Government Girl: Young and Female in the White House
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Government Girl: Young and Female in the White House

by Stacy Parker Aab
     
 

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A memoir of being young and female in the clinton White House

Stacy Parker Aab was born in Detroit in 1974, the only daughter of a white Kansas farm girl and a young black Detroiter fresh from two tours of Vietnam. An excellent student, Aab gravitated toward public service and moved to Washington, D.C., for college in the hopeful days of 1992.

Not only would

Overview

A memoir of being young and female in the clinton White House

Stacy Parker Aab was born in Detroit in 1974, the only daughter of a white Kansas farm girl and a young black Detroiter fresh from two tours of Vietnam. An excellent student, Aab gravitated toward public service and moved to Washington, D.C., for college in the hopeful days of 1992.

Not only would Aab study political communication at The George Washington University, but she would also intern at the White House. For three years, she worked for George Stephanopoulos. In 1997 she became White House staff, serving as Paul Begala's special assistant.

At first, life was charmed, with nurturing mentors, superstar politicos, and handsome Secret Service agents. In January 1998, the world of the Clinton White House changed radically. Monica Lewinsky became a household name, and Aab learned quickly that in Washington, protectors can become predators, investigators will chase you like prey, and if you make mistakes with a powerful man, the world will turn your name into mud.

Government Girl is a window into the culture of the Clinton White House, as seen through the eyes of an idealistic young female aide. Stacy Parker Aab's intimate memoir tells of her coming-of-age in the lion's den. Her story provides a searing look at the dynamics between smart young women and the influential older men who often hold the keys to their dreams.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A young staffer in the Clinton White House when the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke, Parker Aab effectively re-creates the heady excitement of working among powerful personages in the upper echelons of government. A native of suburban Detroit and then an 18-year-old scholarship student at George Washington University, Aab née Parker possessed sterling credentials in civil and community service when she was selected to intern during the summer of 1993 for George Stephanopoulos’s press office in the Old Executive Office Building. She answered the reams of fan mail that poured in and trained the other interns; her job eventually led to a staff position, as well as work doing presidential advance planning, which entailed traveling with Clinton’s team and booking overnight accommodations. Tall and attractive, Parker soon learned where the power resided, e.g., with men such as Vernon Jordan, who offered professional advice freely over meals. When the Lewinsky details erupted in January 1998, Parker and her office under Paul Begala felt betrayed, though somehow unsurprised. Her memoir is well polished, and despite a few suggestive anecdotes about Vernon and Clinton, is mercifully free of salacious revelations. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Aab worked in the Clinton White House as an intern, first in the communications office run by George Stephanopoulos and later on the staff of consultant Paul Begala. She was fascinated by the powerful people surrounding her, and her writing indicates not just her confidence but her sense of vulnerability and need for recognition. Aab opens the book with a somewhat suggestive account of a "close encounter" with President Clinton while doing advance work for his 2000 G8 summit trip to Japan. Men in the Clinton circle did befriend her; Vernon Jordan occasionally invited her to dinner, and during the Kenneth Starr investigations, she was deposed about that relationship. Aab knew Monica Lewinsky only slightly, but her experiences provide insight into the Lewinsky scandal by showing how easily such young, ambitious women can be influenced by the powerful men they meet. VERDICT Aab's chronology is sometimes hard to follow, and her accounts of personal relationships can display a youthful naïveté. However, her descriptions of the less-than-glamorous life of a White House intern/staffer are intriguing. Recommended for readers interested in this kind of view of White House operations, especially young women considering a similar career path.—Jill Ortner, SUNY at Buffalo Libs.
Kirkus Reviews
This memoir by a first-time author aims to rescue the phrase "White House intern" from infamy-not an easy task since Monica Lewinsky. Huffington Post contributor Aab largely succeeds by relating her experiences as an idealistic, ambitious young woman working and learning among the charismatic men (and women) at the highest levels of government. She honors the noble impulse toward public service, even as she is candid about the dangerously erotic charge of being in the presence of power. As an intern in the office of White House Communications Director George Stephanopoulos while studying political science at George Washington University, Aab knew the young woman at the center of the scandal that almost brought down the Clinton Administration. While nonsalaried staff held down the fort one night during the government shutdown of 1995, the president even brought the author a slice of the very pizza that started his trouble with that other intern. She tells of instances of unwanted attention she received from President Clinton and his friend Vernon Jordan, but she provides a nuanced portrait of these men, whom she still admires. "Like a row of TVs turned to different stations," she writes, "they could exude nurturing love as much as they did sexual desire, and there were times I chose to keep my eyes on the nurturing love show and ignore the others." She contrasts the complicated Clinton and Jordan with her bosses Stephanopoulos and, later, Paul Begala, whom she admires unreservedly for being "spiritual" and self-restrained. However, the book is not a paean to famous and powerful men, and Aab is an interesting subject in her own right: the driven daughter of a white nurse from Kansas and ablack Army veteran from Detroit who died young from the effects of alcoholism, and an insightful observer of history-making atmosphere in which she worked. A nicely written, mildly spicy memoir of the Clinton White House. Author events in New York and Washington, D.C. Agent: Lisa Bankoff/ICM

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061672224
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
01/19/2010
Pages:
294
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Stacy Parker Aab has written political and social commentary for The Huffington Post and Salon.com, and served as the primary contributor to Voices from the Storm: The People of New Orleans on Hurricane Katrina and Its Aftermath. She continues to work on Katrina-related research projects.

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