I’m really enjoying Bill Clinton’s autobiography My Life. As I mentioned in a previous post, I think he’s a really smart guy and the book is serving to reinforce this opinion. It’s quite long, mostly due to the extraordinary detail he goes into on virtually every topic. He writes well, and the detail he provides really allows you to understand what was going on at the time from his point of view. I wasn’t exposed to the American media much at the time, so it’s interesting to read his take on things particularlyl when contrasted with what the situation currently appears to be.
The book is in chronological order, strangely enough, so I’ve only made it as far as when the Democrats lost the majority in both houses of Congress in 1994. This is well before Monica-gate, but I’m aware of some of the major events prior to this: the election when Ross Perot ran, Branch Davidian in Waco, Texas, Black Hawk Down and the Rwandan genocide. I wasn’t aware of the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993.
I’m learning a lot about American politics, and modern politics in general, particularly the role of the media. This is becoming more important to me for reasons I don’t really understand yet. I suppose I’m realising that a lot of interaction between people, particularly at my current workplace, is very political in nature. I’ve never really understood it well, so I find it interesting to learn more about it.
I’m also considering finding a reasonable book that will likely have an opposite bias of roughly the same vintage: 2002. I believe Clinton is a slightly left of centre politician, so it would be interesting to see what a right leaning politician of the same era has to say about the time. Perhaps a book by or about Bob Dole would be appropriate. I think Clinton gives a fairly honest appraisal of his performance and acknowledges his bias. He is gracious when his opinion differs from others, and is humble about his failures. He’s not perfect, but seems to know this and strives to be better.
Something I’d like to do.