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By: Taylor Branch

Branch interviewed President Clinton 78 times between 1993 and 2001 for roughly two hours each time. The President's side of those conversations formed the basis of his own memoir. Branch, immediately after each session, recorded his take not only on the content of their conversations, but on Clinton's demeanor, moods, puzzlements and the homely aspects of his and his family's life in the West Wing.

Because the mission was confidential, Branch encountered mostly the permanent, anonymous staff at the official residence: the ushers and butlers, who guided him to await Clinton in various rendezvous spots. Several tape sessions took place in the family den next to the President's bedroom, on a table next to Hillary's collection of ornamental frogs, or in the upstairs Solarium. Most took place in the President's private office.

The book highlights major events from Clinton's two terms, including war in Bosnia, the antideficit crusade, health reform failure, antterrorist strikes, peace initiatives, the 1996 re-election campaign, and Whitewater investigations culminating in his 1999 impeachment trial.It is a rare look at the pressures of a job that Branch watched age this relatively young president.