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The Clinton Wars

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  317 ratings  ·  20 reviews
The title of journalist turned-embattled-White House aide Sidney Blumenthal's memoir/history of his tumultuous years inside the Clinton presidency is both literal and figurative, if something of an understatement; "apocalypse" would seem more to the point. Erudite and fiercely unapologetic, Blumenthal belatedly provides the overwrought saga's protagonists what they so ofte ...more
Paperback, 832 pages
Published July 1st 2004 by Penguin (first published May 20th 2003)
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Jerome Otte
Blumenthal -- like most political operatives with a book deal -- has churned out an indifferently written and profoundly humourless blend of hagiography, self-justification and character assassination.

This is a highly detailed, disjointed, and boring look at the inner workings of the Clinton White House, focusing on its many political battles. The title fooled me into thinking that this was about foreign or defense policy, which is much more intriguing than domestic policy.

What's wrong with thi
August Robert
Jul 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: political-books
This book is exhaustively researched and great fodder for politicos. Blumenthal takes a step back from any situation or policy to explain the decades of politics leading up to it and often providing a lengthy quote of a speech or relevant document. Yes, this is a biased account of the Clinton presidency and Blumenthal goes out of his way to talk about himself and his life. His role in the Clinton White House is fascinating, though, and–being a journalist–Blumenthal is an engaging writer with eas ...more
You have to go into this one knowing that it is going to be completely biased towards the Democrats. Blumenthal is a pretty self-absorbed writer, and this book is as much about him as it is Clinton, though to be fair, he was part of the administration so I guess...
What put it at 3 instead of 4 stars for me was Blumenthal's selective citations and complete lack of a bibliography. For a former journalist criticizing a lot of people for not crediting their sources, an awful lot of material goes un
Adam Ashton
I liked this book, but there's way, way too much of it. Blumenthal's take on the "right wing conspiracy" remains on point today in an era of a different Democratic president facing the same kind of opposition. I appreciate his effort to critique mainstream press reports on Whitewater, but he settles too many scores and they grow tiresome. ...more
Aug 27, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Clinton Wars is a fat, interesting book for political junkies focused on the issues at play during the Clinton presidency. It also offers an excellent account of the human (or subhuman) dimension of national politics during the same time period. Blumenthal is an excellent writer and he was there, a confidant of both Bill and Hillary. As someone sympathetic to them, his account is sympathetic and offers insights other chronicles overlook.

On the Whitewater and pre-presidential sex front, Blume
Eric Hudson
Good stuff, good stuff. Yea refreshing to find a prominent white liberal male use a progressive truth telling frame work to toss buckets of ice cold truth on the heads of Gooo Goo white and Black liberals. When I do it they write me off as an angry Black man instead of recognizing the truth and their own bold hypocrisy and unwillingness to be courageous. How deep is it to read a true account about how Liberals allow republicans to lie, cheat, steal, kill, etc, etc while doing nothing about it li ...more
Jan 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading this book has convinced me that Bill Clinton was one of the greatest presidents in the history of the United States.
I dare anyone to read it and draw a different conclusion.

Blumenthal does a great job of matching the accusations made by the Republican smear machine with what was actually proved (nothing) in the extensive (8 year long $70 million) government investigations of the Clintons. He also reminds us of the accomplishments (peace, lowest unemployment in decades, budget surpluses,
Jun 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Makes a compelling case for the role of the progressive president, and provides a gripping insight into the only impeachment of a president in living memory. Yes, it is fairly one-sided. But it works, and makes you realise the treatment of Mrs Clinton in 2016 was nothing new.
Will Byrnes
Oct 25, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Very good historical account of the Clinton presidency told by an insider. Quite good
Joseph J.
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bought a copy at a recent library sale; almost bought it fifteen years ago at Strand Book Store. Now--"Why did I buy another Clinton book?!" Well we still live with the history in these very well written pages, by a journalist and staffer. The names: Lindsay Graham (here a young Congressman) and Newt Gingrich (ascendant and fallen), George Conway (Kelly Ann's husband) and Ann Coulter (need I say more). Blumenthal's descriptions of Graham and Newt (leaving the house chamber with his soon to be ex ...more
Feb 08, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written by an insider in the Clinton administration, it reaffirmed many things to me, that Whitewater was a fraud; Kenneth Starr was politically motivated to remove Clinton from office; that the investigation of Clinton was utterly unnecessary, politically vindictive, and a waste of this country's valuable resources. And in their rush to be the next Woodward and Bernstein, the press became willing dupes of Starr's illegal leaks. Republicans could not show Clinton respect and presumed that he was ...more
Rena Jane
Dec 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an appreciative work of Clinton's presidency and issues. I knew there was a lot of Republican spin in all the scandals that were circulating about the Clinton's and his presidency. I have realized that the 5th estate isn't the responsible, truth-telling group I had once aspired to join. The prevarications created to swing opinion away from real issues, and intent upon sullying and smearing Clinton's efforts to make a positive and needed change, astound and embarrass me.

It confirms my belief
Jun 01, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There's a picture of a much younger version of myself at the Kentucky Governor's Mansion much like the one of Sidney Blumenthal and President Clinton on the cover of The Clinton Wars. I mention this only to illustrate how easy it becomes for political aides to overstate their importance, and that might be Blumenthal's only fault here. This book is highly valuable for its insider perspective of the Clinton White House in the time of impeachment, although Blumenthal does seem a bit absorbed with h ...more
Apr 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
The Clinton presidency was under attack since long before it ever even began. First from the outside perspective of a journalist, then the inside perspective of an administration official, Sidney Blumenthal tells the tale of the Clinton Wars, why they were fought and who won the battles along the way. Also sheds light on Hillary Clinton's Senate campaign in 2000, and the "stolen succession" election of 2000, with a thoroughly-supported takedown of the media-accepted version of events in the 2000 ...more
Frederick Bingham
A memoir and history by Sidney Blumenthal. He was hired by Bill Clinton in 1997 to be a White House adviser. He spent the next 4 years in the midst of all the late 1990's happenings. Whitewater, Monica Lewinsky, the '2000 election, etc. He chronicles his relationship with Bill and Hillary and the right wing attempts to destroy him. This book makes one look back at the 1990's as golden years, when we had real leadership in the White House. ...more
Dave N
It's been a hard lesson to learn, but just don't read presidential biographies from people within the administration. They're almost never good. Blumenthal uses choice facts to try to insert himself where he doesn't belong, provides few, if any, useful insights on Clinton's time in office, and goes out of his way to try to settle his own political scores. Skip this one. ...more
Behind the scenes look at the Clinton White House.
Kirk Bower
Jul 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good inside look.
Aug 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An insiders look at the most talented politician of our time. A good writer too, who was a journalist before serving in the administration.
Apr 08, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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