I read “What Happened” by Hillary Clinton, and it pinched my heart hard, and lifted it too .... I think every Democrat and progressive, no matter what you think of Hillary, should read this book.
—First and foremost, as is important with any book, it’s a darn good read. And I’m hardly the only one to say so. The reviews on this book have been very good, and for very good reason. No matter where you fall on the issue of Hillary, this is a book that keeps you turning the pages.
—While I’m sure Hillary had help in editing this book, her voice thru out is authentic to her, but much looser and more real than what she often revealed in public—-a problem for her for many reasons she reveals that also really pinched my heart, and as a woman in business, I empathize with. I’ll leave it to you to read about that.
—Contrary to punditry from the right and the left, Hillary takes responsibility for her mistakes thru out this book. She ALSO defends herself in a way I admire. So don’t expect a woman wearing sack cloth and ashes, nor one who doesn’t have a hell of a lot of second thoughts.
—It is painful to read how much this woman has had to dodge, stand up to, fight back against, and rise up to fight, again, and again and again.
—And herein is why I think every person who calls themselves a progressive should read this book. Because it is, wherever you agree or don’t agree, however much you do or don’t like Hillary, an excellent diary about “what happened,” what the first woman ever to receive the nomination for the president of the United States had to run against, and run her ass off she did. This book makes very clear how much further she went than firebrand pontification, which was the ONLY thing her opponent did, and which the media fell like a log for. To their eternal shame.
After all, it has been around 240 years and 45 presidents, and still not yet, one woman. Many other countries have long ago overcome this, hundreds of years ago in some cases. But not us. This alone might make you a bit curious as to why this so called “exceptional” country can’t seem to elect a woman as president, and really should suggest to you that all is far from right in gender equality in this country. And this IS NOT all about Hillary, but general food for thought.
—What also pinched my heart reading this book, is how REALLY, REALLY hard Hillary always tries. I dare you to read this book and deny her the sheer volume of work and thought and smarts and perseverance she has put forth during her entire time in the public service, which has pretty much been her whole adult life.
—-What gave me hope, was how much she has persevered against, and continues to do so. You won’t find a bitter woman in this book, you’ll find a very real woman who is honest about the devastation of her loss, and her part in it. AND who also has the guts to defend herself righteously. And the spirit to consider herself not counted out in voice, no matter her detractors. This is brave, as anyone who has been under fire will attest to.
—-In the end, we elected a person who cannot even write a tweet without making a spelling error or a buffoon of himself, let alone a book of this sort of depth and effort.
Reading this book will remind you of every issue she would have blown wind under the wings of. And it damn well should remind you of all those wings who are now sagging desperately, tips sodden with mud and life under Donald Trump.
I understand that for whatever reason, some progressives could muster no more than plugging their nose and voting for Hillary and that’s their deal. But the vote is the caboose of everything that comes before, including enthusiasm, even if you didn’t get everything you wanted out of the primaries. And I hope that we understand that as we move on. I trust that many are now finding a stench they really have to plug their noses over.
For me, I am forever grateful that I worked for Hillary, and walked into the polls almost a year ago, with both my nostrils clear and breathing easy.
In conclusion to my book review on “What Happened” I would say that Hillary gives us a pretty good idea of what women are up against when they run for the presidency. Hopefully it will get better, but let us never forget, she and only she, did it first. And it’s worth listening to her on “what happened.”
And no, it wasn’t all about sexism and a woman’s path. There was so much more. But in almost every case, the lens thru which these things were viewed was defined never completely left behind the difference between men and women, and the stark fact that when it comes to the presidency, it’s still very much a man’s world.
And if you don’t care about what she has to say about that, then you don’t much care about what may happen next. Because there’s a road map in this book, one that we should all want to take charge of and change.
Editor's note: This review was written by StellaRay and originally published at the Daily Kos, which notes that its "content may be used for any purpose without explicit permission unless otherwise specified." The original page can be found here.Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.