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A Reading Vocation

"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton

This is where I chronicle my reading life.  I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.


Book 80/100: HRC - State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton by Jonathon Allen and Amie Parnes

HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton - Jonathan Allen, Amie Parnes
Read Harder Challenge Item: Read a book about politics

My library had this book shelved with "bios," so I thought I was getting another biography of Hills (I already read A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton) that was published later and therefore covered her post-Senate years and her time as Secretary of State.

This isn't actually a biography -- it pretty much picked up where the last Clinton book I read left off, beginning with her first presidential run, focusing on her tenure as Secretary of State, and wrapping up with questions about a 2016 run.

Although I followed Clinton's 2008 campaign (and voted for her), I have to admit that I paid absolutely no attention to her time as Secretary of State -- I wasn't really a news junkie, and she no longer held the position by the time I started working for a news organization. So this book filled in the gaps nicely, although similarly to "A Woman in Charge," there was a certain sense of "distance" in the narrative. Although I got a better idea of the workings of Obama's administration, some interesting character insight into our current president, and a few noteworthy stories about Clinton, I still felt held at arm's length. I haven't ready Hillary Clinton's memoirs (Living History or Hard Choices), but I feel skeptical about them because I know they are part of her political persona, written to present herself in the best light. Yet these journalistic, more "objective" takes always leave me a little unsatisfied, ultimately still feeling that she is an enigma. I often come away feeling as if I've learned more about the people around her -- Bill Clinton, Obama, etc. -- than I have about her. I think what I'm really itching for is Huma Abadin's tell-all up-close memoir.

Overall, this book was a bit too much about political machinations for my taste, and either it was published prior to or demurred from mentioning the email scandals, so I felt like it was somewhat incomplete. But I'm a little bit more informed than I was before I read it, and this is an election season in which it's especially important to be well armed.