Jim's Pseudo-Intellectual Book Club: Vol. XXXIV

OK pseudo-intellectuals, it's time to light up a cigarette, gather in a smoke-filled, politically-incorrect room and talk some politics.

Bill Clinton was really something, wasn't he? A more brilliant, maddening and fascinating politician has not been born.

Now that his partner in politics, U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, is running hard for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in 2008, it's time to take another look at Slick Willie's two terms in the White House.

That's why the latest recommendation from Jim's Pseudo-Intellectual Book Club is "The Survivor: Bill Clinton in the White House" by former Washington Post White House correspondent John Harris.

Harris' retrospective on the Terminator (he just keeps coming) of Politics will give readers some perspective on what to expect if/when the Clintons move back into the White House in January 2009.

While not voluminous in detail, Harris' 400-page-plus work provides a thorough recounting of the highlights and lowlights of Clinton's roller-coaster tenure as the nation's chief executive. While generally sympathetic in tone, Harris skates over none of the mistakes that marred Clinton's tenure, describing how Clinton time and again managed to slip the noose that his political opponents had fashioned for him.

To the extent that any mere reporter can, Harris explains the rhythms of Clinton's governing style, his astounding strengths and his incomprehensible weaknesses. This is a man whose political and personal style drove his friends almost as crazy as his enemies.

It wasn't just House Speaker Newt Gingrich and his fellow Republicans who were driven to distraction by their confrontations and negotiations with Clintons. Democrats, including Vice President Al Gore and White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles, found themselves alienated by Clinton's approach to life.

The bottom line is that Clinton is an absolutely amazing character, a man of gargantuan appetities, olympian intelligence and keen insight into everything but his self-destructive bent. Whether you love him, hate him or fit somewhere in between, there's no denying he's a larger-than-life figure whose adventures/misadventures make for fascinating reading.

Previous recommenations from Jim's Pseudo-Intellectual Book Club can be found on my web log at news-gazette.com

Here are the previous recommenations from Jim's Pseudo-Intellectual Book Club.

[–] "Ghost Soldiers: The Forgotten Epic Story of World War II's Most Dramatic Mission" by Hampton Sides.

[–] "The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt" by Edmund Morris.

[–] "A Night to Remember" by Walter Lord.

[–] "April 1865: The Month That Saved America" by Jay Winik.

[–] "Seabiscuit: An American Legend" by Laura Hillenbrand.

[–] "Lindbergh" by A. Scott Berg.

[–] "The Kennedy Men: 1901-1963" by Laurence Leamer.

[–] "The Brother: The Untold Story of the Rosenberg Case" by Sam Roberts.

[–] "Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy" by Jane Leavy.

[–] "Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions" by Ben Mezrich.

[–] "Harry & Ike: The Partnership That Remade the Post-War World" by Steve Neal.

[–] "Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game" by Michael Lewis.

[–] "Into Africa: The Epic Adventures of Stanley & Livingstone" by Martin Dugard.

[–] "In Harm's Way: The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors" by Doug Stanton.

[–] "Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34." by Bryan Burrough.

[–] "Flags of our Fathers," by James Bradley.

[–] "Cary Grant: A Biography" by Marc Elliot.

[–] "Three Nights in August: Strategy, Heartbreak and Joy Inside the Mind of a Manager" by Buzz Bissinger.

[–] "Boss Tweed: The Rise and Fall of the Corrupt Pol Who Conceived the Soul of Modern New York" by Kenneth Ackerman.

[–] "They Marched Into Sunlight: War and Peace, Vietnam and America, October 1967" by David Maraniss.

[–] "Flashman" (a novel) by George MacDonald Fraser.

[–] "Beyond Glory: Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling and A World on the Brink" by David Margolick.

[–] "Ladies and gentlemen, the Bronx is Burning: 1977, Baseball, Politics and the Battle for the Soul of a City" by Jonathan Mahler.

[–] "Five Families: the Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of America's Most Powerful Mafia Empires" by Selwyn Raab.

[–] "The Rivalry: Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain and the Golden Age of Basketball." by John Taylor.

[–] "American Brutus: John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Conspiracies" by Michael Kauffman.

[[–] "The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11" by Lawrence Wright.

[– ) "A Well-Paid Slave: Curt Flood's Fight for Free Agency in Professional Sports" by Brad Snyder.

[–] "The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game" by Michael Lewis.

[–] "The Education of a Coach" by David Halberstam.

[–] "Arc of Justice: A Sage of Race, Civil Rights and Murder in the Jazz Age" by Kevin Boyle

[–] "The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived The Great American Dust Bowl" by Timothy Egan.

[–] "The Wrong Man: The Final Verdict on the Dr. Sam Sheppard Murder Case" by James Neff

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