THE COMEBACK KID by Charles F. Allen


The Life and Career of Bill Clinton
Email this review


 If Clinton wins the White House, he should consider choosing as his press secretary either author of this subtle panegyric. ``This biography,'' write Allen and Portis, ``is a thorough examination of a man who dreamed of being president...from his earliest days.'' Thorough, perhaps, but also delicately biased. Portis (a former editor of the Arkansas Gazette--``whose editorial page,'' the authors note, ``had been a constant Clinton supporter through the years'') and Allen (who began the book as a graduate project at the Univ. of Mississippi) give the lion's share of quotations to Clinton-admirers: ``Bill Clinton was very enthusiastic and a very dedicated professor,'' says a former student of the governor in a typical statement. And, at times, the authors gloss over damning facts (e.g., a clear Clinton lie regarding a question about his college-drug use becomes a statement that's ``not entirely true''). But Allen and Portis are frank about their subject's titanic ambition and do an adequate job of tracing the candidate's earlier years (scarred by tragedy: his father died before Clinton was born; his stepfather died when Clinton was 21; and, in 1984, Clinton's younger brother went to prison for cocaine distribution). Of most interest are the in-depth coverage of Clinton's years as governor, which convincingly portrays Clinton as a man passionate about reform, particularly in education; and the concluding chapter, which--while swiping at Ross Perot (``wild promises'') and proclaiming that Clinton will defeat Bush ``if the campaign becomes one of ideas and issues'' instead of ``personal attacks''--urges Clinton to give up his overriding fear of losing and to take the risk of stating ``hard truths'' in the upcoming campaign. By no means a definitive biography, but not flack-fluff either; and, for all its slant, the most informative text available on the man who would be President. (Sixteen pages of photographs- -not seen.)

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 1-55972-154-5
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Birch Lane Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1992


NonfictionTHE OBAMA HATE MACHINE by Bill Press
by Bill Press