My Life

My Life

Book - 2004
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President Bill Clinton's My Life is the strikingly candid portrait of a global leader who decided early in life to devote his intellectual and political gifts, and his extraordinary capacity for hard work, to serving the public.

It shows us the progress of a remarkable American, who, through his own enormous energies and efforts, made the unlikely journey from Hope, Arkansas, to the White House--a journey fueled by an impassioned interest in the political process which manifested itself at every stage of his life: in college, working as an intern for Senator William Fulbright; at Oxford, becoming part of the Vietnam War protest movement; at Yale Law School, campaigning on the grassroots level for Democratic candidates; back in Arkansas, running for Congress, attorney general, and governor.

We see his career shaped by his resolute determination to improve the life of his fellow citizens, an unfaltering commitment to civil rights, and an exceptional understanding of the practicalities of political life.

We come to understand the emotional pressures of his youth--born after his father's death; caught in the dysfunctional relationship between his feisty, nurturing mother and his abusive stepfather, whom he never ceased to love and whose name he took; drawn to the brilliant, compelling Hillary Rodham, whom he was determined to marry; passionately devoted, from her infancy, to their daughter, Chelsea, and to the entire experience of fatherhood; slowly and painfully beginning to comprehend how his early denial of pain led him at times into damaging patterns of behavior.

President Clinton's book is also the fullest, most concretely detailed, most nuanced account of a presidency ever written--encompassing not only the high points and crises but the way the presidency actually works: the day-to-day bombardment of problems, personalities, conflicts, setbacks, achievements.

It is a testament to the positive impact on America and on the world of his work and his ideals.

It is the gripping account of a president under concerted and unrelenting assault orchestrated by his enemies on the Far Right, and how he survived and prevailed.

It is a treasury of moments caught alive, among them:

• The ten-year-old boy watching the national political conventions on his family's new (and first) television set.

• The young candidate looking for votes in the Arkansas hills and the local seer who tells him, "Anybody who would campaign at a beer joint in Joiner at midnight on Saturday night deserves to carry one box. . . . You'll win here. But it'll be the only damn place you win in this county." (He was right on both counts.)

• The roller-coaster ride of the 1992 campaign.

• The extraordinarily frank exchanges with Newt Gingrich and Bob Dole.

• The delicate manipulation needed to convince Rabin and Arafat to shake hands for the camera while keeping Arafat from kissing Rabin.

• The cost, both public and private, of the scandal that threatened the presidency.

Here is the life of a great national and international figure, revealed with all his talents and contradictions, told openly, directly, in his own completely recognizable voice. A unique book by a unique American.
Publisher: New York : Knopf, 2004
ISBN: 9780375414572
0375414576
Branch Call Number: 973.929092 CLI 2004
Characteristics: 957, xlii p. : ill

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SuperJay
Jul 13, 2013

This is a good read. Bill tends to drag on some points but overall you get an inside look to how Bill thought and why he did what he did. I'm happy I read it...

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RazorSteel
Dec 29, 2006

Let me qualify my ?leanings,? if you will, before commenting on this book: I supported Bill Clinton during his two terms in office. I wish he had not embarrassed himself and the Office of the President during his second term, but that?s something he has to live with. That said, I enjoyed this hefty tome a great deal. The first part of the book interested me the most since it was about Clinton?s early years in Arkansas, his relationship with his mom, his stepfather, Roger Clinton, others in his family, friends, etc. I got a better idea as to what shaped his life. As for his years as President, it?s still recent history, and I didn?t come across any earth-shattering revelations concerning Vince Foster, Monica, the Marc Rich pardon, Osama bin Laden, Hillary?s political ambitions, etc. The book is already 957 pages long! I?m sure there are plenty of other books available with someone?s take on these subjects. Reading the book did remind me how much time and money the Republican Congress spent on special investigations (especially Whitewater) and on the impeachment process, with hardly anything to show for it. What is deserved? History will be the judge. The strongest attribute that came across to me while reading this book was Clinton?s refusal to demonize any of his enemies (though you get the impression he?s no fan of Ken Starr). He even wishes W all the best (after the 2000 election), even though Clinton does state ?[Bush and Cheney] saw the world very differently from the way I did? I thought that they would pass their big tax cut ?. and we would be back to the big deficits of the 1980s; international partnerships developed in the aftermath of the Cold War could be strained; and that President Bush would be under pressure to abandon compassionate conservatism by the more right-wing leaders and interest groups of his party.? Again, a good book that one can pick up, read a few chapters, put down, finish a thriller (e.g., Jeffery Deaver or Vince Flynn), and pick up again to continue enjoying.

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