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

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INSIDE THE CLINTON WHITE HOUSE

AN ORAL HISTORY

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...

NIGHT

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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This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

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BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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