Hard Choices

Hard Choices

2.8 337
by Hillary Rodham Clinton

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Hillary Rodham Clinton’s inside account of the crises, choices, and challenges she faced during her four years as America’s 67th Secretary of State, and how those experiences drive her view of the future.

“All of us face hard choices in our lives,” Hillary Rodham Clinton writes at the start of this personal chronicle of years at the center

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Hillary Rodham Clinton’s inside account of the crises, choices, and challenges she faced during her four years as America’s 67th Secretary of State, and how those experiences drive her view of the future.

“All of us face hard choices in our lives,” Hillary Rodham Clinton writes at the start of this personal chronicle of years at the center of world events. “Life is about making such choices. Our choices and how we handle them shape the people we become.”

In the aftermath of her 2008 presidential run, she expected to return to representing New York in the United States Senate. To her surprise, her former rival for the Democratic Party nomination, newly elected President Barack Obama, asked her to serve in his administration as Secretary of State. This memoir is the story of the four extraordinary and historic years that followed, and the hard choices that she and her colleagues confronted.

Secretary Clinton and President Obama had to decide how to repair fractured alliances, wind down two wars, and address a global financial crisis. They faced a rising competitor in China, growing threats from Iran and North Korea, and revolutions across the Middle East. Along the way, they grappled with some of the toughest dilemmas of US foreign policy, especially the decision to send Americans into harm’s way, from Afghanistan to Libya to the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

By the end of her tenure, Secretary Clinton had visited 112 countries, traveled nearly one million miles, and gained a truly global perspective on many of the major trends reshaping the landscape of the twenty-first century, from economic inequality to climate change to revolutions in energy, communications, and health. Drawing on conversations with numerous leaders and experts, Secretary Clinton offers her views on what it will take for the United States to compete and thrive in an interdependent world. She makes a passionate case for human rights and the full participation in society of women, youth, and LGBT people. An astute eyewitness to decades of social change, she distinguishes the trendlines from the headlines and describes the progress occurring throughout the world, day after day.

Secretary Clinton’s descriptions of diplomatic conversations at the highest levels offer readers a master class in international relations, as does her analysis of how we can best use “smart power” to deliver security and prosperity in a rapidly changing world—one in which America remains the indispensable nation.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Peter Baker
To its credit, Clinton's memoir is serious, sober and substantive…No fair-minded reader could finish this book and doubt Clinton's essential command of the issues, whatever one might think of her solutions for them. She roams widely and delves into war and peace, terrorism and Russia, economic development and women's rights. She knows the players and the history.
Publishers Weekly
The once and possibly future Democratic presidential candidate looks back on her adventures as Secretary of State in this diplomatically phrased memoir. Clinton (Living History) recounts her handling of four years of world crises and conflicts, including nuclear negotiations with Iran and North Korea, the killing of Osama Bin Laden, the Arab Spring, the attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi that killed four Americans, countless joustings with the Chinese, the Russians, and Congressional Republicans and journeys stumping for human rights, women's rights, and LGBT rights. The charisma that made her an international celebrity—"When was the last time you fell in love…" gushes one star-struck attendee at her "town hall" meeting in Turkey—comes through in her warm prose and self-deprecating humor. But the book's role as a potential campaign autobiography precludes the candor that ex-diplomats sometimes uncork in their reminiscences. Clinton carefully strike hawkish poses and distances herself from some of the Obama Adminstration's wrangles with the Israeli government; she defends American "values" as the idealistic soul of its foreign policy even as she struggles unconvincingly to square interventions against some Middle Eastern dictatorships with support for others. Clinton's calculated mix of soaring rhetoric and tacit realpolitik reveals much, but not everything. Photos. (June)
New York Times Book Review - Peter Baker
“To its credit, Clinton’s memoir is serious, sober and substantive….No fair-minded reader could finish this book and doubt Clinton’s essential command of the issues, whatever one might think of her solutions for them. She roams widely and delves into war and peace, terrorism and Russia, economic development and women’s rights. She knows the players and the history.”
The Guardian
“An amazing story….Above all, what comes through is Clinton's sheer persistence. This is how she does politics, by keeping going and totting up the small victories so that they outweigh the defeats.”
Entertainment Weekly
“Enjoy Hard Choices for what it is at its best — a rich and lively narrative of Clinton's foreign policy successes, and failures.”
Financial Times
“Undeniable depth.”
The Independent
“Blessed with an instant familiarity.”
Evening Standard
“Clinton’s voice and world view is authentic…and this is gripping.”
“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.”
The New York Times - Michiko Kakutani
A subtle, finely calibrated work….Hard Choices is a statesmanlike document…with succinct and often shrewd appraisals of the complex web of political, economic and historical forces in play around the world, and the difficulties American leaders face in balancing strategic concerns with ‘core values.’ The tone is calm and measured, with occasional humorous asides, like describing an offer by Vladimir V. Putin, the Russian leader, to take Bill Clinton along on a polar-bear tagging expedition.
The Washington Post - David Ignatius
[A] clear and at times riveting account of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s four years as secretary of state….The book bolsters her reputation as a strong “representational” diplomat who carried the flag to 112 countries. But the meaty middle of Hard Choices does something more than chronicle the frequent-flier miles: It provides evidence that Clinton displayed good judgment as secretary of state and understood some important issues earlier than her boss, President Obama…..[O]nce Clinton gets rolling, she does what’s most valuable in this kind of memoir, which is to take readers inside her meetings — sketching portraits of the world leaders with whom she did business…..Perhaps the most revelatory passages in the book involve the secret diplomacy that led to the November 2013 interim nuclear agreement with Iran.
Los Angeles Times
Hard Choices is a richly detailed and compelling chronicle of Clinton's role in the foreign initiatives and crises that defined the first term of the Obama administration — the pivot to Asia, the Afghanistan surge of 2009, the ‘reset’ with Russia, the Arab Spring, the ‘wicked problem’ of Syria — told from the point of view of a policy wonk… it's also mercifully free of the bromides that mar most campaign biographies. The book teems with small, entertaining details about her interactions with foreign leaders.
Library Journal
Billed as a memoir, this book might be something more. Clinton uses key events during her tenure as secretary of state—e.g., the killing of Osama bin Laden, the Arab Spring, tensions with Iran and North Korea—to comment on U.S. foreign policy and the importance of U.S. world leadership.
Kirkus Reviews
Former Secretary of State Clinton tells—well, if not all, at least what she and her “book team” think we ought to know.If this memoir of diplomatic service lacks the preening self-regard of Henry Kissinger’s and the technocratic certainty of Dean Acheson’s, it has all the requisite evenhandedness: Readers have the sense that there’s not a sentence in it that hasn’t been vetted, measured and adjusted for maximal blandness. The news that has thus far made the rounds has concerned the author’s revelation that the Clintons were cash-strapped on leaving the White House, probably since there’s not enough hanging rope about Benghazi for anyone to get worked up about. (On that current hot-button topic, the index says, mildly, “See Libya.”) The requisite encomia are there, of course: “Losing these fearless public servants in the line of duty was a crushing blow.” So are the crises and Clinton’s careful qualifying: Her memories of the Benghazi affair, she writes, are a blend of her own experience and information gathered in the course of the investigations that followed, “especially the work of the independent review board charged with determining the facts and pulling no punches.” When controversy appears, it is similarly cushioned: Tinhorn dictators are valuable allies, and everyone along the way is described with the usual honorifics and flattering descriptions: “Benazir [Bhutto] wore ashalwar kameez, the national dress of Pakistan, a long, flowing tunic over loose pants that was both practical and attractive, and she covered her hair with lovely scarves.” In short, this is a standard-issue political memoir, with its nods to “adorable students,” “important partners,” the “rich history and culture” of every nation on the planet, and the difficulty of eating and exercising sensibly while logging thousands of hours in flight and in conference rooms.Unsurprising but perfectly competent and seamlessly of a piece with herLiving History (2003). And will Hillary run? The guiding metaphor of the book is the relay race, and there’s a sense that if the torch is handed to her, well….

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Product Details

Simon & Schuster
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6.30(w) x 9.40(h) x 2.00(d)

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