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On the Edge


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About the Author

Elizabeth Drew is a much-honored writer of seven books, including Washington Journal: The Events of 1973 - 1974 and Politics and Money, and is a distinguished television and radio commentator who appears frequently on such programs as Meet the Press. She lives in Washington, D.C.


For this taut, compulsively readable, behind-the-scenes look at the first 18 months of the Clinton presidency, Washington commentator Drew notes that she interviewed every high official in the White House, Cabinet officers, Capitol Hill staff and others. Although many of her sources remain anonymous, her report rings true in its portrayal of an indecisive, garrulous, reckless, self-indulgent, defensive, hot-tempered, but unusually intelligent president eager to tackle big domestic issues. A smooth performer, Clinton is nevertheless a learner and, in Drew's estimate, has accomplished a great deal thus far, including a large expansion of Head Start, NAFTA, the Brady bill, more affordable loans, and awakening the nation to focus on reform of the health care industry. Drew provides the fullest picture to date of the secretive process by which Clinton arrived at his byzantine health care plan. She discloses wrangling between Al Gore, ``the most influential Vice President in history,'' and Secretary of State Warren Christopher. Author tour. (Nov.)

Clare Mchugh People So rich in detail that it provides a most convincing, clear portrait of the often baffling people and issues swirling around Bill and Hillary Clinton. And the fact that Drew seems to be grinding no axes makes her marshaling of the facts seem objective and trustworthy.
Jay Strafford Richmond Times Dispatch A detailed, absorbing account...with balance, with elegance and with style. Elizabeth Drew is a national treasure.
Michael Beschloss Author Of The Crisis Years On the Edge is a gift to readers of our own time and the historians of the future. Elizabeth Drew has drawn on her towering skills as one of our premier national commentators to bring us an elegant, absorbing, revelatory, and provocative portrait of Bill Clinton and his Presidency.

The first 20 months of Clinton's beleaguered presidency receives its fullest treatment in Drew's impressive work. Clinton the expert campaigner was poorly prepared and ineffectively served by an unexperienced staff when he took office. Poor planning, lack of discipline and credibility, and a failure to be accountable have exaggerated his failures, minimized his successes, and lowered public trust. Drew is at her best when describing the personalities and tensions among administration policymakers. Her excellent recounting of foreign policymaking in the post-Cold War world shows that Clinton misread public sentiment by giving scant attention to hot spots such as Bosnia, Somalia, and Haiti. Domestic issues, especially healthcare, crime, and the budget, are treated in an exciting you-are-there manner, with Hilary Clinton, Vice President Gore, and a host of officials emerging as important, often difficult players in the political process. This revealing portrait of "America's first activist president in the age of cynicism" is an excellent complement to John Brummett's Highwire (LJ 9/15/94) and Meredith Oakley's On the Make (LJ 7/94), both of which focus on Clinton's Arkansas roots. Strongly recommended for public libraries.-Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, Pa.

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