Review: What Happened by Hillary Clinton


What HappenedWhat Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Disclosure: When I did one of those Facebook quizzes at the start of the election cycle, I came out 95% compatible with Bernie Sanders; 65% with Hillary. The truth is I agree with a lot of Bernie’s ideas but find him completely lacking in leadership and implementation skills, which is why I supported Hillary. I voted once for her husband; once against.

What Happened is a surprisingly good read; much more readable than either of Obama’s books. Contrary to the tweets of Hillary-haters and full-time misogynists, she does accept responsibility for her role in her “defeat,” but rightly points out the unprecedented obstacles she faced during this most bizarre election. People who only want one truth and one truth alone will be disappointed to learn that there were many reasons why Hillary was denied the White House; then again, people who want one and only one truth aren’t that very bright to begin with.

I’ve never understood the vituperation Hillary has inspired over the years; frankly, I always thought she was a bit on the dull side and didn’t find her all that controversial. She was a dedicated and effective public servant in both her senate and State Department roles, and her intelligence and dedication is clearly demonstrated throughout the book. I did notice a few blind spots—failure to problematize the impact of her status as a one-percenter had on her ability to connect with people, for example—but she is clearly aware of most of her limitations as a political figure. Compared to the complete lack of self-awareness on the part of the current occupant at 1600 Pennsylvania, Hillary is almost sage-like. I admire her courage for writing this book, knowing that she was going to have to face once again the mindless hostility of both the right and the left.

I’m giving this book five stars because it’s an important book that lays out the major issues we still have to deal with as a nation, regardless of who is president. Hillary Clinton deserved a lot better than she got from the American people, and I suppose the most amazing thing about this book is that she’s willing to forgive them for that. I’m not sure I would.

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