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Bill and Hillary: The Politics of the Personal

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  139 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
In Private Lives/Public Consequences and in Never Stop Running, his critically acclaimed biography of Allard Lowenstein, William H. Chafe has written powerfully about the relationship between personality and politics. Bill and Hillary: The Politics of the Personal represents the culmination of this approach to political history. Having written widely on civil rights and wo ...more
ebook, 400 pages
Published September 4th 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Melissa
"At Yale, [Bill] Clinton found an answer - another person, equally bright, just as driven to break barriers and change the world. She was almost as complicated as he was - perhaps even more so - with a family history that came close to his in its crazy dynamics. Hillary Rodham would change his life. He would change hers. And from the moment of their meeting, they created a partnership, both political and personal, that helped shape the course of the country." (pg. 64)

I'm fascinated with the Clin
...more
George Clack
This is familiar territory for anybody who was alive and reading the newspapers during the Clintons’ codependent copresidency. In Chafe’s telling of his politics-is-personal theory, Bill pursues women and then, out of guilt and gratitude for her support, gives Hillary an opening to seize control of key decisions in the White house and she screws up. If conventional wisdom is your thing, it’s here in abundance. At bottom this book is what reporters call “a clip job” – a compendium of nuggets from ...more
Vivian Blaxell
For me the story of the Clinton's personal relationship and its impact on turn of the century US and international politics is one of the most interesting and important stories around. Its fascinating and the fascination survives Chafe's humdrum treatment. Much of his analysis is a rather glib and stale take on the political dramas of the times. One could forgive Chafe this if his too few explorations of the Clinton's relationship and its effects on the political dramas of the times were well an ...more
Jason George
I picked up this book because I love reading about recent political history and because I know William Chafe to be an extremely well-respected and accomplished historian. The book is exceptionally readable and based on Chafe's argument that the dynamics of the Clinton marriage drove the Clinton presidency. Chafe packs a lot of information into a relatively succinct narrative and does a good job including necessary details to support his claims without delving too deeply into the more salacious e ...more
Jessica
Oct 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this book. It was informative for me because during Clinton's presidency, I was too young and naive and uninterested in politics to know what was going on. Not only does this give an overview of Clinton's presidency (and Hillary's contributions) but also it paints a vivid picture of their personal lives and personalities, which all seems pretty dramatic now considering they are seemingly adored by everyone these days. While reading, I kept thinking: "Bill and Hillary? Or Romeo and ...more
Duke Press
"William H. Chafe understands, as do too few historians and biographers, that the personal and public lives of political figures cannot be separated. . . . Chafe is quite right to insist that the stories of Bill and Hillary Clinton prove the point." — Jonathan Yardley The Washington Post

"Riveting. . . . Chafe sees clearly what we who were there, chronicling the Clintons in real time, missed." — David M. Shribman The Boston Globe

"The strength of this book lies in Chafe's reconstruction of the C
...more
Becky Combs
Sep 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Historian William Chafe has done his homework here. Well researched and insightful, the book tries to answer the question that so many of us have wondered, "What kind of relationship do Bill and Hillary really have?" Beginning with the stories of how each of them grew up, we begin to understand who they are individually and how their unique partnership as adults enriches both of their lives. Regarding the subtitle: "The Politics of the Personal," he illustrates how the personal experiences of le ...more
Nancy
Aug 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one took me a long time because it was like reading about a train wreck. I had so much hope when he was elected, then I felt betrayed because I actually believed he had " not had sex with that woman". Then I had to work my way back to the point that I contribute to the Clinton Foundation. This book brought it all back and I had to work my way through it, sometimes stopping for a while. The "what ifs" the author poses in the last chapter are very good and pose interesting questions. I have s ...more
Beverly
As reviewer Vivian Blacksell says, this is a humdrum treatment of the Clintons and their relationship, offering little that is new. But this is also a pretty dramatic story. If Hillary Clinton runs for president in 2016, it would be a good idea to revisit her behavior during the first part of her husband's presidency. She seems to have reclaimed her integrity since then, but this story does give one pause.
Holly
Jun 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unpublished proof, gotten from a Little Free Library. Fascinating insight into their personal lives, and how that shaped their political. Beginning makes you a bit more endeared for both of them, and insight into their marriage as a political partnership and how they complement and need each other. Sometimes not so flattering view of the Clinton presidency, but honest, and generally pretty objectively written.
Brisbride13
I feel like I wasted enough of my time with this book. The author's falling back on well with Bill's roving eye and Gennifer scandal, he really had no choice but to allow Hillary to have her way on this topic. Give her total control over health-care well because the depth of his remorse over the Gennifer scandal....bleck!!!!!
Linda Underwood
Dec 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Book was recommended to me or I don't think I would have read it. I am glad that I read it and I think it was a measured and fair representation. But it is profoundly sad of the potential lost. The psychological melding of Bill and Hillary was thought provoking. So much talent in both of them yet some very disfunctional character flaws.
Irving Koppel
Apr 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Chafe's biography of Bill and Hillary Clinton is a fascinating account of their
lives,both personal and political.Beginning with their upbringings and tracing
their ups and downs to the present,the author takes us behind the scenes of the lives of a former and a possible future president.
David Horney
Jan 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-44th-year
It could be tempting to read this book as a hatchet piece, but it is meticulously footnoted/documented. Fascinating dissection of the the codependent relationship that made Bill's presidency possible.
Linda
Dec 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Fascinating perspective.
Leila Cohan-Miccio
I mean, is it the dishy, explanatory book I would like to read about the Clintons' marriage? No. Is it a pretty good light biography of both Clintons? Sure.
Pat
Jun 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a must read before a vote for Hillary
Ann Holland
Repetitive, but readable account of the Clintons' co-dependency. Especially interesting to read about Hillary's decision making thought processes in this election year.
Curtis Minsel
Titillating detail not new. However, political successes made very interesting reading - especially in light of today's political climate.
Cathy
Jun 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
All I can say is this is a great book if you would like to learn more about the inner workings of this marriage.
Sheridan
Jun 11, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
Interesting, but at this point I can't take any more of Hillary. May pick it up later.
Marsha
Oct 08, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I now have a better understanding of the amazing people Bill and Hilary are and the eight years of the Clinton presidency.
Kathy
Jan 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another fascinating politico book. Two incredible minds - with unique understanding of the others tolerance.
Barbara Gavin
May 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting.
Robin
Oct 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
fascinating account of the relationship between the Clintons and the long term impact it has had on the United States.
Carmen Dearing
rated it it was amazing
May 15, 2013
Myron Feld
rated it really liked it
Oct 25, 2012
Jenny
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Nov 14, 2012
Philly Aesthete Brown
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Nov 12, 2012
Kate
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Oct 03, 2012
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William Chafe is an American historian, and currently the Alice Mary Baldwin Professor of History at Duke University.
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