President Bill Clinton’s My Life is the strikingly candid portrait of a global leader who decided early in life to devote his intellectual and political gifts, and his extraordinary capacity for hard work, to serving the public. It shows us the progress of a remarkable American, who, through his own enormous energies and efforts, made the unlikely journey from Hope, Arkansas, to the White House - a journey fueled by an impassioned interest in the political process which manifested itself at every stage of his life: in college, working as an intern for Senator William Fulbright; at Oxford, becoming part of the Vietnam War protest movement; at Yale Law School, campaigning on the grassroots level for Democratic candidates; back in Arkansas, running for Congress, attorney general, and governor.
We see his career shaped by his resolute determination to improve the life of his fellow citizens, an unfaltering commitment to civil rights, and an exceptional understanding of the practicalities of political life.
We come to understand the emotional pressures of his youth - born after his father’s death; caught in the dysfunctional relationship between his feisty, nurturing mother and his abusive stepfather, whom he never ceased to love and whose name he took; drawn to the brilliant, compelling Hillary Rodham, whom he was determined to marry; passionately devoted, from her infancy, to their daughter, Chelsea, and to the entire experience of fatherhood; slowly and painfully beginning to comprehend how his early denial of pain led him at times into damaging patterns of behavior.
President Clinton’s book is also the fullest, most concretely detailed, most nuanced account of a presidency ever written - encompassing not only the high points and crises but the way the presidency actually works: the day-to-day bombardment of problems, personalities, conflicts, setbacks, achievements.
It is a testament to the positive impact on America and on the world of his work and his ideals.
It is the gripping account of a president under concerted and unrelenting assault orchestrated by his enemies on the Far Right, and how he survived and prevailed. It is a treasury of moments caught alive, among them:
- The 10-year-old boy watching the national political conventions on his family’s new (and first) television set.
- The young candidate looking for votes in the Arkansas hills and the local seer who tells him, “Anybody who would campaign at a beer joint in Joiner at midnight on Saturday night deserves to carry one box...You’ll win here. But it’ll be the only damn place you win in this county.” (He was right on both counts.)
- The roller-coaster ride of the 1992 campaign.
- The extraordinarily frank exchanges with Newt Gingrich and Bob Dole.
- The delicate manipulation needed to convince Rabin and Arafat to shake hands for the camera while keeping Arafat from kissing Rabin.
- The cost, both public and private, of the scandal that threatened the presidency.
Here is the life of a great national and international figure, revealed with all his talents and contradictions, told openly, directly, in his own completely recognizable voice. A unique book by a unique American.
- Audie Award Finalist, Non-Fiction (unabridged), 2005
"My Life is, 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 for eight years." (The New York Times Book Review)
Ce que les auditeurs disent de My Life, Volume I
New found respect for Clinton from a Republican
I can now see how Bill Clinton was so successful as President. He has the ability to persuade and make you like him, no matter what he does. He had a tough childhood that put a resolve and strength in him that made him a survivor. He married a woman who would push him farther than we would think possible. He made political hay out of her and turned Hillary into an asset rather than a political liability. He was the governor or a small backwoods state with little other experience and catapulted it into the Presidency through his sheer charm and willpower. Whether you like Clinton or not, he will come out as a different character when you get done reading this book. His revelations about Monica and his reasons (excuses) do not give much new insight into a possibly disastrous situation and he puts it into the context it belongs - as a minor failure by a man with an ego a little too big for his own good. He expands on his personal flogging and begging for forgiveness far more than the episode itself. It would have been interesting to know if there were any political deals struck with Hillary to help her endure this embarrassment, but I'm sure we will never know that whole story. No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, you need to read this book. It will not only tell you about the man, but give you insight into the time we have all lived through.
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Worth the effort
This is a long book. It's split up into two volumes, after all. As the title suggests, it's about Bill Clinton's life, all of it. You need to know that going in.
Assuming you can accept that, I heartily recommend this production. There is so much insight into politics that you are bound to learn something new. The story takes a long time to build, but it would be diminished if it was streamlined. When then end of the book arrives, it is difficult not to be affected by it all.
Also, Michael Beck does a wonderful job narrating in a voice so near Clinton's, you'll forget that it's not him.
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I had a hard time with this one...
I consider myself to be a huge Bill Clinton supporter, and really wanted to read this book. I passed up the abridged version because I thought the unabridged would be that much better! My goodness; about two hours into the book I was so incredibly tired of listening to absolutely meaningless stories about third cousins, getting stung by a bee while mowing the lawn, and drinking sweet tea at Sunday supper. I was incredibly disappointed. I fell asleep twice listening to it, and I finally decided that I made a bad purchase and just retired the book without finishing it. Don?t make the same mistake I did. If I had it all to do over again, I?d probably get the abridged version if for no other reason than Clinton reads it himself.
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It was fascinating to get a better look at Bill Clinton the man. It was great to learn more about politics and policy. But even Bill Clinton couldn't make the dryest politics interesting to someone like me who has always found government studies and history boring. I'm trying, and this was a step in the right direction, but I did find myself drifting off to other places during parts of this very long book, and not missing at all what I had missed. Still this was a worthy listen and I don't regret having some new insight under my belt. And it turns out I like him a great deal more than I thought I did.
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I'm two-thirds of the way through volume 1, and I'm thinking that the abridged version might have been more appropriate for the casual reader. Clinton's every word may be of interest to budding politicians and historians, but I'm tiring of the minutiae of how many votes he lost in a rural Arkansas county when he raised the fees for car tags and then how many he won back during his third gubernatorial campaign. With seemingly zero attempt at brevity, Clinton seems to be cataloging every event of his life and only occasionally provides some reflection on the events. Nevertheless, it is a fascinating autobiography of a charismatic leader.
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- Robert E. Hamilton
A Facinating Read
The depth of self disclosure of his early years alone makes this a volume well worth reading. Clinton stirs strong feelings, positive, negative, and sometimes both among the same person. This volume will help the reader understand his perspective.
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Kathleen, you are talking about the abridged
Just a correction. It is the abridged (4 hour) version that is read by Bill Clinton in person. This one (complete 2-volume set) is done by a narrator.
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Good Sleep Medicine
I was keen on listening to Clinton's autobiography and gave it my best effort but I was only able to listen to the first part of the first volume before I became stupified by personal references. I would suggest the abridged version if you have the interest.
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Wow -- 24 Hours and I am only through Volume 1
I just finished Volume 1. It stops when he gets elected to the White House in 92. It is very interesting and after listening I have forgiven him for Monica. But I cannot believe there is more to hear! I think they should tell you this when you purchase it.
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- Mr. M Metwally
Only Pres. Clinton could have written this one...
This is a must read or listen book for those who want to better understand American politics. This bio could not have been written by anyone other than the Author. It is a good read for politicians of all nations.
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