But in his long-awaited memoir, released to near Harry Potter-like excitement this week, Clinton writes that he ultimately rejected the anti-visa argument because he believed that granting the visa to Adams in early 1994 was the “best shot” that his administration had for bringing peace to Ireland.
In “My Life,” a sprawling account of his life and career to date, Clinton devotes significant passages to his efforts to foster a peace process in Ireland.
He also has warm things to say about Irish America and Ireland, which he describes as “the land of my ancestors.”
The book, over 950 pages long and adorned on the front by the familiar Clinton visage, has been panned by some critics for being undisciplined and overly self-indulgent. But the book will serve as a particular historical marker in the Irish peace process, given that it stands as the first-person account of a political leader without whom the process would likely never have taken full flight.
Clinton, early on in the book, makes it clear that Ireland is a special place for him.
“I loved Ireland and felt at home there. I hated to leave after just a weekend,” he writes in reference to a visit to Dublin in 1970.
Of Irish America, the 42nd president makes it plain that he felt at home in its embrace. His dealings with Irish America, he states, were the most important and enduring he had with any ethnic group.
Clinton refers to the genesis of his involvement in the peace process, that being his attendance at the Irish American presidential forum held in New York in the spring of 1992. He writes that Irish-American activists who attended the forum were intent on securing a special U.S. envoy and an end to violence in Northern Ireland on terms favorable to the Catholic population.
The central Irish issue addressed by Clinton in the book is the matter of a U.S. visa for Sinn F