High Crimes and Misdemeanors

High Crimes and Misdemeanors

by Justin Fernandez

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Editorial Reviews

Cohen's view of the Clinton impeachment and scandal is as a media story, focusing on Monica Lewinsky and Linda Tripp's relationship. Although intriguing, some of Cohen's statements seem unnecessarily subjective and suggestive. He writes of Tripp's uncanny knack for being on the spot when things happened, and that when it came to something sensational, Lucianne Goldberg was not one to hold a grudge. His text suffers from little documentation or helpful explanation, and his logic and grammar are occasionally tangled. The short bibliography and inaccurate index (this reviewer found two mistakes) add to this book's sloppy feeling. Fernandez attempts to place the episode in the broadest historical perspective. Part of the Crime, Justice, and Punishment series, this work changes setting and focus from chapter to chapter�from the Clinton scandal and impeachment, to Andrew Johnson's impeachment, to the framing of the Constitution. The chapter on the Constitution is rendered in a peculiar present tense, in which George Mason's voice "echoes" in the State House, while Washington, Franklin, Hamilton, and others "return his gaze, listening intently." Also awkward is his sensational spin on Clinton's story. He writes of Clinton allegedly dropping his trousers and underwear on the first page and twice fully quotes the Independent Counsel's definition of sexual relations�as if readers might forget. Fernandez succeeds in explaining the political background of the impeachment process, so that by the time he describes Clinton's trial, the partisan motives are clear. With his clumsy transitions, however, readers will have to work hard to piece everything together. Adequate black-and-white photos andillustrations break up the text. Aaseng's contribution, although the driest and most cramped in style, is the clearest, most straightforward explanation of Clinton's impeachment. Although he does not provide as much historical perspective as Fernandez, Aaseng gives just enough to clarify his subject. He does not focus on the personalities as much as the politics (although half-page asides on the various players give personal bios), allowing for an evenhanded portrayal of events. Black-and-white photos illustrate every few pages. A comparison of the sources that are noted in each work echoes their differences. Cohen cites Newsweek reporter Michael Isikoff, William Bennett, the Starr report, and articles from Newsweek. Fernandez does not cite any of his material, but he includes a bibliography of works on impeachment and the Constitution and quotes testimony and the Starr report in his text. Aaseng has the most extensive and explanatory notes, citing articles mainly from the New York Times and U.S. News and World Report. Aaseng's work is the most helpful single title, but Fernadez's book would be a useful second title for those working on a report or for its historical perspective. Cohen's book gives a picture of the media story but is more part of the story than an objective portrayal. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P M J S (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2001, Chelsea House, 112p, Index, Photos, Biblio., PLB. Ages 12 to 18. Reviewer: Nina Lindsay VOYA, February 2001 (Vol. 23, No.6)
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 6-8-Fernandez places the Clinton impeachment in historical perspective by comparing it to the trials of Andrew Johnson and several federal judges who were impeached for various offenses and discusses the deliberations of the Constitutional Convention in 1787. He uses primary sources to explain how the framers viewed impeachable conduct and what they understood to be "high crimes and misdemeanors." Curiously, he does not discuss the congressional hearings on Nixon and Watergate, which were central in creating our contemporary understanding that impeachable offenses must involve criminal conduct. He is objective in his treatment of Clinton, and he writes clearly, helping young readers understand the historical, legal, and political factors that shaped the case. Black-and-white photos, illustrations, and period art are of average quality and merely illustrate the text. Daniel Cohen's The Impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton (21st Century, 2000) remains the best choice for overall coverage of the scandal, but this title is a good supplementary choice for libraries that need report material on the constitutional and historical antecedents of the impeachment.- Mary Mueller, Rolla Junior High School, MO Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

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Product Details

Chelsea House Publishers
Publication date:
Crime, Justice and Punishment Series
Product dimensions:
7.46(w) x 9.49(h) x 0.48(d)
Age Range:
11 - 13 Years

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