Apart from the wars in Iraq and Lebanon, what's on President Bush's mind as he takes a shortened vacation at his Texas ranch? Judging by the books on his summer-reading list, Bush is thinking about nuclear bombs, civil war and baseball. The president has just finished "Clemente," by David Maraniss, the story of the gifted right-fielder who rose from a poor Puerto Rican family to become a Pittsburgh Pirates star, before dying in a plane crash while delivering aid to Nicaraguan earth-quake victims. (Bush told NEWSWEEK he loved the last baseball book he read, "The Big Bam," about Babe Ruth.) The president has also read "American Prometheus" by Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin, a biography of Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the atom bomb who later became a pacifist and a victim of the anti-communist witch hunt.
Now Bush is reading another bio of his favorite president. "Lincoln," by Richard Carwardine, looks at the newly formed Republican Party and the president's evolving views of slavery. According to Publishers Weekly, the book's best insight is into Lincoln's religious views and his relationship with evangelicals.