The Misunderstood Presidency of Bill Clinton
By Joe Klein
Broadway Books, Paperback, 9780767914123, 240pp.
Publication Date: February 11, 2003
Much has been written about Clinton, but The Natural is the first work to cut through the gossip, scandals, media hype, and emotional turbulence that Clinton always engendered, to step back and rationally analyze the eight years of his tenure, a period during which America rose to unprecedented levels of prosperity. Joe Klein puts that record into perspective, showing us what worked and what didn't, exactly what was accomplished and why, and who was responsible for the successes and the failures.
We see how the Clinton White House functioned on the inside, how it dealt with the maneuvers of Congress and the Gingrich revolution, and who held power and made the decisions during the endless crises that beset the administration. Klein's access to the White House over the years as a journalist gave him a prime spot from which to view every crucial event-both political and personal-and he sets them forth in an insightful, readable, and completely engrossing manner.
The Natural is stern in its criticism and convincing with its praise. It will cause endless debate amongst friends and foes of the Clinton administration. It is a book that anyone interested in contemporary politics, in American history, or in the functioning of our democracy, should read.
From the Hardcover edition.
“The Natural is an important step forward for Clinton literature...[with] crisp writing and vivid images…[that] helps us to understand the very different time and nation we now inhabit.” – Ted Widmer, The New York Observer
“Klein…is a superb storyteller, a master at setting a scene, capturing the gestures of his characters, and most of all, at describing the twists and turns of the political intrigue that passes for democracy in Washington, D.C….I read – or rather inhaled – [The Natural] in one sitting.” – The San Francisco Chronicle
“... Brilliantly illuminating...There will be numerous books written about Clinton and his presidency, but they will be hard-pressed to capture the public and private Clinton as well as this one.” – Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“[A] thoughtful assessment of the Clinton presidency…a supremely fascinating look….No journalist is better matched to this subject than Klein.” – Kirkus Reviews
“[Klein] offers the real deal….His is a on Diogenesian quest to find out why things happened, not just the scandals but also the policy decisions that shaped both domestic and foreign landscapes. In the process, he manages to rediscover Clinton.” – Booklist
“[A] short, sparkling account of those presidential years….Among journalists, Klein is ideally placed to write this book.” – David Gergen, The Boston Globe
“Klein is a smart and engrossing writer….Readers who supported Clinton will discover new insights into why he didn’t accomplish more; those who opposed him will gain a sharper understanding of why he remained so popular with the public.” – Amazon.com
“Klein is an intelligent and shrewd observer of Clinton’s weaknesses and failures.” – John, J. Miller, The National Review
“[The Natural] is a book with insight, balance and bright writing….a century from now, some serious historian will be glad that Klein wrote this slender book. As raw material for real history, this book will be a mother lode of contemporary observations.” – Harry Levins, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Packed with revealing details…[Klein] can summarize a subject in a single well-phrased sentence.” – Bruce Fretts, Entertainment Weekly
“A book about the Clinton presidency that both Bill’s most ardent detractors and most enthusiastic worshipers can enjoy.” – The Times (London)
“A qualified success: It will make you reconsider Clinton’s eight years.” – Business Week
“Mr. Klein serves up a familiar but cogent analysis of what went wrong.” – Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times