Vanessa V. Friedman
June 24, 1994 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Janet Reno: Doing the Right Thing

Current Status
In Season
Paul Anderson (Author)
Politics and Current Events, Biography

We gave it a C

Paul Anderson, a reporter for The Miami Herald, has been following Janet Reno’s career for more than 12 years — which, one would think, would give him certain insight into the attorney general’s past. Apparently not. Janet Reno: Doing the Right Thing, the first biography of Reno to make it into print since her meteoric ascension to the Washington stratosphere, reads like a Cliffs Notes version of a longer and fuller work. Tracing Reno’s life from her birth through the Whitewater controversy in a kind of ”This happened, and then this happened” style, Anderson arrives at the revelatory conclusion that Reno is motivated by a ”commitment to principle.” Perhaps that really is all there is to this odd-duck woman from the Everglades who was President Clinton’s third, and last-ditch, choice for the nation’s top attorney, but the mere complexity of most humans would suggest not. Anderson’s entire biography smacks of being an of-the-moment brainstorm that was contrived when Reno’s popularity was at its highest; now that some time has passed, the book seems outdated and sadly lacking in analysis. C

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