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