UVa Center Releases George H.W. Bush Oral History

October 14, 2011

The Miller Center at the University of Virginia Friday released the oral history of President George H.W. Bush.

Comprised of interviews with more than 50 senior officials from the Bush White House and Cabinet, the oral history provides an intimate look at the 41st presidency in the words of those who were part of it. The interviews were conducted by teams of scholars, with most lasting seven to ten hours each.

Interview transcripts, excerpts, and audio clips can be found here.

“Fortunately, the Miller Center has always understood and respected the goal of public service. That shows in the Center’s scholarly work, like the patient, ongoing project to chronicle the story of my administration. The documentary record is vital, but your scholars also add the human side that those papers can never capture. For my presidency, and for others, the Miller Center is a place that gets history and preserves it for future generations,” said President George H.W. Bush.

Interviews cleared for release include Secretary of State James Baker, who also served as White House chief of staff; Defense Secretary Dick Cheney; CIA Director Robert Gates; Adm. David Jeremiah, acting chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Frederick McClure, assistant for legislative affairs; Vice President Dan Quayle; National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft; White House Chiefs of Staff John Sununu and Samuel Skinner, who also served as transportation secretary; Attorneys General Richard Thornburgh and William Barr; and others.

“No questions were off-limits to our interviewers, and in most cases those being interviewed were exceptionally generous, welcoming our curiosity and patiently explaining both success and failure as they saw it. Their words add detail and texture to our understanding of President Bush, the team of people he led, and the unique problems of the world as they occurred,” said Russell Riley, chair of the Miller Center’s Presidential Oral History Program.

The Miller Center has already released the oral histories of Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. It is currently conducting those of Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush as well as Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.

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