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The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History in the White House

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The Clinton Tapes was a secret project, initiated by Clinton, to preserve for future historians an unfiltered record of presidential experience. During his eight years in office, Clinton met with Taylor Branch in the White House, usually late at night, to answer questions and tell stories. Branch recorded seventy-nine of their dialogues to compile a trove of raw information about a presidency as it happened. Branch then recorded his own detailed recollections immediately after each session, covering not only the subjects discussed but also the look and feel of each evening with the president. Their discussions were unpredictable, intense, and candid. At any given moment the president could leap from memories to a current crisis or problems with his daughter's homework. The resultant text captures Clinton from many angles. Branch's firsthand narrative is confessional, unsparing, and personal. What should an objective prompter say when the President of the United States seeks advice, argues facts, or lodges complaints against the press? The relationship that emerges from these interviews is dynamic, both affectionate and charged, with flashes of anger and humor. President Clinton drives the history, but this story is also about two friends. Hide synopsis

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