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le 10 juillet 2004
All right, let's be honest. Everyone who thought that she was going to confess that she was an axe murderer who enjoyed cross-dressing and drowning newborn kittens please raise your hand. Right, no hands.
Normally, people write autobiographies to tell their version of events, and cast themselves in as positive a light as possible. That is what Hillary Rodham Clinton has done in "Living History." If you are a fan of Senator Clinton's, you will enjoy the book, not least because she offers plausible explanations for some of the less savory accusations that have been hurled against her over the last three decades or so, including Whitewater, the national healthcare debacle and those commodities trades. If you are not a fan, you will not enjoy the book for exactly the same reason ' many of the explanations are plausible. Even less appealing to the Senator's detractors, her prose is very readable (though I do wish she wouldn't use "impact" as a verb), her life has been (and continues to be) interesting and she is more charming in print than she often seems in public appearances.
Granted, some of the prose (particularly in the early years) is self-serving: "The keynote speaker at the League convention was Marian Wright Edelman, whose example helped direct me into my lifelong advocacy for children" sound more than a bit self-serving. In her defense, however, she works through the pre-White House days very quickly, so it all becomes a blur of good deeds as a child and honors as a student, right on through graduate school (student government, political activist, first student commencement speaker at Wellesley, etc.). One wonders if she ever got a B in a class or missed a lecture because she overslept. The only exception is her hair, which she treats as a running joke throughout the book.
The other running theme -- no surprise here -- is her belief in a right-wing conspiracy against the Clintons. Read that either as an accurate statement, as the Senator's paranoia or somewhere between. There is no denying, however, that mentioning the Clinton name in certain conservative circles produces the same effect of throwing an ear of corn into a pen of pigs ' both are devoured in seconds.
Whether Senator Clinton does or does not plan to run for President in 2004, or after, one intention of this book is clearly to give her an opportunity to explain herself, and thus reintroduce herself, to the American voting public. That clearly raises the question: why? Perhaps, like Nancy Reagan, she just wanted to tell it her way, or perhaps she is just planning for all eventualities. In any case, this is an interesting read, if not an overly revealing biography of a very complex and ' like it or not ' influential woman in American politics, not a must read, but certainly on the short list for consideration.
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le 18 juillet 2004
I must admit that this is the first memoir I have ever read that was by the First Lady and given this one is graded as one of the better ones, I think it may be my last. It was not that the book was badly written, it was just that the majority of what the First Lady does is not all that interesting to me. Reading about this fund raisers, good will trips or party planning are not my idea of thrilling political insider info. I am more interested in the hard fought, inside the beltway battles that make major decisions. I obviously new this book was about the First Lady, but given the Clinton Presidency, I assumed that it would cover more in depth the political battles the administration faced. Then again the book was about her.
The next compliant I would have about the book is that the author seamed to take the high road on all the areas you thought she would come out with both guns blazing on. Her comments were so bland that they almost acted to diminish or completely disregarded the very negative attacks the Clinton's faced during their terms. Sure she touched on the items of major interest, heath care reform, the full independent counsel investigation, Monica and the Senate race, but it seamed to be at such a high level that all the real nasty, dirty inside details were left out of the book. Ok I know that she has a new job now so that she did not what to lay waste the political landscape that she will be working in and one could make the argument that the First Lady needs to stay above the partisan attacks, but hey this is the edge of the seat reading I wanted.
Lastly I wanted more detail. Now given that she had lead a rather full life, Governors wife, working on the Nixon impeachment, First Lady and now Senator, to get a real detailed account of all of these areas she would have needed a much larger if not multiple volume book. I guess I would have just liked her to focus on the First Lady section of her life and have gone into more detail. Just as the book seamed to be getting into a topic, the chapter was over and on to the next installment of Hilary on the move.
Even though I have focused on the areas I disliked with the book, overall I thought it was probably better then most books dealing with the Clinton years. I did think the writing was better then average and she did have an interesting story to tell. The details she did given about the life of the First Lady and some of the inside information about the Clinton Presidency were worth the purchase price, throw in some of the personal bit and the book was not bad at all. I also have a sympathetic spot for her, so the increased my enjoyment of the book. I guess I am just a bit disappointed that the book could have been so much better. It could have been a stinging and focused rebuttal of all the overly negative and harmful to the country attacks. Then again how could one book fight back the 8 year, over the top negative campaign focused against the Clinton's. I felt the book was interesting and enjoyable.
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le 11 juillet 2004
the criticism aimed at this book for its not being a bear all tell all is rather silly.
hillary writes as a politician and as a politician she writes about what interests her most, and thats the issues she is passionate for and her experiences as a first lady.
hillary clinton will go down as one of the most ambitious, if not the most ambitious first lady in history (and you know what they say, an ambitious woman is just downright uncouth!) and was dutifully ostracized for it by a supposedly 'modern progressive country'.
for many though, it was refreshing to see a woman at the white house who wasnt just tucked away and brought out for white house tours (as ms bush is).
clintons passionate obsession for reforming health care was perhaps the most nobled failed ambition in recent memory and time will vindicate her efforts and her as a heroine.
ms clintons writing is like her; reserved but passionate for what she believes in and i, for one, miss bill and hilary clinton.
heres to hoping we will see the day when someone like ms clinton in the white house as president.
of course im not holding my breath
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le 5 juillet 2004
My interest in reading "first lady books" pre-dates the political polarity of these interesting first person or biographical accounts of women's lives lived in the limelight of our country's premiere leadership. I began to read "first lady books" in elementary school - remember those old fashioned kids' biographies with the silhouettes for pictures? I loved those books and quite a few were about America's first ladies. Given my nature to enjoy America's first ladies, I found the audio book, "Living History" read by Senator Clinton, like talking with one of my litany of heroines. It was just like she was talking to me in the privacy of my automobile. I wish skeptics would put partisan politics aside when it comes to Senator "Mrs. Clinton". Instead, people who like autobiographical stories should simply enjoy listening to one of the most pleasant political histories I can imagine, told from the point of view of a woman who certainly earned the right to comment on her life in her own words. "Living History", read by Senator and former first lady Hilary Rodham Clinton is a terrific audio book to listen to during a long family trip. Read by the author in soothing tones, Senator Clinton explains her rather ordinary mid-western American girl's life and how it surprisingly turned into a marriage with destiny. Regardless of how you love or not-love Senator Clinton, she is destined to be America's most beloved first lady. Therefore, either challenge yourself or simply enjoy listening as she explains how she became America's first lady and subsequently elected to the United States Senate representing the great state of New York. It's American history told from the person who lived it. "Living History" is aptly titled.
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le 5 juillet 2004
I picked this book up in Detroit airport (along with its counterpoint: Rewriting History by Dick Morris), while waiting for a plane to take me to JFK airport in New York. Little did I know that a friend who I was to meet there had acquired two tickets to David Letterman. I was late by an hour. The guest: Hillary Clinton!
Living History is a must read to compliment the President's My Life and Morris's double take on her tome. These tales all balance out in the end, don't they? I'm all for taking the high road, as Hilary surely does, but enough with the right wing conspiracy already. It's hardly a conspiracy when the Republicans play with a full deck of cards, face up, now is it? Bill Clinton blames "that woman" and Hillary, who is undoubtedly one of the hardest working woman in America, is also a partner in her husband's "crimes." I'm not referring to all the stuff they were investigated for. I'm referring to a gross lack of respect for the women who may have viewed Mr. Clinton's privates.
Hilary turned her eye on her career womanizer, not only because she loves her husband, as I'm sure she does, but also because he surely wouldn't have been elected, and re-elected President without her. I think you'll find Morris's behind the scene take on his twenty year involvement with the Clintons much more interesting than Living HIStory or My Life. Nevertheless, Mrs. Clinton's book deserves your attention. As much for what it says as for what's left out. Author of Father's Touch
le 15 juin 2004
I was shocked to learn that Hilary Clinton was a Goldwater Girl. Growing up near her in Rolling Meadows, little Hilary in nearby Park Ridge seems to me to have been a typical idealistic Chicago suburban teen of the early 1960s, many of whom were attracted to Barry Goldwater's relative honesty, tonic against the background of the growing moronization of TV politics...managing to ignore the simple fact that Barry Goldwater was a lunatic who would have gotten us blown to Kingdom Come.
Her harsh judgement, in print, of her grandmother, indicates to me that Hilary remains middle class and as such, despite her good intentions, cannot speak for the growing poor of this country.
Britain's Labour party and the Democrats in the USA have both been taken over by the middle class in part because the war on labor unions in both countries mean that working people are too busy working to be active in their own interests, or even form a coherent idea of what is going on.
The book had me thinking well of Hilary: but then, she, the Bubba and Chelsea attended an unveiling of the Bubba's portrait at the White House. In view of what Bush has done to this country, had I been the Bubba I would not have shown up.
The United States won't rethink its committment to inequality. In the 1960s there was already a sharp racial and class divide at the Des Plaines river. This divide has moved to the west and is now at Salt Creek in Palatine but it is real. Another divide exists between the regentrified core and the ring of immigrant, minority and (former) working class neighborhoods.
Hilary shows there is an unavoidable tendency for upper class feminists to blame the victim and fall prey both to blame-the-victim religion and "personal responsibility".
The book is entertaining. I would like to know what jokes Bill tells to make her laugh after all these years.
The problem is that we need not find political figures entertaining. Abraham Lincoln reserved the off color stories and anecdotes for a small circle of friends when the jug was passed. He had enough respect for the people to be a serious man when he spoke to the people.
We have in other words been entertained to the point where working class males literally have no representation whatsoever and instead form rich fantasy lives of identification with the very males who are screwing them. Hilary, Barbara Boxer and other demonized ladies have done in fact more for these bozos than Rush Limbaugh including the recognition that, with respect to child support, it is true that you can't get blood from a rock.
But with their lack of relative passion and simple outrage against what's been done to this country by Reagan and Bush, these ladies seem to many to be irrevelant Ladies Bountiful worth at best a pound from the poor box and a prayer meeting that does not pay the back child support.
Meanwhile, men like Mario Cuomo, who gave an impassioned but unremarked speech at the 1984 Democratic convention against the simple dishonesty of creating a deficit in order to destroy the safety net (a crime which the current administration has repeated), don't get the book advances, it appears...and are subject to a racist, anti-Italian, and anti-Catholic whispering campaign that has predisqualified them from high office in a manner reminiscent of Know-Nothingism and the Ku Klux Klan.
Of course, for Cuomo's kid and countless other liberals who dare not speak their name, the Democratic party is now the ship, and all else is the sea, as the Republican party used to be for W. E. B. Dubois; they share his despair at a winner-take-all, devil take the hindmost, wealth-dominated, gerrymandered and oligarchic Republic which was created by ambitious Yankee sharpers in 1776 and has persisted without needed reform since then.
Their despair is transmuted into anger against spoilers like the gloomy Ralph of Nader: but his inability to get elected is not only the result of his defective character, it's also an artifact of the system.
Hilary is part, whether she likes it or not, of a dysfunctional American family in the same way the goodwife of a drunk may be said, by her sweet reason alone, to enable his behavior. Living History makes this clear.
At the end of the 1960s, caught between the Weathermen on one side, with their foolish rampage in my Chicago, and ambitious, "progressive" Hilary/Bill RFK and McGovern supporters on the other, already learning, as their elders had learned, to compromise themselves and be enablers, I despaired of the possibility of "change".
The genius of the American system, if we may call it that, is that for 200+ years it hasn't sucked, just enough, to make us want to change it. We've "enabled" it.
However, Bush may change the rules of this poker game, simply by insisting on the rights of the planter class to such an extent that enabling old Massah in the Hilary mode becomes unsustainable.
le 12 juin 2004
Of the various topics discussed in Hillary Clinton's "Living History", the topic that has gained the most attention the Clinton-Lewinsky affair. Since infidelity now affects 80% of all marriages, it's easy to understand why. The Clinton-Lewinsky affair is a major point of interest because infidelity has reached epidemic proportions. Women with cheating husbands identify with Mrs. Clinton and feel they can learn from her experience."
As author of an infidelity book and former infidelity victim myself, I can attest to the fact that women struggling with issues of infidelity are eager for information that will shed light on how to cope with an extramarital affair.
There are nuggets of information on surviving infidelity scattered throughout Hillary Clinton's account of the Clinton-Lewinsky affair. I found at least a dozen insights on infidelity that would be of interest to women whose husbands are having an affair - insights such as:
• Infidelity doesn't necessarily have to mean the end of the marriage.
• A cheating husband must come clean and own up to his infidelity before the healing process can begin.
• Together, the couple must address the underlying issues that may have contributed to the affair.
• Both parties must be equally committed to rebuilding the marriage.
• Counseling can help the couple come to terms with the affair.
• The healing process takes time and both parties must be patient.
Living History" is a surprisingly rich source of information on surviving an affair. Women will find in Hillary Clinton a role model for wives facing similar marital problems. Her candid account of the Clinton-Lewinsky affair answers many of the questions in the public mind, such as : Why didn't Mrs. Clinton leave her husband? What made her decide to stay with him and keep their marriage intact? How did she cope with the emotional trauma? What helped her overcome the pain of betrayal?
"Living History" provides an intensely intimate look at one woman's reaction to her husband's affair. By examining the factors that contributed to the survival of the Clinton marriage, perhaps other marriages can be saved. "Living History" is worthwhile reading for any woman whose husband is engaged in an extramarital affair.
le 30 mai 2004
Don't hate me for liking Hillary it's easy for someone to say they don't like someone and judge the book by its cover without even knowing anything about a person. If you plan not to read this book "Living History" by Hillary Clinton
you'll change your mind and have a different outlook on Mrs. Clinton.
Hillary who has constantly invokes a " zone of privatecy" around her and loved
ones, talks in this book about Bill and how he had narrow wrist and tapered fingers when
she first meet him at Yale in the 1970`s. Hillary also talks about how she wanted to
kill Bill when she found out that he had an sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky
and she goes on to tell the world how she had to get counseling so she could stay with him. Over all this book has a taste of a stump speech. Mrs. Clinton is fond of talking about herself in terms as a symbolic figure. "While Bill talked about social change I embodied, it" It`s hard to trust anyone in politics. Politicians livelihoods depends on
how few people they offend, and Mrs. Clinton is a good politician. At times in the book Hillary wants to tell vivid detailed story and starts it but stops at juicy details
for the fact she can offend and hurt someone. (not like your everyday politician)
I really enjoyed reading this book, because I had a whole different out look on Hillary and her family. She`s a woman who doesn't let anything get in her way, and though she has been through some tough decisions and everyone in her business she make life look so easy and manges to stay on top , And refuges to let any one bring her down. I loved reading this book, I found myself shedding some tears. Now I know why they say don't judge a book by its cover. If you take the time to critize you don't have time to get to know and love someone. And Living History talks about not only about the Clintons but it shows you how to love even when you are in a big black whole.
Hillary reminds me a lot of princess Diana, they are both legends and have a heart for people, not only for the people in their surrounding but for the people that are in need of their help that the average humans wouldn't dare look at or be around. Hillary didn't have to write an autobiography. Majority of people would not feel comfortable talking about events that are personal and private. Hillary is a bright person and knows the best least damaging thing to say.
Hillary Clinton tells her life story in "Living History." She does it with grace and caution and love towards her enemies. The only First Lady to play a major role in shaping domestic legislation and in my perspective does more for her people than her husband. Don't get me wrong Bill is my favorite president but Hillary is untouchable and on top of that she a woman. If you don't like Hillary and Bill and would like to see their careers ended, don't look for negtiveatity in this book. Because this book is full of love and there is no kind of anosmity in this book. This is a good book for everyone to read but it does get boring and make you want to fall asleep but by the time you reached
The middle it gets tutching and you can`t put the book down. What woman do you know can run for president and can actually win? This book gives you a brief look at the white house, and it makes you question your self can this woman really be the next president?
My intentions were not good when I first got it, but I figured I needed a book to gruaduate and I should give it a chance.
le 20 mai 2004
Reviews of "Living History" are all over the lot, just as people's opinions of this controversial woman. The book itself is a well-written, political autobiography of a woman whose political career is far from over, and therefore you'll find few revelations, and not much candid self-reflection. But there's a reason this was a surprise best-seller--Hillary is a smart, complex woman, who continues to shape American politics in a way her husband no longer does.
Hillary had modest, conservative, Midwestern roots, growing up in the Chicago area and starting her political life as a young republican. It seems clear that she was going places long before she met Bill Clinton--she knew Vernon Jordan before she met her future husband, and Wellesley and Yale are hardly run of the mill schools. But Bill clearly provided the platform for her to shine. Bill and Hillary are two totally political animals, and focussed on little else--lost in the publicity surrounding the purchase of the house in New York State after Bill left office was the fact that the Clintons had somehow neglected to acquire a home they could return to, and New York was as good a place as any, even if Hillary had not decided to run for senator. Money and material possessions seem not to hold a lot of atttraction for these two--but power is another story.
Hillary's first years in office were painful--she struggled to create a real job where none existed, and what worked in Arkansas didn't work nationwide--thus the health care fiasco. Smarting from that experience, she spent the next few years in a more traditional role, using her position to raise awareness of women's and children's issues. Then the scandals hit. She portrays herself and Bill as remarkably self-possessed throughout, and her analysis of the legalities of Whitewater, Travelgate and the impeachment are excellent--I had forgotten that she worked on the Nixon impeachment as a young lawyer and was something of an expert in the field. And critics--of which there are many--forget that the Clintons were exonerated of all wrongdoing.
Is this book something of a whitewash? Of course! Nothing is said of her famous temper, the Clintons' abandonment of friends when they got into hot water, Bill's crazy work habits. And it's easy to weary of her constant references to her prayer group and Eleanor Roosevelt. But this book is an intriguing look at life in the White House, and a glimpse, carefully controlled though it may be, into the mind of a woman we haven't heard the last of.
le 30 avril 2004
This review refers to the abridged CD-audio book. The reward in listening to the audio is that the author reads from her book. Regardless of what is said about her, she has an engaging style of speech and kept my interest throughout. The downside is that the story is rather choppy. There is too much thrown in so the story jumps in and out with sometimes little satisfaction. I also would have liked to have heard more about how her total family (i.e., grandmother included) might have affected her emotional/intellectual development. I understand from others that the full text also did not elaborate much on this and other issues.
Despite the problems, I found the book to be of great interest and I felt a better understanding and appreciation about her. She is certainly a person of high intelligence and character. I doubt many others could have withstood the horrific attacks upon her and her family (such as people like Rush Limbaugh comparing her daughter to a dog). The listener can hear the pain in her voice as she talks about her husband's infidelity. Hillary not only stood firm, she fought back and gained a political status on her own right.. I have two daughters, and I would be proud to hold Hillary Clinton as a career role model for them.