The post-presidential life of Bill Clinton.
In this admiring account, veteran journalist and National Memo editor-in-chief Conason (It Can Happen Here: Authoritarian Peril in the Age of Bush, 2007, etc.) traces the former president’s career from his 2001 departure from the White House—when he was $11 million in debt, vilified by “habitual haters,” and seeking some purpose—to his present role as head of the Clinton Global Initiative, with a “sterling international image” as perhaps “the most popular man in the world.” Written with the cooperation of Clinton and his staff, the author’s often absorbing chronicle captures the energy and charisma of the former president as he turns to the admiring global community, launching a “frantic, peripatetic career as the world’s best-paid public speaker” and finding a mission in his philanthropic work in Africa, Asia, and elsewhere. While badly bloated with needless details on travels, the sniping of enemies, and ceaseless card games, the book offers sharp insights into the roles of loyal aids, most notably Ira Magaziner, as well as family members in supporting Clinton’s initiatives to fight AIDS and other diseases and to rebuild communities around the world. Inspired by a desire to create a substantive alternative to the World Economic Forum, the CGI has become a powerful model for entrepreneurial cooperation in world affairs. The author offers many telling details: how he learned from Nelson Mandela to view with compassion those who had wronged him; how he bonded with George H.W. Bush in disaster relief efforts and clashed with presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama; and his advising of British Prime Minister Tony Blair at the onset of the Iraq War. Conason also tells the stories of the creation of the Clinton library in Little Rock and the making of the ex-president’s memoir, My Life.
Certain to appeal to Clinton devotees, especially in light of the possibility of still further Bill Clinton endeavors as first gentleman.