cover image First in His Class: A Biography of Bill Clinton

First in His Class: A Biography of Bill Clinton

David Maraniss / Author Simon & Schuster $24.5 (512p) ISBN 978

In this incisive, richly textured, fair-minded biography of Bill Clinton, which ends on the night he announced his presidential candidacy, Washington Post reporter Maraniss limns a quintessential politician, ``sincere and deceptive at the same time.'' Drawing on interviews with nearly 400 people, including Clinton's closest friends, colleagues and relatives, Maraniss taps two sides of Clinton--one intelligent, empathetic, indefatigable, another petulant, tantrum-prone, indecisive, misleading, too eager to please--and declares that these components of the man are inseparable. There are revealing glimpses of Clinton the semi-bohemian Oxford antiwar activist; the casual, disorganized University of Arkansas law professor; and the Arkansas governor soliciting large contributions from corporate leaders for the public relations arm of his permanent political campaign. Maraniss, whose articles on Clinton's presidential candidacy won a Pulitzer Prize, also illuminates Clinton's pragmatic partnership with Hillary Rodham and their dependence on each other during their long haul from Arkansas to the White House. Photos. 50,000 first printing; author tour. (Mar.)