Chat with Steven Gillon on this Special Salon about Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich – The Pact: Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, and the Rivalry That Defined a Generation . Hosted by Jane Hamsher.

Most Americans saw President Bill Clinton and Speaker Newt Gingrich as staunch foes–"the polar extremes of Pennsylvania Avenue." But as Steven Gillon reveals in The Pact, these powerful adversaries formed a secret alliance in 1997, a pact that would have rocked the political landscape, had it not foundered in the wake of the Lewinsky scandal.

A fascinating look at politics American-style, The Pact offers a riveting account of two of America’s most charismatic and influential leaders, detailing both their differences and their striking similarities, and highlighting the profound and lasting impact the tumultuous 1960s had on both their personal and political lives. With the cooperation of both President Clinton and Speaker Gingrich, interviews with key players who have never before spoken about their experiences, along with unprecedented access to Gingrich’s private papers, Gillon not only offers a behind-the-scenes look at the budget impasse and the government shutdown in 1995–the famous face-off between Clinton and Gingrich–but he also reveals how the two moved closer together after 1996–closer than anyone knew. In particular, the book illuminates their secret efforts to abandon the liberal and conservative wings of their own parties and strike a bi-partisan deal to reform the "third rail of American politics"–Social Security and Medicare. That potentially groundbreaking effort was swept away by the highly charged reaction to the Lewinsky affair, ending an initiative that might have transformed millions of American lives.

Packed with compelling new revelations about two of the most powerful and intriguing figures of our time, this book will be must reading foreveryone interested in politics or current events.

Steven M. Gillon is the Resident Historian of the History Channel and Professor of History at the University of Oklahoma. He is the host of the network’s flagship public affairs program, HistoryCenter, as well as Our Generation. He is an award-winning teacher and the author of a number of critically acclaimed books about modern American politics and culture. (Barnes and Noble)

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