This book rests upon a secret project, initiated by Clinton, to preserve for future historians an unfiltered record of presidential experience. During his eight years in office, between 1993 and 2001, Clinton answered questions and told stories in the White House, usually late at night. His friend Pulitzer Prize-winning author Taylor Branch recorded 79 of these dialogues to compile a trove of raw information about a presidency as it happened. Clinton drew upon the diary transcripts for his memoir in 2004.
Branch recorded his own detailed recollections immediately after each session, covering not only the subjects discussed but also the look and feel of each evening with the president. The text engages Clinton from many angles. Readers hear candid stories, feel buffeting pressures, and weigh vivid descriptions of the White House settings.
Branch's firsthand narrative is confessional, unsparing, and personal. The author admits straying at times from his primary role -- to collect raw material for future historians -- because his discussions with Clinton were unpredictable and intense. What should an objective prompter say when the President of the United States seeks advice, argues facts, or lodges complaints against the press? The dynamic relationship that emerges from these interviews is both affectionate and charged, with flashes of anger and humor. President Clinton drives the history, but this story is also about friends.
©2009 Taylor Branch; (P)2009 Simon & Schuster
I think the author (Taylor Branch) did a wonderful job capturing many behind the scenes aspects of the Clinton years in the White House, both personally and professionally. Also, I give credit to the President for having the guts to trust Mr. Branch with such intimate details of his private life.
Additionally, the author deserves many cudos for his strong journalistic compass, balanced treatment of the material, and laudable ethical example for others who have close access to Presidents...not to breach their sacred trusts by writing kiss and tell stories...attempting to get the last word on some issue or seeking their 15 minutes of fame and fortune!
Very interesting personal account of the Clinton Presidency. I would recommend to anyone who wants to understand this President in a more humanistic light.
The narrator's voice is extremely droning. It makes even the more interesting bits of the book sound drab. I was excited when this book came out, but I found myself trudging through it like a root canal. Can't recommend it.
Unlike the Audible tapes taken from the Johnson administration, this book contains no traanscripts. Rather, Branch retells his experience of interviewing Clinton throughout his administration. This is a fine story which Clinton fans and Clinton haters will both enjoy.
Taylor branch has written well and narrates the book well also. His characters take on real life. The Clintons and their daughter become more human than ever. Anyone with an interest in the presidency will obviously find this a good book. All Americans will understand the Clinton era better as a result of Branch's work.
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