An historian’s revealing and intimate portrait of George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush that explores their relationship as presidents and as father and son—the first major biographical treatment of these two consequential presidents and figures in American history.
In 2016 the Republican base revolted against the GOP establishment that has become synonymous with the Bush name, choosing instead a political neophyte and anti-establishment outsider as the standard bearer of their party. Donald Trump’s election marked the end not only of a presidential dynasty, but a rejection of the Republican principles and traditions the Bushes have long championed. Despite the Republicans’ surprise victory in 2016, behind closed doors the party remains divided between traditional conservatives, populists, and radical ideologues, and faces an uncertain future. As presidential historian Mark K. Updegrove argues, Bush 41 and 43 are in effect, the "last Republicans."
In this balanced, illuminating book, Updegrove tells the story of the Bushes’ relationship from the birth of George W. through their post-presidential years and Jeb Bush’s failed candidacy. Drawing on exclusive access and interviews with both presidents and the key people in their lives, Updegrove reveals the Bushes’ views on the current state of the nation and the GOP, and how the party they both led and helped build is undergoing a radical transformation. At last, the famously circumspect Bushes offer unvarnished observations and revelations on everything from George W. Bush’s youthful indiscretions to the influence and perspectives they had on each other’s administration to their views on Donald Trump—and how they each voted in the 2016 election.
A candid and often surprising portrait of two men, The Last Republicans is also an elegy for the party of Reagan and Bush—and for the many thoughtful and prudent individuals who made up the "establishment," and are conspicuously lacking in today’s GOP.