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Living History Hardcover – June 9, 2003
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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 the Audible Audio Edition edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Senator Clinton charts her moral developement, marks the highpoints on the way to the White House, and then (although no one seems to notice much) explains why Bill Clinton was able to balance the budget, help bring peace to Northern Ireland, keep warlords from taking control of the Balkans, and to build our economy into the envy of the world. All this while the slovenly, carping right-wingers sought to go to any lengths to destroy her husband. She says they 'abused the constitution.' That is putting it mildly.
I only wish there were more. Naturally, the right-wingers are saying the book 'has little that is new.' Of course, some of us like reading about economic growth, low unemployment, and the leaders who helped bring us these benefits. Some of us like understanding what went right and what went wrong in the 1990s. Sadly, when I put the book down, I get to see what is going wrong under the current man in the White House and with the current Democratic leadership in the Congress.
Hillary's book reminds me why I grew up loving politics. A wonderful book for those who want to understand the benefits and pitfalls of a life devoted to public service.
Guess what? It's very, very good. Her calm, clear delineation of the facts of her life are an excellent antidote to the spewage spilled by Jeff Gerth, James B. Stewart, and Michael Isikoff, to name three of Ken Starr's favorite stenographers.
For instance: Did you know that Stewart's book <i>Blood Sport</i> revolves around the myth that Hillary Clinton was trying to hide something by not signing a certain Whitewater-related document? What Stewart doesn't tell you is that the document in question has two sides -- and that Hillary signed the second side.
The book is chock-full of stories such as this. Highly recommended, and essential to understanding both the Clintons and the GOP/Media attack machine.
Page 23: Hillary shares how she was actually at a speech of Martin Luther King Jr. that was titled "Remaining Awake Through a Revolution."
Page 39: Hillary describes her first meeting with Dean Acheson.
Pages 60-61: Details are shared about an exciting trip that Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton took to England. This was also the country where Bill Clinton had asked her to marry him.
Pages 172-178: Vince Foster, a close friend of the Clintons, took his own life. Naturally, Vince Foster's death was painful for Hillary Clinton to bear. Hillary Clinton mentioned that she poured herself into her work to cope.
Pages 210-211: Multiple photos of Hillary Clinton's life milestones are shared. The photo that stood out the most for me was photo 42 (featuring the Clintons practicing their dances for the Inaugural Ball).
Pages 370-371: More photos are included, with one picture that featured her surprise forty-sixth birthday party.
Page 372: She mentions how Condoleeza Rice helped Chelsea Clinton to feel welcome at Stanford University.
Page 461: Hillary Clinton confesses to feeling concern about some of the members of Congress that bragged about never leaving the states.
Page 523: She shares her victory of U.S. Senator.
"Living History" by Hillary Clinton is a compelling book for the many who are interested in reading about some of the early influences that shaped Hillary Clinton throughout her life.