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The Natural: The Misunderstood Presidency of Bill Clinton Paperback – February 11, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
The Clinton administration had a rocky beginning, noted for its naïve political blunders. Remember Travelgate? How about the mere possibility of universal health care? The Clintons relied heavily on their friends, who were not always the wisest or most capable choices. One of the strengths of THE NATURAL is its portrayal of key relationships. We learn a lot about the former president through Mr. Klein's account of his complex marriage and Mrs. Clinton's formidable, imperfect influence. He also describes the similarities and differences between Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich, who led the failed Republican revolution and masterminded one of the nastiest, most counter-productive political arenas in American history.
It is unfortunate that Bill Clinton's comprehensive understanding of economics will not be what history remembers about his presidency. Mr. Klein points out that balancing the budget was a tremendous gamble and the budget surplus Clinton left the next administration was unprecedented. His sound policies --- welfare reform, Internet commerce, the earned income tax credit --- provided a base for financial prosperity that we are unlikely to see again. One of the melancholy notes of the book is the sense of squandered talent and opportunity. What else might Bill Clinton have accomplished if he had not been so distracted?Read more ›
Joe Klein essentially argues that Bill Clinton was a man both of many virtues and many flaws, and I think that is a fair assessment of this book as well. On the one hand, this is perhaps the first attempt at a fair and reasoned understanding of who President Bill Clinton was. Most books on Clinton have either been poorly documented and badly researched attacks on him, or well documented and better researched books explaining how poorly documented and badly researched that first wave of books was. In other words, books like Conason and Lyons superb THE HUNTING OF THE PRESIDENT, provided a massive amount of documentation correctly the scurrilous attacks of Clinton's previous critics. These books, however, primarily say much, much more about Clinton's attackers and the attackers of the attackers rather than about Clinton himself. The great virtue of THE NATURAL is that Klein attempts to focus primarily on Clinton himself.
Bill Clinton disappointed Joe Klein. Clinton was, in Klein's estimation, enormously knowledgeable, intelligent, well intentioned, and insightful. Why, then, was Clinton not a great president? Klein has several answers to this. First, Clinton was never really tested as president. There was never a serious crisis facing the US during his eight years in the White House, nothing comparable to 9-11 or Pearl Harbor or the Cuban Missile Crisis. Therefore, there was a sense in which he was never tested. Klein does, however, point out that Clinton does not, perhaps, get the credit he deserves for his role in providing the US with eight of the most peaceful years in US history. Second, Klein shows a number reasons that Clinton was ineffective as president, Monica Lewinsky aside.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
You would think that a book written about President Clinton would now be totally irrelevant. And, that would be false, now that Hillary is looking more and more like the person who... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Frederick S. Goethel
This is for the most part a balanced history of our 42nd president. The spin is there, but it isnt on the facts. Read morePublished 19 months ago by JrodFunk5
The author provides us with a concise, mostly balanced, look at the Clinton years, through the budget battles of 1993 through Monica and impeachment. Read morePublished on October 13, 2013 by jhojnack
Bill Clinton is old news, but the issues and politics of the 1990's remain relevant today.
In spite of his jousting with Newt Gingrich, Bill Clinton cemented the Reagan... Read more
Slim and definitely not sine ira et studio, but if you read nothing but this and Primary Colors you'll learn all you need to know about the Clintons. Read morePublished on October 6, 2009 by Touffu
'The Natural' is Informative, tightly written and much more objective than Clinton's autobiography. It's a great book that treats the ex-president fairly, not as a cartoon villain... Read morePublished on September 12, 2009 by micheal zeeland
Joe Klein takes a detailed, dispassionate look at the Clinton Presidency. He takes great pains to put it in perspective, both generational (Baby Boomers take over from the WWII... Read morePublished on September 7, 2007 by Noneofyourbiz
This short, fast-moving book on Bill Clinton forsakes a historian's detailed and measured treatment to get at the essence of this man's presidency. Read morePublished on January 24, 2007 by Daniel Berger