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Living History Hardcover – 9 Jun 2003

53 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Headline; First Edition edition (9 Jun. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747255156
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747255154
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 24.2 x 5.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 392,527 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon 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 polarising 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 courtship with Bill Clinton, Hillary 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, meetings 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 towards humanising one of the most recognisable and controversial women of our age. --Shawn Carkonen,


Over the past couple of weeks, I've spent every spare minute I can with my nose buried in Living History, Hillary Clinton's engrossing account of her life (Fiona Phillips, Sunday Express)

Hillary's book is engrossing stuff. I found myself liking her and wishing she could stand for presidency next year (Daily Mail)

The book is at its best when Hillary is rueful or self-satirising (The Times)

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Ben (U.S. Citizen) on 15 Jun. 2004
Format: Paperback
When you see these types of books you think that it will be another self promoting piece of nonsense but this is in essence a very personal and very open book. With clear focus on Hilary rather than the Clinton Administration, it puts forwards her goals and her beliefs, while remaining honest and impartial. She is not blind to the faults of her husband, a man i greatly admire. It is a good read, and anyone interested in politics, first family or just likes the Clinton family would enjoy this. Even to enemies of their beliefs it provides a candid insight into the work of decent Americans, unlike a certain one we all know.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Sue Macmillan on 25 Aug. 2004
Format: Hardcover
I'm getting a bit sick of people saying that this isn't a good autobiography just because you don't find out anything new. When was the last time you read something new in an autobiography of anyone remotely famous anyway, without having seen it first splashed across all the tabloid newspapers 3 weeks before the book is even published. I didn't read this book expecting any new and sensational information but actually found that it was one of the most personal autobiographies I have ever read. The understanding you gain of Hilary Clinton's character is fascinating, and although I am not usually a very sentimental person the rawness of her writing over her husband's betrayal almost brought me to tears. Forget the critics, read this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By T. T. Rogers on 31 Dec. 2012
Format: Hardcover
Written by the more intelligent and accomplished of the two Clintons, Hillary's autobiography is in many ways superior to Bill's. Alas, most of it covers a life working in her husband's shadow - unjustly, since she is the more talented of the two of them - nevertheless, this book is still worth reading. Unlike Bill, Hillary Rodham's earliest political orientation was broadly 'conservative'. It is interesting to read about why and how she changed stripes and became a 'progressive', as she terms it. Interesting because most of us, as we age, move in the opposite direction ideologically. Of course, the terms 'conservative' and 'progressive' are used here highly-relatively. In a sense, Hillary Clinton has always been a conservative and remains so today, just a well-disguised one. Her conservatism rests in her acceptance of the system. It is apparent from this book that she has never adopted (except maybe very fleetingly) any kind of critical or radical perspective. Indeed, even when still very young, her senior college thesis was centred around a critique of radical community organiser Saul Alinsky.

Nevertheless, Hillary Rodham's values changed at some point. She moved from the broadly conservative wing of the Establishment to its racially- and socially-liberal progressive wing. It seems that she was always quite 'liberal'-minded in the traditional sense of being tolerant. In a time of widespread campus activism and social upheaval, this innate tolerance became her soft underbelly: she was sucked-in by the rhetoric of the New Left and while she did not join its radical movement, its precepts influenced her greatly and caused a slight adjustment of her political and moral compass.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By emma-ann on 10 April 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
OK so first off we need to establish that Hillary isn't a writer. However she does have a neat lawyer-ish way of caring for words. And the book is certainly clearly written and relatively easy to follow even for someone with only a passing interest in US politics. For me the explanations of the policy issues were properly written for a general audience rather than a specialist one and I did admire that she was able to make complex issues relatively accessible. Of course this book is really a preamble to her presidential run so if you're expecting any major personal revelations you'll be disappointed. But it does provide a very useful insight into a fascinating period in American politics. Well worth reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Stella Carrier on 8 Jan. 2012
Format: Paperback
"Living History" by Hillary Clinton is a captivating book that tells various events that powerfully played a part in Hillary Clinton's Life. Hillary Clinton opens her heart to reveal pivotal circumstances that played influential agents in her life. Among the following are some of the excerpts of circumstances that Hillary Clinton shared:
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.
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