Buy George?

The book (make that books) on George W. Bush. Smith

WITH THE POSSIBLE EXCEPTION of a spicy-hot former ingredient of Menudo—the group, not the soup—no one has seen his vida loca picked apart more thoroughly by the press in recent weeks than the plausibly White House—bound governor of Texas. Now it’s publishing’s turn. But while hordes of little girls are clamoring for quickie biographies of Ricky Martin, is anyone out there dying for a tome on George W. Bush? How about a pair? The German media conglomerate Bertelsmann apparently thinks so, because two of its imprints plan to release major works on Bush within three months of each other.

Book number one, in terms of chronology, is Bill Minutaglio’s First Son: George W. Bush and the Bush Family Dynasty. It will be published by Times Books, whose catalog copy calls it “the first authoritative book on [Bush] and his extraordinary family, written by an acclaimed Texas journalist who knows the lay of the land.” Indeed, Minutaglio is a well-respected writer for the Dallas Morning News, and at 125,000 words—with material gleaned from nine months of research and more than four hundred interviews—it threatens to be weighty in every sense of the word. “It’s a major accomplishment, comprehensive and fascinating,” says his agent, David Hale Smith. It is not, however, authorized. The catalog brags that Minutaglio “gained access to dozens of sources close to Bush, as well as the governor himself,” but the truth is that George W. refused to be interviewed and asked several times that the book not be written. “The governor felt that he hadn’t done enough to

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