by Nigel Hamilton
Nigel Hamilton brings all the magisterial authority he brought to his Whitbread-winning biography of Monty, and all the talent for tracking down and verifying hidden, controversial material that he showed in JFK: Reckless Youth, which topped the American bestseller charts for months, in this new biography of Bill Clinton. Born into a 'white trash' family in backwoods, racially segregated Arkansas, he suffered under an alcoholic, violent stepfather, on one occasion having to fight him physically in order to protect his mother. As a youth he would become inspired by the civil rights movement, particularly Martin Luther King, and as a student became a long-haired hippy musician, involved in radical politics and also discovering free love.
Hamilton tells the story of how Clinton's sexual and political career developed hand in hand. This is a book about sexual politics on many levels, showing how Clinton's life was formed by changing attitudes. Here is a man who, far from being a sexual predator or exploiter of his position - like JFK - was swept to power because women adored him, whether Democratic party helpers, the women of the American electorate - or indeed Hilary Clinton, whose powerfully manipulative personality is shown to have been vital to his success,.
Clinton has been polygamous throughout his adult life, and Hamilton's fascinating portrait of a marriage examines Hilary's relationship with his quite astonishing number of girlfriends. The book also covers his time at Oxford as a Rhodes scholar, his political apprenticeship and his rise to power, culminating in his election as President in '92.