In 1998, Hillary Rodham Clinton became the most admired woman in America while also becoming the most visibly wronged wife in the world. Standing by her husband, President Bill Clinton, as she and the nation learned the truth behind the Monica Lewinsky scandal, the First Lady was both a dutiful spouse and a passionate defense attorney, two roles she had played on numerous occasions during the course of this tumultuous yet politically unified relationship.
Now esteemed biographer and journalist Joyce Milton examines this formidable, fascinating woman, giving probing insight into the First Lady's character, her values and her career. In The First Partner, Milton goes behind the scenes at the Clinton White House and explores the First Lady's involvement in Travelgate, Filegate, the Health Care Task Force fiasco and fundraising for the 1996 presidential campaign, showing how these controversies grew out of the tensions in her political partnership with Bill Clinton. Milton also describes how Mrs. Clinton's defensive reactions to her husband's chronic infidelities have often misfired and have sometimes enabled his bad behavior. She examines the differing psychologies of the Presideng and First Lady, yet shows that when faced with political accusations, they take a similar approach of telling only as much of the truth as is necessary - a reaction that has increasingly gotten them into trouble.
Milton also investigates Hillary Rodman's Midwestern childhood and Methodist upbringing, when she developed her strong belief that social and political activism can be an expression of religious faith. This authoritative book follows the future First Lady through her years as a student activist at Wellesley and as a children's rights advocate at Yale Law School, where she met her future husband, Bill Clinton. It takes a close look at Mrs. Clinton's first Washington experience, as a legal staffer for the House Judiciary Committee during the Watergate investigation; shows how she juggled her positions as an activist, a corporate attorney and the first lady of the state of Arkansas; and probes her handling of the Whitewater investments that eventually led to Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr's investigation of the President.
Milton also examines Mrs. Clinton's attempts to reconcile a host of contradictions - feminist convictions in painful collision with family commitment; philosophical beliefs in conflict with harsh political reality; and the precarious balance of professional ambition, public image and private life.
Meticulously reported and researched. The First Partner offers keen new understanding of this complex woman who has infuriated and confounded as many people as she has inspired.
Joyce Milton is the author of Tramp: The Life of Charlie Chaplin, Loss of Eden: A Biography of Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh and The Yellow Kids and is coauthor of The Rosenberg File: A Search for the Truth with Ronald Radosh. She lieves in Brooklyn.
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