Reviews for Hard Choices

by Hillary Rodham Clinton

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Hillary Clinton follows the well-trod path of possible presidential candidates: a few years out, write a book. Unlike the authors of a lot of these tomes, Clinton actually has an interesting story to tell, beginning with the loss of the 2008 presidential election and how she was convinced to become part of Barack Obama's team of rivals when she took the job as Secretary of State. Although there are personal moments here the death of her mother, Chelsea's wedding, and the time the president told her she had food stuck in her teeth! this is primarily fodder for policy wonks. Clinton goes into deep detail about her work in Asia, Iraq and Afghanistan, Latin America, and other hot spots around the globe. She details her vision for U.S. foreign policy and the role of diplomacy. Along the way, she introduces readers to a who's who of world leaders and gives insight into the way they think and do business. Written engagingly (and some will say with calculation), the book also offers Clinton the opportunity to get certain issues out of the way (not that her apologies about her Iraq vote and Benghazi will placate her critics). The big question Will she run for president? isn't addressed until the final pages. Spoiler alert: she hasn't decided yet. But it sure feels like she will.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2010 Booklist

Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Although readers will not find the answer to whether Clinton will run for president in 2016 in this wonkish memoir of her tenure (2009-13) as President Obama's first secretary of state, they will come to appreciate her observation that "in diplomacy there is less room for humor." The levity and homespun stories of family, found in abundance in Clinton's previous memoir Living History, are mostly lacking here. Instead, readers will find a sometimes gripping but at times dry recounting of the many foreign-policy challenges that roiled America in the wake of the George W. Bush administration. Clinton's practice of the art of statecraft is vividly described in chapters about such hot spots as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia (the portrayal of neo-Cold War president Vladimir Putin is arguably her best depiction of any international figure), the 2010 Arab Spring uprising, and the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi. Rambling discussions on China, Latin America, and some specific issues such as climate change, energy, and jobs could have been trimmed. VERDICT Overall, Clinton's appraisal will appeal mostly to informed readers of current history and politics who will likely approach it with the same tenacity that Clinton demonstrated as secretary of state. [See Prepub Alert, 1/6/14.] Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.