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In The Natural, Joe Klein, best-selling author and the outspoken political analyst, tackles the subject he knows best: Bill Clinton.
Much has been written about Clinton, but The Natural steps back and rationally analyzes 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 what worked and what didn’t, exactly what was accomplished and why, and who was responsible for the successes and the failures.
The book shows 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. A book that students of politics and American history should read.
"...a 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 and to do so with a remarkable lack of psychobabble. His analysis goes way past reminding people of Clinton's promise and his penchant for pitfalls. He carefully re-creates the political world that Clinton stepped into, how he changed that world, and how he failed to change it, in part because of who he was but also because of the "smug, shallow serenity of his time." Writing close to the bone, Klein is in equal parts appreciative of Clinton's skills and horrified by his excesses, but above all, he makes readers see that there were no heroes during the Clinton years. Republicans, Democrats, the press, and the citizenry were all smaller than they should have been. As large as Greek tragedy, as small as a vaudeville skit, Clinton's story will be told many more times (including by both Clintons). No matter what comes later, though, this one has the ring of truth."—Booklist (American Library Association), starred review
"...Klein's considerable knowledge and sophisticated understanding of the political arena add depth and breadth to his explanations....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
"The Natural is an importatnt step forward for Clinton literature....[with] crisp writing and vivid images....[that] helps us to understand the very different tiem and nation we now inhabit."--The New York Observer
"Klein sets out to take the measure of Clinton and his presidency....[and] succeeds. This is a book with insight, balance and bright writing."--St. Louis Post-Dispatch