George H. W. Bush

Curt Smith worked closely as a speechwriter with George H.W. Bush during and for many years after his 1989-93 presidency. In George H.W. Bush: Character at the Core (University of Nebraska/Potomac Press, 2014, 325 pages), Smith explores how Bush negotiated the fraught world of politics and how his lifelong courtesy and belief in work, faith, and American exceptionalism helped the 41st president reach Middle America and take his place among the premier statesmen of our time.

Smith’s biography includes narrative on the invasion of Panama, the first Gulf War, fall of the Berlin Wall, and collapse of the Soviet Union, Iron Curtain, and Communism. It also chronicles Bush’s contrasting presidential campaigns of 1988 and 1992, examining their success and failure, respectively. Accompanying this account of Bush’s presidency are details of his life outside the White House, including profiles of influential figures like wife Barbara, such mentors as Ronald Reagan, men like Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, and John Connally, and such political allies as Margaret Thatcher, creating an important wide-lens view.

“Curt Smith was a key member of President George H.W. Bush’s talented speechwriting team, and his account of the Bush Administration has the ring of truth. But the author has something more in mind,” said William F. Gavin, former speechwriter for President Nixon. “Smith, from a small upstate New York town, ignored the stereotypes of a patrician Bush and discovered the decent, caring, compassionate, highly competent man this war hero was.”

Kirkus Reviews called George H.W. Bush: Character at the Core an “endearing look at a president the nation is finally beginning to understand and appreciate.” Tom DeFrank of National Journal said the book is “required reading for anyone seeking to discover the real Bush 41. It builds a compelling case that 41 may have been the most successful one-term President in American history.” Pollster John Zogby said, “Would that we all had Curt Smith write our biography. Truth is told, always poetically. Smith is a master of the language.”

As speechwriter, Smith wrote such Bush speeches as the 50th anniversary of Pearl Harbor address, Reagan and Nixon Libraries dedication, Margaret Thatcher Medal of Freedom speech, and Bush’s moving eulogy in 2004 to Ronald Reagan. George H.W. Bush: Character at the Core is the first in-depth biography of the 41st president written by a member of his Administration.