Synopses & Reviews
The Clinton presidency is pivotal, occurring at a particularly sensitive time in American and world history. The Cold War has ended; yet Americans face daunting social and economic problems and are increasingly divided about how to address them. In this perceptive psychological portrait of Clinton and his presidency, expert Stanley Renshon investigates whether Clinton has demonstrated the requisite qualities of judgment, vision, character, and skill to meet the challenges he faces, domestically and internationally, and whether he merits another term.
Renshon incisively analyzes Clinton's sweeping ambitions, his enormous confidence in himself and his goals, and his success in convincing people that he genuinely cares about them. He reveals a Bill Clinton whose capacity for political success is often undermined by the very traits for which many praise him. His unusually high self-confidence, for instance, leads him to believe that he can accomplish what others have not, that he can, for instance, reconcile polar opposites such as liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans. Remarkably persistent throughout Clinton's career are certain character traits which have defined him to the public--his tendency to make promises he can't keep, his ability to win people over in person, his sudden blind rages.
Renshon traces the development of Clinton's character from his early family experiences to his highly successful adolescence and long political career. He illustrates how each step along the way--Clinton's inconsistent experiences as an adored but disregarded child, his attempt to avoid the draft and the consequences of doing so, his marriage to Hillary Rodham whose own psychology has both helped and hurt him, and his tenure as governor during which his character first became a political issue--is crucial to understanding his erratic and controversial presidency. Renshon explores the nature of the Clinton marriage as a political partnership and looks at Hillary Clinton as an associate president.
High Hopes gives us a new understanding of why a man with so many talents has become a president whose performance has not measured up to his promise.
"Bill Clinton is a man whose inconsistencies have profoundly puzzled reporters, pundits, and this reviewer. The author sets out to make sense of these contradictions. He looks at President Clinton's character form the perspective of ambition, integrity, and his relationship with others. It is in Renshon's examination of these characteristics that make High Hopes so intriguing and educational."-The American Reporter Book Review,
"Only recently are scholars beginning to pay full attention to the key role women played during the Civil Rights Movement. Going South is an important portrait of an often overlooked group whose work—both behind the scenes and on the front lines—helped transform our nation."-Marian Wright Edelman,President, Children's Defense Fund
"A well-written, serious, and important book. I learned a great deal from this interesting and rich study."-Joyce Antler,author of The Journey Home: How Jewish Women Shaped Modern America
"These oral histories are compelling and fascinating, and reclaim a history previously unavailable to us. An original and important contribution."-Deborah Dash Moore,coeditor of Jewish Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia
"More than an account of the Jewish women who went South to help in the Civil Rights Movement in the sixties, Debra Schultz has produced a fascinating investigation into the relationship between these women and their parents, their black colleagues in the movement, the Jewish communities in the Southern states, and their final difficult decision to leave the movement. Going South should be read by everyone interested in this vitally important period of American history."-Helen Suzman,former Member of South African Parliament
"A fascinating text which adds to our understanding of recent Jewish Left and feminist politics and activism."-Australian Jewish News,Aug. 2001
Many people today know that the 1964 murder in Mississippi of two Jewish men--Mickey Schwerner and Andrew Goodman--and their Black colleague, James Chaney, marked one of the most wrenching episodes of the civil rights movement. Yet very few realize that Andrew Goodman had been in Mississippi for one day when he was killed; Rita Schwerner, Mickey's wife, had been organizing in Mississippi for six difficult months.
Organized around a rich blend of oral histories, Going South followsa group of Jewish women--come of age in the shadow of the Holocaust and deeply committed to social justice--who put their bodies and lives on the line to fight racism. Actively rejecting the post-war idyll of suburban, Jewish, middle-class life, these women were deeply influenced by Jewish notions of morality and social justice. Many thus perceived the call of the movement as positively irresistible.
Representing a link between the sensibilities of the early civil rights era and contemporary efforts to move beyond the limits of identity politics, the book provides a resource for all who are interested in anti-racism, the civil rights movement, social justice, Jewish activism and radical women's traditions.
About the Author
Stanley A. Renshon is Professor of Political Science at the City University of New York and developer and coordinator of the Interdisciplinary Program in the Psychology of Political Behavior at the CUNY Graduate School. A certified psychoanalyst and author of several volumes, including The Psychological Assessment of Presidential Candidates (also available from NYU Press), he is on leave at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University for the 1995 academic year.
Table of Contents
Public psychology : the legacy of history -- Character and the presidency -- Ambition -- Character integrity -- Relatedness -- Character and presidential psychology -- His mother's son -- Adoration and abandonment : the Clinton family -- Some consequences of hope : a tale of two women -- Vietnam and the draft -- A life's choice : Hillary Rodham Clinton -- Judgment and leadership : the core of presidential performance -- Bill Clinton's presidency -- Lost opportunities : President Clinton's first term.