Marlin Fitzwater’s new book features stories from the White House during the Persian Gulf Crisis and Operation Desert Storm.

Calm Before the Storm, the new book by Marlin Fitzwater, tells behind the scenes stories from the White House during the Persian Gulf Crisis and Operation Desert Storm.

In Aug. 1990, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and President George H.W. Bush’s press secretary started a diary. Today, Marlin Fitzwater’s compilation of private notes, memos and briefings from the time of the Persian Gulf Crisis and the resulting Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm are at the root of his new book, Calm Before the Storm: Desert Storm Diaries and Other Stories isscheduled for release on Sept. 13, 2019.

Fitzwater served as White House Press Secretary for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush and is one of the longest-serving U.S. press secretaries in history. Calm Before the Storm is, at its heart, a story of presidential leadership and American principles, with Operation Desert Storm serving as the backdrop.

Fitzwater’s book, dedicated to the memory of George and Barbara Bush, is rounded out with anecdotes that give readers glimpses at other personal, even humorous events during his Washington career. As well, the author takes readers back to his childhood in Kansas for a look at what helped produce his powers of observation and storytelling skills.

His diary entries are written in such a way as to give a play-by-play of pivotal events during his time in the White House. Fitzwater recounts personal interactions with presidents and world leaders and provides insights to the states of mind of these powerful people responsible for making monumental historic decisions.

In his foreword, Kenneth T. Walsh writes, “Similarly, Fitzwater’s diary . . . shows not only President Bush’s state of mind as his pre-war buildup of US forces was proceeding secretly in Saudi Arabia, but also reveals, quite poignantly, the pressure that surrounds all presidents as they deal with crisis and their intense desire to ease the tension.”

Here are some of the testimonials from news correspondents and Senior White House Staffers who had early access to the book manuscript:

  • “The author of one of my favorite books, Call the Briefing!, is back with another memoir about life as the press secretary to two presidents. Marlin Fitzwater is a master storyteller. ”
    —Dana Perino, FOX News; White House Press Secretary, President George W. Bush 
  • “You’ll find the stories Marlin tells fascinating (an inside look that reporters didn’t see) but also a welcome reminder of a time when presidents and their press secretary tried to do their jobs with integrity, honesty and civility.”
    —Sam Donaldson, ABC News White House Correspondent 
  • “This book reads just like Marlin: it’s keenly observed, brutally honest, clear-eyed, plain-spoken and sometimes really funny … proof of why he was appointed White House press secretary by two presidents–and was one of the very best.”

—Dee Dee Myers, White House Press Secretary, President William. J. Clinton 

  • “There was no one better at the job of White House press secretary than Marlin Fitzwater – a farm boy from Kansas tells a remarkable story offering firsthand accounts of some of the truly historic events he lived.

 —Andy Card, White House Chief of Staff, President George W. Bush

  • “Marlin Fitzwater is a brilliant diarist. He has opened a window intothe Bush presidency like no one else . . . the stories he shares about his upbringing and career from Kansas to Washington, D.C., are illuminating as they provide insight into Marlin’s remarkable life and explain so much about the American experience.”

—Kenneth T. Walsh, White House Correspondent US News and Historian

“. . . Most of (these diary entries) stand on their own as snapshots of life in the White House, although they were written in private,” writes Fitzwater in his introduction. “Serving two Presidents was the grandest experience of my life. There are always division points in one’s life, places where our minds change focus, and our ambitions achieve new dimensions. Mine were on the farm, going to college, and working for the President of the United States – all reflected in some measure in this book.”

The book closes with a series of remembrances of President George H.W. Bush written by some of his National Security staff and other senior officers. All have chosen to express their thoughts and feelings

about the person and the president through short essays in tribute to him. This section, edited by Ambassador Thomas E. McNamara (Ret.), appears with permission of “American Diplomacy,” an online journal.

Calm Before the Storm: Desert Storm Diaries and Other Stories (ISBN: 978-1-937720-47-6), with Foreword by Kenneth T. Walsh, former US NEWS White House correspondent, is published by Sea Hill Press (

Publication: Sep. 4, 2019. Retail: $29.95. Format: 6″x 9″ hardcover w/jacket. Pages: 408.

Available at Barnes & Noble, and other independent bookstores across the country. Book trade and library orders can be placed through NBN (National Book Network)­­­.

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