The Kiwi author, the president and alcohol

21:23, Jun 15 2009

A Kiwi author is about to storm the United States with a controversial novel that explores outgoing President George W Bush's battle with the bottle and motivations for starting the Iraq War.

John Wareham's book, The President's Therapist and the Secret Intervention to Treat the Alcoholism of George Bush, will not appear in US stores till January 20 when Barack Obama is inaugurated but is already into its second print run after climbing online bestseller lists.

The thriller follows the attempts of protagonist Mark Alter to persuade Bush to address his closet alcohol addiction and reverse the course of the Iraq war.

While the therapy sessions and marriage counselling involving Mr Bush's wife are pure fiction, Wareham said the story contained a lot of biographical data.

"Someone said it was a Bush-bashing book, but it's not at all. It treats him very sympathetically and accurately. He's just too easy to make a caricature of so the book does not do that."

Wareham, 69, is an industrial psychologist who has lived in New York for more than 30 years since leaving Wellington.

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He was one of New Zealand's first corporate leadership trainers and has published several books.

He counsels business leaders in the US but likes getting back to New Zealand to work with gang leaders and prisoners.

His mother and brother still live in Wellington.

Wareham was flattered that New York literature professor Charles Defanti had compared the book's "hyper-realism" to Tolstoy but thought it should be easier to read than anything by the Russian master.

He joked the book was being officially released after Mr Obama was inaugurated to make sure CIA agents under the Bush regime did not make him "disappear".

 

The Dominion Post