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Roger Clinton says brother Bill saved his life

President Clinton's brother Roger says in a new book that he was on the verge of suicide after being charged with dealing cocaine in 1984, but brother Bill "saved my life."

As the younger Clinton describes the scene, he was sitting in the Hot Springs, Ark., home of his mother, Virginia Kelley, facing her and his half-brother, then governor of Arkansas.

"I was delirious and ticked off at the world, crying and sweating so hard my hair was soaked," Roger Clinton, 38, says in his new book, Growing Up Clinton.

He recalls telling his audience of two: "I'm going to kill myself. . . . Look what I've done to you and mother, the two most important people in the world to me."

Roger Clinton, who is 10 years younger than the president, then writes, "All of a sudden, Bill reached out, grabbed me by the upper arm and started shaking me violently. . . . "You're sick,' he finally told me, his voice dripping with scorn."

Roger Clinton concludes: "Bill saved my life that day. . . . Thank goodness my brother was there _ and not a gun. I was not thinking very clearly at the time, and who knows what I would have done with a gun in my hand."

It has long been known that as governor, Clinton knew state police were investigating his brother's drug activities and did not warn him.

Roger Clinton pleaded guilty in 1985 to a charge of conspiracy to distribute a single gram of cocaine. At the time of his arrest, he was ingesting 5 to 7 grams of the drug each day.

" "Go do your prison time,' Bill told me, "and get your life back together.' "

Roger Clinton served more than a year in prison and the book contains the "jail house journal" that he wrote there.

In the book, Roger Clinton describes growing up in a family in which he says his father, also named Roger Clinton, was inebriated "90 percent of the time." He retells the story in which Bill Clinton prevented his drunken stepfather from attacking his mother with a pair of scissors and warned him never to do anything like that again.