The most popular former president of the past half century

None of them, however, has undergone the political reincarnation that George Herbert Walker Bush has. Frail from a form of Parkinson’s disease, Mr. Bush, 89, has benefited from a wave of historical revisionism that has transformed him from the biggest incumbent loser since William Howard Taft to, by at least one measure, the most popular former president of the past half century.

“This is a man who campaigned for a kinder, gentler nation,” said Mark K. Updegrove, director of the Johnson library, who is working on a book about the two President Bushes. “And it’s interesting that after a quarter-century, he’s getting a kinder and gentler verdict in history.”

Mr. Updegrove’s is one of several books in the works about the 41st president and will take its place among recent documentaries and awards. After bestowing the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Mr. Bush three years ago, President Obama brought him back to the White House last summer to honor him. Last week, Mount Vernon gave Mr. Bush its first Cyrus A. Ansary Prize for Courage and Character. Next month, he will receive the Profile in Courage award from the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation.

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