Hot Best Seller

In Search of Bill Clinton: A Psychological Biography

Availability: Ready to download

What makes Bill Clinton tick? William Jefferson Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States is undoubtedly the greatest American enigma of our age -- a dark horse that 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 bytes.  John Gartner's In Search of Bill Clinton unravels the What makes Bill Clinton tick? William Jefferson Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States is undoubtedly the greatest American enigma of our age -- a dark horse that 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 bytes.  John Gartner's In Search of Bill Clinton unravels the mystery at the heart of Clinton’s complex nature and why so many people fall under his spell.  He 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 an 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, her wild life in Hot Springs and 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 clearly sees, in Hillary’s molding of Clinton into a more disciplined politician, the figure of Bill Clinton’s stern grandmother, Edith Cassidy, the woman who set limits on him at an early age.   Gartner brings Clinton’s story up to date as he travels to Ireland, the scene of one of Clinton’s greatest diplomatic triumphs, and to Africa, where his work with AIDS victims is unmatched, to understand Clinton’s current humanitarian persona and to find out why he is beloved in so much of the world while still scorned by many at home.   John Gartner’s exhaustive trip around the globe provides the richest portrait of Clinton yet, a man who is one of our national obsessions.  In Search of Bill Clinton is a surprising and compelling book about a man we all thought we knew.


Compare

What makes Bill Clinton tick? William Jefferson Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States is undoubtedly the greatest American enigma of our age -- a dark horse that 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 bytes.  John Gartner's In Search of Bill Clinton unravels the What makes Bill Clinton tick? William Jefferson Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States is undoubtedly the greatest American enigma of our age -- a dark horse that 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 bytes.  John Gartner's In Search of Bill Clinton unravels the mystery at the heart of Clinton’s complex nature and why so many people fall under his spell.  He 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 an 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, her wild life in Hot Springs and 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 clearly sees, in Hillary’s molding of Clinton into a more disciplined politician, the figure of Bill Clinton’s stern grandmother, Edith Cassidy, the woman who set limits on him at an early age.   Gartner brings Clinton’s story up to date as he travels to Ireland, the scene of one of Clinton’s greatest diplomatic triumphs, and to Africa, where his work with AIDS victims is unmatched, to understand Clinton’s current humanitarian persona and to find out why he is beloved in so much of the world while still scorned by many at home.   John Gartner’s exhaustive trip around the globe provides the richest portrait of Clinton yet, a man who is one of our national obsessions.  In Search of Bill Clinton is a surprising and compelling book about a man we all thought we knew.

30 review for In Search of Bill Clinton: A Psychological Biography

  1. 4 out of 5

    Hank Pharis

    Bill Clinton has always been a mystery to me. This book made more sense in explaining him than anything else I have yet read. It was so engrossing that after listening to it I had to go back and read it. Here are a few highlights from it: John Gartner, who is a Psychology Professor at John Hopkins University Medical School, begins his psychological study of Bill Clinton’s life by saying: “Bill Clinton is a psychological puzzle.” Or as Clinton’s former aide George Stephanopoulos puts it: “How co Bill Clinton has always been a mystery to me. This book made more sense in explaining him than anything else I have yet read. It was so engrossing that after listening to it I had to go back and read it. Here are a few highlights from it: John Gartner, who is a Psychology Professor at John Hopkins University Medical School, begins his psychological study of Bill Clinton’s life by saying: “Bill Clinton is a psychological puzzle.” Or as Clinton’s former aide George Stephanopoulos puts it: “How could a president so intelligent, so compassionate, and so public-spirited, and so conscious of his place in history, act in such a stupid, selfish, and self-destructive manner?” David Gergen, one of Clinton’s adviser’s, said that Clinton is “a mass of contradictions … he is one of the smartest men ever elected president and he has done some of the dumbest things.” (1) Gartner begins by suggesting that Clinton has a hypomanic temperament. That is, someone who “is filled with a high degree of energy and is very active … They need little sleep, less than six hours. They are restless and impatient. They are quick thinking - thoughts race through their heads, and they jump from idea to idea. They can be distracted, attending to too many things at once. They are creative and unconventional … both thinking and living ‘outside the box.’ They talk fast, talk a lot, and tend to dominate conversations. …” (3) and on Gartner goes for a couple more pages. But he emphasizes how impulsive hypomaniacs are whether its outbursts of anger, overeating or sexual escapades. Gartner also says that Clinton’s “hypomanic mood makes him sunny, optimistic, and infectiously exuberant. People regularly describe becoming euphoric in his presence, as if he were a drug. … ‘He’s like the Pied Piper.’” (6) Gartner next demonstrates how Clinton’s family uniquely set him up to be the way he is. “From the time he was born, Clinton has been torn between two women who jealously competed for his affections, and he has been unconsciously replicating this family drama ever since. His grandmother, Edith, who essentially raised him for the first five years of his life, was aggressive, smart, ambitious, rigid, suspicious, and fiercely protective - a personality much like that of Hillary. While most boys marry their mother, I argue that Clinton married his grandmother, who was his de facto mother in his earlier years. Here lies one of the secrets to understanding the Clinton marriage. Edith was not a warm people person - just the opposite. She was a powerfully intimidating presence, but nonetheless a reassuring one for Bill, whom she guided and protected. … Hillary structures his life, as his grandmother once did, and she has also been his protector, fighting his enemies with the ferocity of a mother lion guarding her cubs.” (9) “Clinton is not as enigmatic as he might appear. Much of his behavior can be accounted for by the simplest and most comprehensive psychological explanation of all: He takes after his mother. (17) Virginia was intensely gregarious. She ‘never met a stranger … and she always managed to be the center of attention in any room. … Virginia was a tireless extravert who commanded attention. … Virginia, ‘If there are one hundred people in a room and ninety-nine of them love us and one doesn’t, we’ll spend all night trying to figure out why that one hasn’t been enlightened.’” (18) Like Bill, Virginia had a long string of adulterous affairs that till now have been undisclosed. Her liaisons, including her five marriages (she had four husbands, but married Roger Clinton twice), were often impulsive, and usually showed poor judgment. … And, of course, when confronted about her sexual liaisons - she lied.” (19) “Just as there had been a thinly disguised, erotic, oedipal component in Virginia’s relationship with her own father, she now created a similarly inappropriate cross-generational bond with her oldest son. ‘Bill then took the place of his mother’s husband. Virginia shifted her needy affection to her boy,’ wrote Gail Sheehy … Psychologist Jerome Levin, who wrote The Clinton Syndrome about Clinton’s sexual addiction, said, ‘I think his mother was very seductive with him.’” (112) Gartner makes a strong case that Bill Clinton was the product of an “affair.” He argues that his biological father was Dr. George Wright. (71-83) For example, “Bill Clinton’s astounding intelligence had made me suspect that a rumor about his father being a doctor made sense, at least genetically, since intelligence is largely inheritable. Clinton’s IQ is off the map, higher really than we can measure. … Bill Clinton has been a voracious reader from a very early age. ‘I was reading little books when I was three,’ Clinton said. … As an adult he is always reading at least three books at any one time, and with what is often described as a photographic memory, he seems to retain virtually everything he reads. Hillary Clinton has said that there is ‘hardly ever’ a moment when Bill is not reading: ‘If he could get away with it he’d read when he drove. He’d read all the time.’ …” (81-82) “’He is insatiably curious about everything,’ said Hillary. His omnivorous curiosity leads Clinton to read everything. … he never stops reading. … He never read enough! He always had three or four books going - always! … William Coleman, one of Clinton’s law school roommates, noticed that Clinton never seemed to sleep, but instead, each night read through a rather eclectic selection of books. ‘I would go to bed, get up at six, and find him on the same couch reading a completely different book - a murder mystery, Schopenhauer, a Thomas Wolfe novel, or a book on foreign policy.' (86) “Because Clinton has both a photographic memory and an immense interest in people, he remembers virtually every person he has met.” (99) “Marla Crider had a romantic relationship with Bill Clinton in 1974, when he was a twenty-seven-year-old congressional candidate and she was a twenty-year-old college student working on his campaign. When Marla became involved with Bill, he was not yet married to Hillary … though she knew they were seriously considering marriage. … Hillary was in Washington working for the Watergate committee while Bill was in Arkansas running for congress. What Crider told me about the relationships among the three of them illustrates how Clinton’s childhood love triangle manifested itself in adulthood. … Bill asked Marla to retrieve something from his desk at home where, consciously or unconsciously, he had left a letter from Hillary in plain sight on the desk. Of course, Marla could not resist reading it: ‘I still do not understand why you do the things you do to hurt me,’ it read. ‘I know all your little girls are around there, if that’s what it is, you will outgrow this.. They will not be with you when you need them. They are not the ones who can help you achieve your goals. If this is about your feelings for Marla, this too shall pass. Let me remind you, it always does. …’ (43) Bill and Hillary love each other, and they always have. …” “One night when they were together, Marla asked him what it was about Hillary that made him love her. … ‘She challenges me every moment of the day. She makes me a better person. She gets me started, kicks my butt, and makes me do the things I’ve got to do.’ … it’s a very apt description of the role Edith played in Bill’s life. Edith was the taskmaster. … (44-45) Veteran Clinton campaigner Carol Willis regarding Hillary: “No matter how tough you think she is, you’ve underestimated her.” (45) “When the world learned of the relationship between Monica and Bill the question on everyone’s mind was: ‘How could he have done something so stupid?’ … we’ve already reviewed some of the reasons. Because he was a hypomanic, a sexual addict, the child of a serial adulterer, and a powerful man who could. … But why now? Was there any precipitant that could have triggered the behavoir? One possibility was the death of Virginia. … More than once Clinton would tell Monica that she reminded him of Virginia.” (307) “Dick Morris told me he thought there were two Bill Clinton: ‘Saturday night Bill,’ who as an adult enjoyed illicit sex … and, ‘Sunday morning Bill,’ the clean-cut, church-going idealist.” (114) "Early every Sunday morning, eight-year-old Bill Clinton got himself up bathed, put on a jacket and tie, picked up his large Bible, and walked a mile down the hill to Park Place Baptist Church. 'When I was a kid I walked alone a mile or so to my church every Sunday. It wasn't something my parents did, but somehow I felt the need." (102) "Clinton read the Bible cover to cover many times. Patty Criner recalled that when he was govenor he had fifteen Bibles ... 'In every one of them there were handwritten notes, page after page after page.' Other staffers told me that Clinton had filled up all the space in the margins of his Bibles. ... Carol Willis described him as 'a biblical scholar ... He can quote you chapter and verse.'" (105-106) “Who is the real Bill Clinton? The adulterer or the family man? The genius or the person who does incomprehensibly stupid things? The humanitarian overflowing with compassion or the self-centered narcissist who explodes with rage? They are all him, of course.” (12)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Regina

    It was okay... This book, written by a psychologist at John Hopkins University, is a "psychology biography". Maybe my problem with it is the genre - maybe I don't want to know about the personal demons, psychological melodramas, etc that seem way too intimate for any more public speculation. What is particularly most interesting about Clinton, for example, is his compelling biography that is part of the public record. Speculations as to his motivations (particularly in reference to his personal p It was okay... This book, written by a psychologist at John Hopkins University, is a "psychology biography". Maybe my problem with it is the genre - maybe I don't want to know about the personal demons, psychological melodramas, etc that seem way too intimate for any more public speculation. What is particularly most interesting about Clinton, for example, is his compelling biography that is part of the public record. Speculations as to his motivations (particularly in reference to his personal problems) don't seem to have a place in responsible scholarly biography. The problem with this book is that it appeared to be two things: 1) the scholoarly biography and 2) the pop-psychology book that makes way too many assumptions about character and motivation. For example, the fact is that Clinton was threatened with removal from office due to a sexual transgession (admittedly one of many). How the special prosecutor got to the point of investigating sex vs real estate transactions, how they almost brought down the president and how the administration responded to and recovered from the scandal is responsible biography. Speculating on the Freudian aspects of Clinton's attraction to Monica Lewinsky and his need to rely on Hillary Clinton as a surrogate grandmother figure are seemingly as wild as the initial transgession itself. I felt that the author was making analyses about a man who he obviously has never had deep personal contact with and could not possibly have had the basis for a 400+ page psycho-biography. The only parts of this book that I truly enjoyed were the chapters that dealt with Clinton's genius and his actual accomplishments. Toward these facts, pychological traits of hypomanics (empathy, intelligence, etc) are interesting to consider. What motivated his personal mistakes is of far less interest. And anything this author has to say (even if the author is a psychologist) about Clinton's motivations is speculative. Despite the fact that the author is a noted psychologist, he has observed Clinton only through the same interviews with the acquaintances, childhood friends, and colleagues as interviewed by other biographers. He has access to the same public records as other biographers. True, he has written on the "hypomanic" personality and can share observations with the lay public on what the traits of this condition entail but can he really lay claim to a bonafide diagnosis of Clinton? (How can you possibly analyze a man who you never even interviewed? In the case of Clinton - where there is so much polarizing thought - I felt Gartner's opionions could only be biased based on a preconceived notion.) The book therefore vacillated between compelling biographical information and disturbing personal speculation. The ending also was weak - the author seemed to abandon any kind of objective analysis of his subject and wanted to deify Clinton. I was disappointed as I felt one of the best passages of Gartner's was early in the book where he talked about the power of forgiveness and not viewing subjects as either totally good or bad. He didn't seem to be able to keep a pragmatic, even hand for the remainder of the book; by the end, Clinton could do no wrong (the Lewinsky affair was a simple mistake) and his political enemies were evil narcissists out to project their own wrong-doings onto Clinton. I am a fan of Bill Clinton. I looked forward to this book because I am interested in reading about someone who I truly believe was an inspired leader and did (and continues to do) good things for many people. I am in awe when I read about his ability to synthesize vast quantities of information, ad lib State of the Union addresses, win economic debates with Alan Greenspan, etc. I would prefer to read about the facts surrounding his presidency and the statesman's life and philanthropy of his post-presidency through the prism of historical fact.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mazola1

    Written by a psychologist who has written about the hypomanic personality, In Search of Bill Clinton bills itself as a "psychological biography." While many will take issue with the whole idea of a psychologist purporting to analyze a subject he's never interviewed or treated, I didn't find that to be the biggest problem with this book, or indeed, a problem at all. After all, there is much more information about Bill Clinton in the public record than what the average psychologist is usually able Written by a psychologist who has written about the hypomanic personality, In Search of Bill Clinton bills itself as a "psychological biography." While many will take issue with the whole idea of a psychologist purporting to analyze a subject he's never interviewed or treated, I didn't find that to be the biggest problem with this book, or indeed, a problem at all. After all, there is much more information about Bill Clinton in the public record than what the average psychologist is usually able to get from a patient during an average course of psychotherapy. Not only has Clinton himself written a multi-hundred page autobiography, but seemingly every significant person in his life has also written extensively about him, their relationships with him, his upbringing, character, talents and faults. That includes everyone from his wife to his mother to his brother, as well as hordes of acquaintances, including childhood friends, political advisors, and even Monica Lewinski. In addition, Gartner interviewed dozens of Clinton's friends and acquaintances to gather information about his background, personality and impact on people. Using this wealth of material and his psychological experience, Gartner actually does a good job of writing a psychobiography. His insights and interpretations of Clinton's behavior seem pretty much on point, and not at all overstated or outlandish. Gartner uses information about Clinton's genetic gifts (high intelligence, sunny personality, boundless energy) and incidents in his upbringing (high energy mother, absent birth father, abusive step father, domineering grandmother who raised him for the first years of his life while his mother was away at school) to draw sensible conclusions about his adult behavior. His perspective is psychoanalytic or psychodynamic, and his explanation of the enigma that is Bill Clinton makes a lot of sense, and makes for fascinating reading. Gartner is convinced that Clinton is "one in a guadrillion" in terms of his natural talents. He refers to his fabled charisma, his high intellect, his ability to master and remember a multitude of facts, his intellectual curiosity and his empathy. He says that if most people are asked to name the smartest person they ever met, and then the most empathetic, they will usually name two different people, but those who know Bill Clinton name one: Clinton. A large part of Gartner's psychobiography explains how Clinton put those talents to work to become President. Again, this makes for fascinating reading. But somewhere along the line, Gartner loses objectivity, and allows himself to be seduced by Clinton, the Great Seducer. He compares him to Secretariat, Michael Jordan, even Jesus Christ. Now I like Bill Clinton. I would even go so far as to say I like him a lot and think he was a great President. I think he displayed great political courage and skill in dealing with the economy, and applied his massive talents and energy for the good of his country. I think his impeachment was a mean spirited vendetta carried out by his moral and political inferiors, and was a perversion of what the Constitution intended impeachment to be used for. That having been said, there was something a bit unsettling about the fawning air that infuses parts of this book. That's something of a shame because Gartner expended a great deal of energy and effort to find and explain Bill Clinton, and I think that for the most part, he got it right. It would be too bad if people dismissed the whole of this book as a puff piece written by a star struck admirer. Parts of it are that. But the greater part of it is a solid, well researched and thoughtful biography of the most talented politician of our age.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ed Smiley

    I picked this up in the library, as a quick, "let's look for the good parts, is this book any good?" browsal, and I found that it was much more interesting than I had expected. First of all, one of many of President Clinton's psychological characteristics is a charismatic unstoppable high energy level. It turns out that there is a psychological personality category called hypomania, which is a personality type, as opposed to mania which is dysfunctional. Hypomania shares many characteristics with I picked this up in the library, as a quick, "let's look for the good parts, is this book any good?" browsal, and I found that it was much more interesting than I had expected. First of all, one of many of President Clinton's psychological characteristics is a charismatic unstoppable high energy level. It turns out that there is a psychological personality category called hypomania, which is a personality type, as opposed to mania which is dysfunctional. Hypomania shares many characteristics with mania such as low need for sleep, entertaining a large number of enthusiasms or ideas at the same time, extremely high energy, and glowing charismatic extroversion. Hypomanics (Theodore Roosevelt appears to be another presidential example) are often very successful and well liked. And it also turns out that the author is an expert on hypomania. But the other thing that struck me is that the author was willing to do actual research, unlike the psychological biographies done at a distance (that conclude something like Leonardo had a mother fixation.) He interviewed about six dozen people. And there are very interesting insights that come from all the personal interviews. The author comes off as an unabashed Clinton admirer (as many who actually meet the man are) without either being an apologist or simplifying his character. Another thing to recommend this book is that is only treats the Lewinsky scandal as a part (albeit a dramatic and significant part) of the story. The temptation would have been to only focus on the scandal, as that would sell the most books in the short term.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Douglas Graney

    How could Clinton have been so reckless and stupid? I view him as a great president, perhaps the best in the 20th century. I also thought he should have resigned when he pointed at the American people and lied through his teeth. I could not understand why he would put his presidency at risk. I found the approach of this book dubious. I figured Clinton was just getting some on the side, figuring he was the new JFK. After reading this I have to concede the premise of the author is more than just p How could Clinton have been so reckless and stupid? I view him as a great president, perhaps the best in the 20th century. I also thought he should have resigned when he pointed at the American people and lied through his teeth. I could not understand why he would put his presidency at risk. I found the approach of this book dubious. I figured Clinton was just getting some on the side, figuring he was the new JFK. After reading this I have to concede the premise of the author is more than just plausible. He stresses this is "an explanation, not an excuse". One of the persuasive aspects of the book is that the author does not just give a psychological explanation regarding his affair with Monica, but many other aspects of Clinton's presidency. His peace-making efforts (Bosnia, Middle East, Ireland, etc.) can be directly traced to growing up with his step-father beating his mom and young Clinton's efforts to solve that problem. Because the non-Monica parts of the book ring true it helps the Monica parts of the book ring true. BTW, there is a great segment that demonstrates how ridiculous and tax-payer money wasting the whole Ken Starr investigation was. Starr and his patrons should be ashamed of themselves. I only gave it 3 stars because the author rambles at times and there is a lot of history in his book I've read in previous books about (and by) Clinton...and I still wonder if he created a psychological nomenclature to dress Clinton in. Nevertheless this is a fascinating book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    This book was very interesting, but could probably be cut in half. There was a lot of psych and science lingo with Bill's past in and of itself. It was interesting to learn of where Bill came from and why he may have acted the way he did. Hearing everyone's accounts of Bill's demeanor was also interesting.. I would be interested in seeing Bill's response to this book. I wonder if it would be an "ahh ha" moment or if he would disagree entirely with the content of it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Roger

    This book was different in that in focused less on what he did as Governor and President than on who he was and why he made the choices he did - even when they were bad choices. You felt like you really got to know the man , not just the President. I knew of the Clinton Foundation but didn’t realize the scope or the effectiveness of their work on AIDS / HIV in Africa. His legacy will probably rest more on his Clinton Foundation work than his political career - although the latter clearly informs This book was different in that in focused less on what he did as Governor and President than on who he was and why he made the choices he did - even when they were bad choices. You felt like you really got to know the man , not just the President. I knew of the Clinton Foundation but didn’t realize the scope or the effectiveness of their work on AIDS / HIV in Africa. His legacy will probably rest more on his Clinton Foundation work than his political career - although the latter clearly informs the former .

  8. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    I loved this book, but I'm a fan of Gartner's work so I came to the book with a bias. He came to his research on Clinton with a bias too I think. It's obvious he's a fan, as am I, of Clinton. I appreciated the time he took to interview people who knew Clinton as a child in order to formulate his assessment of how the people in his life formed his unique personality. It particularly informed my understanding of Clinton's history with women, a subject I still struggle with considering its import o I loved this book, but I'm a fan of Gartner's work so I came to the book with a bias. He came to his research on Clinton with a bias too I think. It's obvious he's a fan, as am I, of Clinton. I appreciated the time he took to interview people who knew Clinton as a child in order to formulate his assessment of how the people in his life formed his unique personality. It particularly informed my understanding of Clinton's history with women, a subject I still struggle with considering its import on the national stage. Fans of Hillary Clinton should especially read this book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Plexiform Identity

    Interesting Fascinating examination of Bill Clinton's inner life. Seems to have solved the paradox, indeed. Also gives an informative account of some of the Clinton Foundation's activities.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Joannie

    Fascinating study of former President Clinton from his youth through his post-presidency. I would have given it 5 stars but the author was not objective. I feel that they let their opinion get in the way of the facts.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Gordon Kwok

    A very very very interesting book on President Clinton whether you like him or not. But I liked this book very much which was essentially a psychological study of his personality such as his high intellect or high capacity for empathy and the roots of it. The author has a chapter called "one in a quadrillion" which basically makes the argument that the combination of Clinton's top percentile marks in intellect, empathy, etc was exceedingly rare and was one-in-a-quadrillion. The most important thin A very very very interesting book on President Clinton whether you like him or not. But I liked this book very much which was essentially a psychological study of his personality such as his high intellect or high capacity for empathy and the roots of it. The author has a chapter called "one in a quadrillion" which basically makes the argument that the combination of Clinton's top percentile marks in intellect, empathy, etc was exceedingly rare and was one-in-a-quadrillion. The most important thing I will say as it relates to Presidents is the answer on their greatness is rarely black or white. Any serious scholar will tell you there was no "perfect" president as the job requires unique characteristics to excel. Some people will say "well he was awful, he was impeached!" But fail to consider how hypocritical that looks in light of the current President and the Constitutional standard for impeachment (i.e., high crimes and misdemeanors). Or "well, what about 3 strikes?! Mass incarceration!" My personal opinion is presidential decisions are rarely made in a vacuum and have multiple complex considerations and constituencies in mind. And hindsight is always 20/20. For example, criticizing Clinton on pulling the nomination for Zoe Baird and "3 strikes" is common. But consider what he did for the Africa - first POTUS to visit Africa, appointed more African Americans to his cabinet than any POTUS and governor in history, advocated for FMLA, increase in minimum wage, earned income tax credit - all programs that benefited minorities greatly. My point isn't to convince anyone that Clinton was the greatest of all time but to encourage people to view things in its totality and to take a more scholarly approach to judging presidents -- read more than one book about them, etc.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ro

    The author, John Gartner is a horrible person who is obsessed with sex and abuse. I saw him as a psychologist. He rented an office on the Sheppard Pratt campus even though he is not affiliated with them. His affiliation with Johns Hopkins University is meaningless because they have so many people affiliated with them, and it is not an attest to character or intelligence at all. I saw him to receive counseling for abuse I experienced as a child. He eagerly took the checks I wrote him for each ses The author, John Gartner is a horrible person who is obsessed with sex and abuse. I saw him as a psychologist. He rented an office on the Sheppard Pratt campus even though he is not affiliated with them. His affiliation with Johns Hopkins University is meaningless because they have so many people affiliated with them, and it is not an attest to character or intelligence at all. I saw him to receive counseling for abuse I experienced as a child. He eagerly took the checks I wrote him for each session. After many sessions, I had still not received any valuable insight from him on anything. He was very interested in me giving him intimate details about my child sexual abuse. When I refused to go into the detail that he wanted me to, he was irritable and angry. He told me that "all I can see is that you've acted nasty." So, in response to my child abuse, he told me that I was nasty and at fault for "bad behavior." John Gartner is a despicable human being. You should not support this foul excuse for a person.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

    At the beginning of this book, I thought I was going to love it. The author has some significant thoughts (and, it seemed to me, genuine insights) concerning this president, who was so great in some ways and so disappointing in others. His speculations on Bill's father's identity, as well as the role played by different women in Bill's life (particularly Hillary taking up the part of Bill's grandmother, a woman who gave Bill's life what stability he had in his boyhood) seemed plausible. But in t At the beginning of this book, I thought I was going to love it. The author has some significant thoughts (and, it seemed to me, genuine insights) concerning this president, who was so great in some ways and so disappointing in others. His speculations on Bill's father's identity, as well as the role played by different women in Bill's life (particularly Hillary taking up the part of Bill's grandmother, a woman who gave Bill's life what stability he had in his boyhood) seemed plausible. But in the end, I agreed with many of the reviewers who complained about the author's excessive admiration for Clinton, thus stripping him (the author) of all objectivity. It made it very hard to buy many of his conclusions. Too bad, he had some good things to say.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Bismarck Public Library

    The author, John Gartner, a psychologist from John Hopkins, delves into the psyche of Bill Clinton, all the way from his childhood to the present. Gartner describes Clinton's personality as having "hypomanic tendencies" while not being a hypomanic with bipolar disorder (contradiction?). "In Search of Bill Clinton" offers an interesting look at Bill Clinton from a psychological perspective. CLICK HERE to find "In Search of Bill Clinton" in Bismarck Public Library's online catalog. The author, John Gartner, a psychologist from John Hopkins, delves into the psyche of Bill Clinton, all the way from his childhood to the present. Gartner describes Clinton's personality as having "hypomanic tendencies" while not being a hypomanic with bipolar disorder (contradiction?). "In Search of Bill Clinton" offers an interesting look at Bill Clinton from a psychological perspective. CLICK HERE to find "In Search of Bill Clinton" in Bismarck Public Library's online catalog.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Trish

    This was an interesting but long book. The author talked about Clinton's relationships with his family members (esp. his mom and grandmother), and how these relationships influenced his life. The first part of the book (Arkansas) has a gossipy quality (I talked to so and so, and she told me....). I liked his description of how Clinton acted as a peacemaker in Ireland (during his term) and how he now helps distribute AIDS medication around the world through the Clinton Foundation. At times, altho This was an interesting but long book. The author talked about Clinton's relationships with his family members (esp. his mom and grandmother), and how these relationships influenced his life. The first part of the book (Arkansas) has a gossipy quality (I talked to so and so, and she told me....). I liked his description of how Clinton acted as a peacemaker in Ireland (during his term) and how he now helps distribute AIDS medication around the world through the Clinton Foundation. At times, although I learned more than I might want to know about the former President, his psychological analysis of the hypomanic personality makes some sense.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Tamara Schafer

    I don't usually read biographies and I haven't read any of the innumerable Clinton books, but this one is quite interesting. I'm only a third of the way through it and I've already learned a few things I didn't know. The author is an expert on the "hypomanic" personality type and he tries to make the case that Bill Clinton is one. I can't judge whether or not he is succeeding, but the information and analysis he offers is fascinating. This is not a hatchet job nor a whitewash, but the author ob I don't usually read biographies and I haven't read any of the innumerable Clinton books, but this one is quite interesting. I'm only a third of the way through it and I've already learned a few things I didn't know. The author is an expert on the "hypomanic" personality type and he tries to make the case that Bill Clinton is one. I can't judge whether or not he is succeeding, but the information and analysis he offers is fascinating. This is not a hatchet job nor a whitewash, but the author obviously likes his subject.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    If you love Bill Clinton, then you'll love this book. If you don't love Bill Clinton, then you will likely find this to be the wet dream of a Clinton apologist grasping for the last straws of ethics in a life full of lies or at least half-truths. I love Bill Clinton, so I loved this book. My favorite parts have to be the Northern Ireland experience...every single moment there is fantastic.

  18. 5 out of 5

    El Salgado

    What a fascinating read about one of the most divisive figures in modern history. You'll learn about psychology and politics simultaneously. Parts of the book has me thinking a numbers of pages could have been cut if I had read Clinton's autobiography, but since I hadn't, the insight was appreciated.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sambasivan

    Thoroughly enjoyable. The author has invested two years of his life doing an exhaustive and probably exhausting research on the psycho profiling of Bill Clinton and the outcome is a dazzling portrayal. Each and every aspect of Clinton's life is deeply dissected with excruciating detail and the author has put his best foot forward in an objective fashion. Must read.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Wendy Cosin

    Fascinating psychological exploration of Bill Clinton. I listened to this in the car so I don't have the book to look back at. The author makes a convincing case for Clinton's genetic and behavioral building blocks.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Diane Dreher

    Carefully researched, beautifully written biography and fascinating psychological analysis of a complex personality and one of the most compelling leaders of our time.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Alethea A

    Hmmm.... probably not high on the list, too busy right now! Maybe in paperback.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Interesting Biography delving into Clinton's background and determining why he is the way he is.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Glen

    Very interesting book. Might be a look inside Clintons head.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Steven

    Loved it. A psychologist's take a Clinton. A little bit openly laudatory, but you'll learn a lot.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Toni

    This is a riveting look at a fascinating person. I never knew all these things about WJC

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jeanie

    A lot of psychobabble, but a lot of fun too. It was interesting to read about Bill's activity in Africa.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Seth

    Alternately embarrassingly intimate and ridiculously fawning, but weirdly interesting anyway.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Colin

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tracy Stewart

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.