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First in His Class: A Biography Of Bill Clinton Hardcover – March 6, 1995
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Maybe it's the logical progression of news media excess or the fact that self-absorbed baby boomers now run that media. Whatever the reason, the character of the first boomer president has received more scrutiny and instant analysis than any figure in history. Now Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Maraniss offers a heavily documented (nearly 400 interviews), unauthorized biography that ends with Clinton's announcement for the presidency. Maraniss writes, "My goal was for this book to be neither pathography nor hagiography, but a fair-minded examination of a complicated human being and the forces that shaped him and his generation." He has achieved his goal. His portrait shows Clinton to be, like most public figures, a welter of coexisting contradictions--"considerate and calculating, easygoing and ambitious, mediator and predator." Maraniss writes that his research caused him to like Clinton even when he disliked him and to dislike him even when he liked him. All in all, First in His Class is solid journalism that thoughtfully evokes the tumultuous times--desegregation, assassinations, Vietnam--that shaped Clinton. Maraniss, of course, is also a boomer, but his scrutiny is more balanced and thoughtful than most. Thomas Gaughan
Lots of people have put forth theories on what makes Bill Clinton tick, but the most trustworthy source may be David Maraniss of the Washington Post. Maraniss won a Pulitzer covering Clinton's campaign, and his book on the man is nonpareil; you simply can't understand Clinton without reading Maraniss's anaylsis of his past. When Bill Clinton is good, he is very, very good, and when he's bad, he's exactly like he has been all his life. Fair-minded but no apologist, Maraniss is essentially an inspiring reporter who, virtually alone among Americans, has troubled to interview Clinton's Oxford classmates and therefore knows that Clinton was, according to them, not lying when he said he "never inhaled"; his classmates devoted hours to teaching Bill to inhale, but he just couldn't do it. Maraniss also casts light on what Clinton did imbibe intellectually at Oxford; precisely what he did to elude the draft, and its moral significance; how Arkansas politics shaped his political style; and what his character and marriage might actually be like. Yes, Maraniss gives us a comic scene in which fiancée Hillary comes through the front door of the campaign headquarters while a young female staffer is hustled out the back--but more importantly, Maraniss puts such events in perspective. As he once observed in the Post, "The question of whether a president who cannot control his sexual appetite should not be president is a tough one. It might mean that most of our presidents should not have been presidents." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Objective, informative and fascinating. Loved it.
And that the democratic party was open enough to evolve from aristocratic JD Rosevelt thru plutocratic Kennedy to proletarian Clinton.
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