Thursday, March 22, 2007

Much Clinton, but No Tapes, in Branch's new "Clinton Tapes" Book

"The conversations between President Bill Clinton and the historian Taylor Branch were long and late, sometimes stretching until 2 a.m. For eight years, at Mr. Clinton’s urging, they met in a second-floor office in the family quarters of the White House, Mr. Branch scribbling notes and a tape recorder running.

"Those sessions, nearly 80 in all, are the fodder for a new book by Mr. Branch, tentatively titled 'Wrestling History: The Bill Clinton Tapes,' that Simon & Schuster plans to publish in late 2008, the publisher said yesterday.

So begins today's New York Times article about this intriguing project. Branch, of course, is the celebrated civil rights historian whose book Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63 won the Pulitzer Prize.

There is just one curiosity about a book with "The Bill Clinton Tapes" in the title. While the taped sessions are the basis for the book, the tapes themselves, apparently, are not.

What's with the tapes? Here's what the Times reports:

"The tapes produced by the recording sessions could be used for another memoir by Mr. Clinton. He kept all of the tapes, squirreling them away in his sock drawer after each session, Mr. Branch said. Mr. Branch will rely on his own notes and recollections of the conversations, which he routinely recorded during his hourlong drive back to Baltimore from Washington."

Oh, I see. Branch recorded (made tapes of?) his recollections of the recorded conversations. So those are the tapes that this new "tapes book" is based on!