book review: the natural

The Natural: The Misunderstood Presidency of Bill Clinton

This is a very insightful and well-written look at the Clinton presidency.  It falls flat in a few places, especially when he tries to talk about events in 2000-2001 under Bush (it was published in 2002).  But where he has the greater perspective of history, Klein does a great job of showing how Bill Clinton’s unique personality, talents, and flaws played out in his administration.

More importantly, we can see the political beginnings of issues like NAFTA and universal health care and people like Hillary Clinton and Mark Penn that have reemerged so prominently this year.  Knowing what’s happened since then gives the book an extra layer of meaning and enjoyment.  Klein also demonstrates the Clintons’ ability to weather scandals and Republican attacks through sheer persistence and a bunker mentality.  This may go a long way to explaining why Hillary is still in the race today.

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