BLOOD SPORT The President and His Adversaries By James B. Stewart; Simon & Schuster: 479 pp., $25

There is no startling revelation or smoking gun in James B. Stewart's explication of the omnibus scandal we now call Whitewater. The great value of this book lies in its painstaking, richly reported narration, in which each slippery evasion of the law, each obfuscation of the facts, is placed in its historical progression, its legal and social context.

This book has plenty of political sophistication, a nice feel for the world of electoral politics and a keen understanding of the transactions between press and government.

Stewart found no lack of sources, in and out of government, willing to talk about the Clintons' transgressions. [His] account of Hillary Clinton's whopping profits on commodities trading is also the most complete and convincing yet.

Jim Blair and commodities trader Robert L. "Red" Bone, were able to present Hillary Clinton with a quick $100,000 windfall through a cozy arrangement that, in Stewart's judgment, "came precariously close to collusion to manipulate the market."

It is probably naive to have expected the Clintons to make full disclosure during the campaign. But surely, Whitewater wouldn't have drawn an independent counsel and a book like this had the Clintons told all once they were safely settled in the White House.

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