Living History, by Hillary Rodham Clinton

Four stars, read in January/February 2011.

I was seven years old when Bill Clinton was elected president, so I knew very little before reading this book in 2011. I have always kind of liked Hillary, even when I knew nothing about her; I preferred her to Obama in the 2008 campaign, and if she would have won the nomination, I absolutely would have voted for her. I hope she runs again in the future, and I really hope she wins [remember, this was written in 2011]. Reading about her years as First Lady was fascinating, and the more I learned about the issues that are important to her and the work she did to support them, the more I liked her, both politically and personally.

Hillary Rodham Clinton had a pretty crappy time as First Lady. For one thing, her husband was the first president ever to have a civil lawsuit brought against him while he was president. Throughout Clinton’s entire eight years of presidency, the two of them were investigated in one trumped-up “scandal” after another, none of which ever resulted in their being found guilty. (I don’t include Monica Lewinsky because although it was true that he had an affair with her, the charges that Lewinsky was used to bring against him ended up failing. Even though the Republican-controlled Congress voted to impeach him, when they actually tried him, they didn’t have near enough votes to find him guilty.) Imagine going through that with your husband, and raising a teenage daughter at the same time.

And yet in spite all of that, Hillary spent the entire eight years doing serious civil rights work around the world and within our country, particularly in the defense of women and families. In the U.S. she worked on health care reform, making adoption easier and improving the care of foster children, and around the world she was one of the most prominent political figures of the 90s. Considering that she’s still a part of our political landscape, and that most people my age weren’t old enough to know anything about her as First Lady except what our parents thought, I think reading this is a good idea.

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