Reading Recommendations: Spoken From the Heart, Laura Bush
Born in the boom and bust oil town of Midland, TX, 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 relationships with her father, and the bonds of early friendships that sustain her to this day. For the first time, in heart rendering detail, she writes about the devastating high school car accident that left her friend Mike Douglas dead and about her years of unspoken grief.
When Laura Welch first left West Texas in 1964, she never imagined that her journey would lead her to the world stage and the White House. After graduating from Southern Methodist University in 1968, in the thick of student rebellions across the country and at the dawn of the women's movement, she became 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 her early married life as she was thrust into 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. By 1993, she found herself in the full glare of the political spotlight. But just as her husband won the Texas governorship in a stunning upset victory, her father, Harold Welch, was dying in Midland.
In 2001, after one of the closest elections in American history, Laura Bush moved into the White House. Here she captures presidential life in the harrowing days and weeks after 9-11 and so much more. The rest is history. This book covers a multitude of events, many I hate leaving out here.
Laura Bush is an exceptional woman living in an exceptional time. Her book would make a wonderful addition to one's private library.
As You Were
The sign up sheet for door gunners was posted in the hallway, much as if the 2-224th battalion were looking for volunteers for their softball team. The first time Miranda Summers saw it, the sheet was empty, and she passed by without adding her name. Not that she was not interested, in fact, she found herself intrigued by the prospect of riding shotgun in a Black Hawk helicopter. She just didn't think that as a woman she was allowed to be a door gunner. Female soldiers were strictly forbidden from combat roles in the armed forces, and Miranda figured all the slots would be filled by the young gung-ho guys in the unit, eager to get up in the air.
But her hesitation also grew from the knowledge that by signing it, she'd be guaranteed to see war unfiltered instead of from the safe distance her rear-echelou supply clerk job provided. No longer would she be the college sorority gild who sneaked off campus one weekend a month to drill with her National Guard unit. She'd be a full fledged member of the U.S. Armed Forces in Iraq, who might be fired upon and ordered to fire back. She wasn't sure she was ready for that.
In As You Were, Washington Post reporter Christian Davenport follows members of the 2-224th from their sudden call-up and deployment, through a year of arduous and at times harrowing service in some of Iraq's hottest war zones, to their return home, where they face new battles in their struggle to resume their lives after combat.
In addition to Miranda, we meet other characters such as Ray, a grandfather and Vietnam veteran, Kate, a medic, Craig, Mark and others. What emerges most powerfully is the citizen soldier's clear awareness of their dual status and their tension between love for the military life and think their desire to fit into a society that has never been so divorced from the military, or the war it is fighting.
See you at Ryl;ander!
, To War and Back With the Black Hawk Battalion of the Virginia National Guard, Christian Davenport