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Hillary's Choice Paperback – August 15, 2000

3.2 out of 5 stars 67 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Vanity Fair writer Gail Sheehy's engrossing biography of Hillary Clinton is a refreshing departure from the political hit jobs that have appeared elsewhere in print. That's not to say Hillary's Choice is a pro-Clinton book--Hillary herself would probably bristle at reading it, and her husband ("The story of the Clinton presidency has always been the story of the Clinton marriage," writes Sheehy) comes off as a bright but demented cad. Yet Hillary's Choice is broadly sympathetic and often nonjudgmental at crucial moments. Sheehy writes very little about public policy, but includes plenty of pop psychologizing. She suggests that the president is a sex addict afflicted by what "a highly qualified mental health professional who works too close to the White House to be identified" calls "dissociative identities"--what used to be known as "multiple personalities ... a sum of various identities that have been split off at some time in the past." And the president gets away with so much in his personal life because Hillary has become his unwitting enabler: "Every addict or alcoholic needs one. The enabler is usually an intimate of the addicted person who allows him to persist in self-destructive behavior by making excuses or helping him avoid the consequences of his actions."

That describes Sheehy's Hillary perfectly: a woman apparently ignorant of her husband's several flings in the White House before Monica Lewinsky came along, and then willfully deceived by the president's lies until just hours before his momentous grand-jury testimony. Theirs is a mother-son relationship in which true love must negotiate its way through astonishingly difficult periods. That's not a formula for how marriage ought to work, but it has nevertheless helped this ultimate power couple achieve enormous success. Hillary's Choice is full of on-the-record and background interviews, all assembled in an absorbing narrative. Writes Sheehy: "The saga of Bill and Hillary, with its echoes of Eleanor and Franklin, or Tracy and Hepburn with undertones of Bonnie and Clyde, is animated by melodrama, high passion, narrow escapes, and knock-down-drag-outs." And it comes alive in this biography of the most enigmatic woman of our time. --John J. Miller --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Although as First Lady it is impossible to protect one's privacy, much about Hillary Rodham Clinton's life is not really well known. Sheehy, renowned author of Passages and a political journalist for Vanity Fair, presents an objective portrait of this intelligent and tenacious woman. Not surprisingly, Clinton was a successful student although her parents offered little support. During law school, she found an intellectual equal in Bill Clinton and became determined to make him president. Through interviews with those close to Clinton, Sheehy portrays her as shrewd and passionate about the things she loves and values. Although promoted as an intimate biography of the senatorial candidate, Sheehy's book fails to delve into her true feelings and reactions and instead succumbs to defining Clinton through her husband's antics. In addition, Clinton's role as mother is only briefly examined. Despite these flaws, Sheehy's competent writing, which makes the book feel more like a novel, and the eternal appeal of information about Presidents and their families will make this popular in most public libraries.
-Susan McCaffrey, Haslett H.S., MI
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1st edition (August 15, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345436563
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345436566
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,185,293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on November 8, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The Clintons' marriage may seem to be worked-over territory. But Sheehy, drawing on interviews with hundreds of subjects -- some of whom have kept silent until now -- breaks new ground in addressing the big question: Do the Clintons love one another -- or is it just a political partnership?
Her answer: Hillary is addicted to Bill. "He is her only rebellion," writes Sheehy, "the one thing she can't logically explain." The author charts the dog days of the Clintons' relationship, when, in the late '80s, Bill fell in love with a blonde Arkansas divorcée and Hillary contemplated divorce. Sheehy also explores Hillary's character -- her toughness, her ambition, her willingness to blame her husband's problems on others -- without suggesting these qualities are less appealing in a woman than in a man.
A woman of addictions and ambitions and an interesting read.
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Format: Paperback
I have had the dubious pleasure of reading and rereading quite a number of works addressing the life and times of Hillary Clinton.
While I am not a great fan of Billie, I must admit to sort of an admiration for Hillary. Be-that-as-it-may, I enjoyed this book. It was well written and I thought pretty well ballanced. Many of the "facts" presented, will have to be tested by time, but for now, I feel they are probably as close to the truth we will get.
Ms Clinton is certainly one of the more fascinating individuals of our times and I am quite sure history will continue to judge her as such. She is an interesting subject. In many ways, she is us. The author of this book is an interesting writer and between the author and the subject, we get a very interesting story. Thank you Ms Gail for writing it.
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Format: Hardcover
This is neither a flattering puff piece, nor a political attack. It is a balanced view of the first, first lady who acknowledges and pursues her own political ambitions.
The author presents Hillary as intellectually brilliant, but emotionally flawed. She explains a great deal about Hillary's and then Bill's early years and leads logically to where the first couple finds itself today.
Occasionally, Ms. Sheehy can't resist sniping. But, on all critically important issues, this writer remains objective. She explains Mrs. Clinton's famous "right wing conspiracy" appearance on the Today Show neither as a wife deceived, nor as a political combatant. Sheehy presents it as a wife hoping desperately that this time her defense is merited.
Hillary approaches her life and relationships through her head, not her heart. While Hillary has been heavily critisized for this, Sheehey deftly explains how this was inevitable given her background. But, she is not one dimentional. Sheehy tells a story of when Hillary was considering graduate school, she was looking first at Harvard and then at Yale as Harvard's competition. Someone from Harvard responded by saying that Harvard had no competition. Hillary chose Yale.
If you want a book the glorifies or demonizes Hillary, then look elsewhere. But, if you are interested in a book that helps explain this complicated and flawed woman, then Ms. Sheehy's book "Hillary's Choice" may well be what you are looking for.
p.s. It's good plane/beach reading.
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By A Customer on January 3, 2000
Format: Hardcover
According to many reviews/comments about this book, sources deny that their input was accurately portrayed. Nonetheless, I found the information about Bill and Hillary's upbringing interesting, if accurate. Though I have not finished the book, it appears only to reiterate what I've read previously about the dynamics of their relationship.
I am a fan of Gail Sheehy's work, but this does not appear to be one of her best works.
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Format: Hardcover
Hillary's Choice by Gail Sheehey 2000
A Balanced Portrait (five stars)
I think Gail Sheehey has done a remarkable job of combining her interviews, the second hand sources and published materials in preparing this portrait of Hillary Clinton.
This book most certainly will raise Hillary's ire because it is not entirely flattering, yet it is not a condemnation of Mrs. Clinton either.
I think Sheehey is quite fair in her overall account of Hillary Clinton's life.The book was an excellent read and kept me engaged as a reader.
Mrs. Clinton is certainly no innocent in the political world and in her personal relationship with Bill Clinton.
I have to remark that my views of Mrs. Clinton have wavered over the years of the current Presidency. At the start I had the impression she was an overbearing individual who indeed did want to engage in a co-presidency with her husband. Our system is not designed for a co-presidency and we elected Bill Clinton for the position, not Bill and Hillary. As a result I found her to be a bit hard to take as the first term went through its first two years.
I did support her wide-ranging vision for a National Health Care Plan and was sorry to see it fail for political reasons.
As she was taken out of the loop (at least publicly) in seeming to be at the helm of the country with Bill Clinton, I found her public behavior more appropriate.
Over the years my attitude toward Hillary has waxed and waned. This of course is how I interpreted this woman from how I saw her through the eyes of the abundant media stories about her.
I believe Sheehey offers a substantive and psychologically well nuanced portrait of Hillary. Overall, I don't feel much sorrow or admiration for the woman.
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