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Editorial Reviews

In a different sort of biography, John Gartner takes a look at the life of the 42nd president through a psychological viewpoint. Gartner, a trained psychotherapist, makes a case for Bill Clinton as an enigmatic figure whose public controversies have roots in his early upbringing, noting the absence of a strong paternal influence while also drawing parallels between his wild mother and demanding grandmother to Monica Lewinsky and Hillary Rodham Clinton, respectively. Stephen Hoye has a fastidious and scholarly manner that strengthens the authority of Gartner's argument, making In Search of Bill Clinton an intriguing exploration of a fascinating man.
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Publisher's Summary

William Jefferson Clinton, the forty-second president of the United States, is undoubtedly the greatest American enigma of our age---a dark horse who captured the White House, fell from grace, and was resurrected as an elder statesman whose popularity rises and falls based on the day's sound bites.John D. Gartner's In Search of Bill Clinton unravels the mystery at the heart of Clinton's complex nature and explains why so many people fall under his spell. Gartner tells the story we all thought we knew, from the fresh viewpoint of a psychologist, as he questions the well-crafted Clinton life story. Gartner, a therapist with expertise in treating individuals with hypomanic temperaments, saw in Clinton the energy, creativity, and charisma that leads a hypomanic individual to success as well as the problems with impulse control and judgment, which frequently result in disastrous decision making. He knew, though, that if he wanted to find the real Bill Clinton he couldn't rely on armchair psychology to provide the answer. He knew he had to travel to Arkansas and around the world to talk with those who knew Clinton and his family intimately. With his boots on the ground, Gartner uncovers long-held secrets about Clinton's mother, the ambitious and seductive Virginia Kelley, and her wild life in Hot Springs, as well as the ghostly specter of his biological father, Bill Blythe, to uncover the truth surrounding Clinton's rumor-filled birth. He considers the abusive influence of Clinton's alcoholic stepfather, Roger Clinton, to understand the repeated public abuse he invited both by challenging a hostile Republican Congress and engaging in the clandestine affair with Monica Lewinsky that led to his downfall.Of course, there is no marriage more dissected than that of the Clintons, both in the White House and on the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign trail. Instead of going down familiar paths, Gartner looks at that relationship with a new focus and cle...
©2008 John D. Gartner; (P)2008 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

"Written with lucidity, humor, compassion and amazing insight, it is a tour de force that...helps explain one of the smartest yet complex men of our time." (Nigel Hamilton, author of Bill Clinton: An American Journey)
"An analysis that is completely absorbing in its compassion and complexity." (Booklist Starred Review)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Roy on 02-28-09

Bill is Back

This book will really flesh out the listener's picture of Bill Clinton. Details of his childhood forward are drawn clearly and presented in a most interesting way. The reading is great. The book sets out to present a psychological profile of the former president and seeks to explain his behavior and leadership patterns. Perhaps the first 75% of the book follows the psychological theme which - though perhaps speculative - was interesting. The last portion of the book, while worthwhile, is primarily biography. If one has not read a biography of Clinton. This is not definitive, but worth the time.

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6 of 7 people found this review helpful


By Barbara on 05-10-13

Clinton groupie!

Would you try another book from John D. Gartner and/or Stephen Hoye?

no.

Any additional comments?

I thought this book would offer some psychological insights into Clinton. It is so clearly written from a liberal who is mesmerized by Clinton and he is not objective at all. Take for example, he thought Clinton has a halo around his head when he first met him!!!<br/><br/>All during the book he refers to any republicans as evil and he offers armchair diagnoses for Ken Star and the rest of the "evil" republicans.<br/><br/>I don't even think I can finish this book. I bet Hillary herself could have been more objective than this author.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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