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6/21/2004


Bad Book Bubba.

Here are a few quotes from the NY Times review (by Michiko Kakutani) of Clinton's new book,My Life.

    "Unfortunately for the reader, Mr. Clinton's much awaited new autobiography "My Life" more closely resembles the Atlanta speech, which was so long-winded and tedious that the crowd cheered when he finally reached the words "In closing . . ."

    "The book, which weighs in at more than 950 pages, is sloppy, self-indulgent and often eye-crossingly dull — the sound of one man prattling away, not for the reader, but for himself and some distant recording angel of history."

    "In many ways, the book is a mirror of Mr. Clinton's presidency: lack of discipline leading to squandered opportunities; high expectations, undermined by self-indulgence and scattered concentration. "

    "it devolves into a hodgepodge of jottings: part policy primer, part 12-step confessional, part stump speech and part presidential archive, all, it seems, hurriedly written and even more hurriedly edited."
There will be speculation as to why it's been reviewed so poorly. Is someone at the Times trying to kill the book before it's even released, in an attempt to bring the focus back to Kerry sooner rather than later? Maybe, but it’s doubtful. Bill’s book is going to outsell Hillary's. This will be Bill Clinton's summer. That attempt would be akin to trying to stop a tidal wave with your hands.

Is it an honest review? Most likely, yes. Joe Klien, (Author of “The Natural: Bill Clinton's Misunderstood Presidency” & “Primary Colors”) read the book and had this to say about the review while on Meet the Press. (transcript)

    ”MR. RUSSERT: (to Joe Klein) Is that an accurate review?

    MR. KLEIN: Well, I mean, you know, it's an accurate review of almost every presidential memoir that's ever been written. This is a presidential memoir. And, you know, it's an open secret that Clinton wanted to write two books. He wanted to write one book about his Arkansas childhood and another book about his presidency, and he kind of has in this case. The Arkansas sections are written, sometimes they're moving. They're not really tremendously well-written, but they're written. The rest of the book, though, is a kind of diary dump, you know--his account of the presidency--with the exception of the sections on Ken Starr. You know, it's "If this is Tuesday, we must be in Northern Ireland." And I think it's sloppy and I don't think there was very much care taken, and I think, as usual with Bill Clinton, he was rushing to meet a deadline.”
Ouch. Well, at least Bill has a distinguished presidential legacy to… No, no he doesn’t. Well, at least he has his fam…. Hmm… He’s wealthy.

posted by: Brian Scott


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