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** Customer Reviews **
My Life by Bill Clinton

Great Book, by a master politician., June 22, 2004 Reviewer: Harry (see more about me) from Chicago I was really looking forward to getting my hands on this book. President Clinton was one of the greatest presidents of my life, and I wanted to know what made him the man he is. Is it just raw intellect, or was it his life experiences? During his presidency, the economy was better than at any other point in my lifetime. Bill Clinton was a whiz at knowing what needed to be done for our economy to grow. If only we could have had four more years, maybe our economy would still be prospering.

So I was very excited last night when my local bookstore stayed open to midnight to sell the book. I read this book cover to cover, and was impressed. He has some gems of wisdom in this book- treat everyone with respect, be outraged at bigotry, be grateful for everything you are given, and work hard. There was one part of the book that illustrates this point. He wrote about a teenager who was given a gift of a Hi-Fi stereo, and instead of being grateful for the gift his mother gave, the child yelled at how it was not "top of the line". Clinton wrote he was outraged at the response of the child, and said he learned from watching that episode to be grateful for what he was given. After all, someone had to work to pay for that gift, and probably doing a job that others don't want for less money.

While I do not agree 100% with everything Clinton believes, he is as open and honest as one can expect in any autobiography. For example, he wrote while he was teaching at the University of Arkansas School of Law, he gave a black student a B- on an exam where the writing quality was deserving of an F. He said he did this because he knew the student worked hard and knew the material, but was disadvantaged and did not have the proper background. I could not help but think there are many who are disadvantaged who do not get a good break like that. Not everyone has the advantages of having the money to hire tutors and attend the best private schools.

All in all, this is a good book and I highly reccomend it to anyone who liked President Clinton and anyone who is open minded. We should follow the lead of Clinton and try and see the best in people. It is too bad the right wing conservatives decided to mudsling rather than debate the issues. I guess they recognized Clinton was in a league all by himself, like Michael Jordan.
Wish it were longer!, June 22, 2004
Reviewer: A reader from WA United States I was talked into purchasing My Life very early this morning and was not expecting much since I am not a fan of politics or biographies. I sat down with a strong cup of coffee, and before I knew it, 11 hours had passed and I was finished! I can't remember reading such an interesting piece of nonfiction in the recent past. (Not once did I get bored or sleepy.) I only wish it were longer. I think Bill could have filled twice as many pages with more stories from his childhood.
Highly recommended for readers of all types/interests!
My Life by Bill Clinton (Read more)

Bill Clinton - 42nd President of the United States

Photograph of Bill Clinton taken April 2000
Photograph of Bill Clinton taken April 2000

William Jefferson Clinton (born August 19, 1946) was the 42nd President of the United States of America, a Democrat who served from 1993 - 2001.

He was born in Hope, Arkansas and raised in Hot Springs, Arkansas. He was named William Jefferson Blythe IV after his father, William Jefferson Blythe III, who had been killed in a car accident just three months before his son was born. Clinton was raised by his mother and stepfather George Clinton, rising from poverty to graduate from Georgetown University, attending England's prestigious Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship, and receiving a law degree from Yale Law School. Bill Clinton was governor of the state of Arkansas for six terms, from 1978 to 1980 and from 1982 to 1992.

Clinton was the first Democrat to serve two full terms as President since Franklin Delano Roosevelt. His election ended an era in which the Republican party had controlled the Presidency for 12 consecutive years, and for 20 of the previous 24 years. That election also brought the Democrats full control of the political branches of the federal government, including both houses of Congress as well as the Presidency, for the first time since the administration of Jimmy Carter.

Clinton won the 1992 election largely on a platform focussing on domestic issues, notably the economic recession of the pre-election period - using the line "It's the economy, stupid!" in his campaigning. Throughout the 1990's, Clinton presided over continuous economic expansion (which, according this administration's Office of Management and Budget, actually began in April 1991), reductions in unemployment, and growing wealth through the massive rise in the share market. Clinton's role in promoting this prosperity is a matter of considerable debate: some substantial credit can be apportioned to groups such as the Congress and Federal Reserve head Alan Greenspan, as well as the congruence of technological and global economic conditions which had little to do with Clinton.

After two years of Democratic party control under the leadership of President Clinton, the mid-term elections in 1994 proved disastrous for the Democrats. They lost control of both houses of Congress for the first time in 40 years. This result was in large part the result of a failed attempt to create a comprehensive government-controlled health care system under a plan developed by the first lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

He was impeached in 1998 by the House of Representatives, and acquitted by the Senate in the following year. The impeachment cited abuse of powers and for perjury -- lying under oath to a grand jury regarding matters related to his sexual affair with Monica Lewinsky (uncovered by an investigation into the unrelated Whitewater Scandal). Clinton lied under oath about his affair with Lewinsky to gain advantage in a sexual harassment case brought by Paula Jones, a case he later settled paying Paula Jones $850,000. Clinton was also found to be in contempt of court for lying under oath, and ordered to pay a $90,000 fine. This contempt citation led to disbarment proceedings similar to Richard Nixon's. To avoid these Clinton surrendered his law license.

Most of Clinton's presidency was overshadowed by numerous scandals including the Ken Starr-led Whitewater investigation. The investigation, which originally dealt with a failed land deal years earlier, eventually expanded to include the alleged suicide of his friend Vince Foster, an alleged sexual encounter with a woman named Paula Jones (who later admitted to taking money from conservative political groups, but received a settlement from Clinton), "Troopergate"- in which an Arkansas State Trooper claimed to have arranged sexual encounters for then Governor Clinton (claims the State Trooper later recanted among admissions he had taken money from the conservative tabloid "American Spectator") and his sexual encounters with Monica Lewinsky.

He developed a close working relationship with Tony Blair, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, when he was elected in 1997.

He paid a personal interest in The Troubles in Northern Ireland and paid three visits there while he was president in order to encourage peace. This helped both sides in the divided community there to begin to talk, setting in motion the process that lead to the Provisional Irish Republican Army commencing disarmament on October 23 2001.

In 1999, in conjunction with a Congress controlled by the Republican party he balanced the US budget for the first time since 1969.

Major legislation signed:

  • Creation of the Americorps volunteer program
  • 1994 Crime Bill Expansion - as part of an omnibus crime bill, the federal death penalty was expanded to some 60 different offenses
  • Brady bill
  • Telecom bill, which eliminated major ownership restrictions for radio and television groups.
  • Communications Decency Act
  • Welfare Reform
  • Minimum Wage increase
  • Defense of marriage act, allowed states the power to not recognize gay marriages granted in other states, among other things
  • Family Leave Act

Supreme Court appointments

  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 1993
  • Stephen Breyer, 1994

Major legislation Vetoed

  • Republican 1996 national budget (leading to a temporary government shutdown)
  • H.R. 1833, partial birth abortion ban
  • Twice vetoed Welfare Reform before signing the identical act. ( An act which radically decreased welfare rolls. )

Major legislation he failed to get passed through Congress

  • Healthcare Reform - appointed a committee headed by Hillary Rodham Clinton to come up with a universal health care plan. Complexity, poor design, and resistance from the insurance and the medical establishment resulted in lack of support, although some view the plan as groundbreaking it failed to get a single vote.


  • Social Security Reform - appointed a committee on Social Security Reform and then dismissed their recommendations without ever proposing legislation.
  • Tried to get Ehud Barak of Israel and Yasser Arafat, President of the Palestinian Council to agree to a final settlement agreement.
  • Initiated the Don't ask, don't tell policy toward gays in the military, 1993.


  • April 19, 1993 - government siege on the Branch Davidian coumpound at Waco, Texas results in the death of 80 people - Republicans blame Clinton and Attorney General Janet Reno, rather than cult leader David Koresh

  • July 20, 1993 - Clinton friend and confidant Vince Foster commits suicide during the height of the Whitewater investigation

  • October 3, 1993 - Somalia Disaster, Ranger Units receive heavy casualies in Somalia. Military disgruntled because it was denied the hardware it thought essential to the operation.

  • April 19, 1995 - Bombing of federal building in Oklahoma City results in the death of 168 people

  • December, 1995 - Clinton organizes the Dayton Peace Accords at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, temporarily bringing a cease fire to the Balkan States

  • November, 1996 - Clinton is re-elected, defeating Republican challenger Bob Dole

  • October, 1997 - Visit by Chinese premier Jiang Zemin to Whitehouse

  • August 1998 - Clinton orders cruise missile strikes on Afghanistan and an pharmaceutical factory in Sudan

    NATO bombs Kosovo and Serbia March 24 to 10 June 1999

  • May 7 1999 - US planes bomb Chinese embassy in Belgrade

He ended his presidency with approval ratings in the high 60%, despite granting presidential pardons which most people considered highly controversial. As the details unfolded (140 pardons on the last day of office, some given to contributors, one to a cocaine trafficker), Clinton's approval ratings slumped.


Photographs of President Bill Clinton

Jimmy Carter with Bill Clinton, 12/01/1978  (National Archives)
President Jimmy Carter with Bill Clinton in his younger days, 12/01/1978 (National Archives)

 Bill Clinton, standing between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chelsea Clinton, taking the oath of office of president of the United States, January 20, 1993. Library of Congress  (Library of Congress)
Bill Clinton, standing between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chelsea Clinton, taking the oath of office of president of the United States, January 20, 1993. (Library of Congress)

Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton,dancing at inaugural ball January 20, 1993  (Library of Congress)
Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton,dancing at inaugural ball January 20, 1993 (Library of Congress)

President Clinton delivering the State of the Union Address (National Archives)
President Clinton delivering the 1999 State of the Union Address (National Archives)

Quick Facts about President Bill Clinton

Rank: 42nd (1993-2001)
Predecessor: George Bush
Successor: George W. Bush
Date of Birth: August 19, 1946
Place of Birth: Hope, Arkansas
First Lady: Hillary Rodham
Profession: lawyer
Political Party: Democrat
Vice President: Albert Gore, Jr.

To learn more - use these online Internet resources

  • Clinton Presidential Materials Project   - National Archives site on Presidential papers and records of the Clinton Administration. A searchable "virtual library" includes press briefings, Presidential speeches, and other White House documents. Also included are five versions of the White House web site between 1994 and 2001.

  • ABC News: William Jefferson Clinton - Brief biography and assessment of his Presidency.
  • BBC News: The Clinton Years, 1993-2001 - Offers a multimedia retrospective of the Clinton presidency, including photos, video clips, and links to related BBC reports.
  • Bill Clinton - Short profile with links to related individuals.
  • Clinton Presidential Center - Presidential library to be built in Little Rock. Site includes library plans, description, and future scope of activities.
  • The Clinton Years - PBS's Frontline and the ABC News program Nightline look at the Clinton Administration from inside the West Wing, based on interviews with senior White House staff, Cabinet members, and advisors. Includes interview texts, photo gallery, video clips, chronology, and bibliography.
  • The Clinton Years - In-depth special report from CNN examines Clinton's administration, his impact on the nation, and his performance in the global arena. Includes a year-by-year timeline of events.
  • Encyclopedia Americana: Bill Clinton - Biography, quick facts, list of cabinet members, and texts of 1993 and 1997 inaugural addresses.
  • Esquire: Bill Clinton, the Exit Interview - Clinton answered questions about his Presidency in this interview published in the December 2000 issue of Esquire magazine.
  • Executive Orders - William J. Clinton - National Archives site offers this full-text library of all 364 Executive Orders issued during the Clinton Administration, arranged chronologically with a subject index. Documents in PDF format.
  • The Anarchist Case Against Bill Clinton and the Democratic Party - Looks at the public policy of the Clinton administration, including globalization, the prison population, war crimes, and welfare reform.
  • POTUS: William Jefferson Clinton - Background information, election results, cabinet members, and links.
  • Reagan Versus Clinton - Offers charts and tables comparing a variety of economic data for the Reagan and Clinton administrations; includes such data as Federal deficits, interest rates, poverty statistics, and corporate profits.
  • Time Newsfile: Bill Clinton - Photographic reviews of Bill Clinton's White House years, his last five days in office, and his visit to Vietnam, as well as Time magazine covers and features on the Clinton-Lewinsky affair and Clinton's controversial pardons. Additional news stories on the site require payment.
  • Washington Post: The Clinton Years - A series of Washington Post articles, published as Clinton prepared to leave office in 2001, reviewing aspects of his Presidency, including domestic politics, the U.S. economy, the deterioration of his relationship with FBI Director Louis J. Freeh, the environment, and foreign relations.
  • Washington Post: The State of the Union, 1993-2000 - Full texts of Bill Clinton's eight State of the Union addresses and an index by major topic. From the Washington Post.

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