Strong women are what we need today. It takes a strong woman to stand beside a man who has the nations in his hands.

It has been a tradition for wives of American presidents to write memoirs, it seems. Laura Bush, who is a very private person, has done so.

In 1949 it was Eleanor Roosevelt who wrote “This I Remember.” As far back as 1914 Helen Taft wrote her memoir “Recollections of Five Years.” Edith Wilson in 1939 wrote “My Memoir.” Current first ladies since Lady Bird Johnson through Hillary Clinton have penned memoirs.

It seems the reason we don’t read many of them is that they get classified as women’s literature rather than political literature. Clinton’s memoirs also served as her campaign autobiography.

Now it is Laura Bush’s opportunity to help historians of the future to understand the turbulent time period she lived through as helpmeet of a president. What I mean by this is that she has a whole chapter in the book titled “Goodness in the Land of the Living” in which she covers 9/11 and what the attack brought about. She states that it changed Bush into a war president.

When she was asked by Laurence McQuillan of USA Today, “Mrs. Bush, you know, children are kind of struck by all this. Is there a message you could tell the nation’s …,” she replied “Well, parents need to reassure their children everywhere in our country that they are safe.” That’s the kind of woman she is.

The attack on 9/11 was soon followed by the spores of anthrax in letters. Bush had to make the hard decision to start air attacks on the Taliban. He had to also run the country amid the chaos.

But the book doesn’t camp on that one incident of 9/11.

Laura Bush has done many more things. Prior to marrying she was a teacher and a librarian. This she carried into the White House years. She has backed book festivals and literacy programs. She has been a voice for AIDS research, to list a few things.

She offers a detailed look at Afghanistan before the current situation. This alone bears reading this book to get a proper understanding of the important of this area. It has not always been a hotbed of Taliban activity.

The story of how they met is interesting. She and George were living only 10 blocks from each other in Midland as they were growing up, but they never met. They only passed each other from time to time at school. They didn’t know they each existed. It was when a friend introduced them to each other when they were both in their 30s that they began to notice each other.

She remembered the properties as encircling town like a giant grassy ring, starting at the very edge where the streets dead-ended into dust. “It wasn’t so much an insular world as an isolated one” she recalled.

Since Laura is a private person it was brave of her to pen a memoir and open herself and the family so much.

Contact Dane at smdp_review@yahoo.com.