25 Books to Read Before You Die

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Wednesday, May 28th, 2003


The Clinton Wars

by Sidney Blumenthal

Blumenthal Tells All

A review by Adrienne Miller

Although this invective-filled memoir does come across as a little suck-uppy in places (Blumenthal's description of Harry Evans, then the editor in chief of Random House: "[he] was never-failing in his buoyancy and in having an encouraging word for you, 'dear poet.' He was a true prince among men."), and while there are a few too many sentences like "After a Christmas party in the White House in December 1995, the President asked me up to the residence for a nightcap," and while the photo inset (sixteen pages of pictures of Blumenthal grinning it up with the Clintons) does make the author look like a bit of a tool, and while, yes, it's true that Blumenthal doesn't always come across as the most astute observer ("The more I learned, the more I discovered how mysterious the White House was"), the author's memoir of his four years with the former president is nevertheless a riveting read. Blumenthal, Clinton's presidential assistant from 1997 to 2001, is naming names here. And what fun it is to watch him destroy Clinton's enemies: Kenneth Starr, Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, David Brock, William Safire, The Wall Street Journal. Blumenthal's account of the "right wing conspiracy" which sought to annihilate Clinton is both chilling and irrefutable.

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