The Clinton wars /

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Main Author: Blumenthal, Sidney, 1948-
Format: Book
Published: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003.
Edition:1st ed.
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Review by Booklist Review

In this exhaustive (and at times exhausting) look at the Clinton White House under siege, several themes emerge: the Clintons could have lived the lives of saints and the Right would still have come after them; the Clinton presidency was an effective example of progressive politics; and "advisor to the president" Blumenthal was needed everywhere. The first point has been documented quite well in other books, especially Conason and Lyons' Hunting of the President0 and Jeffrey Toobin's Vast Conspiracy0 (both 2000), but there's no denying Blumenthal's insider status gives this a tantalizing fillip the other volumes lack. He also does a credible, if sometimes pedantic, job of plotting the lines of various political movements, and, of course, he recounts the numerous nefarious antics of Ken Starr, et al., with relish. In the end, though, it's hard to work up much sympathy for Blumenthal, whose pomposity almost overtakes the narrative (anyone who uses the word jeremiad 0 twice in two pages needs his thesaurus taken away from him). Readers will be forced to skip around to avoid the author's preening, but the best parts are very good indeed. --Ilene Cooper Copyright 2003 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Blumenthal's 800-page gorilla of a book is the former Clinton adviser's indictment of his, and his boss's, pursuers: Republicans in Congress, Kenneth Starr and his minions and the journalists he says were their patsies. It's also a defense of his own role in the Clinton scandals and a loyal account of Clinton's presidency as a highly successful one dedicated to progressive values. The heart of the book is an often tediously detailed account of the Whitewater investigation, the Lewinsky scandal and the impeachment, in which his own role was notable-accused of smearing the opposition, he was known to the anti-Clintonites as "Sid Vicious" and was the only presidential aide called to a deposition at the Senate impeachment hearings (which culminate in a hilarious "Alice in Wonderland" q&a session). The scandals are sandwiched between drier, partisan accounts of Clinton's policies and actions both before and after impeachment, but with only rare glimpses of Clinton the man. Blumenthal argues that there was "an Italianate conspiracy" arrayed against Clinton, "an intricate, covert, amoral operation bent on power," funded by Richard Mellon Scaife and fronted by a ruthlessly vindictive Starr. But Blumenthal is most damning about his onetime colleagues in the press (he wrote for the New Republic and the Washington Post); journalists admitted to him, he says, that they couldn't criticize Starr because they needed leaks from his staff for their stories. Blumenthal paints nasty portraits of Matt Drudge (who accused him of wife-beating), the late Michael Kelly (who here displays an irrational hatred of him) and Christopher Hitchens ("capable of doing harm without conscience or regret"). Often fascinating and undoubtedly controversial, Blumenthal's book will receive much media attention, but most readers will wish it were a whole lot shorter. (May 20) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

A border patrol officer, a widow with young children, an entrepreneur with a new baggage-screening device-these are some of the people sketched in this account of "the September 12 era." (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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