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For Love of Politics: Bill and Hillary Clinton: The White House Years

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During their eight years in the White House, Bill and Hillary Clinton worked together more closely than the public ever knew. Their intertwined personal and professional lives had far-reaching consequences-for politics, domestic policy, and international affairs–and their marital troubles became a national soap opera. Based on unparalleled access to scores of Clinton insid During their eight years in the White House, Bill and Hillary Clinton worked together more closely than the public ever knew. Their intertwined personal and professional lives had far-reaching consequences-for politics, domestic policy, and international affairs–and their marital troubles became a national soap opera. Based on unparalleled access to scores of Clinton insiders-cabinet officers, top administration officials, close personal friends–and skilled analysis of a vast written record, including previously unavailable private papers, "For Love of Politics "is the first book to explain the dynamics of Bill and Hillary's relationship, showing that they are two halves of a unique whole and that it is impossible to understand one Clinton without factoring in the other. Sally Bedell Smith, acclaimed author of "Grace and Power: The Private World of the Kennedy White House," " "offers intimate scenes from the Clinton marriage, with new details and insights into how a passion for politics sustained Bill and Hillary through one crisis after another. With clarity and depth, Smith examines the origins of an unconventional copresidency, explains the impact of the Clintons' tensions as well as their talents, and reveals how Hillary shifted from openly exercising power in the first two years to acting as a "hidden hand," advising her husband on a range of foreign and domestic issues as well as decisions on hiring and firing. Smith describes for the first time the inner workings of a White House with an unprecedented "three forces to be reckoned with"-Bill, Hillary, and Al Gore–and shows how the First Lady's rivalry with the Vice President played out in the West Wing and even more profoundly during the 2000 campaign. As Hillary seeks to follow in her husband's footsteps, this riveting book will leave readers marveling at what they never knew about Bill’s intensely covered presidency-and wondering what it would be like to have two presidents, both named Clinton, living in the White House. "From the Hardcover edition."


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During their eight years in the White House, Bill and Hillary Clinton worked together more closely than the public ever knew. Their intertwined personal and professional lives had far-reaching consequences-for politics, domestic policy, and international affairs–and their marital troubles became a national soap opera. Based on unparalleled access to scores of Clinton insid During their eight years in the White House, Bill and Hillary Clinton worked together more closely than the public ever knew. Their intertwined personal and professional lives had far-reaching consequences-for politics, domestic policy, and international affairs–and their marital troubles became a national soap opera. Based on unparalleled access to scores of Clinton insiders-cabinet officers, top administration officials, close personal friends–and skilled analysis of a vast written record, including previously unavailable private papers, "For Love of Politics "is the first book to explain the dynamics of Bill and Hillary's relationship, showing that they are two halves of a unique whole and that it is impossible to understand one Clinton without factoring in the other. Sally Bedell Smith, acclaimed author of "Grace and Power: The Private World of the Kennedy White House," " "offers intimate scenes from the Clinton marriage, with new details and insights into how a passion for politics sustained Bill and Hillary through one crisis after another. With clarity and depth, Smith examines the origins of an unconventional copresidency, explains the impact of the Clintons' tensions as well as their talents, and reveals how Hillary shifted from openly exercising power in the first two years to acting as a "hidden hand," advising her husband on a range of foreign and domestic issues as well as decisions on hiring and firing. Smith describes for the first time the inner workings of a White House with an unprecedented "three forces to be reckoned with"-Bill, Hillary, and Al Gore–and shows how the First Lady's rivalry with the Vice President played out in the West Wing and even more profoundly during the 2000 campaign. As Hillary seeks to follow in her husband's footsteps, this riveting book will leave readers marveling at what they never knew about Bill’s intensely covered presidency-and wondering what it would be like to have two presidents, both named Clinton, living in the White House. "From the Hardcover edition."

30 review for For Love of Politics: Bill and Hillary Clinton: The White House Years

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mazola1

    Purportedly a "biography" of Bill and Hillary Clinton's marriage and time in the White House, it paints an unflattering picture of both. The book drips with undisguised disdain for its subjects, which is, of course, the hallmark not of history, but of gossip. And this is mean spirted gossip, at that. Rarely letting a page go by without making or quoting one critical comment or snide remark or another, it lurches along from criticism to critcism, giving it a choppy flow. The author obviously inve Purportedly a "biography" of Bill and Hillary Clinton's marriage and time in the White House, it paints an unflattering picture of both. The book drips with undisguised disdain for its subjects, which is, of course, the hallmark not of history, but of gossip. And this is mean spirted gossip, at that. Rarely letting a page go by without making or quoting one critical comment or snide remark or another, it lurches along from criticism to critcism, giving it a choppy flow. The author obviously invested a great deal of time and effort into compiling a huge collection of anti Clinton quotes, with her favorite "go-to" sources being Jonathan Alter and Joe Klein. Naturally, a great deal of breathless attention is devoted to Bill's sex life. Really, it's warmed over stuff, offering no new insights, just the tired old conventional observations which have long been the staple of talk radio, i.e., Bill and Hillary are power hungry liars, low life hypocrites, and have a loveless marriage of convenience. But what else would you expect from an author whose previous works include a bio of Princess Di?

  2. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    I wouldn't call this book ground breaking, but as someone who has read 90% of the written sources used by the author, I do commend her synthesis of the material. It's easy to make sweeping judgments about the Clintons and their marriage, but this book really specifies what they see in each other and what strengths and weaknesses they have as people and leaders. When all the evidence is put together, as in this book, the picture that emerges of their co-dependence and their intellectual meeting o I wouldn't call this book ground breaking, but as someone who has read 90% of the written sources used by the author, I do commend her synthesis of the material. It's easy to make sweeping judgments about the Clintons and their marriage, but this book really specifies what they see in each other and what strengths and weaknesses they have as people and leaders. When all the evidence is put together, as in this book, the picture that emerges of their co-dependence and their intellectual meeting of the minds is quite remarkable. I had not realized just how true it was that we got "two for one" before as Hillary was intimately involved in just about every presidential undertaking her husband had. The insight into Al Gore's place (well below Hillary) in the partnership were fascinating. I also enjoyed all the little tidbits about Chelsea, who was so studiously sheltered from the press for so long. Obviously, the timing of this book's release is no accident, and it naturally leads to some speculation about a Clinton Presidency Take II. While the book's rehashing of Bill's "learning on the job" can bring back some unpleasant memories (oh, how I hated all those lead balloons he would float while trying to make up his mind...) what is clear is that Hillary would be a completely different president. She has none of the sentimentality, a quarter the gregariousness, half the charm, all the intellectual capacity, and double the discipline and self control of her husband. There are many people who don't like her or her politics, but it is clear from this book that she is more qualified than most candidates for the job. She has been through it all to come up fighting, and for that, I must admire her.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Craig

    This was a fascinating read for me. The book offers insights into what a great politician Bill Clinton was. I admire both Hillary's and Bill's accomplishments. I admire Hillary's tenacity for standing by her man. Because it was done based on research rather than with their personal backing, you do not get the full understanding of their relationship or the reasoning for their decisions. But educated guesses are made. His and to a lesser degree her ethical weakenesses are a travesty. But without a This was a fascinating read for me. The book offers insights into what a great politician Bill Clinton was. I admire both Hillary's and Bill's accomplishments. I admire Hillary's tenacity for standing by her man. Because it was done based on research rather than with their personal backing, you do not get the full understanding of their relationship or the reasoning for their decisions. But educated guesses are made. His and to a lesser degree her ethical weakenesses are a travesty. But without at least some aspects of their charachter, they likely would not have accomplished what they did. This is no excuse. Some of the actions were dispicable. Hillary must have been at least complicit in the pardons offered at the end of his presidency. Overall his actions degraded the respect America has for the President. This is most unfortunate.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lesley

    While we can all act a little childish at times this book shed a different light on the former president and first lady. I originally wanted to read this book to understand their relationship and amidst all of the media fodder how and why they have chosen to remain together. I certainly got more than I bargained for and it put a lot of things into perspective. Political leanings aside, after having read this book unless Ms. Clinton has changed (become more flexible) it makes me feel somewhat rel While we can all act a little childish at times this book shed a different light on the former president and first lady. I originally wanted to read this book to understand their relationship and amidst all of the media fodder how and why they have chosen to remain together. I certainly got more than I bargained for and it put a lot of things into perspective. Political leanings aside, after having read this book unless Ms. Clinton has changed (become more flexible) it makes me feel somewhat relieved that she wasn't made president. Quite this is quite an entertaining read and surprisingly not entirely a heavy read given the politics. I am certainly glad it only covers 8 years as the book while being a somewhat quick read still is quite packed with information.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Beata

    Really thorough, but biased. It only presents the critique without presenting their accomplishments. The author's political opinion obviously colored the facts which were presented.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sara Goldenberg

    It talked a little too much about politics for my taste. I guess the title should have clued me in. I guess I was hoping more to hear about their White House years. But what I read, was well written and interesting, and the pictures are great.

  7. 5 out of 5

    SKIM

    Yet another book about the morbidly intriguing Clintons - a vey well-written one - that covers the Clintons' White House years from the angle that the pair's amazing political climb was made possible only through their work as a single unit with laserbeam, unyielding focus on gaining and maintaining supreme political power against all odds. Anyone who has read this book is not likely to question the presidential experience/exposure that Hillary racked up as the so-called First Lady. The book app Yet another book about the morbidly intriguing Clintons - a vey well-written one - that covers the Clintons' White House years from the angle that the pair's amazing political climb was made possible only through their work as a single unit with laserbeam, unyielding focus on gaining and maintaining supreme political power against all odds. Anyone who has read this book is not likely to question the presidential experience/exposure that Hillary racked up as the so-called First Lady. The book appears to be unbiased and highlights the flaws, the brilliance, and the characteristics -both inherent and developed- that were necessary for the Clintons to make their mark as the ultimate controversial, brilliant, and power-hungry uber-political power couple.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lily..")

    I am not a citizen of the Us so I had no previous knowledge of American poltics before reading "Living History" by Hillary Rodham Clinton.After reading this book I became a mild Hillary fan as I beleived and did not question the parts of her book in which she glazes over the bad decsions her and her husband have made.After reading her memoirs I longed for a relativly neutral opinion so I read For love of Poltics which I greatly enjoyed but also found slightly critcal.The book in my opinion focus I am not a citizen of the Us so I had no previous knowledge of American poltics before reading "Living History" by Hillary Rodham Clinton.After reading this book I became a mild Hillary fan as I beleived and did not question the parts of her book in which she glazes over the bad decsions her and her husband have made.After reading her memoirs I longed for a relativly neutral opinion so I read For love of Poltics which I greatly enjoyed but also found slightly critcal.The book in my opinion focused too much on the scandals and problems in the Clinton Admindistration and marraige and not on some of the amazing poltical triumphs and peace agreements the administration achieved. That said I throughly enjoyed the book and would recommend it to anyone wanting a good poltical read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    I just continue to find these two a fascinating pair. There is something real and tangible in their staying together even as they are incredibly flawed people (as we all are of course). In the midst of conduct that I couldn't imagine living through, they have a real connection and need to be there for each other - through everything, that bond has been non-negotiable. I can't imagine how different their lives would have been if they hadn't found each other, but the one question I kept coming bac I just continue to find these two a fascinating pair. There is something real and tangible in their staying together even as they are incredibly flawed people (as we all are of course). In the midst of conduct that I couldn't imagine living through, they have a real connection and need to be there for each other - through everything, that bond has been non-negotiable. I can't imagine how different their lives would have been if they hadn't found each other, but the one question I kept coming back to is regardless of the obvious love they have for their daughter, what sort of perspective must their one daughter have after watching their dynamic give-and-take over the years?

  10. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    Wanted to read something not written by the Clintons or their admirers- mission accomplished. Managed to further my dislike of Bill while perpetuating one of my least favorite portrayals of Hillary as the mastermind in her clueless husband's presidency, able to share the blame for poor choices but not credited for any positive accomplishments. Illuminated the impact of Bill's personal life on his presidency. On a related note, didn't realize that Wag the Dog came out before the Lewinsky scandal Wanted to read something not written by the Clintons or their admirers- mission accomplished. Managed to further my dislike of Bill while perpetuating one of my least favorite portrayals of Hillary as the mastermind in her clueless husband's presidency, able to share the blame for poor choices but not credited for any positive accomplishments. Illuminated the impact of Bill's personal life on his presidency. On a related note, didn't realize that Wag the Dog came out before the Lewinsky scandal broke.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Roopsi

    While this book doesn't have any juicy (or nasty, more like) details that you won't find in the Ken Starr report, it's an interesting study of the Clinton White House. In particular, it examines in-depth the role that Hillary Clinton played--and it was a big one. In fact, reading the book, I realized that Hillary is even more of a soul-sucking demon than I had previously thought, and it reaffirmed my suspicions that she has no business being president.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mary Ann

    Meticulously researched, well-attributed. I have no real quarrel with the overall assessment of the president; for all his extraordinary gifts, he was terribly flawed in his behavior. Bedell Smith captures well the utter recklessness in his character. I think she is a bit rough on Hillary, whom I admire immensely, but she is fair. What makes this book different and worth reading is the analysis of the synergy between the President and Hillary.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Read this over the Christmas 2007 holiday. I was a committed Obama supporter before I read the book, and it only hardened that view. I thought the book was biased and gossipy, but having read a good deal about the Clintons by authors sympathetic and not, I also thought it corroborated some basic things we seem to know about them, and their thirst for power.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Scott Holstad

    This book is a typical neoconservative hatchet job against the Clintons. I got into chapter two before giving up. Every page contains snarky comments, innuendo, accusations, and probable lies. It's truly appalling, and as I like the Clintons very much, I don't want to read such rubbish. Certainly not recommended!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    I finished this book although it took a long time, like two or three months. It's, of course, thick with political discussion which creates a slow read, but it was very enlightening. I have a very different view of the Clinton's now. Worth reading to appreciate some of the dynamics of politics.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Modisettwilson

    I 'read' the audio version -- all 26 hours of it -- while on a looooong drive. It really kept me engaged (and awake) mostly shaking my head at the behaviors. I think SBS really had her facts together.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Joe Rodeck

    A book about the Lewinsky scandal should be enough not sitting next to serious discourse on serious matters such racial cleansing and terrorism. Incidentally; if you hate Hillary, you should love this.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Precia

    Simply put, this was a great book. A very detailed account of the ethics, or lack thereof, in the Clinton administration, on the part of both Bill and Hillary. A worthwhile read and reminder, especially as Hillary runs for president in 2016.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Cecelia

    It's clear the author doesn't approve of the Clinton's actions. But a well put together account of their love of politics and getting ahead while in the White House. Thanks for putting this information out there.

  20. 4 out of 5

    dz

    non-biased and quite informative a great reminder of all that took place, plus plenty of things not previously known

  21. 4 out of 5

    Helen McCune

    I listened to this on my ipod and found it a fascinating glimps into the Clintons. I listened to the abridged version....not sure but the unabridged might be too much.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Greg

    Bill and Hillary are portrayed as polar opposites- he's nimble and intuitive, she's steady and restrained. That idea of the "other" worked in the primary election too.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Faye

    ...explains a LOT about Hillary....definately affected how I voted in the primary!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    What a couple of crooks.

  25. 4 out of 5

    April

    An interesting book about what went on in the Clinton White House.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

    I felt the author was biased against the Clintons....it was an interesting point of view and did bring to light some things I was unaware of.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mary Osborn

    Found the book at one of the International Hostels we were staying in.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Marianna

    Interesting to hear it all summarized after the fact...but still leads me to believe that all politicians are slimballs in angel clothing.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Raelyn

    Read about half....then got distracted with other books

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bridtm

    so far very interesting.

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