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Bill Clinton’s 21 Favorite Books

Although I’m not a big fan of politicians, I’ve always kinda, sorta liked Bill Clinton.

He’s always seemed like an approachable guy who would be easy to talk to, play a round a golf with, and drink a pint at a bar.

Not that this is any surprise, but he’s well read too, which makes him even more likeable. He’s a smart dude.

In 2003, CBS listed Clinton’s 21 favorite books—all on display at the Clinton Library in Little Rock, Arkansas. The list is interesting and diverse:

  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou.
  • Meditations by Marcus Aurelius.
  • The Denial of Death by Ernest Becker.
  • Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954-1963 by Taylor Branch.
  • Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton.
  • Lincoln by David Herbert Donald.
  • The Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot.
  • Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison.
  • The Way of the World: From the Dawn of Civilizations to the Eve of the Twenty-First Century by David Fromkin.
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
  • The Cure at Troy: A Version of Sophocles’ Philoctetes by Seamus Heaney.
  • King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa by Adam Hochschild.
  • The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis.
  • Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell.
  • The Evolution of Civilizations: An Introduction to Historical Analysis by Carroll Quigley.
  • Moral Man and Immoral Society: A Study in Ethics and Politics by Reinhold Niebuhr.
  • The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron.
  • Politics as a Vocation by Max Weber.
  • You Can’t Go Home Again by Thomas Wolfe.
  • Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny by Robert Wright.
  • The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats by William Butler Yeats.

Great books there, Mr. President.

You might notice that the current novel I’m reading—The Confessions of Nat Turner—is on Clinton’s list, as well as Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison.

But come on: He listed Hillary’s biography Living History on there. I think he’s still trying to make up for past wrongs, if you know what I mean. So I guess if your wife writes a biography, you’ve got to list it as one of your favorite books.

Any thoughts on Bill’s favorites?

Source: CBS

(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

10 Comments Post a comment
  1. I wonder if “no one left to lie to ” by Christopher Hitchens is on the list ?

    Liked by 3 people

    September 29, 2014
  2. I wish I could read as fast as our former president. Sadly, I can’t. I do find it surprising that someone who reads so voraciously can whittle the list down to 21. But I’m not surprised he would list Hillary’s book. This older one did receive better reviews than her most recent, Hard Choices. Plus, they have been partners in many ways for years and have a daughter who loves them both. I like his choice of Heaney’s “Cure at Troy.”


    September 29, 2014
  3. I’m pretty well read, but never read any on the list – guess I’ll never be president. I’m British as well, so there’s that…


    September 29, 2014
  4. I have a feeling that some on that list might be books he’s last read when he was a student. No shame in that, btw, just an observation.


    September 29, 2014
  5. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes when I saw the words “A Study in Ethics and Politics” on the list.


    September 29, 2014
  6. If I had to choose books to take to a desert island, I only see two or three I would take. The rest make my head hurt.


    September 29, 2014
  7. Interesting and impressive list! I’d love to know why he likes each book.


    September 30, 2014
  8. Well, he kind of had to list Hilary’s, didn’t he? It was a good book. And I also read “I know why the caged bird sings.” Awesome. The others, I haven’t read. But there are lots of books I haven’t read. So many books, so little time… 😉


    October 1, 2014
  9. I had read Earnest Becker, Marques’ One Hundred of Solitude, Ellison’s Invisble Man and The Meditation by Aurellius. He of course read lot of books. One of the smart president ….


    October 1, 2014
  10. Mario Alberto #

    Reblogged this on Pienso Bebo y Escribo.


    October 6, 2014

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