BARBARA BUSH by Pamela Kilian


A Biography
Email this review


 Not an authorized biography, but longtime journalist Kilian (What Was Watergate?, YA, 1990) has assembled enough quotes from friends, family, and Mrs. Bush herself to create a lively and credible portrait of this immensely popular First Lady. The story of Barbara Bush's early years could be that of many of her contemporaries. Born into an affluent upper-middle-class home, second daughter in a family of three, she enjoyed a normal childhood filled with friends, sports, and school. Popular and athletic, she was closer to her father than her mother, an austere and aloof woman who was always admonishing young Barbara to watch her weight. Barbara's meeting with George Bush, then a senior at Andover, during the 1941 Christmas season began her long journey from conventional expectations of marriage and family to her national prominence as First Lady. Kilian details the tragedy of the death from leukemia, at age three, of the Bushes' daughter and the rising political career of George. While Barbara has been the uncomplaining good soldier who looked after the children and moved when George's career demanded it, she also, Kilian shows, is a remarkably strong and generous woman, forthright and unaffected. As she told the Wellesley graduating class, she has made three major choices in her life: ``to get involved in something larger'' than herself; to marry George Bush; and ``to make her family and friends paramount, to cherish the human connections.'' The First Lady is also quick to point out the rewards of public life: ``I feel like I have had the best, the most exciting, thrilling life anyone could ever have.'' Barbara Bush is good copy, and Kilian has made the most of her very appealing subject, who seems to have resisted even her darkest moments with common sense and minimal self-pity. An informative biography, then, but not definitive. (Sixteen-page photo insert-- not seen.)

Pub Date: June 12th, 1992
ISBN: 0-312-07649-5
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1992


NonfictionROSE KENNEDY by Barbara A. Perry
by Barbara A. Perry