Bill Clinton: An American Journey- Great Expectations by Nigel Hamilton; Madam Secretary: A Memoir by Madeleine Albright - review by Dennis Sewell

Dennis Sewell

Relations Sexual and Diplomatic

Bill Clinton: An American Journey- Great Expectations


Century 784pp £25 order from our bookshop

Madam Secretary: A Memoir


Macmillan 562pp £20 order from our bookshop


NIGEL HAMILTON's ACCOUNT of Bill Clinton's life and early career - up until the Arkansas governor was elected President in 1992 - must surely rank as the most peculiar political biography ever written by a respectable academic author. The book is hvided into fragments (typically a page and a half long), each suggestive of a scene in a television docu-soap. Smart wheeze, you'd think: saves on adaptation costs. But the writing doesn't match up to the standards of the genre, tending to mimic instead the breathless style of TV preview columns, right down to their exasperatingly inappropriate exclamation marks!

Some kind of 'experimental' approach to this subject was perhaps inevitable, given the restrictions placed upon the author from the outset. When Hamilton turned up at the state archives in Little Rock to begin researching Clinton's record in Arkansas volitics. he found onlv two or three pages of bare fact

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

East of the Wardrobe

Follow Literary Review on Twitter