Incorporating Washington Post Book World.Remember Laura Bush, America’s onetime librarian sweetheart and wife to the nominal head of the most appalling administration in U.S. history? Turns out she’s written a massive memoir titled Spoken From the Heart (because that’s what these political memoirists do: write from the heart, by speaking from it). We figured that a Laura Bush memoir wasn’t going to come close to the infamy and ignominy of, say, Henry Kissinger’s “Years” trilogy, or a soul-shredding Affront to Everything like Sarah Palin’s best-selling aerial-wolf-massacre manual. All we expected from the former Ms. Welch was a typical political-celebrity memoir: indifferently written, banal beyond belief, an apologia for various horrors. Little did we know it would be a mind-enlarging psychedelic masterpiece/cautionary tale that manages to depict the fabulous highs and sickening lows of addiction to that notorious drug, George W. Bush.

Your book reviewer loathes the addict memoir genre, but this one is different. Imagine yourself in Laura’s place: You’re a nice, bookish lass from Midland, Texas. You work as a librarian. In high school, you hid Lady Chatterley’s Lover behind a textbook cover so you could read it in class (p. 58).

You enjoyed living by yourself and with roommates in Houston and in Austin, where you occasionally poked around in the University of Texas library, “a treasure trove of rare manuscripts from Shakespeare’s First Folio to manuscripts by the Bronte sisters and John Keats and the page proofs from James Joyce’s Ulysses” (p. 91). Then, seduced by oil wealth and CIA-extracted bullion, you marry the Bush family’s most embarrassing suitor: a man who should live out his days comically running the Texas Rangers but who instead becomes America’s food-smacking fake-cowboy version of Louis Napoleon. Laura Welch becomes Laura W. Bush.

This alone is a tragic and horrifying story. But then the book dives deep into pure madness, such as this mystical reverie in St. Petersburg’s Catherine Palace:

Outside the ground was covered with snow, and the lights from the palace reflected off the snow and then back off the windows until they resembled a kind of infinite light. I stood gazing out, imagining myself in some past century racing in a horse-drawn troika across white, frozen ground. Off in other rooms, George and Vladimir were discussing the complex issues of Iraq and Afghanistan.

While you were fuming in the comments section of a political blog, the Bushes were seeing ghostly lights and imagining themselves shooting terrorists and Decembrists from armored horse-drawn troikas, slicing over peasants all the way.

Unsurprisingly, the UK’s loopy former Royal Couple, the Tony Blairs, have a prominent supporting role in the book. According to Laura, Dubya and Queen Cherie Blair argued all the time about stuff like the International Criminal Court, Star Wars missile shields and the death penalty. Of George’s favorite pastime during his days as the executor-in-chief of Texas, Laura says, “the American president and the British prime minister’s wife, a human rights lawyer, were on vastly different planes.”

Apparently one of these arguments could only calmed with a performance by Tony Blair and his gun-and-tequila Texas outlaw band. “At our ranch,” Laura writes, “after dinner, Tony Blair borrowed a guitar and strummed and sang along with the San Antonio band Daddy Rabbit” (p. 255).

There are plenty of other druggy tales here, including a hunt for exotic spices in Zanzibar, an “acrobatic performance” by Russian horsemen in Vladimir Putin’s stables, a meeting with a homeless Fats Domino among the flooded ruins of New Orleans, and several meetings with known drug-lover Vaclav Havel and his hot actress wife Dagmar (“funny and charming and wise”). Your reviewer would love to tell you about them, but he’s well over his word limit and needs to kill this long post now.

Can’t wait for the impending memoir from the Decider-Hub!

Spoken from the Heart by Laura Bush, Scribner, 456 pages.

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  1. Strange, after all of the Rights worries about Obama and his Czars, it turns out that the Bushes actually pictured themselves to be Tsars.

    Still, get to the important things. Like, how did Laura feel about George not having the energy to have marital relations with her, since he was constantly getting the buttsex from Karl Rove?

  2. Ahh! Even shrunken down, that image of the Joker is horrifying.

    Of course George Bush and Cherie Blair were on different planes. Bush, being Chaotic Evil, belongs in the Abyss or Carceri; as a human rights lawyer I’d put Blair as Chaotic Good, belonging in Arborea/Olympus, but then she’s married to Tony (Lawful Evil) so maybe not.

  3. [re=623237]Terry[/re]: Nor did Barney gripe about “the librul media”, for that matter.

    Say, does she mention if it was her husband was ever in a Shrub Sandwich with Jeff Gannon and Kindasleazy Rice?

  4. 456 pages? Goddam. Better be 16 pt. type or 2″ margins, because nobody could possibly get through that. I applaud your tolerance for inanity.

    I also found the perfect pic for your column, BTW.

  5. Barney, sure, no problem. Any two legged creature, however, who had anything to do with that administration was pure evil. What other interpretation is possible?

  6. [re=623231]ManchuCandidate[/re]: No; Barbara was the only tolerable human in that family. The younger one, not the old one who thought the people of New Orleans should be happy to be sleeping in a football stadium, she was nasty.

  7. [re=623246]SmutBoffin[/re]: I was trying to decide what my next tattoo would be. Thanks for sharing this awesome artwork. Now I just have to decide between that and the souless, dead-eyed image of Ms. Dubya from the cover of her memoir…

  8. The only stuff I’d heard about Cherie Blair was that she was enthralled with fortunetellers and New Agey bullshit to the point that she made Nancy Reagan seem like a dour Puritan. It’s nice to know, though, that Tony moved up from being Dubya’s poodle to his court jester.

  9. The night of the Iraq invasion George was in a frisky mood. But, because he was hung like a gerbil, I told him I had a headache and retired to my masterbatorium with the People Magazine special about Brad Pitt.

    Op cit, pp. 157-158. Look it up.

  10. In a rare moment of full disclosure, Laura revealed that the whole “Pretzel Incident” was GW’s somewhat ham-fisted foray into the world of autoerotic asphyxiation… went so wrong, but it could have been beautiful

  11. [re=623270]V572625694[/re]: Barney bit a reporter once. Gotta admire that good taste.

    I’ve never tasted a reporter [insert oral sex joke here]. I’ll bet most of them taste like chicken. Barney, please weigh in on this.

  12. LSD, meth, magic mushrooms, crack, goof balls, hash and Bud Lite are one hell of combination, right Laura?

    I’m still not buying the book.

  13. “…the lights from the palace reflected off the snow and then back off the windows until they resembled a kind of infinite light.”

    Looks like Grace managed to slip some of that acid into the WH after all.

  14. Actually, the worst presidential administration in U.S. history, on all levels, is the Nixon administration, hands down. There is, however, a three-way tie for second-worst presidential administration in U.S. history: Reagan, Bush II and Bush I.

    Note how many of the same poseur psycho criminals were involved in all four of these despicable, horrible, corrupt, backwards and criminal administrations.

  15. That’s either one terrible ghost writer or Laura was one terribly uncool high school kid, if, in the early sixties, she was secretly reading “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” instead of “Tropic of Cancer” or “The Harrad Experiment.”

  16. [re=623230]Gorillionaire[/re]: Not every stoner town. The one I live near, the meth capital of the desert southwest® (look it up) doesn’t have a Daddy Rabbit band, that I’m aware of anyway. Being meth-addled, toothless, and mostly bibliophobic, they haven’t been able to make the leap to Vorpal, either.

  17. Cherie Blair may have been peeved about capital punishment, but I’ll be she was more upset about an original copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio ending up in fucking Texas.

  18. Okay, I am an admitted physics geek, but I’m having some trouble ray-tracing “the lights from the palace reflected off the snow and then back off the windows until they resembled a kind of infinite light”.

    On the other hand, my (entirely hypothetical) experience with acid makes this quite comprehensible.

  19. [re=623243]JMP[/re]: I happened across this in a bookstore today and yikes are you right. Poor Laura has a look like she’s seen things no mortal is supposed to have seen. Maybe she accidentally walked in on Cheney while he was feeding, or when a tentacle slipped out of his hu-man suit.

  20. [re=623237]Terry[/re]: But Barney shit all over the Constitution in the Oval Office… no wait, that was Bush. Remember the time he went through the garbage and choked on the pretzel? No, Bush again…

  21. I don’t know about anyone else, but the thought of Tony Blair with a folk gee-tar just creeps me out. Were they gathered ’round the ole camp fire? Did they do a quartet version of Peace In The Valley? … Did some weathered old cowhand who’d been driven completely bugfuck by all the god-danged caterwaulin’ grab the offending instrument and bust it over his fat head – We can only hope.

  22. Correction, that should be “World O’ Book”.

    I’ll wait to read Jenna’s memoir and those many pages spent describing terrifying nocturnal visits from the family’s peculiar British friend “Uncle Tony“.

    [re=623255]stew[/re]: He’ll appear in the sequel to “Eclipse”.

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