George W. Bush and the Redemptive Dream: A Psychological Portrait (Inner Lives)

George W. Bush and the Redemptive Dream: A Psychological Portrait (Inner Lives)

Dan P. McAdams

Language: English

Pages: 288

ISBN: 0199752087

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


George W. Bush remains a highly controversial figure, a man for whom millions of Americans have very strong feelings. Dan McAdams' book offers an astute psychological portrait of Bush, one of the first biographies to appear since he left office as well as the first to draw systematically from personality science to analyze his life. McAdams, an international leader in personality psychology and the narrative study of lives, focuses on several key events in Bush's life, such as the death of his sister at age 7, his commitment to sobriety on his 40th birthday, and his reaction to the terrorist attacks of September 11, and his decision to invade Iraq. He sheds light on Bush's life goals, the story he constructed to make sense of his life, and the psychological dynamics that account for his behavior. Although there are many popular biographies of George W. Bush, McAdams' is the first true psychological analysis based on established theories and the latest research. Short and focused, written in an engaging style, this book offers a truly penetrating look at our forty-third president.

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speaking) kill him off? Did he identify with his father and seek to be like him? Beyond his biological father, did George W. see other men in his life as father figures? If yes, what did he want from them, and what did they want from him? Psychologically speaking, these are questions about motivation. Motivation is about what we want in life, what we desire, what we intend to accomplish. It is about how we go about trying to get what we want in life and trying to avoid what we do not want. It is

goals in life. First, he must make money, lots and lots of it, and on his own. Inherited money is no good—the Bushes are not like the Kennedys, they are quick to point out. Each young man must first prove himself in the world of money; politics is not a birthright, no matter how wealthy a man’s family of origin may be. Second, a man should commit himself to public service. He must pursue these two goals in the order specified—make money (tons of it) first, to take care of the family, and then,

and having the mother all to himself. Yet he also may love and admire the father. Freud was a genius when it came to appreciating the deep ambivalence that lies beneath the surface of many human relationships. But the standard Oedipal reading seems wrong in the case of George W. Bush. Sure, he felt ambivalence toward his father; most sons (and perhaps many daughters) do. When both father and son ascend to the presidency, some degree of rivalry is surely expected, and Oedipal comparisons are

Rather than wait defenseless as enemies attack, the nation should strike down its enemies before they attack, Bush and Cheney asserted. Saddam Hussein was the perfect target for a preemptive strike. In the latter half of 2002, CIA reports suggested, although never showed categorically, that Saddam was developing biological and chemical weapons and was intent on reconstituting the nuclear weapons program that Iraq had been forced to halt in the 1990s. And whereas no evidence ever surfaced to link

D. P. (1994). Can personality change? Levels of stability and growth in personality across the lifespan. In T. F. Heatherton and J. L. Weinberger (Eds.), Can personality change? (pp. 299–314). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association Press. McAdams, D. P. (1995). What do we know when we know a person? Journal of Personality, 63, 365–396. McAdams, D. P. (1996). Personality, modernity, and the storied self: A contemporary framework for studying persons. Psychological Inquiry, 7,

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