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Hard Choices Hardcover – June 10, 2014


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Available in Spanish
Hard Choices also has a Spanish edition, Decisiones Difíciles.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (June 10, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1476751447
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476751443
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 2.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,919 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #938 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A subtle, finely calibrated work….Hard Choices is a statesmanlike document…with succinct and often shrewd appraisals of the complex web of political, economic and historical forces in play around the world, and the difficulties American leaders face in balancing strategic concerns with ‘core values.’ The tone is calm and measured, with occasional humorous asides, like describing an offer by Vladimir V. Putin, the Russian leader, to take Bill Clinton along on a polar-bear tagging expedition. (Michiko Kakutani The New York Times)

[A] clear and at times riveting account of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s four years as secretary of state….The book bolsters her reputation as a strong “representational” diplomat who carried the flag to 112 countries. But the meaty middle of Hard Choices does something more than chronicle the frequent-flier miles: It provides evidence that Clinton displayed good judgment as secretary of state and understood some important issues earlier than her boss, President Obama…..[O]nce Clinton gets rolling, she does what’s most valuable in this kind of memoir, which is to take readers inside her meetings — sketching portraits of the world leaders with whom she did business…..Perhaps the most revelatory passages in the book involve the secret diplomacy that led to the November 2013 interim nuclear agreement with Iran. (David Ignatius The Washington Post)

Hard Choices is a richly detailed and compelling chronicle of Clinton's role in the foreign initiatives and crises that defined the first term of the Obama administration — the pivot to Asia, the Afghanistan surge of 2009, the ‘reset’ with Russia, the Arab Spring, the ‘wicked problem’ of Syria — told from the point of view of a policy wonk… it's also mercifully free of the bromides that mar most campaign biographies. The book teems with small, entertaining details about her interactions with foreign leaders. (Los Angeles Times)

“To its credit, Clinton’s memoir is serious, sober and substantive….No fair-minded reader could finish this book and doubt Clinton’s essential command of the issues, whatever one might think of her solutions for them. She roams widely and delves into war and peace, terrorism and Russia, economic development and women’s rights. She knows the players and the history.” (Peter Baker New York Times Book Review)

“An amazing story….Above all, what comes through is Clinton's sheer persistence. This is how she does politics, by keeping going and totting up the small victories so that they outweigh the defeats.” (The Guardian)

“Enjoy Hard Choices for what it is at its best — a rich and lively narrative of Clinton's foreign policy successes, and failures.” (Entertainment Weekly)

“Undeniable depth.” (Financial Times)

“Blessed with an instant familiarity.” (The Independent)

“Clinton’s voice and world view is authentic…and this is gripping.” (Evening Standard)

“Clinton goes into deep detail about her work in Asia, Iraq and Afghanistan, Latin America, and other hot spots around the globe. She details her vision for U.S. foreign policy and the role of diplomacy. Along the way, she introduces readers to a who’s who of world leaders and gives insight into the way they think and do business.” (Booklist)

About the Author

Hillary Rodham Clinton served as the US Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013 after nearly four decades in public service as an advocate, attorney, First Lady, and Senator. She is the author of several bestselling books, including her memoir, Living History, and her groundbreaking work on children, It Takes a Village.

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Customer Reviews

Overall, the book was a boring, dry read.
Frank Dejoy
Not worth the money, wait until someone throws the book away and then dig it out of the trash if you really think you need to read it.
J
It's just too obvious and so much so that it detracts from the book.
Carl Frederickson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

139 of 155 people found the following review helpful By Alexa Hoyne on July 22, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I so badly wanted to like this book. Full disclosure, I am a strong liberal and I am very well-read on foreign policy and have read a large number of U.S. policy-maker memoirs. I respect Hillary a great deal and think she has had unparalleled experience, particularly in foreign policy, and was excited to see what she had to say. Unfortunately, I struggled through this. I read the first 300 pages very closely and then skimmed the last half. The whole book was written as if it was purely political rhetoric--unsurprising, I suppose, from someone who expected this book to be dissected on every page if she ran for President... but I can't help but think back to Obama's book shortly before he ran, and I did not feel this same way. The book is purely devoid of emotion; the closest it got to heartfelt genuine feeling was in discussing Richard Holbrooke's death, but even that felt guarded. It is full of cliches, fact-of statements, and few insights into decision-making, at least very very few that sound genuine at all.

Example: "It won't be easy to do that [make tough changes at home] in our current political atmosphere. But to quote from one of my favorite moves, A League of Their Own: 'It's supposed to be hard... The hard is what makes it great." Doing what's hard will continue to make our country great."

Cheesy, trite, and meaningless. This was an immense disappointment and I expected much more. I also did not think it was particularly well-written. Hillary exemplifies her diplomatic prowess, I suppose, but, as I read in another review online, proved that she has not mastered how to write a memoir. She somehow managed to take the topic I find most interesting and make it pedantic and dull.
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259 of 295 people found the following review helpful By Robert B. Lamm on July 9, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Some disclosures up front:

--Unlike some of the people who didn't like this book, I am a long-standing liberal Democrat. Among other things, this means that I'm not at all bothered by her constant digs at W's foreign policy (such as it was).
--While I'm not one of those people who worships the ground Hillary Clinton even thinks about walking on, I greatly respect and even admire her. In retrospect, I think she'd have made a better President than Mr. Obama, and I'll likely vote for her in 2016 (and I have got to believe she's running).
--I usually like or love books that combine politics with history.

For all these reasons and more, it's totally disappointing that this book was so bad. Another reviewer called it "pabulum," and while I disagree with other comments he made, that one is spot on. The only thing good about the book is that it was organized by global region. Other than that, it's dull, pre-digested and formulaic. She manages to take matters that are fascinating, terrifying, dramatic or even "just" historically significant and turn them into pedantic pabulum (there it is again). As if that weren't bad enough, she feels compelled to give us at least one moral for every story, but in every case I can recall the moral was something like "I believe that it's important to reach out to people who disagree with you." That kind of thing is really insipid and, frankly, condescending to anyone who shells out big bucks to buy a book like that.
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62 of 71 people found the following review helpful By AmyN on July 17, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I am halfway through, and I just can't make myself finish. This is not normal for me. I am an avid reader, and I read a wide variety. While I am a conservative, thus not in agreement with much of Mrs. Clinton's ideologies, I do read - and finish - numerous works by liberal authors, fiction and non-fiction. Not finishing a book is almost unheard of for me.

The content is hard to connect with, and rather dry and unengaging. It also has a decidedly pompous tone that is difficult to get around in an honest attempt to really dig deep for that elusive connection. I truly do not say that as a conservative vs liberal thing, as I've been bored or put-off by more conservative authors, as well.
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92 of 108 people found the following review helpful By JoeyInArlington on July 24, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the driest, most boring piece of non-fiction that I have ever read. If history is repeating itself and Hillary uses this book to spring into a presidential run, I'm unimpressed. All she did in this book was use smoke and mirrors to appear ready and able to run the country....again, not impressed.
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199 of 239 people found the following review helpful By A. Grande on July 6, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Alright. I will lay out my political outlook first. I am a Conservative who is a bit of a political junkie and I follow politics like one would follow sports. Even though I am a Conservative I enjoyed Barack Obama's "The Audacity of Hope" and "Dreams from my father". My favorite political autobiography was that of Ted Kennedy. The point is I can be non biased when it comes to literature. Hillary's "Hard Choice's" is a very boring book and that isn't always bad as long as it is informative but this book is not informative and its very partisan without details or explanation like Obama did in "The Audacity of Hope."

For example. Clinton explains her work in trying to improve relations with Turkey in her tenure as Secretary of State. She explains how important Turkey is given its economy, education, and geo political position. She goes on to say the US has always enjoyed great relations with Turkey but these were dramatically ruined under Bush's Presidency and now she has to clean up the mess. This attack on Bush's foreign policy is a constant theme in the book which is OK except there is no explanation as to why Bush was unsuccessful in specific countries like Turkey. I personally know Bush and Turkey butted heads because Turkey constantly did cross border operations into Iraq attacking the Kurdish community in the North. Bush threatened them with sanctions if they continued these operations as it was damaging our efforts there. It would have been useful to readers who were not in Iraq during that time period for her to explain that dynamic and then criticizing Bush's handling of it instead of blindly throwing jabs at Bush's foreign policy.
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