Branch, an acclaimed historian best known for his three-volume biography of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., met his old friend Bill Clinton for regular discussions in the White House during Clinton's two terms in office. Clinton kept the recordings, but Branch kept scrupulous records of the conversations and mines them for this intimate talkfest. Branch reads his own work, with a peculiar distance from the events he describes; he can no longer summon the emotions of their wide-ranging, frequently turbulent debates. The book is still a valuable addition to the already groaning bookshelf of Clinton books, but Branch's reading adds little to the exchange. A Simon & Schuster hardcover (Reviews, Aug. 10). (Sept.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
"A remarkable portrait of White House life. . . . An important work
about American political life. . . . Branch is an historian by
trade, and an excellent one. . . . To the extent that Branch's
portrait of the president rescues politics from ignominy, he has
done a real public service; that he has done this while vividly
portraying an exuberant American original is cause for joy. . . .
Revealing and often delightful." --Joe Klein, "The New York Times
"I have seldom read a more compelling account of a leader in power. . . . An unexpected treasure-trove. Here is Clinton out of hours and off his guard. . . . The story behind this book reads like the plot of a Hollywood movie." --Robert Harris, "The Sunday Times "(London)
"By turns intimate and dispassionately historical . . . this book will be a boon to historians. The casual reader might delight more in Branch's glimpses of an unguarded president."
--Gilbert Cruz, "Time"