Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Bill Clinton: An American Journey : Great Expectations

Bill Clinton: An American Journey : Great Expectations This book is by Nigel Hamilton.

From a Booklist Review:

Hamilton, who took on the early years of John F. Kennedy in Reckless Youth (1992), now looks at the life of Bill Clinton from birth through his ascendancy to the presidency, with a second volume to follow. Similar to Reckless Youth in style, this is as much a psychological portrait and picture of an era as it is an examination of the facts and motivations of Clinton's life. In some cases, facts seem as mutable as motivations: Hamilton convincingly speculates that William Blythe was not Clinton's father. While relying heavily on works such as David Marannis' First in His Class (1995) and Gennifer Flowers' explicit Passion and Betrayal (1996), Hamilton bolsters his secondary sources with numerous interviews, though most are not with familiar names. His premise, though not new, is intriguingly spun: Clinton, the classic pulled-himself-up-by-his-bootstraps kid, the child of an alcoholic home, a chronic people pleaser, had a fatal flaw--his ambition overrode his morality. And yet, in spite of his premise, Hamilton is surprisingly sympathetic to his subject, placing Clinton's foibles against America's culture wars. (Would the Clintons' companionate marriage have raised eyebrows in Europe? he asks.) Hamilton's fleshed-out picture shows how easily Bill Clinton could charm, empathize, manipulate, and disappoint. A very readable addition to the growing Clinton bookshelf.

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