ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Review - Bill Clinton: An American Journey, by Nigel Hamilton

Updated on October 7, 2015
KSMcClintock profile image

Kevin was born in Stevenage New Town, UK in the summer of 1959, and graduated from Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge in 1980.


Hippy Clinton
Hippy Clinton
Clinton considers what 'is' is.
Clinton considers what 'is' is.
Campaign Badges
Campaign Badges
Yeltsin lets Clinton in on the joke.
Yeltsin lets Clinton in on the joke.

A lively (and curiously repetitious) narrative, Nigel Hamilton’s fascinating book places Bill Clinton firmly in the context of post-war America; specifically the social and cultural tensions that grew out of the civil rights movement, sexual emancipation, Vietnam, Nixon and the Reaganite moral majority. By means of first hand testimony (often faithfully reproducing the Southern drawl of various politicians, editor’s and other assorted Arkansans), Hamilton gets us up close and personal with the Clinton’s and their entourage, at the same time providing a socio-biological/psycho-sexual critique of the impressively clever, priapic, charming and reckless man.

Clinton’s sexual adventures are well-known, but the extent of them was a surprise to me, and they form (along with an analysis of their root cause and their political and marital implications) a substantial part of this first volume, along with an engaging record of the political battles which finally took Clinton to the top. Hamilton is thankfully sparing in his details of the Golden Boy’s legislative record and, except where it is of crucial importance, he concentrates on Clinton’s political style – his empathising, his indecision, his killer instinct.

During his five terms as an administrator, Governor Clinton appears variously: idealistic, over-ambitious and out of touch; pragmatic, focused and with his finger on the pulse; and all too often indecisive, distracted and disappointed. The latter half of his 5th Governorship barely deserves the title – he was by then an aspiring presidential candidate, whose contact with the state seems to have consisted mainly in touring it to ask his constituents permission to run (in both senses); campaigning was what Clinton loved and did best.

But again and again, the narrative is forced to return to Clinton’s sex addiction and how closely it was bound up with his other compulsion – politics. This recurrent theme is reflected in the idiosyncratic style Hamilton adopts. The work often reads like a series of episodes where the same main characters get up to much the same things, with Hamilton constantly chorusing Clinton’s brilliance, charm, waywardness or whatever it might be. And it doesn’t stop there: the author seems at pains to drive home certain facts and theses, presumably in case we have forgotten. For an inattentive reader this is a boon; otherwise it at worst an irritation, at best a stylistic quirk that gives the whole a certain, almost mythic rhythm. Hamilton’s book is insightful, amusing and engaging, much as his subject appears to be.


See results

© 2013 KevinStantonMcClintockMACantab


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)