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.
Ah, the British accent! Time-tested shield for all literary sins and effective cover for this exhaustive rehash of Clinton-era misdemeanors and scandals. Brit James Adams (identified as \x93one of the world's leading authorities on terrorism\x94) reads the second volume of fellow Brit Hamilton's biography of the 42nd president. Beginning with Clinton's inauguration, Hamilton documents the man from Hope's missteps, from gays in the military to Monica Lewinsky, reserving extra snark for every mention of first lady and current presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Adams reads with fruity upper-crust flair, but even his mellifluousness cannot hide the warmed-over stench of Hamilton's tired prose. Anglophiles will enjoy hearing Adams read, undoubtedly, but appreciators of Bill Clinton\x97or, really, anyone who possesses anything less than a fanatical hatred of him\x97will find Hamilton's work rough sledding. Simultaneous release with the Public Affairs hardcover (Reviews, May, 21).