Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Books: Her Way

Her Way: The Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Rodham Clinton
By Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta, Jr.
Copyright 2008
Audiobook 6 hours
Read by Erik Singer

I like Hillary Clinton. I preferred her as the 2008 Democratic candidate for the office of President of the United States over Barack Obama.

That said, I could not say that I know much about her as a person, much like none of us really know what any of the people who make up the public life of America are like. We know what we see and we judge on that. But we don't get to sit down and have coffee with these people.

And we still don't get to have coffee with Clinton in this book. She speaks in here only through public records.

This book came out in April 2008 as Clinton was working toward the Democratic nomination for president. I don't know if the book had any bearing on her loss. However, this unauthorized biography does not paint a flattering portrait of the former First Lady.

There is a lot of information here, along with many names an avid newshound such as myself would recognize from the 1980s and 1990s. From the perspective of taking a look back to see how things reached the point they are today, the book offers up some interesting points.

For one thing, while the book does not vilify the Clintons as the people who have corrupted the Democratic party, I certainly took that from the reading. The Clintons worked to create a more moderate, watered-down party and thus are somewhat responsible for the partisanship we have today. At least, that is one way to take in the information. It works particularly well to see it that way, I suppose, if, like me, you think the Democratic Party is no longer left, but moderate right. Realistically, there is no true "left" in government in this country anymore.

The book is also very hard on Hillary Clinton in that it portrays her as the force behind the throne at all times. She wanted to be president and had set that as her goal as early as the late 1970s. According to this book, she and Bill had determined that far back that he would be president, and then she would be president. It was a big dream.

I applaud big dreams.

The authors of this book do not appear to be Clinton fans. The book was slanted that way; it also was obviously written by men. There is an obvious "male gaze" in this book that I found eyebrow raising at times. The book took hits and made something of nothing so many times that it was apparent that this was two males observing a female, not people observing a person. And as two males observing a woman, I had the distinct impression they were hell-bent on browbeating her to death, simply because she was a woman. She didn't follow the prescribed female patterns: she didn't stay home barefoot and pregnant, and these two men appeared not to forgive her for that. How dare she put the v-jay-jay in politics!

I think the same information, put together by a woman (unless she was that Coulter creature), whether or not she was sympathetic to Hillary Clinton, would have created a very different book.

In any event, I do not think that Hillary Clinton will ever be president. I do not think she will run in 2016. I could be wrong about that, but she will be 69 years old. I think the country wants a younger president, a dynamic front person. I think that if there is a female candidate for president in 2016 from the Democrats, it will be Elizabeth Warren. But that's a long time away, plenty of time for a new star to appear on the horizon.

Hillary Clinton should be proud to have been Secretary of State, as well as a senator. She has done well for herself and helped women move forward through this molasses of the patriarchy that pervades the American way.

I give the book 3 stars because the information seemed well-documented, accurate to the public portrayal and persona of Hillary Clinton, and it was interesting to me. However, I think it works better as propaganda than biography.


  1. Must have been written by some of those 'old, angry, white men'. Sheesh.

  2. I remember being so shocked, in 2008, by the depth of misogyny revealed on the *Democrat* side as Obama supporters set out to deliberately tear Clinton's image to shreds. It was almost entirely based on prejudice, not comparison of policies (which weren't so different). I doubt they have changed since. The whole party has continued its move to the right. I wouldn't be surprised if, when the next candidate selection process begins, they will be worse.

  3. I too admire Hillary despite her having taken her share of lumps in the political arena, but that goes with the territory it seems. I also liked Bill Clinton and still do. Thanks for the review, Anita.
    Happy Thanksgiving too.


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