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Living History Hardcover – June 9, 2003

3.3 out of 5 stars 880 customer reviews

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Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal
The bestselling author of "Encyclopedia an Ordinary Life" returns with a literary experience that is unprecedented, unforgettable, and explosively human. Hardcover | Kindle book
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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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1st edition (June 9, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743222245
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743222242
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.3 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (880 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,169 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've had the book for months, but only started to read this last weekend. I'm captivated by Hillary's direct, honest, heartfelt voice. She rings true; I trust her, and I am voting for her for president because of her experiences all over the world. Highly qualified, it is time we voted for someone whose priority is for individuals, families, women, children and men, not the damned almighty dollar. Keep going ,Mrs. Clinton; I'm right there with you.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Hillary's book gives you courage, strength and points out many of her flaws, but truly shows what an amazing woman she was and continues to be. The book outlines her journey through college, the impeachment, her role as the first lady and Senator of NY. Great read!!!
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Format: Hardcover
One of our most controversial and polarizing first ladies has written a fine book that offers insight into her psyche and political viewpoints. Whether you love her or hate her (put me in the former group), the Clintons always make for good reading.

This was a very good read, even though I feel there were a few sections of self pitying. But, to be honest, I find this perfectly acceptable considering the despicable attacks that the first family had to endure for eight years. She mostly leaves out her feelings about the whole Lewinsky affair, but why should she air those? I happen to feel that it's pretty obvious how she felt about the affair - her husband cheated on her, so why state the obvious? Besides that, if you are looking for some deep feelings about the affair, read "My Life," President Clinton's book, where he writes candidly about his failings and why he had the affair in the first place.

She did leave a few details a bit thin that I would have liked to have - I could have used a couple of hundred more pages. After all, the Clintons did spend eight years in the White House, and she has very strong opinions on important issues, clearly evidenced by her being the only first lady to serve in the Senate. More of her thoughts on policy during the Clintons' tenure in the White House would have been nice. The book's brevity is what prevents this book from getting five stars.
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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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Format: Paperback
Upon reading Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton, I was able to gain a new view into the woman about whom I have never known, but only heard. Although I do not agree with her politically, learning about her background and personal life helped me better understand this woman running for President. Who I saw only as a political machine has grown flesh and emotion in my mind as I delved into the life of Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Starting Living History, I had no real expectations due to my lack of knowledge about Hillary’s life, so I can honestly say I was unbiased. Despite this, I quickly picked up on her way of writing. The politician in Hillary is evident when she makes sure to mention how American and average she was growing up, wanting other average Americans to relate to her for future use. This was one detail I did not find always necessary; her knack for adding personal stories when they sometimes could have been left out, but are included to reach for common ground with the reader. (I do this myself and would recognize it regardless of Party).
On a positive note, I did like that Hillary was relatively informal in her writing. She had few grammatical errors, and her writing style was not from a political leader looking down at me, the reader, and remembering her life, rather sharing daily struggles that I can still resonate with though I have not experienced many of the things she has. As previously mentioned, I finally got to see this figure fleshed out as a person in Living History and read about her love for her country, husband, daughter and friends, which are things I can relate to to my own degree.
Pointing out a favorite highlight from the book would be Hillary’s time in school, specifically in the chapters concerning her time at Wellesley and Yale.
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