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President We Deserve Hardcover – Apr 29 1998
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With the harsh partisanship and sensationalism associated with the coverage of American politics, it's perhaps not surprising that it takes a Brit to provide the proper perspective of American politics at the end of the 20th century. Martin Walker, Washington correspondent for Britain's the Guardian newspaper, used the occasion of the 1996 presidential campaign to produce a thorough account of President Bill Clinton and his place in American history. Walker follows Clinton through his development, examining his early life, his college experiences--including tales from Clinton's Oxford classmates who were there when he didn't inhale--on through his presidential performance. Walker focuses on substance rather than the trivialities of personal life, reviewing the president's policies for what they are and objectively placing them in context of America in the 1990s. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Bill Clinton, argues Walker, is a genuine New Democrat who wants to revise the liberal reforms of the 1960s, to end welfare dependency, provide universal health insurance, cut the deficit and get tough on crime. Clinton's vision of an activist government involves investment in high-tech industries, creation of an ecology corps and free college education in return for two years of community service. But this ambitious agenda, in Walker's analysis, was largely derailed by budgetary constraints, the Whitewater scandal and a Republican opposition that, ironically, shares many objectives of Clinton's new centrist consensus. Washington correspondent for Britain's Guardian, Walker, an acquaintance of Clinton going back to Oxford, relies heavily on published sources. Nevertheless, this is a kinetic, dramatic political biography of the 42nd president, whom Walker credits with charting for the U.S. a new post-Cold War international course as linchpin of a free-trading global economy. Photos.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This leads me to what I found to be the most interesting bit of the book, and that was the authors perspective. The European's have a different view of American politics then locals and that rather dispassionate and sometimes puzzled view of the scene comes out in the writers text. Many times I thought the author was just a bit lost as to why a particular issue was causing such an dust up or why certain policies were not getting passed. Again the author did not always fall to picking the path Clinton took, there were any number of times when I felt the author wondered just what was Bill thinking. I also liked the understated way the author detailed events that were dripping in high stakes drama, at least in the U.S.
Overall the book was average. I did not find a whole lot new in the book and many times the author had to resort to almost just listing issues because he was running out of room. He took on far too many topics to do most of them justice and at the same time he got the reader just far enough into a topic to be disappointed that he did not finish the study. Again I think the best part of the book is just the interesting way an European reported on the events of the first Clinton term. It gave the events a little less drama and a lot more level headed thought.
I did read the bio of Mr. Walker on the jacket cover too. He is far from non-partisan as other reviewers describe. He attended Oxford with Clinton and his background screams Socialist.
I see this book is out of print. A wise decision there!