Biographies have followed Hillary Rodham Clinton around for years. There are 25 of them out there, ranging from crabby political tomes to prim accounts for young ladies.
Now comes one more. "The First Partner: Hillary Rodham Clinton" by historian Joyce Milton will be in bookstores tomorrow.
It has arresting moments. Miss Milton contends that the first lady hired detectives to tail her husband as early as the 1980s and later banned Barbra Streisand from overnight White House stays upon hearing that the chanteuse had dallied with the president.
The author names a dozen other presidential paramours and calls Mrs. Clinton a "connection" for various questionable campaign donations.
"I was surprised the entire time I was writing this book," Miss Milton said from her Brooklyn home yesterday. "Whenever something surfaced which I thought was merely some canard set forth by the Clintons' enemies, it turned out to be true."
The book sets the pace for Hillary bios to come.
Neither gush nor bash, it approaches the first lady as a canny media entity who gained insight even through the death of Princess Diana.
It "crystallized Hillary's appreciation of the power of celebrity. It was Diana's face on the cover of a thousand magazines, not her resume, that had been the source of her power."
"Mrs. Clinton is a practical kind of celebrity. She is a survivor," Miss Milton said.
The timing of this book - called "a revealing and withering portrait" by Publisher's Weekly - is beautiful. Mrs. Clinton is a valuable commodity these days: She's got buzz.
Only yesterday, she flirted with the great state of New York and affirmed her interest in its Senate race. Lists of potential campaign workers are already being crafted.
"I love New York," she told one happy audience.
The public likes her, the polls shine upon her - there is Hillary hunger in the air.
Miss Milton is already in the fast lane. Tomorrow, she'll be on NBC's "Today" show. William Morrow, her publisher, said they were "swamped" with interview requests.
The book itself is a complex and scrupulously documented odyssey, with 13 pages of footnotes.
Campaign finance gets a thorough going over. The author calls longtime Clinton ally John Huang "a spy" for either the Riady family or China; says his job at the Department of Commerce was courtesy of Mrs. Clinton herself.
The book offers detailed connections between Mrs. Clinton and Mark Jimenez, a campaign contributor now under indictment, the Riady family, Johnny Chung and government officials in Guam, among other places. …