Books by Michael Takiff
A Complicated Man: The Life of Bill Clinton as Told by Those Who Know Him
(Yale University Press)
The Bill Clinton story told through the voices of 169 people who knew him. Everyone from the cousin who took six-year-old Bill Clinton to the Saturday afternoon Westerns in Hope, Arkansas, to a former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. Classmates at every stage of his education. Cabinet members (e.g. William Cohen), political consultants (James Carville, Paul Begala), Democratic and Republican legislators (Barney Frank, Dale Bumpers, Bob Dole, Dick Armey), journalists (Sam Donaldson, Tom Brokaw), lawyers on both sides of the impeachment saga, and even cameos by Chevy Chase and Larry Flynt.
AND Magazine called A Complicated Man “the best oral history book ever written about a President of the United States.” Historian Rick Perlman called the book “An outstanding accomplishment. . . . A historic contribution to the biographical record which will stand for generations”
First Prize, Biography/ Autobiography, Los Angeles Book Festival.
Brave Men, Gentle Heroes: American Fathers and Sons in World War II and Vietnam
The honest, touching, and harrowing stories of men who served in World War II and of their sons who served in Vietnam—fathers and sons bonded as deeply by their experience in war as by blood. These are men from all walks of life, from all the armed services, from every corner of the United States, private to lieutenant colonel, career military and citizen servicemen. Men of European, African, Asian, Latino, and Native American heritage. Catholics, Protestants, Mormons, Jews.
Though World War II and Vietnam were vastly different—the clear aims of World War II, the muddled goals of Vietnam; the hero's welcome accorded World War II veterans, the scorn heaped upon their sons—each war defined a generation. In these pages you will find war's carnage and heroism, purpose and futility, meaning and tragic meaninglessness. Molded by the awful crucible of war, these seemingly ordinary men offer extraordinary insights into what it means to be a warrior, an American, a father, and a son.
Kirkus praised Brave Men as “a superb oral history [that] would do Studs Terkel proud.” A Washington Post “Critics’ Pick.”