My Sharansky

How to read juicy books.
Jan. 26 2005 6:47 PM

My Sharansky

Bush's favorite book doesn't always endorse his policies.

(Continued from Page 1)

And Start Following Your Rhetoric:
Page 15: "Even within the Bush administration, the president's words, expressing a profound faith in freedom, are not always translated into policies that reflect that faith."

Pages 242-244: In particular, Sharansky adores a June 24, 2002, speech by President Bush in which the president called on the Palestinians "to elect new leaders, leaders not compromised by terror" and "to build a practicing democracy, based on tolerance and liberty." Sharansky calls the speech "almost too good to be true." "From my perspective, the president's speech was potentially no less dramatic than when, twenty years earlier, Ronald Reagan had called the Soviet Union an evil empire. … Now, Bush's speech could finally dispel the delusions of those who believed that a fear society would fight terrorism and that peace could be made with a dictator."

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Page 265: But by 2004, Sharansky is disappointed with the president's empty rhetoric. "The culture of death and violence that has engulfed Palestinian society can also change quickly," he writes. "It will happen when the world's democratic leaders, especially those in the United States and Israel, embrace the principles that President Bush outlined on June 24, 2002, and ensure that those principles shape their policies."

Let a Thousand Frances Bloom!
Page 95: "The democracy that hates you is less dangerous than the dictator that loves you."

Reagan's Senior Moment:
Page 140: In September 1987, Reagan calls Sharansky and his wife "Mr. and Mrs. Shevardnadze."

Farewell, Fukuyama:
Page 278: "I do not believe in an end of history."

Trouble With Footnotes:
Page 7: Sharansky says Arthur Schlesinger Jr. opined in the 1980s that "those in the United States who think the Soviet Union is on the verge of economic and social collapse, ready with one small push to go over the brink are wishful thinkers who are only kidding themselves." But Sharansky's footnote for this remark declares vaguely, "Schlesinger is reported to have made this statement after his return from a trip to the Soviet Union in 1982."

Page 138: Sharanksy quotes a "leading Soviet economist" as saying, "[I]f it had not been for the Reagan defense buildup … we probably would not be sitting here today having a free discussion between Russians and Americans." The footnote on Page 286 reads only, "See Freerepublic.com."

Chris Suellentrop is the deputy editor for blogs at Yahoo News and a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine. He has reviewed video games for Slate, Rolling Stone, and NewYorker.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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