William H. Chafe

This author appeared at the 2012 festival. Please view the list of authors appearing at this year's festival or see our suggestions for similar authors below.

William H. Chafe at the 2012  Texas Book Festival

William H. Chafe's biography Bill and Hillary: The Politics of the Personal is an incisive look into the lives of the iconic political couple who, as is often forgotten, spearheaded such projects as the State Children's Health Insurance Program and the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, in addition to their better-known roles. Beginning with their childhoods, Chafe reveals a history of physical and psychological abuse within Bill and Hillary's respective families, and argues how these influences, as well as their personal relationship, shaped the image which the Clintons have cultivated today. Chafe explores how Bill’s abusive stepfather, as well as the loss of close friends to the Vietnam War, shaped his belief of the importance of being a public servant; Hillary’s emotionally abusive family sculpted a determined and resourceful woman, imbued with the significance of family togetherness, as evidenced when she chose to stand with Bill after the Monica Lewinksi scandal. Chafe goes on to analyze the effects of the Clintons’ relationship: how staying with Bill led him to pass to Hillary more political power than ever before held by a First Lady. Filled with insights into the Clintons’ involvement with subjects such as health care and welfare reform, this precise and penetrating biography is evidence of Chafe’s understanding that personal lives and political achievements are both intimately connected and equally important to American history. Chafe is the author of many notable historical texts, including The Rise and Fall of the American Century: The United States from 1890 to 2008 and Never Stop Running: Allard Lowenstein and the Struggle to Save American Liberalism. He currently teaches as the Alice Mary Baldwin Professor of History at Duke University.