The Man in the Middle is at its best when George W. Bush is on stage, which is a lot of the time. It is the single best account I have seen of the inner life of the President—his intimate Christian and human side in his interactions with others and in the great (often painful) decisions of his presidency, as in the decision to override much advice and to go ahead with the surge in Iraq. That single decision changed the world’s perception of the steadfast, yet inventive and courageous character of this nation.

By the victory it produced, that decision, as much as anything else, empowered the citizens of Arab lands to rebel against repressive dictators, to prove to themselves and the world their bravery and sense of responsibility for their own destiny, and to prevail. That decision sprang from the steely inner courage of a single man, and it lit a fire that will burn in other men and women for decades to come. That...


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