The President’s Counselor: The Rise To Power Of Alberto Gonzales.

Those looking for clues to the Bush administration’s seeming assault on civil liberties—from warrantless wiretaps to allegedly condoned torture—will find much to ponder in THE PRESIDENT’S COUNSELOR: THE RISE TO POWER OF ALBERTO GONZALES. Journalist BILL MINUTAGLIO posits that Gonzales’s background as a lawyer at Houston’s Vinson and Elkins trained him to, above all else, find ways to accomplish his client’s objective—a reasonable approach to a real estate transaction but potentially disastrous when your client is president of the United States and the objective is to invade Iraq or stonewall the 9/11 Commission. The former White House counsel comes across as blinded by his allegiance to his political patron and single-minded in justifying the president’s goals. Ultimately, the Bush consigliere seems little more than an erstwhile corporate lawyer with a compelling backstory (he was raised by migrant parents in Humble) who is overmatched on the geopolitical playing field. Rayo/Harper Collins, $24.95

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