Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton (Part Two)

84976Nonfiction — print. Simon & Schuster, 2003. 562 pgs. Borrowed from my mom.

When I reached the halfway point on Rodham Clinton’s autobiography I thought her husband would be launching his reelection campaign in a few pages. But the book continues on for more than one hundred more pages before Clinton is reelected and, instead, the reader is treated to tales about her whirlwind adventures across the globe with her husband and daughter. The trips including meeting Nelson Mandela, visiting the countries of the former Soviet bloc, and speaking at a UN conference on women’s rights in China. (That particular trip was not without controversy.)

Of course, I’m sure everyone who picks up this tale wants to know how Rodham Clinton felt about the Monica Lewinsky scandal. The affair doesn’t come up until page 466 when Clinton confesses to his wife that he did in fact have an affair with Lewinsky. Frank Bruni wrote about the arrogance of presidential candidates for The New York Times on Saturday calling Clinton’s arrogance the reason why he took the risk “with Monica Lewinsky, along with his verbal gymnastics upon the discovery of the affair. The scandal’s diminution of his presidency was the price he and we paid for his particular arrogance.” The scandal also dominates the rest of the book, casting a shadow over the remainder of Rodham Clinton’s time as the First Lady.

Something I did not realize was that Rodham Clinton started her run for the U.S. Senate while serving as First Lady. One of the most frustrating things about the American political system is how much time is spent campaigning rather than governing. Clinton certainly spent a lot of time campaigning during his first term and it sounds like he spent some time helping Rodham Clinton with her own campaign. Granted, it was a Lame Duck but it’s interesting to me how much time was spent campaigning.

Rodham Clinton’s life is interesting but I wouldn’t say her autobiography is particularly compelling. There were moments when my interest was lost, particularly when she started listing out her travels. Overall, it’s readable and personable but neither a page turner nor one I think I’m going to reread.

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