Spoken from the Heart
So this next book may be a shocker since I’m mostly a fiction reader but I have LOVED reading through this heart felt story! No matter what your thoughts are on her politics or her husband, I truly recommend reading this incredible woman’s story!!
Here’s the detailed description taken from her website :
In this brave, beautiful, and deeply personal memoir, Laura Bush, one of our most beloved and private first ladies, tells her own extraordinary story.
Born in the boom-and-bust oil town of Midland, Texas, Laura Welch grew up as an only child in a family that lost three babies to miscarriage or infant death. She vividly evokes Midland’s brash, rugged culture, her close relationship with her father, and the bonds of early friendships that sustain her to this day. For the first time, in heart-wrenching detail, she writes about the devastating high school car accident that left her friend Mike Douglas dead and about her decades of unspoken grief.
When Laura Welch left West Texas in 1964, she never imagined that her journey would lead her to the world stage and the White House. She began as an elementary school teacher, working in inner-city schools, then trained to be a librarian. At age thirty, she met George W. Bush, whom she had last passed in the hallway in seventh grade. Three months later, “the old maid of Midland married Midland’s most eligible bachelor.”
With rare intimacy and candor, Laura Bush writes about joining one of America’s most prominent political families, as well as her deep longing for children and her husband’s decision to give up drinking. In 2001, she moved into the White House. She captures presidential life in the harrowing days and weeks after 9/11, when fighter-jet cover echoed through the walls and security scares sent the family to an underground shelter. It was a time that would also transform her role. One of the first U.S. officials to visit war-torn Afghanistan, she reached out to disease-stricken African nations and tirelessly advocated for women in the Middle East and dissidents in Burma. She championed programs to get kids out of gangs and to stop urban violence. In these pages, she reveals her public triumphs and personal tribulations and the story of real life inside the White House. Laura Bush’s compassion, her sense of humor, her grace, and her uncommon willingness to bare her heart make this story revelatory, beautifully rendered, and unlike any other first lady’s memoir ever written.
Laura Bush was the First Lady of the United States from 2001-2009. She lives in Dallas, TX with her husband, President George W. Bush, and is the mother of twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna.
- So as I said before I don’t normally read non-fiction books but this one was GREAT! Here are few things I learned about Laura Bush.
- She is a West Texas girl! I knew she was from Texas but I don’t know why I just assumed she was from Dallas or Houston. I loved her descriptions of the West Texas area and it was so great that I could actually relate:).
- She was late to marry, 30, and late to having her twin girls. She was a teacher for 4 years (I think) before even meeting George Bush.
- She and George were both from the Midland area but never dated or got to know each other until years later.
- She is a VERY well-educated lady whom I always thought was VERY socially aware and AMAZING and now I KNOW this all to be truth!
- She is a GREAT mother to her daughters and is an AMAZINGLY supportive wife to her very interesting and gentlemanly husband!!
- Also did you know that the President and his family are responsible for ALL expenses in the White House minus room/ board, utilities and functions. I had NO idea!
- Her husband (whether you agree with his politics or not) is a great man of God who is committed to doing the right thing even when it seems everyone does not agree.
Here are few excepts from the book that taught me something about the world, Laura, George, or the events of their lives. I hope you enjoy and choose to pick up the book for yourself!!
p. 184 – 185 “I was like all first ladies in that I wanted to look good. I knew how interested in the public and the press are in what first ladies wear. Like women before me, I wanted to look elegant, to appear my nest at events here and abroud, and not to glance back later at White House photos and silently cringe. I really felt for Hillary Clinton, who spent years having the press write nasty things about her hairstyles. It unnerved be enough that I paid with our own money for someone to come to the White House and blow-dry my hair almost every morning, just so I could try to avoid a bad hair day… The daily hair blow-dries were just one of the monetary costs of living in the White House. Most Americans may not realize that presidents and their families are responsible for their personal costs while they reside at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and that George and I paid for ours out of our own pockets.”
p. 201 “So much happened during those terrible hours at the tip of Manhattan. That morning, as the people who worked in the towers descended, water from the sprinkler system was racing down the darkened stairwells. With their feet soaked, from some the greatest fear was that when they reached the bottom, the rushing water would be too high and they would be drowned. A few walked to safety under a canopy of skylights covered with the bodies of those who had jumped. Over two hundred people jumped to escape the heat, smoke, and flames. I was told that Father Mychal Judge, the chaplain for the New York City Fire Department, who had come to offer aid, comfort, and last rites, was killed that morning by the body of someone who had, in desperation, hurled himself from the upper floors of one of the towers.”
p. 218 “For months, I would lie in bed at night or wake in the darkness and think of our troops, think of them sleeping on cold, hard ground beneath the unforgiving Afghan winds, and feel guilty that I had a warm room and a warm bed while they risked everything. At Camp David, on that first Sunday morning after 9-11, our chaplain, Navy Lieutenant Bob Williams, had selected as the scripture reading Psalm 27, “I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” I knew that goodness wore camouflage and khaki; it wore Army green, Navy white, Marine tan, and Air Force blue.”
p.226-227 “On October 16, five weeks after the attacks, I was attempting to return my official life to a regular routine. I had committed months before to teach in different schools across the country for Teach of America week, a highlighting the programs and its efforts to get bright and eager college graduates into some of the nation’s toughest classrooms. Teach for America recruits commit to spending two years teaching in public schools in low-income communities….That week, I was scheduled to teach in Washington, D.C.; Baltimore, Maryland; Atlanta, Georgia; and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. My second stop was the South Seventeenth Street Elementary School in Newark, New Jersey, where I was to teach a kindergarten class. South Seventeenth Street Elementary was similar to the John F. Kennedy Elementary School in Houston; 453 of its 537 students were eligible for free and reduced-price lunch, and the majority of them were African-American. Mark Williams, the kindergarten teacher, had graduated from college just over a year before. He had painted a bright mural on his classroom walls. I spoke to the students and read a story. At one point, a little girl snuggled up next to me and tugged on my arm to whisper in my ear. I bent my head and listened to her hushed, solemn voice. “Did you hear,” she asked, “about the buildings?” I very slowly nodded my head. “The bad men knocked them down and all the people died,” she said, and then asked, “What do you think about what happened?” I wrapped my arms around her and said, “I’m said.” And she nodded and said, “I’m sad too.”
p. 253 She’s telling of the time in 2002 that she spoke at the UN for International Women’s Day… “I spoke of the U.S. government’s commitment to aiding the people of Afghanistan and the more than $4 million donated so far by America children to help the children of Afghanistan. American aid workers were doggedly helping Afghan refugees return home and helping the country’s widows, devastated after twenty-three years of fighting, support their families. Some of our contributions were bags of wheat for the twenty-one women-owned bakeries in Kabul. Those bakeries fed over one-quarter of the city’s population. I spoke too of helping to educate the children of Afghanistan. “When you give your children books and an education, you give them the ability to imagine a future of opportunity, equality, and justice,” I said. My favorite line the speech was a quotation from Farahnaz Nazir, the founder of the Afghanistan Women’s Assocation, who said, “Society is like a bird. It has two wings. And a bird cannot fly if own wing is broken.” We would help bind that broken wing.”
p.270-271 When talking about a time when the Czech leaders, Vaclav and Dagmar Havel, came to visit the White House…” The previous August enormous floods along the Moldau River had engulfed the city of Prague. Marine guards and other U.S. Embassy employees, including our ambassador, Craig Stapleton, had gone to work cleaning out the knee-high mud and debris from flooded historic building throughout the city, saving priceless artifacts. The Havels wanted to express the deep gratitude of the Czech people. Ours, they told us, had been the only embassy and the only ambassador to help. It is easy to be proud of our country, because when there is a need, Americans’ first instinct is to respond.”
p. 276 “George did not want war. No president ever does. He knew how precious any child is, and every person sent into war is someone’s child, and often someone’s mother or father too. He turned to prayer in in these times not with some newfound religion but because he had always turned to to prayer.”
p. 284 “George never wavered under the pressure. It was the same as that moment after 9-11 at the height of the anthrax attacks, when he strode out to the mound, alone in the middle of Yankee Stadium, and threw out the first pitch. He has never been afraid to step up to the plate for whatever is required. When he first ran from president, he told his staff that he didn’t want to make campaign promises that he could not deliver. He said, “If I run on something and say I’m going to do this, make sure it’s something that really can be done.”…I remember too how during those weeks I would glance out from my sitting room window and see George walking Spot outside the Oval Office. On the lawn he could be alone with his thoughts. He was sending the best of America to fight and even die in Iraq because he thought it was the safest thing to do for our country. It was decision that he had always hoped he would never have to make.”
p. 286 “Once, during and interview, Barbara Walters asked me if I could empathize with a mother who sent her child to be a suicide bomber. I said no, I could not imagine a mother who would want her child to blow himself up and kill other people at the same time. Mothers in our country have watched and prayed as their children left our shores to defend our freedom, and the freedom of people we will never meet in places we will likely never visit. not only can’t I empathize with the mother of a suicide bomber, I can’t even imagine her.”
p. 295 “We can and should debate all American wars, but can anyone truly say that the world was a better place and Iraq a better nation with Saddam Hussein in power? Or that it would not have become a full-fledged terrorist haven? And then there are the unanswerables. What, for instance, would the world have said if, in 1999, the United States had invaded Afghanistan? But had we done so, might the World Trade Center be standing today, its offices and observation deck crowded? We will never know. The world does not operate according to the principles of “what if?” All leaders make choices, and no one can say for certain that would have happened had a different path been taken. For myself, I prefer to stand against oppression, to stand, with George, for freedom.”