Dec 1, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Exclusive: New Bush Sr. book draws on Barbara's scrapbooks, unpublished photos

Cover: Random House. Photo: George H. W. Bush, then head of the U.S. Liaison Office in Beijing, with Henry Kissinger in China in 1975. Courtesy George H. W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum

June 12, 2024, will mark 100 years since the birth of the late President George H.W. Bush. The day before, Random House will publish a commemorative volume by Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Jon Meacham, "A Call to Serve."

Zoom in: Drawn in part from Meacham's New York Times bestseller, "Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush," the book features 450+ photos — some never published. Others are classics by David Hume Kennerly, David Valdez and others.

  • The book also draws on decades of scrapbooks kept by the late Barbara Bush, the former first lady. Her scrapbooks are held at the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas.

Details: In an exclusive excerpt from "A Call to Service" provided to Axios, Meacham writes that the "character of George H.W. Bush ... oftentimes reflected the best impulses of the American project."

"It is true, of course, that Bush was not a monument but a man, not a saint but a statesman. But just enough of the time, at just enough critical junctures, the 41st president chose the right over the wrong, the difficult over the easy, the arduous over the expedient. Bush's life code, as he once put it in a letter to his mother, was: 'Tell the truth. Don't blame people. Be strong. Do your Best. Try hard. Forgive. Stay the course. All that kind of thing.'"

Of note: Meacham has written books on Abraham Lincoln, John Lewis and other historic political figures.

Go deeper: Historian Jon Meacham: Bending the arc of the moral universe "requires all of us"

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