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For Love of Politics

Bill and Hillary Clinton: The White House Years

Book Reviews


What do people think about For Love of Politics? Reviews will be posted here as they become available. You can also meet Sally along the book tour and follow her and the book through her media appearances.

Huffington Post
April 14, 2008
"Hillary At Martha's Vineyard: On Clinton, Guns, Elitism, and John Kerry," by Michael Gove
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Slate.com
April 14, 2008
"For Better or for Worse: Why The Clintons Will Stay Married, Win Or Lose," by Melinda Henneberger
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The Sunday Times (London)
April 11, 2008
"Rapid Rise of Hillary's Fortune"
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Financial Times
April 3, 2008
"Hillary Clinton Cannot Let Go Of Her Dream"
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The Mail On Sunday (London)
February 3, 2008
"She's the Only Woman Who's Man Enough for Clinton" by Michael Gove
"Sally Bedell SMith has a fantastic story to tell. And, to my surprise, she does it brilliantly...No account of the marriage can make sense without an understanding of the politics and idealism at the heart of it. It is to Bedell Smith's credit that she has a firm grasp of both. As a previous biographer of both Diana and JFK, Bedell Smith has already handled the lives of a betrayed feminist icon and a mangificent but flawed president, but what is unique about the Clinton phenomenon is the dynamic between the two. For many of us the central question is what binds together the magnetic, priapic, sexually incontinent Bill and the reserved, disciplined, almost puritan brainbox Hillary? Bedell Smith gives us an entirely persuasive account of the forces that tie this unlikely couple together."

The Sunday Times (London)
February 3, 2008
"Can't Have One Without The Other" by Alexander Cockburn
"Sally Bedell Smith's account is cumulatively devastating as she picks her way through the Clintons' eight-year sojourn at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, with flashbacks to their Arkansas years." Read More »

The Sunday Times (London)
February 3, 2008
"Bill and Hillary Clinton: The Dynamics of a Marriage"
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The Sunday Times (London)
January 27, 2008
"Hillary Unleashes Pit Bull Bill" by Sarah Baxter
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The Times (London)
January 24, 2008
"Enough Clinton Incorporated" by Gerard Baker
"In her sharply insightful book, For Love of Politics, Sally Bedell Smith dissects the Clinton relationship, and says it is less like a traditional marriage and more like a vast and successful corporation that dominates the business of American politics. For eight years Bill was the President and Chief Executive Officer while Hillary was the top manager. When he left office, Hillary moved up to the CEO's suite and Bill took over as non-executive chairman. Now, the country is being invited to accept another takeover offer from Clinton Incorporated."
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Evening Standard (London)
January 21, 2008
"The Clinton Compact" by Matt Frei
"If you want to understand what makes Billary tick and what the world could expect if the Clintons return to their tenancy at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue you could do worse than plough through the 454 lucid and carefully researched pages of Sally Bedell Smith's For Love of Politics....There was a Faustian/Freudian bargain at work. As Sally Bedell Smith puts it: `Bill ceded her power as a trade-off for his history of infidelity.' And there's the rub. The main character charge against Hillary is that she put up with Bill's wandering libido and put off divorce because she was too enamoured with power. For the love of politics, indeed."
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The Daily Mail
January 15, 2008
Part Three of three-part adaptation:
"The Man Who Knew Too Much? The Truth about the Death of Hillary Clinton's Close Friend"
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The Weeky Standard
January 14, 2008
"The Natural and His Wife: Bill Clinton's Partner--In Life and Politics--Has Yet to Repeat His Success" by Noemie Emery
"Bill needed both Gore and Hillary, but often resented attempts to restrain him. Gore and Hillary needed Bill, and resented each other. Hillary was in a state of continuous rage over Bill's chronic adultieries. And Gore...was in a state of anxiety about his own run. How this played out is laid out in hair-raising detail in Sally Bedell Smith's account of an administration and marriage like none other in history, and one that bred the highest level of dysfunctional angst ever seen in the White House--except for those moments when Richard Nixon dined alone."
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The New York Observer
January 14, 2008
Adam Begley calls For Love of Politics a "comprehensive and precise history of the Clintons' White House Years."
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New York Times
January 13, 2008
"Haven't We Heard This Voice Before?" by Frank Rich
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The Daily Mail
January 14, 2008
Part Two of three-part adaptation:
"Hillary's Humiliation: How She Swept Bill Clinton's Affairs Under the Carpet"
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The Daily Mail
January 12, 2008
Part One of three-part adaptation:
"Why Hillary Clinton let husband Bill seduce any woman in sight"
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New York Magazine
January 11, 2008
"Hillary's Most Trusted Advisor"
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"Hillary's Greatest Liability: Private Sector"
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Read and Comment

Huffington Post
January 11, 2008
"Clinton Biographer Tries to Answer: How Did Hillary Win NH?" by Sam Stein
"Smith spent more than three years and conducted more than 160 interviews in the process of writing her latest book, For Love of Politics -- Bill and Hillary Clinton: The White House Years. The work probes deep into the Clinton marriage and argues that a shared political partnership has defined the couple for more than three decades. And Clinton's unexpected win over rival Barack Obama, said Smith, was but one more chapter in the symbiotic history of America's most famous power couple."
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Newsweek
December 31, 2007
"Hillary's Hidden Hand" by Sally Bedell Smith
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New York Sun
December 28, 2007
"Chances of Gore Endorsement Are Said To Be Fading" by Josh Gerstein
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Examiner
December 27, 2007
"Shedding Light on the Co-presidency" by Terence Smith
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The New York Times
December 23, 2007
"Savior or Saboteur" by Maureen Dowd
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The Australian
December 26, 2007
"Hillary Disappearing in Bill's Shadow" by Ross Terrill
"The ghost that unnerves millions of ordinary Americans is a return to the White House of a political marriage sharp with tradeoffs that slice into public life....'Bill doubtless would have lost the 1992 election without Hillary's unyielding support when his character was under attack,' Sally Bedell Smith writes in her fine new book, For Love of Politics. 'Her rescue of his candidacy had enormous public consequences, as it made him beholden to her in ways that pervasively influenced his administration's policies.' This is surely true."
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The Washington Examiner
December 22, 2007
Terence Smith writes "Smith provides an intensely personal dual biography. In the process she sketches a road map of what a Hillary Clinton presidency would be like. ..Smith makes it all clear in this meticulously researched, gracefully written account that the Clintons have an enduring, co-dependent partnership....Just as Hillary was the indispensable, first-among-equals player in her husband's two terms, so would Bill be crucial in his wife's administration. Elect Hillary, Smith implies, and you'll get a third Clinton term, and possibly a fourth; another co-presidency....There is plenty here for anyone who wants to rethink what actually happened in the first Clinton era, and, possibly, prepare for a second."
Read More » [Dec 22, 2007, page 24]

New York Daily News
December 20, 2007
"Holiday Books that Keep on Giving" by Jane Ridley
On the list of 10 books, #6 The Aspiring Politico
"She'll thank you for this insight into the First Couple when she holds her own during heated dinner party debates about next year's election. Smith ventures behind closed doors at the West Wing to spill intriguing details about the pair's marital tensions, the former First Lady's rivalry with Al Gore and her so-called "hidden hand" technique, deftly advising her charismatic husband on foreign and domestic issues."
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National Review
December 19, 2007
Noemie Emery writes, "He was a natural, with all the advantages of an extrovert born in a southern culture that emphasized human drama," Sally Bedell Smith says in her riveting book on the Clintons. "A rare combination of powerful intellect and animal instinct" with a great love for the faux intimacies of retail campaigning, and an uncanny ability to read the emotional tone of his audience and adjust his response to its mood.
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Opinion Journal from The Wall Street Journal
December 11, 2007
"Two Presidents in the White House?" by Sally Bedell Smith
Bill Clinton's mere presence in the West Wing would be intimidating.
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The Washington Post
December 9, 2007
"Hillary's Ex Factor" by David Ignatius
"The Clintons this time around have avoided the 'Buy one, get one free' talk that led people to imagine a co-presidency in 1993. But as Sally Bedell Smith makes clear in her comprehensive look at their relationship, For Love of Politics, these two are a political team, peculiarly but indissolubly bound together. Even after Hillary publicly disqavowed a policy role after the collapse of her health-care plan and the disastrous 1994 congressional elections, she continued to be intensively active behind the scenes--lobbying her husband, vetting appointments and giving advice. There's no reason to imagine that Bill would be any different."
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National Journal
December 10, 2007
"Honesty: Hillary's Glass House" by Stuart Taylor
"Although well aware of her husband's philandering history, Hillary backed his squishy denials, famously asserting on 60 Minutes that she was not 'some little woman standing by her man like Tammy Wynette.' More deceptively, she suggested to ABC's Sam Donaldson that Bill's contacts with Flowers were just an example of how he loved to 'help people who are in trouble' and 'listen to their problems.' Hillary's words uncannily foreshadowed her insistence six years later to....a White House aide that Bill had "ministered" to [Monica] Lewinsky becasue she was a troubled woman,' Sally Bedell Smith writes in her fine new book about the Clintons, For Love of Politics. Hillary has continued to insist that she beleived what she said about Lewinsky. But friends and former aides have told Smith and others that she knew her husband was lying all along."
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National Journal
December 10, 2007
"Will Americans Elect a President They Don't Like?" by Burt Solomon
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Irish Independent
November 25, 2007
Orla Healy writes, "In her new book, For Love of Politics, Smith focuses on what she calls "the push and pull" between Bill and Hillary, two hardcore "political warriors" who continue to struggle with a dysfunctional yet eerily co-dependent releationship that thrives on their passion for power--and little else. Despite the rosy picture the Clintons have painted of their lives in the years since leaving the White House, Smith predicts that the bizarre dynamics that continue to govern the marriage may be too fragile to withstand the stress of the scrutiny they are so boldly inviting...'It is impossible to understand one Clinton without factoring in the other,' writes Smith, who has an ability to describe the chinks in their individual makeup...with chilling clarity."
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Bloomberg.com
November 21, 2007
Writes Margaret Carlson: "Like most marriages, the union between Bill and Hillary Clinton is a mystery, only more so. Is there any other that we know more about yet understand less? How could he do it? Why did she stay? Now comes the first of the Clinton books to focus exclusively on the relationship. 'For Love of Politics: Bill and Hillary Clinton: The White House Years' by Sally Bedell Smith, mines every piece of data from the first 'two-for-the-price of one' presidency for the light it sheds on what the second might be like....Smith scores coups getting interviews with aides who had ringside seats and had been quiet until now...You would think that only in the movies--or Argentina--could a president come back as consort to his wife. If what was unthinkable just a few years ago happens, there's no better preview of what that would be like than Smith's book."
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Ben Smith's Politico Blog
November 19, 2007
"Rahm Busted"
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Houston Chronicle
November 18, 2007
Interview by Fritz Lanham: "For Love of Politics revisits the Bill Clinton White House years, viewing them through the prism of the Clintons' unique politico-marital partnership. For Smith, you can't understand the Clinton administratioin without understanding Hillary Clinton's role and how the ups and downs and tensions in their marriage affected everything from policy to personnel decisions....For Love of Politics is well-written and detail-rich, based on interviews with more than 160 people and on the mountainous written record...It's a book less about policy than about process, about how the political sausage gets made."
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Excerpt from "Those Years of Storm and Sunshine." Read More »

Seattle Post-Intelligencer
November 16, 2007
Joel Connelly says "a fascinating account of the Clintons' White House years."
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US News & World Report
November 12, 2007
John Mashek reviews For Love of Politics in "A Capital View."
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Chicago Tribune
November 12, 2007
"Clinton Library a Closed Book," by Mike Dorning
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The New Republic
November 12, 2007
"Bunker Hillary" by Michael Crowley
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The Oregonian
November 11, 2007
"Journalist Sally Bedell Smith dissects this most complicated of marriages in 'For Love of Politics, Bill and Hillary Clinton: The White House Years,' a breezy, chatty book about a union that would send Dr. Phil into therapy...a brisk and dynamic overview that moves along nicely...Smith's writing style is clean and accessible without bogging down on a lot of heavy policy lifting."
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The Washington Times
November 8, 2007
John Marshall says "a behind-the-scenes look at power, politics and celebrity...The stormy life of the Clintons in the White House is a motherlode of material for Smith's prodigious digging, from the disastrous policy imbroglio over health-care reform to the personal sleaze of the Monica Lewinsky scandal."
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The Washington Times
November 8, 2007
Suzanne Fields, syndicated columnist writes "The Cut-Rate Pursuit of Power"
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Republished at RealClearPolitics.com: Read More »

Newsweek
November 5, 2007
In "The Marriage Tax," Evan Thomas says "It is clear from reading Smith's book (something that all political journalists need to do, and not just skim) that anyone who thinks he's voting just for Hillary on Election Day is naive. The Clintons are a political package, a two-for-one bargain, a duo inextricably intertwined."
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The Wall Street Journal
November 2, 2007
Peggy Noonan calls For Love of Politics "excellent...a carefully researched, data-rich compendium on the Clintons' time in the White House."
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The New Republic
November 2, 2007
"The Stump" blog by Michael Crowley, "Hillary and Bosnia Revisited"
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The Washington Times
October 25, 2007
Suzanne Fields, syndicated columnist writes "Has She Really Come a Long Way Baby?"
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Publisher's Weekly
October 22, 2007
"Bedell Smith puts well known facts and anecdotes together in a clarifying way: not intended to be a straight portrait of Bill or of Hillary, it turns out to be both of those and one more thing, too: a portrait of their marriage. As a narrative, it could be subtitled: buy one, get two free......Like Tina Brown, who somehow managed to re-enthrall the jaded with her book about Princess Diana, Bedell Smith deserves praise for walking these now-dusty paths at all, let alone with her characteristic liveliness of step. Wisely ending the book at the end of Bill Clinton's presidency instead of venturing into Hillary's senate years or presidential campaign, the author has kept her focus clear and her vision sharp. So, to answer everyone's first question: This is not a campaign book; it probably won't change many minds. But while you may not know any more about Hillary Clinton than you did before reading it, thanks to Bedell Smith's insight, her juxtaposition of fact and anecdote, and her therapeutic, but never psychobabblish way, you'll understand her a whole lot more."
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Newsweek
October 15, 2007
Jonathan Darman writes "A biographer who's written on Pamela Harriman, Princess Diana and Jackie and Jack Kennedy, [Smith] has a keen instinct for history made inside of marriages. She knows the irrational is often most important. Her book is narrower than other recent Clinton biographies, which deal with the nuts and bolts of her career, but is perhaps more relevant. Certainly, it is more subversive. Homing in on the "push and pull" between them and their love of politics, Smith presents a story Clinton isn't eager to remember: how her marriage made and then nearly wrecked her career....Some of Smith's juiciest material concerns the supporting cast trying to make sense of Hillary and Bill's dynamic. Most intriguing is the portrait of Chelsea, informed by rare reporting inside her circle of friends."
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Sally appreciates hearing from you! Please take a moment to contact her directly to let her know what you think. She is not able to respond to every submission, but she will read them all.

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