Save Big On Open-Box & Used Products: Buy "The Survivor: Bill Clinton in the White House” from Amazon Open-Box & Used and save 72% off the $29.95 list price. Product is eligible for Amazon's 30-day returns policy and Prime or FREE Shipping. See all offers from Amazon Open-Box & Used.
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Survivor: Bill Clinton in the White House Hardcover – May 31, 2005
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Special Offers and Product Promotions
The Survivor is the rare book with positive recommendations from both liberal historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. and Brit Hume of the Fox News Channel. The author, John F. Harris--who covered the Clinton presidency as a political reporter at The Washington Post for six years--finds the perfect balance for his subject, writing with point-blank frankness about Clinton's impressive strengths and many weaknesses and painting an utterly fair portrait of one of the most charismatic and enigmatic political figures of the last 50 years. Harris at times is harsher to Clinton than many of the president's critics were and at other times, as in the case of his impeachment, is far kinder. He occasionally editorializes on the motivations of the Clintons, that ultimate power couple: why their marriage was not (despite public opinion) a sham based on political opportunity; how Bill's upbringing contributed to his willingness to take risks (sometimes to his great harm); and how "permanent Washington," including the presidential press corps, was determined to teach these Arkansas outsiders a lesson in the administration's rocky early days.
Harris peppers the book with both fact and anecdote, moving swiftly from subject to subject. The Survivor shows Clinton's growth as a leader throughout the eight years of his presidency, and how his personal failings almost brought them to a close. Far from being a milquetoast summary of events, The Survivor is a gripping read set behind the scenes in the West Wing. Harris has crafted a brilliant book with writerly style and with an eye on history. The Survivor is one of the best political titles of the year, and--like its subject matter--may be appreciated even more as time goes on. --Jennifer Buckendorff
From Publishers Weekly
In clear, workmanlike prose, veteran Washington Post reporter Harris traces the emotional highs and lows of a presidency with an excess of both. The book takes off after the disastrous (for Democrats) midterm elections of 1994, in part because of the arrival on-scene of a volatile Newt Gingrich and consultant Dick Morris, who is portrayed as quite sleazy. As the political wars over Whitewater and Lewinsky heat up, Harris's behind-the-scenes reporting pays dividends: he finds Gingrich boasting to Clinton, "Mr. President, we are going to run you out of town" and Clinton angrily denouncing the 1998 impeachment attempt as "a fucking coup d'état!" to a blank-faced, unsympathetic Al Gore. According to Harris, "the stereotype of Clinton as a supremely guileful and deceptive politician was essentially wrong." Instead, he views Clinton as an insecure, needy man whose frequent shifts in direction and self-destructive behavior reflected not cunning but utter lack of self-control. He also sees Clinton as growing in strength, self-confidence and wisdom over his eight years in office, and praises his courage in responding to the humanitarian crisis in Kosovo. On terrorism, Harris offers a mixed verdict, crediting Clinton with recognizing the growing threat posed by al-Qaeda and expanding U.S. efforts against it while acknowledging the inadequacy of those efforts. 16 pages of photos not seen by PW.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Top Customer Reviews
John Harris has written one of the few even-handed approaches toward Bill Clinton. Covering the politics of the 1990's for the Washington Post, he portrays Bill Clinton as a brilliant, undisciplined President who could could have been so much more. He describes his successes (Kosovo and welfare reform) and his failures (health care reform and the impeachment process). His greatest success may have have been outlasting his numerous enemies (hence the title of this book).
Mr. Harris has uncovered little original research about Clinton's Presidency but he synthesises all that has been published into a readable, coherent and balanced look at the man and his personal/political choices while in office. Mr. Clinton comes off as a tragic figure whose ambitious policy agenda came unravelled through his own hubris and the determined oppositon of Congressional Republicans. If there is one book that the reader wants to consult about the domestic and foreign policies of the prior decade, this is that book.
Books have come out about him that are distinctly for and against - obviously mindful of the power he still wields and the possibility that the man may someday be "first gentleman".
This book however is slightly different in that respect. Although I do not think the book is completely objective the author strives to be objective and it shows. Given the obvious power of the personality of Bill Clinton as well as the various controversies that swirled about him we are a little too close in time for anyone to be completely objective. Never the less seems to be the closest thing we have yet to a picture of what the
Clinton White House was really like.
I will reiterate that I do believe the author does his best to be objective. I think the best way to describe the author's ultimate view of Clinton is that he strongly ambivalent about the man. The way the political situation is currently in this country this book leaves enough open as far as the perception of the character of William Jefferson Clinton that it will be very much like a type of ink blot test of the reader. For although Clinton is not always shown in the best light here and some of the revelations in this book will be decried by Clinton supporters I believe both supporters and detractors will feel as they will have come away from this book with more ammunition.
Harris shows a man more aware of the threat of terrorism than the public knew as well as someone who was a true believer in the policies he tried to enact.
But the author also portrays a president continually under siege and due to this finds himself unable to act as effectively as he could or would like. Depending on what party you belong to some would call his actions prudent and understandable and that he was undermined by his enemies whereas others will see him as a man that did not have the backbone to act on what he saw was the right course of action. In short Harris finds Clinton not so much of a schemer as someone hampered by his insecurities and whose seeming indesciveness, and what some have characterized as slipperiness, was based on insecurity. And although the author shows the Clinton White House to be purposely evasive he presents the tactic as perhaps being well warranted. Clinton is shown as well as some who although possessing a flexible mind was not always flexible in his management style and this quality proved to be a double edged sword. Harris also gives a picture of a man that is bright but undisciplined perhasaps to the point of being self-sabotaging. But the author also shows Clinton as someone who showed personal growth during his eight years in the White House and who became more confident is his decision making.
In The Survivor we see the highs and lows of the Clinton presidency and it gives us some insights in to the mechanics of the Clinton White House that frankly Clinton's autobiography lacked.
A no nonsense clear-headed and aptly titled biography.
Jim Connell "Hallstatt Prince"
I will come back to this review page in a few days and I know I will see vile hatred spewed out by those who have not read the book. A brief note to them: if your dismissal of the book is based on your dislike of its subject and you have not read the book, then reflect for a moment on how weak your position is and spend the money and effort to find out the whole story.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I don't think anyone is going to order this book expecting a thriller.Read more