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, Amazon.com
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