Bush book offers ‘gripping detail,’ publisher promises

NEW YORK – The publisher of former President George W. Bush’s book “Decision Points” on Sunday set a Nov. 9 release date, unveiled its cover design and announced new details about it.

Bush has said he is not writing a traditional memoir but an account of key decisions in his life. The cover features a photo of then-President Bush standing in the Rose Garden Colonnade, holding a briefing book.

According to Crown Publishers, “Decision Points” will offer “gripping, never-before-heard detail” on such historic events as the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the 2000 presidential election along with Bush’s decision to quit drinking, his relationship with his family and other personal details.

“Since leaving the Oval Office, President Bush has given virtually no interviews or public speeches about his presidency,” Crown said in a statement. “Instead, he has spent almost every day writing ‘Decision Points,’ a strikingly personal and candid account revealing how and why he made the defining decisions in his consequential presidency and personal life.”

A publishing industry source familiar with the book said that Bush had completed a first draft and was editing the manuscript on a computer at his office in Dallas. A former White House speech writer, Chris Michel, is helping with research.

The source was unsure whether Bush had compared notes with his wife, Laura Bush, whose memoir comes out May 4.

The source asked not to be identified because the book had not been released.

As president, Bush was known for not acknowledging errors, but Crown said that he “writes honestly and directly about his flaws and mistakes, as well as his historic achievements in reforming education, providing life-saving treatments for HIV/AIDS and malaria for millions of people in Africa, safeguarding the country from another terrorist attack, and other areas.”

The book will have a list price of $35. One thousand signed, clothbound copies will be available, priced at $350 each.

 Hawking says aliens exist, but warns to let them lie

LONDON – British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking says aliens are out there, but it could be too dangerous for humans to interact with extraterrestrial life.

Hawking claims in a new documentary that intelligent alien life forms almost certainly exist, but warns that communicating with them could be “too risky.”

The 68-year-old scientist says a visit by extraterrestrials to Earth would be like Christopher Columbus arriving in the Americas, “which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans.”

He speculates most extraterrestrial life will be similar to microbes, or small animals – but adds advanced life forms may be “nomads, looking to conquer and colonize.”

The Discovery Channel said Sunday it will broadcast “Stephen Hawking’s Universe” in Britain next month.

‘Dragon’ reawakens

LOS ANGELES – “How to Train Your Dragon” continues to breathe fire at the box office, while newer releases are mostly blowing smoke.

The DreamWorks Animation adventure took in $15 million to reclaim the No. 1 spot in its fifth weekend of release. “How to Train Your Dragon” opened in first place in late March, then dropped back into the pack. But it has held up strongly and climbed to the top again amid a flurry of so-so new releases.

The tale of a Viking youth and his pet dragon raised its total to $178 million and is on its way to becoming a $200 million hit.

Premiering weakly at No. 2 with $12.3 million was Jennifer Lopez’s romantic comedy “The Back-up Plan,” released by CBS Films. Steve Carell and Tina Fey’s “Date Night” finished at No. 3.