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The Natural: The Misunderstood Presidency of Bill Clinton Paperback – 1 Feb 2003

4.1 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; Reprint edition (1 Feb. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767914120
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767914123
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.4 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 172,383 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Primary Colors author Joe Klein offers a non-fictional take on his favourite subject, Bill Clinton, whom he describes as both "the most talented politician of his generation" and "the most compelling". Klein is of two minds when it comes to the man from Hope: he is at once disappointed by Clinton's failure to achieve greatness, but also a defender of what Clinton did do. He can be unremittingly harsh about the 42nd president's personal shortcomings: "Bill Clinton often seemed the apotheosis of his generation's alleged sins: moral relativism, the tendency to pay more attention to marketing than to substance, the solipsistic callowness". Yet he also credits Clinton with running "a serious, substantive presidency" whose chief success was dragging "Washington toward a recognition that a revised form of government activism might be appropriate in the anarchy of an instant economy." Klein is a smart and engrossing writer, and The Natural is an honest liberal's best effort to explain eight controversial years. Readers who supported Clinton will discover new insights into why he didn't accomplish more; those who opposed him will gain a sharper understanding of why he remained so popular with the public.--John Miller --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

Review

""The Natural is an important step forward for Clinton literature...[with] crisp writing and vivid images...[that] helps us to understand the very different time and nation we now inhabit." - Ted Widmer, "The New York Observer
"Klein...is a superb storyteller, a master at setting a scene, capturing the gestures of his characters, and most of all, at describing the twists and turns of the political intrigue that passes for democracy in Washington, D.C....I read - or rather inhaled - ["The Natural] in one sitting." - "The San Francisco Chronicle
..." Brilliantly illuminating...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 (starred review)
"[A] thoughtful assessment of the Clinton presidency...a supremely fascinating look....No journalist is better matched to this subject than Klein." - "Kirkus Reviews
"[Klein] offers the real deal....His is a on 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." - "Booklist
"[A] short, sparkling account of those presidential years....Among journalists, Klein is ideally placed to write this book." - David Gergen, "The Boston Globe
"Klein is a smart and engrossing writer....Readers who supported Clinton will discover new insights into why he didn't accomplish more; those who opposed him will gain a sharper understanding of why he remained so popular with the public." - "Amazon.com
"Klein is an intelligent and shrewd observer of Clinton'sweaknesses and failures." - John, J. Miller, "The National Review
"["The Natural] is a book with insight, balance and bright writing....a century from now, some serious historian will be glad that Klein wrote this slender book. As raw material for real history, this book will be a mother lode of contemporary observations." - Harry Levins, "St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"Packed with revealing details...[Klein] can summarize a subject in a single well-phrased sentence." - Bruce Fretts, "Entertainment Weekly
"A book about the Clinton presidency that both Bill's most ardent detractors and most enthusiastic worshipers can enjoy." - "The Times (London)
"A qualified success: It will make you reconsider Clinton's eight years." - "Business Week
"Mr. Klein serves up a familiar but cogent analysis of what went wrong." - Michiko Kakutani, "The New York Times


""The Natural" is an important step forward for Clinton literature...[with] crisp writing and vivid images...[that] helps us to understand the very different time and nation we now inhabit." - Ted Widmer, "The New York Observer
""Klein...is a superb storyteller, a master at setting a scene, capturing the gestures of his characters, and most of all, at describing the twists and turns of the political intrigue that passes for democracy in Washington, D.C....I read - or rather inhaled - ["The Natural"] in one sitting." - "The San Francisco Chronicle
" ..". Brilliantly illuminating...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" (starred review)
"[A] thoughtful assessment of the Clinton presidency...a supremely fascinating look....No journalist is better matched to this subject than Klein." - "Kirkus Reviews
""[Klein] offers the real deal....His is a on 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." - "Booklist
""[A] short, sparkling account of those presidential years....Among journalists, Klein is ideally placed to write this book." - David Gergen, "The Boston Globe
""Klein is a smart and engrossing writer....Readers who supported Clinton will discover new insights into why he didn't accomplish more; those who opposed him will gain a sharper understanding of why he remained so popular with the public." - "Amazon.com
""Klein is an intelligent and shrewd observer of Clinton's weaknesses and failures." - John, J. Miller, "The National Review
""["The Natural"] is a book with insight, balance and bright writing....a century from now, some serious historian will be glad that Klein wrote this slender book. As raw material for real history, this book will be a mother lode of contemporary observations." - Harry Levins, "St. Louis Post-Dispatch
""Packed with revealing details...[Klein] can summarize a subject in a single well-phrased sentence." - Bruce Fretts, "Entertainment Weekly
""A book about the Clinton presidency that both Bill's most ardent detractors and most enthusiastic worshipers can enjoy." - "The Times" (London)
"A qualified success: It will make you reconsider Clinton's eight years." - "Business Week
""Mr. Klein serves up a familiar but cogent analysis of what went wrong." - Michiko Kakutani, "The New York Times
"

"The Natural" is an important step forward for Clinton literature...[with] crisp writing and vivid images [that] helps us to understand the very different time and nation we now inhabit. Ted Widmer, "The New York Observer
" Klein is a superb storyteller, a master at setting a scene, capturing the gestures of his characters, and most of all, at describing the twists and turns of the political intrigue that passes for democracy in Washington, D.C .I read or rather inhaled ["The Natural"] in one sitting. "The San Francisco Chronicle
" ... Brilliantly illuminating...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" (starred review)
[A] thoughtful assessment of the Clinton presidency a supremely fascinating look .No journalist is better matched to this subject than Klein. "Kirkus Reviews
" [Klein] offers the real deal .His is a on 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. "Booklist
" [A] short, sparkling account of those presidential years .Among journalists, Klein is ideally placed to write this book. David Gergen, "The Boston Globe
" Klein is a smart and engrossing writer .Readers who supported Clinton will discover new insights into why he didn t accomplish more; those who opposed him will gain a sharper understanding of why he remained so popular with the public. "Amazon.com
" Klein is an intelligent and shrewd observer of Clinton s weaknesses and failures. John, J. Miller, "The National Review
" ["The Natural"] is a book with insight, balance and bright writing .a century from now, some serious historian will be glad that Klein wrote this slender book. As raw material for real history, this book will be a mother lode of contemporary observations. Harry Levins, "St. Louis Post-Dispatch
" Packed with revealing details [Klein] can summarize a subject in a single well-phrased sentence. Bruce Fretts, "Entertainment Weekly
" A book about the Clinton presidency that both Bill s most ardent detractors and most enthusiastic worshipers can enjoy. "The Times" (London)
A qualified success: It will make you reconsider Clinton s eight years. "Business Week
" Mr. Klein serves up a familiar but cogent analysis of what went wrong. Michiko Kakutani, "The New York Times
""

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This was an enjoyable enough read. For someone with only a cursory understanding of American domestic politics, Klein serves up a useful first course: I read quickly, but was left ultimately wanting more. I do recommend this book - its easy reading, but don't expect deep insights and challenging assertions. Its more like a long feature article from a weekend newspaper supplement. And there's nothing wrong with that.
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Format: Paperback
Joe Klein delivers handsomely with this excellently researched account of life inside the Clinton White House. Klein deals with Clinton's strengths and weaknesses with refreshing objectivity and delivers an interesting insight into the decision making process and political wrangling undertaken by one of the late twentieth century's most interesting politicians. Where needed, the author pulls no punches and provides an intense critique of Clinton's every move while simultaneously recognising his unique strengths and successes.
I strongly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in either Bill Clinton or the operation of the White House.
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By A Customer on 1 July 2004
Format: Paperback
One of Clinton's nicknames was "The Natural", after the character in the film based on Malamud's novel about the best baseball player "there ever was." And in some ways he was "the best"; the problem, as this excellent portrait shows, was simply that Clinton had, and still has, some very human flaws.
Although Clinton's presidency was less than magisterial in its achievements, domestic as well as foreign, Clinton himself, in Klein's view, was unique, both in his approach to decision making and in his formulation of unglamorous but important social and economic policy. Klein is critical of his mistakes: the misguided health care bill headed by Hillary; the lack of direction in the early years of the administration; and, perhaps most heavily, of the Lewinsky affair and the handling of it. But he is happy to acknowledge the positive aspects of the man: the intelligence; the human factor; the enthusiasm and passion for a range of issues; and Clinton's ability to retain and apply a huge amount of information about whatever subject he happened to be discussing.
This is a quick and absorbing, personal and continually fascinating account of a flawed, but very important, presidency. It does not contain every last detail of each and every moment Clinton spent in Office; but it does provide us with a look at the nature and character of Bill Clinton. Very much recommended if you want to know more, but don't want to wade through a 900-page memoir.
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Format: Paperback
If you are expecting a biography of Bill Clinton's Presidency forget it. If you are expecting full revelations about how and why the President acted in the various facets of his terms in office, be they personal or political, this book merely skims the surface. The author claims to have inside knowledge with the President, the very slimness of the volume leads you to believe that these talks were minimal. I read nothing new about the 8 year term than I could have in the papers, in fact it seems to be a lot of conjecture.
It is very disappointing to review this book in such a negative fashion, given how much I enjoyed Primary Colours. I didn't expect or want salacious details but expected more facts rather than conjecture.
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