- Hardcover: 400 pages
- Publisher: Harper (April 24, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062413597
- ISBN-13: 978-0062413598
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 238 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,359 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Chasing Hillary: Ten Years, Two Presidential Campaigns, and One Intact Glass Ceiling Hardcover – April 24, 2018
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“Chozick’s own funny, wicked and wacky side is on full display, with well-drawn sketches of everyone from fresh-faced campaign interns to the candidates themselves. With her lively voice and eye for detail, Chasing Hillary is an enjoyable read, like The Devil Wears Prada meets The Boys on the Bus.” (New York Times)
“Poignant, insightful…perceptive, pithy and surprising.” (Washington Post)
“[Chasing Hillary is] a sort-of ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’ meets ‘What it Takes’ coming-of-age rom-com set on the campaign trail, with a tragic twist at the end (spoiler alert: Clinton lost).” (New York Magazine)
“[A] funny, raw and female take on the campaign memoir.” (People)
“The book promises to read like a rapidly paced political novel, a memoir converging with one of the most controversial and notable political figures of our time.” (Entertainment Weekly)
“Almost Famous meets Game Change.” (Axios)
“Amy Chozick has written a breathtaking, page-turning masterpiece that pretends to be about Hillary Clinton’s defiant presidential run. But Chasing Hillary is also—for the brilliant Chozick—a deeply personal story. Wait till you get the gory, insider details of the bloodiest political battle in recent memory. A must read!” (Mary Karr)
“Amy Chozick sweeps us along on a ten-year chase after the most famous and elusive woman in modern politics. At the bittersweet end, she captures Hillary, and America, and the traveling press, and some part of herself.” (David Maraniss)
“This insanely readable book manages to bring humor and a fresh inside perspective to the saddest event in history. The details alone are sure to drive Democrats to fisticuffs, or whatever we do when the kale runs out.” (Gary Shteyngart, New York Times bestselling author of Little Failure)
From the Back Cover
For nearly a decade, award-winning New York Times journalist Amy Chozick chronicled Hillary Clinton’s pursuit of the presidency. Chozick’s assignments, covering Clinton’s imploding 2008 campaign and then her front-row seat to the 2016 election on “The Hillary Beat,” set off a years-long journey in which the formative years of Chozick’s twenties and thirties became, both personally and professionally, intrinsically intertwined with Clinton’s presidential ambitions. As Clinton tried, and twice failed, to shatter “that highest, hardest glass ceiling,” Chozick was trying, with various fits and starts, to scale the highest echelons of American journalism.
In this rollicking, hilarious narrative, Chozick takes us through the high- (and low-) lights of the most noxious and dramatic presidential election in American history. Chozick’s candor and clear-eyed perspective — from her seat on the Hillary bus and reporting from inside the campaign’s Brooklyn headquarters to her run-ins with Donald J. Trump — provide fresh intrigue and insights into the story we thought we all knew. This is the real story of what happened, with the kind of dishy, inside details that repeatedly surprise and enlighten.
But Chasing Hillary is also the unusually personal and moving memoir of how Chozick came to understand Clinton not as an unknowable enigma and political animal, but as a complete, complex person, full of contradictions and forged in the crucible of political battles that had long predated Chozick’s years covering her. And as Chozick gets engaged, married, buys an apartment, climbs the professional ladder, and inquires about freezing her eggs so she can have children after the 2016 campaign, she dives deeper into decisions Clinton had made at similar points in her early career. In the process, Chozick develops an intimate understanding of what drives Clinton, how she accomplished what no woman had before, and why she ultimately failed.
Chozick also reveals how the social fissures in the electorate that drove angry voters to Trump and blindsided Clinton would unexpectedly bring out the tensions in Chozick’s own life—between the red state she came from and the blue state she ended up in, and her desire to climb in her career as a woman but be treated no differently than a man.
Clinton’s shocking defeat would mark the end of the almost imperial hold she’d had on Chozick for most of her professional life. But the results also make Chozick question everything she’d worked so hard for in the first place. Political journalism had failed. The elite world Chozick had tried for years to fit in with had been rebuffed. The less qualified, bombastic man had triumphed (as they always seem to do), and Clinton had retreated to the woods in Chappaqua, finally comfortable enough to just walk, no makeup, no pants suit, showing the real person Chozick had spent years hoping to see. Illuminating, poignant, laugh-out-loud funny, Chasing Hillary is a campaign book unlike any other that reads like a fast-moving political novel.
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That being said, the author is brilliant at capturing the color and characters of the campaign. If the author had spent less time focusing on losing her power cords, her frizzy hair, her neglected spouse, and more time with some analysis, she could have been a White or a Cramer or a Germond/Witcover. Instead, the book is like listening to a football game and only getting the color commentary, not the actual action on the field.
After reading <Chasing Hillary> with some skepticism, I came away believing that Chozik's account had given me a good rendition of (especially) the 2015-2016 campaign. Having followed that campaign closely myself via media I trusted, I felt and still feel that I could read Chosik's book and profit from her account of what happened. I gather that many Democrats actually believe the Russians had something to do with their candidate's loss. Chozik reports correctly that there are people who believe that John Podesta's emails weren't 'hacked' as some claim. She points out factors that suggest otherwise (p.318). The serious reports that I have read say that Podesta unwisely accepted an email that enabled a phishing expedition into his account. If so I doubt that whoever did it considers the ease with which he tapped into Podesta's emails qualifies as hacking.
There is much the flavor of feminism in <Chasing Hillary>. It is clear to me that Chozik believed herself to have been put upon by some of her male colleagues. As a reader I view Chozik's feelings towards Hillary as stemming from a sympathetic, "all of us girls together" attitude. Chozik's writing is excellent. Her style of writing has a clearness to it. The reader feels the depth of the disappointment of Hillary and her voters at having been unexpectedly crushed electorally.
Your reviewer is old and grew up to believe that the heavy use of profanity especially in non-fiction books, is crude and unworthy of a serious writer. Chozik's book is shot through with C-words, F-words and S-words. I am sure that she believes that if she and her colleagues use such language in the real world, it must be included. I believe that her generation is comfortable with such language both spoken and written. I have been told that Hillary uses it routinely when angry. As a long-ago enlisted marine I heard such language coming out of the mouths of teen-aged recruits away from home and parental supervision for the first time. We were juvenile and our speech was too. If Ms. Chozik and her cohort, solidly adult, choose to display juvenile conduct, so be it. But they should realize what they sound like.
I caution readers of this review against thinking that the reviewer has even a smidgeon of sympathy for Hillary Clinton.
Below are some of my impressons.
Just got done reading the book by Amy Chozik about Chasing Hillary. It is a jangle of personal information, politics, and gossip, mainly all relating to politics involving the Clintons, and written often in a somewhat sardonic or comic voice. Her writing reminds me of Ira Bombeck. I hope some of you have read her.
I read three book reviews after I read this book. They leave a lot of stuff out and, not surprisingly, are written by people in the same business as Chozik. So, they pass over things which non-coastal elites might find interesting.
Chozik came from Texas. She always felt she should be in New York City. In H.S. she went to a talk by Hillary and, for the want of a better description, became enamored of her. She was the person that Chozik wanted to be like and to be around. Her feelings for Hillary over the years, never reciprocated or acknowledged, turned into an obsession.
Worthy of note, her Texas roots always marked her out as sort of an outsider. Our betters (and hers) in the news business would make snarky remarks about Walmart to her.
Her H.S. class visited NYC for some school function, and when they drove through the hipster neighborhood near NYU (Men holding hands, women wearing very scanty clothing) she knew this was where she had to go to school. She had to be like those people, in her mind. Her parents sent her to U. Texas in Austin. As her sister told her, "They'd be crazy to spend 25,000 per year so you can be a druggie in New York City." She got her nose pierced but it got infected and her parents said take it out or you are not going to Austin.
After graduation from college with a degree in journalism, she went to NYC without a job and worked as a "rover", a low paid gofer for various new and media organizations. Sexism, white privilege, and elitism were par for the course in this situation. At one point she was so desperate for work she applied to work for an editor (male) who was well known to like young female assistants. (Turned down.) Finally, she got a good job at the Wall Street Journal, via connections she had built up, and after a number of years, moved to the NY Times. She covered social issue and politics. She must have been good at her job. She worked very hard and put her personal life second to her career.
She was a pool reporter for both of Hillary's campaigns, in 2008 and 2016.
The life of a campaign reporter on the road might sound like fun, but it is a grind. Away from home, deadlines, forced to write stories about something, anything, living out of a suitcase, and networking, always looking for sources. They might go for a day or two with hardly seeing the candidate. They are often in different vehicles, and might miss the campaign event entirely. And, they report on trivia. They know it, and they compensate by inflating their egos with "scoops" and cultivating an attitude that they are somehow on the inside and helping to create history. Sexism permeates this situation. The women (only one male in the Clinton Press corp), use sex appeal or sex itself to get information. The phalanx of people around Hillary was mostly male. The reporters swoon over the hunky Secret Service guys. Trysts are so common that they invented a phrase (They are good wordsmiths), "Wheels up. Rings off."
This is a cut throat business. The reporters are not like you and me. They are neurotic and insecure. They are junkies, and reporting the news is their fix.
Back to Chozik. She is so obsessed with covering Clinton that she puts off having children to cover her campaign. She interrupts her private life to rush away for events (she got married and just leaves her husband any old time work calls.) Anything for a byline story. Getting on the front page is all that any of them care about. Chozik dreams a lot about Hillary. She dreams they are friends and going shopping together, for example, For her part, Hillary knows who she is and hates her for her sometimes honest but less than flattering articles about her. Any article which does not show Hillary in the best possible light makes you her enemy. Over the years, Chozik wrote numerous articles on Hillary, due to her obsession with her, most very positive and in depth, going back many years. They counted for nothing if one article was not 100% positive.
Anyway, about the 2016 race.
Regarding the bias of reporters. There is no bias. They all supported Hillary. Their support was frank and out in the open. Not a single reporter mentioned in the book was not a Hillary partisan. Her defeat was a shell shock for all the NY Times people. At Hillary's concession speech, the reporters were careful not to hug one another and cry in public, since that would look bad. Back at the office, Chozik sobbed, and they engaged in self-recrimination for somehow helping Trump to defeat her. What could they have done differently to help elect Hillary? Many concluded they had run too many stories about the e-mail server and such, but they had all assumed Hillary would win and at the time so they were more concerned about scoops and bylines. (In this they were no different from James Comey. Oh, those pollsters!) They blamed the Russians.
I wish I were making that last paragraph up.
Regarding Hillary's campaign style: Nothing new to report. She really didn't like meeting people in large groups, which was good, since the turnout at many of her stops was low. Bill was considered a dinosaur, and Hillary went with the fresh faced young men who used analytics, not persona, to win elections. Chozik herself was shocked and dismayed when Bill took issue with some BLM hecklers, pointing out he sent a black gang leader to jail who would hook 13 yo boys on coke and get them to murder people for more drugs. That was to me one of the finest moments of the Cllinton campaign, but they put Bill on a very short leash after that.
Hillary almost never met or talked with the press pool. Chozik got a personal call from Trump about one of her stories, and she thanked him for the call. She told him that Hillary never called the reporters herself and hardly ever held news conferences. Chozik was very upset when Trump used that against Hillary. Chozik was mortified she might have helped Trump and hurt Hillary.
There is a lot of good detail, minutia, even, in this book.
As a person who was going to work for "Everyday Americans" and was a dedicated public servant all of her life, Hillary has done well. Her entourage on election night stayed in a hotel suite quite a bit away from the Javits Center, but near Trump Tower, costing $24,000 per night. She was with a small group of family and inner circle. When she lost that night, nobody wanted to tell her. They finally made her young campaign manager do it.
Huma was her closest adviser. Big time donors asked her to step aside after the shi* hit the fan over her husband. She refused and Hillary wouldn't make her go.
She did great talking to latino workers in the bowels of the casinos in Las Vegas. They were her strongest supporters. She won the crucial Nevada caucus because Harry Reid made a telephone call to a union chief who called the casino operators and told them to give paid time off to their staff to attend (and thus be counted) in the caucuses. Didn't matter one bit if they were citizens or could speak English. Chozik described how in one caucus in Las Vegas the Latinos greatly outnumbered the few old white men who were Bernie Sanders supporters.
Speaking of Bernie, she hated his supporters. When NYU students had a big demonstration in favor of Bernie right before the NY State primary, she went among the students and interviewed them. They all supported Bernie. At that moment she hated NYU and the student body. They were so privileged and they wouldn't support Hillary! Her father had been right all along about going to U. Texas! Note: I didn't make this up. It is in her book.
She called the Bernie Bros "harmless white guys .... who couldn't get laid."
The "basket of deplorables" remark was not off the cuff. She used that many times in her small fund raising sessions with big donors, and it always got a positive response. She let it slip out in public because she was groggy from her pneumonia and her medication. Nobody had had the nerve to tell her she shouldn't talk like that in public or private.
It was realized by the campaign staff that Hillary and Bill were acting like it was the 1990's in their behavior: Stonewalling.
This was reflected in their actions regarding the Clinton Foundation, the e-mail server, and Hillary's pneumonia. In the 1990's, Bill and Hillary would routinely stonewall any issue that might be an embarrassment, and got away with all of it except the impeachment part. They did the same thing in 2016. Hillary stalled and stalled on coming clean on the e-mail server, and thus the issue dragged out until a few days before the election. Chozik blamed the media, but the blame lay squarely with Clinton.
Hillary's fainting spell was all on Hillary. She only told one or two of her inner circle she had pneumonia (Huma among them), and when she collapsed nobody knew what was going on. If you recall, they held her upright after she fainted, which is a good way to get brain damage.
One story that raised the ire of the Clinton campaign covered how Hillary spent her summer in the Hamptons after the nomination mooching off wealthy donors for accommodations and holding small but very lucrative fundraisers. The press pool was not allowed to attend. They just sat outside beyond the range of hearing. So, while Harvey Weinstein and Meryl Streep (still a supporter of Roman Polanski) and others attended these gatherings by paying many thousands of dollars, the press just sat outside in the bus. They charged 10,000 for a family photo with Hillary, I believe. Chozik calculated that summer she cleared about 150,000 per hour. That story did not endear her to the Clintons.
Chozik confirms the rumor. For about 10 months during the Republican primary, the Clinton campaign urged the media to build up three Republican nominees, including Trump, Cruz, and Carson, because they felt they would be the easiest to beat in the general election. This is called the Pied Piper strategy. If this is not illegal, it should be. It worked.
Trump said that when he was playing golf with Bill Clinton in 2015 he suggested Trump should run for President.
So, by this account, Hillary not only helped Trump get the Republican nomination, but then went on to lose to him in a race she ought to have won by every conventional measure.
My opionino: Nobody caused Hillary to lose the election. She lost it fair and square. And, she and her supporters never seemed to realize that this election is about the country, not Hillary Clinton.
The trivia meter was buried in this book. Chozik talks a lot about her frizzly hair. Harry Reid told her that in Nevada, with its dry climate, her hair would become straight. It did, and boy was she pleased and wrote a lot about it. Also, lots of stuff about hunky and handsome guys on the campaign trail, and whether this or that person is attractive or not and what kind of clothes they wear. And, battles keeping her weight down and going to spin classes.
In breaking news, Chelsea Clinton criticized the author for suggesting in this book she waxed her hair. And, so on.
Read the book and don't depend on this or any review anywhere else to tell you what is in the book.
I recommend Shattered as a much better book if you want to know about the 2016 election from the Democrat point of view. Thus far I have read five books at least (Shattered, What Happened, Hacks , Chasing Hilary, and A Higher Loyalty) about this election. All of them were educational. And, instead of raising your blood pressure, they tend to lower it. Knowledge does that.
American politics are hopeless. Just all about image. And, finally, they are dissolving into conspiracy theories.