Jennie: Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton: Mastering the Presidency by Nigel Hamilton

I wasn’t sure what biography to read for Clinton, especially because I had already read his autobiography a number of years ago. Reading it for a second time (even though most of the details have probably fled my mind) seemed almost cheating on the challenge. When I found this one at Half Price Books, I snatched it up and hoped it would be good.

Well, it was only so-so. It was dry, very, very dry. And the author used a lot (A LOT) of metaphors in these pages, and after a few hundred pages it became comical to me, which was probably not the author’s intent.

I did enjoy the inside view to Clinton’s early days in the White House, and his struggles with his cabinet and staff members. The author seemed pretty heavy handed against Hillary, which made me wonder what he’d think with her running for president for 2016.

I would probably search out for a different book for Clinton if I had the chance. This one was long and only somewhat informative.

Leah: Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson by R.B. Bernstein
President number three! 3.5 stars

What I learned about Thomas Jefferson:

  • He had red hair.
  • He was involved with the Louisiana Purchase and Louis and Clark’s expedition
  • He had very conflicting ideas on many things – religion, slavery, etc.
  • He was the founder of the University of Virginia (and has students as rebellious as some today!!!)
  • Monticello was mostly a disaster for Jefferson’s entire life because he kept reconstructing it.

What I wish I learned:

  • More about the conflict between him and Adams. I feel like it was glossed over. It DID explain a lot about the conflict between the Federalists and Republicans but I would have liked more on their friendship, personally.
  • More about Jefferson’s time overseas. I felt like I learned a lot more from the Adams biography. I also know from Adams’ biography that Jefferson has a friendship with Abigail Adams which this book barely touched on.

I feel like is Jefferson is glamorized in history books/society. This book showed a lot of his faults. I went back and forth between thinking, “This guy isn’t so nice” and “This guy is human, just like the rest of us.” He also was a very forward thinker which often got him in “trouble” because it didn’t agree with the opinions of his time.

Perhaps one day I will pick up another book on Jefferson because I feel like there was a lot more to learn. Overall, this book was a good start and relatively easy to read.