This book is unabashedly anti-Clinton. And why not? The media won't, so somebody has to reveal the unseemly motives and behaviors that incubate the scandals that regularly bubble up from the depths of this White House. That's where *Hell to Pay* comes in. It spendidly unveils facts and events that the media overlook.
There are other books about the Clintons. One (Brock's) is solid and factual, but a little ponderous to read. Others (Stephanopolis' and Isakoff's) are more compelling, but they divulge little. Not so with this book, in which I had fun learning interesting, documented facts, and gaining insights that bring puzzle pieces together.
Ms. Olson shows how Mrs. Clinton - not James Carville - conceived the notion of the political campaign as war. All is fair, including hiring private investigators to dig up dirt, and barraging the opponent publicly with assertions that will hurt, but which need not be true.
Witness accounts disclose the Clintons' callous, sometimes savage, treatment of subordinates. There are illustrations of paranoia in the White House. In fact, Olson added to my knowledge of virtually every Clinton scandal. I especially enjoyed learning who and what Harold Ickes is.
Olson shows how several contemporary Clinton practices were learned from past experience. An example is "triangulation." As governor of Arkansas, Clinton was confronted with a federal court decision that left him no choice but to overhaul the state's school system. But doing so would require a tax hike, which would be tough to sell. Clinton put his wife in charge. After an extensive "listening tour," she proposed mandatory teacher testing and removing incompetent teachers as part of the tax hike bill. The voters liked the idea and gave Clinton his tax increase, all of which would go to schools. The teachers were outraged by the testing, but as time passed they saw that their jobs were safe, and that they could safely resume supporting Bill Clinton, for Mrs. Clinton had made sure very few incompetent teachers were fired, and the teachers saw new tax revenue flowing to their schools. Clinton triangulation produced form, but not substance. Arkansas school system's national ranking declined with Hillary in charge.
There's lots more; just get the book. Overall, Ms. Olson illustrates that Mrs. Clinton is not the nice lady the media strives to portray. Rather, Ms. Olson asserts, Ms. Clinton is more Nixonian than Nixon, except that Ms. Clinton lacks Nixon's statesmanship and conscience.