It turns out that George W. Bush hasn’t been spending all of his post-White House time at his easel, painting portraits of foreign leaders and former pets.
The 43rd president has written a biography of his father, the 41st president, George H.W. Bush, that will be released Nov. 11 by Crown Publishers, with an initial printing of 1 million copies.
The book, which has not yet been titled, will focus on the elder Bush’s service as a bomber pilot in the Pacific during World War II, his years in the Texas oil business and his career in Washington, where he served as a congressman, U.S. representative to China, CIA director and vice president before ascending to the White House.
Crown’s publisher, Maya Mavjee, said the book would bring to life the elder Bush’s personal qualities and principles through the unique perspective of his son. In a short statement, George W. Bush described the 41st president as a “great servant, statesman and father” and said he loved writing the story of his life.
The younger Bush published his own memoir, “Decision Points,” about his eight years in the White House, in November 2010. The book has sold 3 million copies in all formats, which, according to Crown, makes it the bestselling presidential memoir of all time.
George H.W. Bush recently celebrated his 90th birthday by skydiving, as he had on his 85th and 80th birthdays. Much of his family — including son Jeb, the former Florida governor who is considering a run for president — gathered to celebrate the occasion at the family’s compound in Maine.
George W. Bush, who along with his wife is now a frequent Instagrammer, posted a picture of his father after the jump. “Thank God for this man and thanks to the All Veteran Parachute Team for a Safe Landing.”
The 43rd president, who lives in Dallas and spends weekends at his retreat outside Crawford, Texas, also reflected on the experience of painting his father during a recent interview with his daughter, NBC correspondent Jenna Bush Hager, on the “Today” show. His portraits of world leaders, including that of his father, were recently exhibited at the George W. Bush Presidential Center at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
“It was a joyful experience to paint him. I painted a gentle soul,” Bush said, noting that his father is a “great listener” who was a “master at befriending people to find common ground” in foreign diplomacy.
As usual, his mother, Barbara Bush, was among her son’s toughest critics. “That’s my husband?” she asked when she saw the portrait during a live satellite appearance on the “Today” show segment. Apparently she was not interested in a portrait of her own.
“Absolutely not,” she said crisply when asked whether she would pose for her son.
- Maeve Reston
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