Dowd, Maureen (Brigid) 1952–
Dowd, Maureen (Brigid) 1952–
PERSONAL: Born January 14, 1952, in Washington, DC. Education: Catholic University, B.A., 1973.
CAREER: Journalist and columnist. Washington Star, Washington, DC, editorial assistant, 1974–81, reporter; Time magazine, correspondent, 1981–83; New York Times, reporter, 1983–95, columnist, 1995–.
AWARDS, HONORS: Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary, 1999.
Bushworld: Enter at Your Own Risk, G. P. Putnam's Sons (New York, NY), 2004.
Author of "On Washington" column for New York Times magazine.
ADAPTATIONS: Bushworld was adapted as an audio-book read by Kathe Mazur, Penguin, 2004.
SIDELIGHTS: Collecting 145 columns written by Maureen Dowd for the New York Times, Bushworld: Enter at Your Own Risk, focuses on U.S. President George W. Bush and his family. "I never thought I'd put together a book of columns because I thought columns were so ephemeral," Dowd told James Reginato in W. "And I thought it would be too narcissistic." Dowd went on to explain her decision to do the book: "I thought when people realized they were misled—that there weren't these ties between 9/11 and Iraq—at some point they might want a quick guide to what happened, who the players were."
Giving her column titles such as "Bomb and Switch," "Weapons of Mass Reduction," and "Grilled over Rats," Dowd reveals both her humor and insight as she focuses on what she considers the Bush administration's blunders, most notably the war in Iraq. Dowd also discusses many aspects of the "Bush World," including the senior Bush's term as president from 1988–92 and the controversy surrounding his son's election in 2000. In addition, Dowd writes about the various other members of the Bush administration, whom she gives nicknames such as "Rummy" for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, "Wolfie" for Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, and the "Prince of Darkness" for Vice President Dick Cheney. As for President George W. Bush, she typically refers to him as the "Boy Emperor," analyzing many of his decisions as president and comparing them to decisions made by his father. In her analysis of the Iraq war, Dowd presents her opinion that Bush was seeking to right his father not having dethroned Saddam Hussein during the first Iraqi war in 1991 (known as Desert Storm). The book also includes a new introductory essay.
A Publishers Weekly contributor called Dowd "as scathingly funny as she is zingingly succinct." The reviewer went on to note, however, the essays follow a "real-time" format that "doesn't always work in book form." Jonathan Mirsky, writing in Spectator, noted a similar problem, commenting "even news junkies will rack their brains over the references and the jokes will die." Nevertheless, Mirsky noted "Dowd makes me laugh every week as she sends up the Bush cabinet." Vanessa Bush, writing in Booklist, stated that "Dowd presents a comic-tragic look at the … Bush administration," and added "Bush detractors will love Dowd's sharp analysis, but even his fans should acknowledge her wit." In a review in Library Journal, Robert F. Nardini, noted that, "Recurring themes … are the book's one problem, since past a certain point one columnist's take on one president seems repetitive." Nevertheless, Nardini commented "Dowd fills that role [of polemicist] so splendidly a reviewer could happily quote from almost any page." In W Reginato commented that Bushworld "will … allow readers to appreciate what a dazzling prose stylist Dowd is, a fact sometimes overlooked …[because] her meticulously crafted language is so spare."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Newsmakers 1997, Issue 4, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1997.
Booklist, September 1, 2004, Vanessa Bush, review of Bushworld: Enter at Your Own Risk, p. 2.
Library Journal, October 1, 2004, Robert F. Nardini, review of Bushworld, p. 98.
M2 Best Books, May 20, 2004, "New Book on Bush from New York Times Columnist."
Publishers Weekly, May 24, 2004, John F. Baker, "Dowd Takes on Bush for Putnam," p. 22; August 2, 2004, review of Bushworld, p. 65; August 16, 2004, Daisy Maryles, "Dowd Disses Dubya," p. 17.
Spectator, October 30, 2004, Jonathan Mirsky, review of Bushworld, p. 50.
W, September, 2004, James Reginato, "Bushwhacker: With the Publication of Her First Book, the New York Times's Maureen Dowd Finally Agrees to Talk," p. 422.
New York Times Online, http://www.nytimes.com/ (March 24, 2005), "Maureen Dowd."