Kitty Kelley Highlights

From Holden:

Slate’s Bryan Curtis provides highlights of Kitty Kelley’s Bush Book The Family.

First Draft’s Holden provides highlights of Curtis’ highlights:

Page 72-73: Barbara Bush’s nickname explained: During World War II gasoline rationing, the Bushes navigate Kennebunkport, Maine, in a horse-drawn carriage. Prescott Bush Jr. notices that the family’s horse, Barsil, looks a bit like George’s then-girlfriend. He gives them both the nickname “Bar.”

Page 252: George W. hangs a Confederate flag in his dorm room at Andover.

Page 253: At Andover, George W. Bush writes a morose essay about his sister’s death. Searching for a synonym for “tears,” he consults a thesaurus and writes, “And the lacerates ran down my cheeks.” A teacher labels the paper “disgraceful.”

Page 257: At Andover, W. proves a poor athlete. He rides the bench in basketball until a starter falls ill, and he is given the chance to enter the lineup. Bush smacks an opponent’s face with the ball and winds up back on the bench.

Ibid.: Bush elects not to tell his friends back in Texas—where all-male Andover is derided as “Bend Over”—that he has become the school’s head cheerleader.

Page 309: At Harvard Business School, which W. attends from 1973 to 1975, a professor screens The Grapes of Wrath. Bush asks him, “Why are you going to show us that Commie movie?” W.’s take on the film: “Look. People are poor because they are lazy.”

Page 327-30; 341-42; 353: Now ambassador to China, H.W. has a relationship with his aide Jennifer Fitzgerald. Around the same time, Barbara disappears from Peking for three months. “Everyone knew that [Fitzgerald] was George’s mistress,” says a source.

Page 375-76: James Baker refuses to run Bush’s 1980 presidential campaign if Fitzgerald is around; Bush concedes but pays her a salary. After becoming vice president, Bush gets into a traffic accident while riding with his “girlfriend”; he calls Secretary of State Alexander Haig to help him shoo away the Washington, D.C., police. Fitzgerald isn’t Bush’s only dalliance: A divorcee from North Dakota moves to Washington to be with the veep. Kelley says Nancy Reagan, who reviles the Bushes, delights in the gossip.

Page 604: During the 2000 recount controversy, W.’s sister Doro shrouds herself in a scarf and dark glasses and joins GOP protesters outside the Naval Observatory.