HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes
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|HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: In depth coverage of the period from June 2008 when Clinton dropped her bid for the presidency to 2013, a year after she quit as Secretary of State.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 448||Date: February 2015|
Hillary Clinton initially came to our attention as First Lady and even then she might have faded into international obscurity had it not been for the way in which she managed to hold her head high during those unfortunate incidents with Bill - well, HRC wasn't involved but I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. Then she re-emerged through the fog of the George W Bush presidency with her bid to gain the Democratic nomination, losing in a hotly contested series of primaries to Barack Obama - and went on to become his Secretary of State. Now the question is whether or not she will make another run for President in 2016.
If you're hoping for a full biography of Clinton then this is not the book for you: it deals with a very limited time frame, with little reference back to what brought her to this point. If - on the other hand - you're looking for an inside steer on how politics in the USA really works, then it's perfect. We join the story after HRC dropped her bid for the presidency in 2008, leaving the way clear for Barack Obama. What else is clear is that there are scores to be settled and debts to be repaid. The hit list of scores to be settled is apparently standard operating procedure for any high-end political organisation. Down the years the Clintons (and particularly Bill, whilst Hillary was in political purdah at State) would make certain that they assisted those who helped Hillary with preference being given to those who came on board openly and early - and assistance denied to those who declared for Obama.
Much of this is obviously insider gossip but it reads convincingly, even if there are quite a few unattributed sources. The book is particularly good about Clinton's time as Secretary of State, when she emerges as a knowledgeable and able politician and diplomat as well as a formidable stateswoman. The highs (Burma) and lows (Libya - and particularly Benghazi) are covered in detail and amount to much more than a rehash of information which could have been gathered from an assiduous reading of contemporaneous journalism. The gradual warming of the relationship between Obama and Clinton (and even Bill) is subtly uncovered.
The authors obviously regard HRC with affection and the book stays just the right side of hagiography. Both Clintons are strong on loyalty - to the extent that it might, on occasions, impair their judgement: people tend to stay within their professional orbit when they're past their use-by date and I'd like to have seen more exploration of this. The other side of their loyalty is the hit list of people who are to be paid back for their past allegiances - and quite a lot of people who could be of service to the country are going to be cut out in favour of those who might not be of the same calibre. It seems petty.
The book is supported by fourteen mainly colour plates. One or two you will have seen before such as the situation room during the Osama Bin Laden raid, but most have more freshness.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
There are not many precedents in US politics for a president bringing in a rival to a position of power. Perhaps the most remarkable was Jack Kennedy taking on Lyndon Johnson as his running mate. We can recommend Robert A Caro's biography, which begins with The Path to Power.
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You can read more book reviews or buy HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes at Amazon.com.
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