

You will be prompted to sign into your library account on the next page.

If this is your first time selecting “Send to NOOK,” you will then be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

The first time you select “Send to NOOK,” you will be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

You can read periodicals on any NOOK tablet or in the free NOOK reading app for iOS, Android or Windows 8.

Accept to ContinueCancel