by Hillary Rodham Clinton
If you like Hillary Clinton or if you voted for her for other reasons, you will probably appreciate her book, which is reviewed below. If you are not even a little upset that she lost the election, skip to any of my other book reviews because the rest of this post is not for you. No judgments cast, I promise. Move along. Nothing to see here.
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Okay, now that we're in a safe zone, let's talk about this book. Clinton takes the campaign issues raised by each side and provides an articulate analysis of WHY and HOW America got to this point -- with a belligerent tyrant elected to our most prestigious elected office. Clinton takes direct accountability for some of her misstated and poorly timed comments. Comments like "basket of deplorables" were the bullets republicans used to take shots at Clinton's character and further distanced Clinton from skeptical but undecided voters. Clinton demonstrates a depth of self-reflection that most of us would find very difficult. I ask myself, how would I feel if I was regularly compared to the devil? Or if I was called a "nasty woman" on national television? Few of us could withstand that level of ongoing public attack. I give Clinton a lot of credit for her resilience in the face of a lot of purely bullshit misogyny.
Clinton also places a hefty share of blame on the media for allowing Trump to dominate the GOP's primary election coverage and giving issues like Clinton's emails more press coverage than actual policy issues. Clinton absolutely decimates her critics on the email issue. Before reading this book, I considered the deletion of her personal emails to be a distasteful lack of judgment on her part. After hearing the explanation she provides in this book, which is very detailed, I am perplexed by the media's coverage on this issue. If the media had spent any time actually investigating the issue, instead of just reporting the allegations themselves, I cannot imagine this issue surviving the entire campaign.
Clinton does not hold back on her opinion of James Comey and lays out a very strong case against his competence and judgment. Despite my disappointment with Comey during the election, I wanted to defend his character after he masterfully jabbed back at Trump for unlawfully firing him. I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt and questioned whether he might have been a misunderstood public figure. Maybe he was an impartial public servant who had been forced into an impossible situation? After reading this book, I am convinced he deserves no sympathy or benefit of the doubt. I don't know what Comey thought he was doing, but he plays ignorance way too much for me to believe anything he says. How could he say with a straight face that he did not foresee his actions would directly influence the national election?
Here's what I didn't like about the book: the length. I think Clinton could have abbreviated a lot more than she did. The book is too detailed and is not written with an iota of suspense. While we all obviously know the result of the election, there are subplots that could have been built with some conscious effort. More plot suspense might also sustain the book's lasting power for readers 10-20 years from now who want to hear how America let this happen and are beginning the book with very little background. To my disappointment, 90 percent of the book reads in the same tone of her campaign speaches. Bland and monotonous like an animatronic copy of an actual person. For this reason, I would recommend the print copy of this book much more highly than the audiobook. It took me two months to get through this book, mostly because there is only so much of Clinton's narration that I can take on an average day of my life. The total length is 16 hours and 50 minutes. Clinton is like the tortoise, slow and steady, reading each phrase in the same intonation and speed... except I guess the tortoise won the race. Never mind, poor analogy. Regardless, I really wish I had read a physical copy, instead.
Rating 3/5: I liked it, but it isn't on the top of my list.