Monday, August 18, 2014

Review: HRC by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes

Title: HRC
Authors: Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes
Publisher: Random House
Publish Date: February 11, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Source: Blogging for Books

Why You're Reading This Book:
  • You want to be a Washington Insider.
  • You like politics.
What's the Story?:

From "Hillary Clinton’s surprising defeat in the 2008 Democratic primary brought her to the nadir of her political career, vanquished by a much younger opponent whose message of change and cutting-edge tech team ran circles around her stodgy campaign. And yet, six years later, she has reemerged as an even more powerful and influential figure, a formidable stateswoman and the presumed front-runner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, marking one of the great political comebacks in history. 
The story of Hillary’s phoenixlike rise is at the heart of HRC, a riveting political biography that journeys into the heart of “Hillaryland” to discover a brilliant strategist at work. Masterfully unfolded by Politico’s Jonathan Allen and The Hill’s Amie Parnes from more than two hundred top-access interviews with Hillary’s intimates, colleagues, supporters, and enemies, HRC portrays a seasoned operator who negotiates political and diplomatic worlds with equal savvy. Loathed by the Obama team in the wake of the primary, Hillary worked to become the president’s greatest ally, their fates intertwined in the work of reestablishing America on the world stage. HRC puts readers in the room with Hillary during the most intense and pivotal moments of this era, as she mulls the president-elect’s offer to join the administration, pulls the strings to build a coalition for his war against Libya, and scrambles to deal with the fallout from the terrible events in Benghazi—all while keeping one eye focused on 2016."

My Two Cents:

"HRC" is one of the latest in an onslaught of books that will probably come out about probable Presidential candidates for 2016 (it's not that far away in political terms, guys!!!). I had been wanting to read this book for quite awhile as Hillary Clinton is absolutely fascinating to me. She is definitely a divisive figure. Some really, really like her and have very high hopes for her chances in 2016. Others absolutely hate her and are terrified what another Clinton administration (this one presided over by the first Clinton's spouse) could mean for the country. This book looks mostly at Clinton's years during the 2008 election and her being chosen to be the chief diplomat for the country, the Secretary of State.

All in all, I thought this was a very even keeled book about Clinton (a lot of other books out there are not so balanced). The authors do make some leaps to conclusions in some places but for the most part, it is left up to the readers to make a decision on how they feel. I think this can be incredibly difficult to do with such a polarizing figure like Hillary Clinton. The authors definitely succeed here. I really appreciated that the authors drew on a lot of interviews with people who have known and worked with Clinton. Not all of the sources have been named but you can tell what kinds of people that the authors were dealing with.

Although Clinton did many things before her time presiding over the Department of State, I think her years there most clearly show how she worked and made strategic decisions that changed how people saw both her and the Department of State. You get some insight into her psyche here. I also liked all of the recounts of her stories from the road. Clinton traveled a lot when she was Secretary of State and seemed to strongly believe in the ability to "reach out and touch" rather than conducting business all of the time from Washington. Overall I thought this was a pretty good book.


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