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Showing 1-10 of 20 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 39 reviews
on December 14, 2015
While a very long book, it was fascinating to read what Clinton was thinking as the moment was passing him by. I wish this type of project could be found with every President. Even the ones whom I dislike. Perhaps those would be the most important ones to read. Regardless, this book is worth the money and the time you will invest. Enjoy!
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on August 27, 2016
This is an interesting,sometimes fascinating,insight into the world of Bill Clinton. Even though i kniw it is comparing apples to oranges,i am still disappointed,having been delighted by the author's trilogy on the Civil Rights era.
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on October 19, 2009
Taylor Branch is a noted historian and Pulitizer Prize winner for one of the three massive and excellent books he wrote concerning the late Rev. Nartin Luther King, Jr., and the civil rights movement. As he explains early in the book, scholars have been grappling with how to render an impartial version of the history of presidencies, now that huge libraries are being built to contain the plethora of items that touch upon every Prresident: legislation, correspondence, electronic taping, gifts, memorabilia, etc.

Reagan was aware of this issue and appointed an official biographer early in his tenure and Edmund Morris, a noted historian himself, was given unprecedented access to the President and his White House. His resulting work failed, however, for many reasons, most notably that he was unable to retain the journalistic distance needed to create a proper history.

President Clinton and Branch knew one another during the McGovern campaign in 1972, sharing an apartment in Texas to help run that area of the operation. When he was elected, being aware of the historical issues I've noted, Clinton contacted Branch and asked him for a recommendation on how the needs of history could be met. What they settled upon has been described in many places, so I'll save some time.

This is what Branch created based on his observations of the process he and the President underwent. As in any good history, there is distance and criticism, as well as nearly overwhelming detail. "Wrestling History" is a great title, as a comparison between it and Clinton's own autobiography finds many differences and I think the interested reader will enjoy both, as they reveal different facets of the same President and the semi-universe of a modern presidency.

What I gleaned the most from Branch's book was, somewhat surprisingly, how big a role politics -- the horse-trading, the pork-barrelling, peevishness, etc. -- shapes a President's (or Congress') accomplishments. Perhaps I'm naive, but I'd like to think that occasionally Washington operates on a "need to help" basis, and thus this book can be quite disillusioning. It's particularly good reading right now as we watch the pols toss around universal health care one more time.

Branch belabors his efforts to remain honest and impartial, regardless of the consequences. For that reason I suspect it will not be popular, but will have earned its place in history.
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on September 24, 2016
Still reading this book, when I'm not using it to prop open a door. Taylor Branch is a good story teller and the Clinton years are those I remember fondly.
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on February 4, 2010
Whether we are Republicans or Democrats, I think most of us agree that Bill Clinton fascinates us. Although he has been out of office nearly 10 years, he still remains much more interesting than either of his successors.
Taylor Branch's book shows us why. Clinton is shown to be both brilliant and foolish. Here is a President who balanced the budget and almost reached a Mid-East peace deal and at the same time got himself impeached. Sorry [...], we can argue about whether impeachment was the proper remedy, but there is no dispute as to the stupidity of his behavior with a White House intern.
Reading this book makes me wonder how he could get himself into such a mess? Clinton, much like a great quarterback, could see the whole field. He understood the motives of his opponents and his allies. He was adept at trying to carve out deals to satisfy both and often did. Yet, he fell right into his enemies hands and alienated many of his allies with his personal conduct.
The book also sheds some light on day to day life in the White House. I thought Presidents always had someone standing by to meet their every need. Not true. Branch describes Clinton rummaging through closets to find things, casual meals and the President watching sports on TV. All a side of our Presidents we don't really get to see.
Bill Clinton will likely continue to fascinate us for years to come. His relative youth and his wife's political career ensure that he will remain on our national stage longer than most former Presidents. Taylor Branch's book reminds us why we still want to atch.
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on February 4, 2017
Taylor Branch continues his good "work:!
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on May 1, 2016
One of the best memoirs by a White House insider since Henry Adams' Education.
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on March 4, 2010
I orginally checked this book out at my branch library. I liked it so well I wanted to have it in my personal library. It is more than just the scandalous books published or the one-sided books written by liberals published. on Clinton. I felt even though the author was a friend of Clinton he seemed to try to be objecctive. I especially liked the part on Haiti and it's never ending problems which Clinton was so frustrated in trying to solve. No one will solve Haiti's problems in the foreseeable future because of its culture, graft and politics.

My husband and I were stationed in Puerto Rico 1957-1960 and the problems were just as bad then as now. The U.S. Army did have a presence in Haiti but it was very low key and only a few people knew about it on our post.
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on November 13, 2009
Histiorian Taylor Branch is highly skilled at bringing the reader right into the room, giving us the sense of what is happening while the President is musing, observing. His writing has always been wonderfully readable, often difficult to put down, and he works his magic in this book, as he did in the three Martin Luther King, Jr. histories.
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on December 11, 2009
I loved this book and have to say it is absolutely unique. There has never been anything quite like it. The arrangement between Clinton and the author is fascinating and will make readers somewhat uncomfortable at times. But if you want to understand Bill Clinton, the modern presidency, how the news media cover the White House or the current state of affairs in our nation, this is a great place to start. Branch is a great storyteller, one of our most accomplished journalists and no matter what you think about William Jefferson Clinton, he has produced a masterpiece. My wife and I had the privilege of listening to Branch speak recently, at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda of all places, and it was a rare and wonderful experience. Buy the book. You won't be disappointed.
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