syndicated columnist Molly Ivins is the former Rocky Mountain bureau chief for The New York Times and a three-time Pulitzer Prize finalist. She is also the co-author, along with Lou Dubose, of Shrub: The Short But Happy Political Life of George W. Bush (2001). A lot has happened to the Prez since the pair published that volume and, if nothing else, their new book, Bushwhacked: Life in George W. Bush's America, proves that "Dubya" is no longer the happy-go-lucky figure who won the 2000 presidential election. Our chief executive is up to his elbows in domestic and international controversy, and Ivins and Dubose have no problem stripping bare the presidency and exposing it for what they think it is. Forgoing a discussion of foreign policy, Ivins and Dubose focus instead on the state of the nation, and it's not a pretty picture not, that is, if you're a citizen who cares about the environment, FDA inspections and the plight of the poor. According to Ivins and Dubose, the landscape of American domestic policymaking hovers near devastation, as Bush has brought the mindset of Texas-good-ol'-boy righteousness to Washington. Using direct quotes from Bush throughout the book, Ivins and Dubose leave the reader with the distinct impression that he is clueless on many issues, quite possibly the pawn of Poppy Bush's old cronies, and the front man for big-oil and even-bigger-money agendas. Along with their critique of the chief, Ivins and Dubose have also included fascinating profiles of everyday Americans working-class folks and poverty-stricken people across the country. Their poignant personal stories, as well as the perspectives they offer on the state of the nation under Bush, will resonate with readers.

The political coverage in Bushwhacked is thorough and enlivened by Ivins' smart, sassy attitude. No doubt Bush defenders will label the book "extremist." But with it, Ivins and Dubose offer Americans a myriad of reasons to forget what's happening in the Middle East and pay attention to what's taking place on the homefront.

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