I’m stealing from my Goodreads reviews 🙂 Here is what I wrote in December after finishing Hillary Clinton’s Living History:
I am so glad I read this! For a non-fiction book, it almost reads like a fictional story. Hillary dose a great job describing the people and places in her life. Those eight years in the White House I think she traveled more than she was home. All her trips are well detailed as are her impressions of the countries and leaders who she meets. You can feel her pain during the Lewinsky affair as well as her struggles while trying to develop a health care plan during the first term. One thing is for sure – this is one strong lady who can certainly take on any opposition and be an effective leader. **Adding on now** This book also answered the question for me as to why Hillary stayed with Bill after everything. Is some of it politically motivated? I cannot shake that notion entirely, however, I really do get that these two are truly best friends. As she describes it in the book, when she and Bill met in college, they started a conversation that has never stopped. And I do believe that. I am sure that at the end of each day he *did* talk to her extensively about what was happening in the world and his role in determining outcomes and changes. I get that she view her particular handling of the First Lady position as something much more in depth than most and that it could easily be counted as training ground for the Presidency. She played a very active role at home and especially in her constant travels as an ambassador/humanitarian. However, did she write this book purely to share her side of things for historical purposes? No, I don’t think so. I am quite sure she had an eye to her own budding career in politics and knew that prospective voters would pick this up to get to know her. Yeah, my cynical side coming out. Doesn’t take away from the fact that this is a great read.
On to Barack Obama and his first book, Dreams of My Father:
The perfect way to get to know this soon to be Democratic Presidential nominee. Written well before he was in the national spotlight so the cynicist in me stresses that there were probably very little ulterior motives other than sharing his story about his struggle with his bi-racial identity. He comes across as so emotionally intelligent and thoughtful and able to look at himself honestly. He is also a beautiful writer. Very descriptive and able to convey emotions through his written words. Creative and imaginative, yet thoroughly rational and grounded. Wow, all of that wrapped up in a politician?! Well, since this was written in the early-mid 90s just after he graduated from law school, of course he has continued to grow and change I am sure. Some of that idealism may have worn off. But, I am not so sure about that. Either way, it was a very enjoyable read and an insightful look at one man’s struggle with race. **Adding on** I think reading this book while watching how he has handled his campaign really helps to explain his actions and reactions. Especially his speech in Philadelphia on race. It also made all those ‘elitist’ accusations flung at him look incredibly ridiculous. No way you can say that with a straight face if you read this book! I was also reading this as the whole Wright mess was unfolding and it was interesting to read this tiny bit about his initial meeting with Wright and impressions of the church. It certainly did not sound as if Wright had as much ‘influence’ over Obama as the media tried to portray. Of course, I still have not read book #2 which may reveal more on that topic.
Looking at the two books, and how we have seen both of their campaigns play out, their books really do give a pretty good background on them. While Hillary writes a lot about media and right-wing conspiracies and how much they hurt her, I still got the clear sense of the fighter in her so I am really not terribly surprised that she stooped to a lot of those tactics herself. It’s a shame as I feel it is tarnishing her long term image within the Democratic party, but not wholly unexpected. Meanwhile listening to all the things Obama has said this week after the all but decisive results from Tuesday’s primaries, and watching how he handled the dirt thrown at him, I clearly see the young man who wrote his book. He is standing back and giving Hillary her space and letting her have the opportunity to bow out gracefully on her own. Which I hope she does. I also kinda like the idea of her going for the Senate Majority Leader role. Harry Reid has been too passive. We need a fighter and Hillary sure as hell has proven herself to be one!
I’m taking a non fiction break and reading Harry Potter #2 and a John Grisham book before picking up The Audacity of Hope, but I am going to be bold and declare that I will have them all read by the end of June 🙂
I’m over the cold just about. It lasted about 72 hours and then suddenly I felt better around dinnertime last night. After going through tissues like mad the last three days, I haven’t used a single one since I got to work today. Crazy. But, I am fine with that 🙂