WASHINGTON: As John Howard flogs his memoirs, his political kindred spirit, George Bush, is poised to do likewise, emerging in the final days of the US midterm election campaign as the ghost of administrations past.
But Mr Bush, whose account of his eight years in the White House hits bookshops on November 9, continues studiously to avoid comment on his successor, Barack Obama, and says he does not intend being back in the limelight for long.
So far, America's 43rd president has chosen low-key speaking engagements to give the 500-page Decision Points a plug, while taking a few light-hearted shots at his critics.
The sales pitch, however, is expected to intensify during a round of chat-show appearances that are expected to follow the first one-on-one interview he has given since leaving office.
That honour has been reserved for the Today show on NBC, the network which employs the former president's daughter, Jenna Bush Hager, as a Washington-based reporter. The interview is scheduled to screen on November 10, a week after American voters are expected to put Republicans back in control of the House of Representatives.
At a finance convention in Chicago last week, Mr Bush said publication of his book had meant a reluctant return to public life. ''I have zero desire, just so you know, to be in the limelight,'' he said. ''I don't think it's good for the country to have a former president criticise his successor. You're not going to see me giving my opinions in the public arena, until I start selling my book. I'm going to emerge, then submerge.''
He also retains a self-deprecatory sense of humour. On Sunday evening at the University of Texas, Mr Bush reportedly told his audience: ''This will come as a shock to some people in our country who didn't think I could read a book, much less write one.''
Decision Points focuses on key moments in Mr Bush's life, from the time he quit drinking at age 40 to when he sent American troops to war in Afghanistan and Iraq.
In a YouTube clip promoting his memoirs, Mr Bush says the book ends with an account of the financial crisis in 2008 ''and my decision to set ideology aside to prevent an economic collapse''.
Last week Mr Bush characterised that moment thus: ''I did not want to be a president overseeing a depression greater than the Great Depression.''
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