All Too Human: A Political Education

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9780316929196: All Too Human: A Political Education

All Too Human is a new-generation political memoir, written from the refreshing perspective of one who got his hands on the levers of awesome power at an early age. At thirty, the author was at Bill Clinton's side during the presidential campaign of 1992, & for the next five years he was rarely more than a step away from the president & his other advisers at every important moment of the first term. What Liar's Poker did to Wall Street, this book will do to politics. It is an irreverent & intimate portrait of how the nation's weighty business is conducted by people whose egos & idiosyncrasies are no sturdier than anyone else's. Including sharp portraits of the Clintons, Al Gore, Dick Morris, Colin Powell, & scores of others, as well as candid & revelatory accounts of the famous debacles & triumphs of an administration that constantly went over the top, All Too Human is, like its author, a brilliant combination of pragmatic insight & idealism. It is destined to be the most important & enduring book to come out of the Clinton administration.

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Review:

A Rhodes scholar with a healthy ego, the young idealist George Stephanopoulos thought he was ready for the obscure governor of Arkansas. But soon after he signed on as his presidential-campaign manager, the odds of Clinton's triumph soared, and so did the chance for calamity via Gennifer Flowers and other scandals. Stephanopoulos scrambled behind the scenes, squelching rumors, spinning major news organizations, artfully knifing Clinton rivals, and second-guessing public opinion--lessons that would serve him well when Clinton won.

For the next four years, Stephanopoulos was a few feet from the president, advising him on everything from Iraq and Waco to gays in the military and Paula Jones. More than any book yet--including Monica Lewinsky's--Stephanopoulos's memoir reveals what went on in the scary, occasionally hilarious world backstage at the White House. He casts stark light on characters from Yeltsin, "like a boiled potato slathered in sour cream," to the author's nemesis Dick Morris, whom he depicts bellowing for Clinton to bomb Bosnia. And nobody who's talking knows as well as Stephanopoulos the most passionate, mystifying affair of all, between Bill and Hillary.

But years of backroom scheming, screaming, and relentless political attacks took a toll. Stephanopoulos's face erupted in hives; he grew a beard. Slammed by clinical depression, he dangerously delayed medical attention, fearing the story might leak. This memoir could've been titled Prisoner of Spin. Written with the jittery cadence of a bookie, All Too Human is a lively look at the complex and motley cast of characters who rule the world. --Rebekah Warren

From AudioFile:

The author's political memoir deals with his experiences as former senior advisor to Bill Clinton (in the White House and during the campaign), touching briefly on his post-White House job as a network commentator. He also discusses how the Lewinsky scandal colored his interpretation of past events. Stephanopoulos's narration is unaffected, candid and immediate. He does not shy away from expressing regret at some of his own failings or disappointment at some of Clinton's. His wonder and excitement at being in the inner circle of the campaign and presidency at a relatively young age are fully articulated, giving the listener a feel for this heady time. Slightly husky and completely natural, his reading involves the listener, making one wish for the complete book rather than an abridgment. M.A.M. (c) AudioFile, Portland, Maine

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