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Living History Hardcover – June 9, 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1st edition (June 9, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743222245
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743222242
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (807 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #100,600 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

As with most books written by politicians while in office (or at least aiming for one), Living History is, first and foremost, safe. There are interesting observations and anecdotes, the writing is engaging, and there is enough inside scoop to appeal to those looking for a bit of gossip, but there are no bombshells here and it is doubtful the book will change many minds about this polarizing figure. This does not mean the work is without merit, however, for Hillary Clinton has much to say about her experience as first lady, which is the primary focus of the book. Those interested in these experiences and her commentary on them will find the book worth reading; those looking for revelations will be disappointed.

Beginning with a brief outline of her childhood, college years, introduction to politics, and her courtship with Bill Clinton, Clinton covers a wide variety of topics: life on the campaign trail, her troubled tenure as leader of the President's Task Force on National Health Care Reform, meeting with foreign leaders, and her work on human rights, to name a few. By necessity, she also addresses the various scandals that plagued the administration, from Travelgate to Whitewater to impeachment, though she does not go into great detail about each one; rather, she seems content to simply state her case and move on without trying to settle too many old scores.

Along the way, she offers many apologies, though perhaps not the kind some would expect. She does not shy away from her "vast right-wing conspiracy" comment, for instance, though she does wish that she had expressed herself differently. Regarding the Monica Lewinsky scandal, she maintains that her husband initially lied to her, as he did the rest of the country, and did not come clean until two days prior to his grand jury testimony. Calling his betrayal "the most devastating, shocking and hurtful experience of my life," she explains what the aftermath was like personally and why she has elected to stand by her man. In all, Living History is an informative book that goes a long way toward humanizing one of the most recognizable, and controversial, women of our age. Shawn Carkonen

From Publishers Weekly

Whether or not you believe that the Clintons were victims of what Hillary calls a "vast right-wing conspiracy," this memoir has enough information and personality to appeal to people on both sides of the political fence. Most will not be surprised by Clinton's reading style, as it is similar (though not nearly as formal) to the manner in which she has delivered many television addresses. Her Midwestern accent is evenly pitched and pleasant. She easily laughs at herself, and fluctuations in her delivery render her emotions nearly palpable. Indeed, the casual straightforwardness of her delivery will engender a sense of trust and respect in listeners. Though she does not offer much new material, she is adept at disclosing many "backstage" details-from the personal, like her inner feelings about the Lewinsky scandal ("the most devastating, shocking and hurtful experience of my life"), to the humorous, like the time a mischievous Boris Yeltsin tried to coax her into sampling moose-lip soup. Her devotion to Chelsea, Bill and to her country feels genuine, as do her hopes for future. All in all, her infectious sense of optimism and unwavering energy shine through in her delivery and will leave listeners with a new respect for the former First Lady.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

It is clear that she has no intention of writing serious books, either.
"larrylemur"
In other words, it sounds like the only person who would get anything out of reading "Living History" is Hillary Clinton herself.
Tom Moran
Vote yes if you like Hillary Clinton and support her running for president!
Eric Smith

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 72 people found the following review helpful By JK on November 30, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I must admit I had more pleasure reading the reviews here than reading the book! I wonder whether the Hillary-haters actually bought the book or simply received their opinions from the vituperative conserative media hosts.
It is nearly impossible for Americans to remain neutral in their assessment of Mrs. Clinton. Consequently, when any of us approach writing either by her or about her, we tend to bring our own preconceptions with us. Of course, this is nothing new. Conservatives railed about Mrs. Roosevelt to a degree that has still not been matched in more modern times. The accusations that she and her husband were driving us into world socialism are well documented.
I found this book rather a boring read. Mrs. Clinton is a very intelligent woman, but that doesn't make a book worth reading. Yes, I consider it somewhat self-serving. Why would anyone write a memoir that wasn't? Mrs. Clinton delves somewhat into the whole sordid Lewinsky affair, but almost as if she were a member of the press corps, not the President's wife. For this reader the account only reinforces that this was a rather distant marriage to begin with. The political twist is nothing more than I would expect from any political partisan on either side of the aisle.
I still consider the gold standard in recollections of First Ladies to be Mrs. Johnson's "White House Diaries". No other First Lady has accomplished this, and Mrs. Clinton hasn't either. This book will probably only reinforce whatever political baggage each reader brings along. As an entertaining read I have seen many better.
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254 of 335 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I was up all night with this book. Here's what I learned: nothing. What I knew, I know some more. What I didn't know, I found hard to believe. Everything comes across as calculated, one eye on the polls. Even the fictitious account of Bill breaking the news to her about Monica is an obvious ploy to capture the hearts of both women and men who she'd like to see her as more sympathetic. (If she really didn't know, she was the only person in America who didn't, which makes her a lousy candidate for leader of the free world, and if she did know, that makes her a liar. But hey, Bill's defenders always said, "Hey, everybody lies," so I guess it's no slur.)
I bought it as a gift for a friend. I hope he'll still be speaking to me a week from now when he's done.
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124 of 163 people found the following review helpful By David Danzig on October 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I've got nothing against Hillary Clinton. I voted for her for Senate, and I'd certainly vote for her if she were to become the Democratic candidate for President against George W. Bush. But this is just not a good book. It reads like a children's book, except with the word "Republicans" substituted for "scary monsters." She makes everything sound so simple and one-sided, with the Democrats always on the side of right, and the Republicans always on the side of greed or pettiness or evil. But I certainly remember that at the time a real debate was happening, even if the Democrats might have had the better of the argument. The book is boring, uninsightful, unrevealing, and totally self-serving. Whether you like Hillary Clinton or not, this is just not a good book to read.
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104 of 136 people found the following review helpful By Renaaah on June 25, 2003
Format: Hardcover
thank heavens I read a friend's copy. Pure spin, few real insights into the author's mind or heart, from the woman who hopes to be the first female President. Save your money.
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116 of 154 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 11, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The book was a bad read, boring, and not very interesting. A waste of my money and the publishers.
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31 of 40 people found the following review helpful By James Hiller VINE VOICE on January 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
First, this review is actually based on reading the book.

It is clear that many of the reviewers here have not actually read the book, but just used this forum to express their dislike against our former First Lady. While it's certainly up to each person to form and express their own opinions about Clinton, I seriously doubt that typing a few lines of malicious words in an Amazon book review is an effective use of anyone's time.

Hillary Clinton, oft demonized and misunderstood First Lady, has finally added her voice to the cacophony in her new book, "Living History". After reading the book, it is amazing to see how much "living in history" this woman and her much addled husband have endured over the course of their political lives.

The book starts with a recounting of her early years, and ends with her dramatic U. S. Senate victory in New York. Between those two events, this books serves as a partial memoir, partial explanation of events, and partial lambasting of the biased forces so intent to remove the Clintons from Washington DC.

These are the two parts of the book that I enjoyed the most, the beginning and the endings, possibly because I had a sense Hillary was really speaking to me in these sections. She comes across as warm, supported, and encouraged as she retells her childhood and her families stories. As she deals with the Lewinsky scandal towards the ending, she also seems to drop her defenses and explains her anger.

The parts in the middle seem the most distant to me, though. As she recounts the entire Whitewater disaster (a scandal that admittedly I'm still confused about), and the early years of Bill Clinton's presidency, there is a distance.
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