FIRST IN HIS CLASS by David Maraniss

FIRST IN HIS CLASS

A Biography of Bill Clinton

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Neither hagiography nor hatchet job, this illuminating, unauthorized biography sticks to the facts to draw a sharp personal and political portrait of the man who became the first baby boomer to be elected President. In his debut book, Pulitzer Prizewinning Washington Post reporter Maraniss uses well-honed journalistic skills to dig out the events of Clinton's life from childhood until the day he declared for the presidency in October 1991. Maraniss interviewed some 400 people, all of whom spoke on the record. The result is a balanced account of Clinton's enormous strengths and weaknesses--a rich, thick narrative crammed with abundant detail and an appropriate amount of interpretative analysis. Maraniss clearly shows that from his days as a teen-aged politico in high school and college, through his years at Oxford University and Yale Law School, and throughout his Arkansas political career, Clinton was always a man of contrasts and contradictions: ``considerate and calculating, easygoing and ambitious, mediator and predator.'' The author notes an instance when Clinton attended a black barbecue and played a round of golf in a restricted club within a matter of hours. This is not the book to go to for specifics about Clinton's sex life, before or after marriage; nor is there an in-depth examination of the Whitewater affair. The author does, however, offer revealing looks at many other aspects of Clinton's life, especially his childhood, his coming of age in England, his handling of the draft during the late 1960s, and his political career in Arkansas. Maraniss fully lives up to his goal of creating ``a fair- minded examination of a complicated human being and the forces that shaped him and his generation.'' (16 pages b&w photos, not seen) (First printing of 50,000; author tour)

Pub Date: March 6th, 1995
ISBN: 0-671-87109-9
Page count: 448pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1995




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