My Life by Bill Clinton - review by Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson

The Most Cunning Of Presidents

My Life


Hutchinson 957pp £25 order from our bookshop

THIS IS A weighty tome, well over 1,000 pages including the index. It is crowded with detail, much of it of little interest even to Americans, and of none at all to British readers. If the book had been cut by half it would have been much improved. The best bit is the description of Clinton's early life and education - if you can believe it. Clinton is a proven liar and perjurer, as we all know. He is also a legalistic niggler, who could claim he never smoked pot 'as he didn't inhale', and could deny he had sex with a girl, as only fellatio, as distinct from penetration, took place. He lies effortlessly and easily, and, like most habitual liars, even when there is no point, or when it is against his interest. Why, for instance, does he tell us that his wife Hillary was named after the Everest climbing New Zealander, Sir Edmund Hillary? The International Who's Who gives her birth date as 26 October 1947. Hillary climbed Everest in 1953, and since no one had heard of him until then it is inconceivable she was named after him. Clinton was corrected when he first made this claim, but he brazenly repeats the falsehood on page 870 of his memoirs.

Clinton says that his father, his mother's first husband, was called Blythe and that he was originally named William Jefferson Blythe 111 after him. Blythe was married three times before, and occasionally half-brothers and -sisters of Clinton's come to light. When his mother remarried, after Blythe's death, she changed her

Sign Up to our newsletter

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

RLF - March

A Mirror - Westend

Follow Literary Review on Twitter