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Counsel to the President: A Memoir Hardcover – May 21, 1991


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 709 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1st edition (May 21, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394569954
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394569956
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #421,752 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Presidential adviser Clifford had a hand in the launching of the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, the birth of the present national security system and other seminal events in the post-WW II era. He served as President Kennedy's personal lawyer, was Lyndon Johnson's closest adviser during the Vietnam war and succeeded Robert McNamara as secretary of Defense. Though he has much of interest to say about the presidencies of Johnson and Carter in particular, Clifford's re-creation of the Truman years (about a fourth of the book) is most memorable and deeply felt. His admiration for Harry Truman as a chief executive and as a man is profound. Written with former assistant secretary of State Holbrooke, Clifford's memoir is a treasure of historical information, vivid anecdotes and sharp insights into Washington politics and policy over the past four and a half decades. Photos.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This long and fascinating memoir is a fitting reminder of Clifford's remarkable political career. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s he seemed to be on the spot, ready to advise presidents and offer his wisdom on the issues of the day. Yet Clifford's impact on American politics began much earlier, with the presidency of Harry Truman who named him Special Counsel. Clifford retained this title under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson and was a key figure in many of the pivotal policy decisions of the Sixties (especially the Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam escalation). This memoir is both a political history of the postwar years, as well as an intimate inside look at the workings of power. Clifford's portraits of major political figures are fresh and illuminating, and the book is filled with useful anecdotes both from his public and private life. He concludes with some ruminations on the Reagan-Bush years and broader reflections on history and politics. An essential book for most libraries. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/91.
- Thomas A. Karel, Franklin & Marshall Coll. Lib., Lancaster, Pa.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 13 customer reviews
It is an easy book to read.
Whetstone Guy
Very highly recommended book by a consummate lawyer and presidential advisor from the Truman years to Jimmy Carter.
friend of new orleans
He is one of our countries heros.
Thomas H. Savery

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By friend of new orleans on May 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very highly recommended book by a consummate lawyer and presidential advisor from the Truman years to Jimmy Carter. Full of enlightening anecdotes and penetrating insights It's hard to pick out any in particular but the passages on LBJ and the Vietnam war are just devastating. For instance, The North chose the timing of the Tet offensive in 1968 to coincide with the beginning of the US political cycle ( the New Hampshire Primary) for maximun political affect on the American public. As hard as it is to believe, Clark makes a strong case that LBJ deliberately sabotaged Humphrey's campaign in 1968 out of a twisted need to be right on Viet Nam, thus helping Nixon to be elected. Quite a story indeed!! Read it and try to come to a balanced appreciation of LBJ who did so much good domestically but who remained a twisted ego driven man so obsessed with his legacy that he helped to defeat his own party and running mate. Amazing stuff!! Clark has been gone since 1998 but his book lives on.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Whetstone Guy on February 6, 2011
Format: Paperback
I am almost finished with this book. Mr. Clifford had all of the skills to succeed. He was from an upper middle class background with two parents whose marriage presumably worked. His father was an executive at a railroad. His mother taught at Chatauqua and was on radio. He was hardworking and bright and became a lawyer at an early age. Most important he had a lot of emotional intelligence and common sense. The beauty of the book is that it gives details of the inner workings of government from Harry Truman to Jimmy Carter. It is an easy book to read. Except for the Vietnam War, an appropriate amount of space is devoted to each topic.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dave W. on May 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The best history covering the time span from WW ll to Ronald Reagan, from the people who where "in the room" making the choices. History right from the horses mouth, not some history professor's interpretation.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Pepper on August 17, 2010
Format: Paperback
should be required reading for all registered voters regardless of party--insightful, entertaining & thought provoking
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Format: Paperback
Very insightful. Those that have read the Wise Men, may also like to read Clark Clifford's book. I tend to stay away from auto biographies because authors tends to toot their horn either too much or too often. I could say that there was plenty of horn tooting in this book but the insights to the decisions made in the Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and Carter Administrations may be worth the cost. Well written and insightful. "Friends in High Places" is another biography on Clark Clifford and it was written a few years later and therefore covers more years.
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Format: Hardcover
Outstanding read and highly detailed but not really patting himself on the back. Note co-written with the late, great Richard Holbrooke. Excellent coverage of Johnson on Vietnam
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By The Bear on June 29, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I liked this book, because the author lived the story he tells, and it has a ring of truth about it. The Truman-to-Carter political time frame is a dramatic slice of history. Since it covers several decades, this book is BIG. But I took it slow and enjoyed seeing "behind the curtain" as politicians schemed and diplomatic and public relations type people put different "spins" on every topic before the public saw or heard about it. And I learned a valuable lesson that holds true today: the only thing politicians fear is the people they pretend to serve.
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