The Clinton Tapes
I’m not sure whether I’m ready to tackle Taylor Branch’s 700 page account of the conversations he recorded with Bill Clinton during his presidency, but David Runciman’s review in the London Review of Books certainly makes it sound like a good read.
Clinton is certainly one of the most fascinating characters of our time, and Branch had amazing access to him during his entire presidency. It will be interesting when the tapes themselves are released someday, but it may actually be more informative to have this account by the person who made them.
I did get a chance to sit down and read this over Christmas. It’s an engrossing book.
Although it is naturally dominated by Clinton’s personality, I found Taylor Branch’s afterword interesting. Branch says that when he and Clinton went their separate ways in ’72, he went into journalism because he was disillusioned with politics. But after seeing behind the scenes during Clinton’s presidency, he came to feel that the journalists were more cynical and caused more trouble than the politicians have.
There’s also a lot of interesting material in the book about how we can capture the details of a presidency for future historians in the face of conflicting legal requirements.