Ryan Grim’s searing essay in The Huffington Post about George W. Bush’s new memoir deserves our attention. Grim claims that many of the passages of Bush’s Decision Points are taken word-for-word from accounts of other writers. Read his review here.
In it Grim describes high crimes and misdemeanors in the Bush memoir. He found lots of passages that were taken straight from other people’s accounts. In a few, the “high crimes” cases, the former president tells stories about events he did not attend!
What kind of standard should publishers demand from political figures who tell their stories? How do any of us know how to separate our own thoughts and memories from the thousands of words and images we see every day?
Or is memoir a particularly perilous form for a man who, in the famous phrase of Ann Richards’, was born “with a silver
spoon foot in his mouth”?
What are your thoughts? Do you read political memoir? Does it matter to you if the writing comes from the author’s own voice or not? What constitutes a high crime against the form in your book?