What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception

Front Cover
PublicAffairs, Jun 3, 2008 - Political Science - 336 pages
3 Reviews
In the bestselling book that provoked a media sensation, former White House press secretary Scott McClellan takes readers behind the scenes of the presidency of George W. Bush. Scott McClellan was one of a few Bush loyalists from Texas who became part of his inner circle of trusted advisers, and remained so during one of the most challenging and contentious periods of recent history. Drawn to Bush by his commitment to compassionate conservatism and strong bipartisan leadership, McClellan served the president for more than seven years, and witnessed day-to-day exactly how the presidency veered off course. In this refreshingly clear-eyed book, written with no agenda other than to record his experiences and insights for the benefit of history, McClellan provides unique perspective on what happened and why it happened the way it did, including the Iraq War, Hurricane Katrina, Washington's bitter partisanship and two hotly-contested presidential campaigns. He gives readers a candid look into what George W Bush is and what he believes and into the personalities, strengths, and liabilities of his top aides. Finally, McClellan looks to the future, exploring the lessons this presidency offers the American people as they prepare to elect a new leader.

What people are saying - Write a review

Boring-Don't bother

User Review  - busy1 - Borders

Scott McClellan kick starts his story with a tantalizing synopsis of the Valerie Plame/Joe Wilson scandal, but there the premise and promise of the book's title dies. McClellan claims he was a novice ... Read full review

No Surprises

User Review  - clevans - Borders

There was a lot of negative hype about this book, but aside from the timing vis-a-vis the 2008 elections, there was nothing that I found overly devisive or bitter about it (certainly nothing to live ... Read full review


1 A MadeforWashington Scandal 1
2 A Small Part of Something Grand 11
3 Growing Up in Politics 21
4 Governor Bush Runs for President 39
5 The Permanent Campaign 61
6 The Early Days 87
7 September 11 and the Partisan Ceasefire 99
8 Selling the War 119
11 Betting the Presidency 191
12 Brush Fire 213
13 Triumph and Illusion 233
14 Revelation and Humiliation 255
15 Out of Touch 271
16 After the Trial 293
17 Changing the Culture of Deception 311
Acknowledgments 325

9 Becoming White House Press Secretary 149
10 Deniability 165

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2008)

Scott McClellan served as White House press secretary from 2003 to 2006. Before that he served as the principal deputy White House press secretary and as traveling press secretary for the Bush Cheney 2000 campaign. Earlier in his career, Mr. McClellan served as deputy communications director in the Texas governor's office and campaign manager for three successful state campaigns. He is now a senior advisor to a global technology firm and communications strategist. He lives near Washington, DC.

Bibliographic information