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Spoken from the Heart

Spoken from the Heart

Read by: Laura Bush
  • reading group guide
  • bestseller
The intimate and startlingly candid memoir from one of America’s most beloved and private first ladies.

In a captivating and compelling voice that ranks with many of our greatest memoirists, Laura Bush tells the story of her unique path from dusty Midland, Texas to the world stage and the White House. An only child, Laura Welch grew up in a family that lost three babies to miscarriage or infant death. She masterfully recreates the rugged, oil boom-and-bust culture of Midland, her close relationship with her father, and the bonds of early friendships that she retains to this day. For the first time, in heart-wrenching detail, she writes about her tragic car accident that left her friend Mike Douglas dead.

Laura Welch attended Southern Methodist University in an era on the cusp of monumental change. After graduating, she became an elementary school teacher, working in inner-city schools, then trained as a librarian. At age thirty, she met George W. Bush, whom she had last passed in the hallway in seventh grade. Three months later, “the old maid of Midland married Midland’s most eligible bachelor.”

As First Lady of Texas, Laura Bush championed education and launched the Texas Book Festival, passions she brought to the White House. Here, she captures presidential life in the frantic and fearful months after 9-11, when fighter jet cover echoed through the walls. She writes openly about the threats, the withering media spotlight, and the transformation of her role. One of the first U.S. officials to visit war-torn Afghanistan, she reached out to disease-stricken African nations and tirelessly advocated for women in the Middle East and dissidents in Burma. With deft humor and a sharp eye, Laura Bush lifts the curtain on what really happens inside the White House. And she writes with honesty and eloquence about her family, political life, and her eight remarkable Washington years.

Laura Bush’s compassion, her sense of humor, her grace, and her uncommon willingness to bare her heart make this story deeply revelatory, beautifully rendered, and unlike any other First Lady’s memoir ever written.
  • Simon & Schuster Audio | 
  • 7 disks | 
  • ISBN 9781442305205 | 
  • May 2010
List Price $29.99
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Spoken from the Heart includes an introduction and discussion questions. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

INTRODUCTION

From the flat, dusty streets of Midland, Texas, in the heart of the boom-and-bust American oil patch, to the gleaming columns and glistening marble hallways of the White House, Laura Welch Bush traveled a rare path. But many readers will find much to share in her particular story—from private family grief and a tragic twist of fate to waiting years for love and her struggle for much-wanted children. Use our reader’s guide to help re-examine Laura Bush’s private years and her life in the public eye.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

THE FORMATIVE YEARS IN MIDLAND, TEXAS YEARS

  1. Laura Bush’s Spoken from the Heart begins with a story of loss: the death of her premature, newborn baby brother when Laura was just two-and-a-half years old. The theme of loss is woven throughout the book, the loss of two other baby siblings; the loss of her friend, Mike Douglas, in the car crash; the loss of her father to dementia; even the loss of privacy and anonymity first when she marries into the Bush family and then when her husband enters politics.
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Articles About This Book

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Posted on Off the Shelf

Posted by Off the Shelf Staff

First Ladies constitute the original First Wives' Club. They always know what's REALLY going on behind the scenes in the highest echelon of American government. The hope of reading some inside dirt is what makes their memoirs so fascinating -- how...

About the Author

Laura Bush
Photograph copyright Brigitte Lacombe 2010

Laura Bush

Laura Bush was First Lady of the United States from 2001 to 2009. She founded both the National Book Festival and the Texas Book Festival.

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