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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 tells the story we all thought we knew, from the fresh viewpoint of a psychologist, as he questions the well-crafted ...
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 tells the story we all thought we knew, from the fresh viewpoint of a psychologist, as he questions the well-crafted Clinton life story. Travelling to Arkansas and around the world, Gartner uncovers long-held secrets about Clinton's wild and seductive mother, Virginia Kelley, the truth surrounding Clinton’s birth, and how Kelley's character set the tone for Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky. He considers Clinton's two fathers as the root of his self-destructive nature and looks afresh at Sec. of State Hillary Clinton to see in her the figure of Edith Cassidy, Clinton's stern grandmother. Gartner then shows a Clinton reborn from diplomatic triumphs and humanitarianism across the globe. John Gartner’s exhaustive journey 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.
Booklist Editor’s Choice for Biography, 2008
"John Gartner's new book In Search of Bill Clinton will, I think, help solve the riddle of the forty-second President. Written with lucidity, humor, compassion and amazing insight, it is a tour de force that not only helps explain one of the smartest yet complex men of our time, but shines a fascinating spotlight onto the problem of the super-gifted individual in our society. Compulsively readable.”-- Nigel Hamilton author of Bill Clinton: An American Journey and Bill Clinton: Mastering the Presidency
"Gartner reminds us why this complex figure still fascinates."--Publishers Weekly
“Gartner combines psychological biography and journalism in this probing look at one of our most fascinating presidents.”-- Booklist
“John D. Gartner chose wisely. It's hard to think of someone whose life has provided more fodder for a psychological biography than former President Bill Clinton.”-- Time
“Captivating…brings real insight - and an investigative journalist's doggedness - to the subject…Gartner exhaustively and engagingly catalogues the psychic twists and turns of Clinton's childhood”-- NY Post
The language of clinical psychology can convey detachment-or, as in this starstruck study of the 42nd president, gushing admiration. Deploying his trademark diagnosis, Johns Hopkins psychologist Gartner (The Hypomanic Edge) pegs Clinton as a hypomanic personality with boundless energy and charisma, but prone to impulsive appetites and lapses in judgment. The author attributes much of Clinton's psyche to genes (many inherited, he argues, from an illegitimate father he tentatively identifies), but he also embraces Freudian notions: Clinton's relationships with women, Gartner contends, follow a pattern established in childhood when he felt torn between his bossy, Hillaryesque grandmother and his lushly erotic, Monica-like mother. Gartner sometimes overreaches-"We can almost see Clinton going through the stages of his relationship with [stepfather] Roger in his approach to Bosnia"-but his analysis of Clinton's political talents, right down to his mesmerizing facial expressions while on receiving lines, yields intriguing insights. The author himself unabashedly surrenders to Clinton's magnetism and "genius" intellect: "[H]e has been walking in the footsteps of moral giants," Gartner rhapsodizes about Clinton during an AIDS-relief junket, comparing him to Jesus as a healer of the sick. Nevertheless, Gartner reminds us why this complex figure still fascinates. 17 pages of b&w photos. (Oct.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Gartner (psychiatry, Johns Hopkins Medical Sch.) focused his previous book, The Hypomanic Edge , through a biographical-historical lens, on the mild form of mania that he believes can fuel outsized achievement in business, politics, and other fields. His new book is a single case study in hypomania, as for two years Gartner immersed himself in the life of Bill Clinton, reading the literature, interviewing dozens of friends and associates, and following the former President through Africa on a visit for Clinton's AIDS foundation. Like other biographers, Gartner finds that the dysfunctional family dynamics of Clinton's childhood explain a great deal, although many particulars and certainly the conclusion that Clinton is a moral hero differ from two earlier psychological studies, Paul Fick's The Dysfunctional President and Jerome Levin's The Clinton Syndrome . While some readers may consider reductive such observations as our Bosnia policy being a restaging of Clinton's relationship with his stepfather, all will be interested in details like Gartner's detective work that he believes has identified Clinton's actual biological father, and most will find the book an engaging combination of the clinical and the personal. Recommended for public libraries; optional for academic libraries.-Bob Nardini, Nashville
Introduction: The Puzzle 1
Pt. I Origins
1 Like Mother, Like Son 17
2 Searching for Bill Clinton's Father 71
3 One in a Quadrillion 84
4 The Boy Who Walked to Church Alone 102
Pt. II Arkansas Politics
5 Three Pairs of Shoes 135
6 The Education of Governor Clinton 153
Pt. III The Prodigy President Prosperity and Peace
7 It's the Economy, Genius 183
8 A Thousand Welcomes 215
Pt. IV Impeachment-Gate
9 The Horse-Whipping 271
10 Monica and Bill: A Romantic Tragedy 294
11 High Noon 324
Pt. V Africa: July 2007
12 Healing the Sick 357
List of Interviews 421
Posted November 3, 2008
After a promo idicating the Search for Bill as a insightful look at our "personality disorder with a brain" ex president, I want to state that Mr. Gartner should spend more time in the psych. department of Johns Hopkins and less time adulating and stalking Bill Clinton and his "halo" affect around Africa. The author was so excited by a glimpse, a touch, a one sentence comment that the words just bounced off of the pages. <BR/><BR/>The only piece of information that was new to the "Saga of Bill" is the "assumption" that his real Father was a Doctor in his home town who obviously had carnal relations with Bill's Mom as well as apparently half of the town of Hope and Hot Springs.(no pun intended) Mr. Gartner's spource documents for this rich piece of gossip was gossip. You know the housewives knowledgable nod or smirk with other females who knew "all the time" who his "real" Father was.<BR/><BR/>The last part of the book was a page out of the DNC concerning the Clinton Foundation along with Bill Gates and others. The money to provide cheap medicines to African AIDS victims. Bashing George W and his "lovely" wife Laura for providing 15 billion dollars. But it was the attitude that made the African individuals look at Laura as a snob and G.W. as just a slight of hand movement. Why is Bill popular? Because he drifts into a crowd and lets them touch his hem and he smiles with a "radiant glow with the halo above his head shining in the sunlight is<BR/>just a little too much schmultz. Boring and written by a Bill groupie. <BR/>AIDS comes from the sources and throwing condoms and drugs AFTER the desease progresses is a little like throwing water on a gas fire.<BR/><BR/>My last observation is the 3-4 anonymous 5 star reviews....before this review, if printed. I'll bet the author or his relative or maybe even Bill could have written the review(s).
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Posted November 22, 2010
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