Thursday, April 8, 2010
Dear Great Book Guru, This past Saturday I had the pleasure of listening to two Sea Cliff notables on National Public Radio. First was new resident Victoria Bjorklund who was a guest DJ; she talked about her great interest in early rock 'n roll and rhythm and blues. An hour later, Frank Mullen III, whose family goes back generations here in Sea Cliff, also spoke about music but with a strong focus on his own performance background. Shortly after that, I heard a discussion of a new book on the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. It sounded great but I didn't hear the title. Are you familiar with this book?
Dear Radio, I heard Victoria and Frank's interviews too, and enjoyed them tremendously. The book you ask about is THE DEATH OF AMERICAN VIRTUE by Kenneth Gormley which I just finished reading . Gormley , a constitutional law professor , over the last few years has interviewed Bill Clinton, Ken Starr, Monica Lewinsky, Paula Jones, Janet Reno, Al Gore, and scores of other players in the Clinton impeachment saga. What I found most remarkable was that so many of these fierce enemies would agree to be interviewed . There were many startling pieces of information revealed in the book such as the intense power struggle existing between the Secret Service and the FBI, fueled by agents' memories of the Kennedy assassination . Along with a clear chronological account of the events leading up to the impeachment, Gormley gives us detailed portraits of main and minor characters, using their own words. Perhaps the most disturbing words were spoken to the author by Henry Hyde, who headed the House impeachment committee; when asked would he do it again, knowing all the personal attacks he would have to endure, Hyde answered, "Yes, because George W. Bush would not have been elected if we had not impeached Bill Clinton."