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Publishers WeeklyAuthor and Rutgers Univ. professor O'Neill accounts for the U.S.'s "interwar years" under Presidents George H. Bush and Bill Clinton with intelligence, insight and unapologetic lefty bias, bringing order to a layered mess of controversies-the first Gulf War, the O.J. trial, Newt Gingrich's Contract with America and the Monica Lewinsky affair among them. Eschewing impartiality, O'Neill uses personal opinions in judging history, weighing down his otherwise lucid and well-researched narrative with a strident agenda. For instance, regarding Tailhook and other military sex scandals, O'Neill states that "A gender-integrated armed force requires a kind of bonding for which there is small precedent... and giving up that misogyny which is at once a shameful feature of service life and perhaps a necessary one." Fifty years ago, the same could have been said about African-Americans; with this kind of value judgment, O'Neill risks appearing at best quaint, and at worst anachronistic-neither one a shining quality in a historian. Still, for those who lean O'Neill's way, this is an intelligent reading of 12 years in recent U.S. history.
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