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My Life Hardcover – 30 Jun 2004

3.8 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 957 pages
  • Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf; First Edition, notations on Fep edition (30 Jun. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375414576
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375414572
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 5.5 x 23.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,444,197 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

An exhaustive, soul-searching memoir, Bill Clinton's My Life is a refreshingly candid look at the former president as a son, brother, teacher, father, husband and public figure. Clinton painstakingly outlines the history behind his greatest successes and failures, including his dedication to educational and economic reform, his war against a "vast right-wing operation" determined to destroy him, and the "morally indefensible" acts for which he was nearly impeached. My Life is autobiography as therapy--a personal history written by a man trying to face and banish his private demons.

Clinton approaches the story of his youth with gusto, sharing tales of giant watermelons, nine-pound tumours, a charging ram, famous mobsters and jazz musicians and a BB gun standoff. He offers an equally energetic portrait of American history, pop culture and the evolving political landscape, covering the historical events that shaped his early years (namely the deaths of Martin Luther King Jr and JFK) and the events that shaped his presidency (Waco, Bosnia, Somalia). What makes My Life remarkable as a political memoir is how thoroughly it is infused with Clinton's unassuming, charmingly pithy voice:

I learned a lot from the stories my uncle, aunts, and grandparents told me: that no one is perfect but most people are good; that people can't be judged only by their worst or weakest moments; that harsh judgments can make hypocrites of us all; that a lot of life is just showing up and hanging on; that laughter is often the best, and sometimes the only, response to pain.

However, that same voice might tire readers as Clinton applies his penchant for minute details to a distractible laundry list of events, from his youth through the years of his presidency. Not wanting to forget a single detail that might help account for his actions, Clinton overdoes it--do we really need to know the name of his childhood barber? But when Clinton sticks to the meat of his story--recollections about his mother, his abusive stepfather, Hillary, the campaign trail and Kenneth Starr--the veracity of emotion and revelations about "what it is like to be President" make My Life impossible to put down.

To Clinton, "politics is a contact sport" and while he claims that My Life is not intended to make excuses or assign blame, it does portray him as a fighter whose strategy is to "take the first hit, then counterpunch as hard as I could". While My Life is primarily a stroll through Clinton's memories, it is also a scathing rebuke--a retaliation against his detractors, including Kenneth Starr, whose "mindless search for scandal" protected the guilty while "persecuting the innocent" and distracted his administration from pressing international matters (including strikes on al Qaeda). Counterpunch indeed.

At its core, My Life is a charming and intriguing if flawed book by an intriguing and flawed man who had his worst failures and humiliations made public. Ultimately, the man who left office in the shadow of scandal offers an honest and open account of his life, allowing readers to witness his struggle to "drain the most out of every moment" while maintaining the character with which he was raised. It is a remarkably intimate, persuasive look at the boy he was, the president he became and the man he is today. --Daphne Durham, Amazon.com --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Audio Cassette.

Review

"By a generous measure, the richest American presidential autobiography-no other book tells us as vividly or fully what it is like to be president of the United States.... And he can write." --Larry McMurtry, The New York Times Book Review "My Life is, without question, the best written U.S. presidential tome of all time." --Douglas Brinkley, Financial Times "A hell of a good story." --Frank McCourt, Entertainment Weekly"It's an almost voluptuous pleasure to read Clinton when he's recounting and analyzing a political race or a legislative battle, whether it's one of his own or somebody else's." --The New Yorker "Consistently fascinating." --The Seattle Times"Clinton talks with disarming frankness [and] writes with grace and fluidity. . . . He is also a born storyteller." --The New Republic"Might just be the perfect representation of the man himself." --The Plain Dealer "Clinton has many tales to tell, particularly a rich, sometimes moving account of his years before the public life, fit for future analytical historians and biographers. . . . The personal and the political are intertwined. . . . Clinton's story very much reflects the man we know." --The Nation "He manages to create the distinct impression that he is sitting in the living room talking to the reader. . . . Anyone who is geninely interested in American politics will find his insights and anecdotes fascinating. . . . The book helps to elucidate the question of 'how he did it.' " --Deseret Morning News"It's a saga worthy of Cecil B. DeMille, a rags-to-riches tale full of the stuff of human frailty, with a cast of hundreds, complete with low-life villians and high-minded heroes and, as such stories require, an upbeat ending. . . . The 1990s come to life once again as a time of uncommon tumult and riveting personalities. . . . The personalities on parade are as vivid as the events." --Newark Star-Ledger" Tremendously interesting and entertaining. . . . Clinton's is a truly American story to which the average person can relate. . . . Future politicians will find it a must-read, and average Americans will identify with the highs and lows we all experience as we make our way through life." --Chattanooga Times Free Press "Takes readers through a strong account of the achievements and failures of his administrattion. . . . No other presidential memoir is likely to be so lively. . . . Bill Clinton is hard to dismiss, and so is an account of his extraordinary life." -- The Tennessean"A reading of MyLife is a necessity for lovers of good autobiograpy. It reads like a down-home history of a life and, thus, anchors Clinton as a superb storyteller. . . . Candid. . . . Honest. . . . Stimulating." --Huntsville Times

-By a generous measure, the richest American presidential autobiography-no other book tells us as vividly or fully what it is like to be president of the United States.... And he can write.- --Larry McMurtry, The New York Times Book Review -My Life is, without question, the best written U.S. presidential tome of all time.- --Douglas Brinkley, Financial Times -A hell of a good story.- --Frank McCourt, Entertainment Weekly-It's an almost voluptuous pleasure to read Clinton when he's recounting and analyzing a political race or a legislative battle, whether it's one of his own or somebody else's.- --The New Yorker -Consistently fascinating.- --The Seattle Times-Clinton talks with disarming frankness [and] writes with grace and fluidity. . . . He is also a born storyteller.- --The New Republic-Might just be the perfect representation of the man himself.- --The Plain Dealer -Clinton has many tales to tell, particularly a rich, sometimes moving account of his years before the public life, fit for future analytical historians and biographers. . . . The personal and the political are intertwined. . . . Clinton's story very much reflects the man we know.- --The Nation -He manages to create the distinct impression that he is sitting in the living room talking to the reader. . . . Anyone who is geninely interested in American politics will find his insights and anecdotes fascinating. . . . The book helps to elucidate the question of 'how he did it.' - --Deseret Morning News-It's a saga worthy of Cecil B. DeMille, a rags-to-riches tale full of the stuff of human frailty, with a cast of hundreds, complete with low-life villians and high-minded heroes and, as such stories require, an upbeat ending. . . . The 1990s come to life once again as a time of uncommon tumult and riveting personalities. . . . The personalities on parade are as vivid as the events.- --Newark Star-Ledger- Tremendously interesting and entertaining. . . . Clinton's is a truly American story to which the average person can relate. . . . Future politicians will find it a must-read, and average Americans will identify with the highs and lows we all experience as we make our way through life.- --Chattanooga Times Free Press -Takes readers through a strong account of the achievements and failures of his administrattion. . . . No other presidential memoir is likely to be so lively. . . . Bill Clinton is hard to dismiss, and so is an account of his extraordinary life.- -- The Tennessean-A reading of MyLife is a necessity for lovers of good autobiograpy. It reads like a down-home history of a life and, thus, anchors Clinton as a superb storyteller. . . . Candid. . . . Honest. . . . Stimulating.- --Huntsville Times

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