The Corner

Kakutani On Clinton

As his celebrated 1993 speech in Memphis to the Church of God in Christ demonstrated, former President Bill Clinton is capable of soaring eloquence and visionary thinking. But as those who heard his deadening speech nominating Michael Dukakis at the 1988 Democratic National Convention in Atlanta well know, he is also capable of numbing, self-conscious garrulity.

Unfortunately for the reader, Mr. Clinton’s much awaited new autobiography “My Life” more closely resembles the Atlanta speech, which was so long-winded and tedious that the crowd cheered when he finally reached the words “In closing . . .”

The book, which weighs in at more than 950 pages, is sloppy, self-indulgent and often eye-crossingly dull — the sound of one man prattling away, not for the reader, but for himself and some distant recording angel of history.

In many ways, the book is a mirror of Mr. Clinton’s presidency: lack of discipline leading to squandered opportunities; high expectations, undermined by self-indulgence and scattered concentration.

Wow. Maybe we won’t even have to cover it at this rate…

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