Every chapter crackles with anecdotes and serious discussions for political junkies, including Clinton partisans and Clinton...



A presidential scholar selects portions from 400 hours of conversations with insiders about the Bill Clinton White House campaign, tenure, and aftermath to present a densely informative oral history.

Riley (The Presidency and the Politics of Racial Inequality, 1999, etc.) is the co-chair of the Miller Center Presidential Oral History Program at the University of Virginia, a program that has previously collected oral histories about the presidencies of Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush. In this account of the Clinton story, the author divides the narrative into "Beginnings" (the decision to seek the presidency, staffing the campaign, primary elections, the Democratic Party nominating convention, defeating the incumbent, the transition to governing); "Domestic and Economic Policy" (health care, welfare reform, North American trade, and other highly publicized issues); "Foreign Policy" (parts of Africa, Northern Ireland, the Balkans, and Haiti); "Politics and the Clinton White House" (Republican Party opposition, alleged and actual scandals, impeachment); and "People" (including separate chapters on Vice President Al Gore and first lady Hillary Clinton). Like all oral histories, some of the interviews were partly self-serving, and various interviewees contradict each other. Because not all interviewees granted permission to publicly share what they said during the compilation of the material, Riley decided some topics had to be omitted due to incompleteness, such as White House negotiations in the Middle East. Despite the selectivity, the book contains plenty of insights, such as disagreements among key players about whether the welfare reform as put into place should be considered beneficial for the nation overall or cruel from the standpoint of the truly disadvantaged. Among dozens of others, significant interviewees include Madeleine Albright, Tom Daschle, Václav Havel, and Leon Panetta.

Every chapter crackles with anecdotes and serious discussions for political junkies, including Clinton partisans and Clinton detractors.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-19-060546-9

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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