Hillary Rodham Clinton: Polarizing First Lady

Hillary Rodham Clinton: Polarizing First Lady

by Gil Troy
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

For most first ladies, their years in the White House are their sole claim to fame. For one-Hillary Rodham Clinton-that tenure was just another step in a remarkable political career. Neither a "hit job" nor a facile tribute, Gil Troy's lively and refreshingly nonsensational new book provides a revealing look at arguably the most polarizing First Lady in history and

Overview

For most first ladies, their years in the White House are their sole claim to fame. For one-Hillary Rodham Clinton-that tenure was just another step in a remarkable political career. Neither a "hit job" nor a facile tribute, Gil Troy's lively and refreshingly nonsensational new book provides a revealing look at arguably the most polarizing First Lady in history and undoubtedly the most prominent American woman of our time.

Troy, named by History News Network one of America's Top 15 Young Historians, measures Clinton's historical footprint, tracing her activities during the turbulent decade that brought her to national prominence and examining her influence as a key player in her husband's administration. Covering her attempts to overhaul health care and redefine the first lady as co-president while she tried to cope with her husband's scandals and impeachment, he recounts how Hillary's rocky road had a mixed impact on the office, even as her ambitions illuminated the role's potential.

As the first feminist first lady, Hillary Clinton faced dilemmas typical of modern American women as she tried to be both a family-oriented, devoted wife and a career-focused, independent woman. Troy shows how she did her best to navigate this divide and breaks new ground in taking her seriously as a thinker. Delving into Hillary's speeches and writings, he uncovers a surprisingly more moderate, even conservative worldview. In fact, he finds some of her positions—such as her outspoken views on abortion—to be authentic expressions of a genuine Puritan/Methodist centrism rather than a mere political ploy.

Offering a mix of praise and censure that elevates to a more sophisticated level debates about her controversial career and presidential aspirations, Troy's book will enlighten and intrigue Hillary's passionate critics and staunch defenders alike. It will renew discussions of where she stands in the continuum of modern first ladies—and of where history will ultimately take her. Many of the book's key themes are effectively underscored by an entertainingly narrated photo essay, with provocative images drawn from the Clinton Presidential Library.

Editorial Reviews

Choice
The complex individual shines through Troy's eloquent rendering. Highly recommended.
Publishers Weekly
Troy's careful but unenlightening account comes as the sixth in a Modern First Ladies series and, as such, aims to measure Hillary Clinton's "historical footprint" as a president's wife. But Troy, a history professor (Mr. and Mrs. President), retreads a well-known arc of the nine years beginning with the start of the Clinton presidential campaign in 1992 and concluding with their handover to the Bushes in 2001. From Bill Clinton's "two for one" 1992 campaign slogan indicating their "unique partnership," to the health care debate, Whitewater and the Monica Lewinsky scandal of 1998-1999, Troy analyzes the career of the "feminist first lady." (He does not consider her five years in office as senator from New York). His conclusion: the office of the first lady is a throwback, and "women who want real power... need to learn the democratic lesson that Hillary Clinton ultimately learned: better to earn power via election than assume it via marriage." Given Troy's emphasis on Bill Clinton's extramarital affairs, his decision not to interview any of the key players and his reliance on previously published books and articles, the reader never gets a sense of Hillary beyond what's already very familiar. 24 photos not seen by PW. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal

One of the few balanced studies of Clinton. Worth keeping in mind as the campaigns heat up.

Booklist

An engrossing look at the behind-the-scenes 'psychodrama' of the Clinton White House.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780700614882
Publisher:
University Press of Kansas
Publication date:
10/28/2006
Series:
Modern First Ladies Series
Pages:
278
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

What People are saying about this

Alonzo L. Hamby

The Hillary Clinton that emerges from Troy's book is not a caricature, but a real person, possessing virtues and flaws, living a life marked by both achievement and failure. (Alonzo L. Hamby, author of For the Survival of Democracy)

Barbara Kellerman

A cogent, clear-eyed, and timely view of the most prominent and, arguably, controversial first lady in modern American history. (Barbara Kellerman, author of The Political Presidency)

Margaret Talbot

A balanced and astute assessment of one of the most complex, polarizing, and compelling political figures of our time—a book that manages to be psychologically revealing without ever sensationalizing. (Margaret Talbot, author of Gender, Power, and Culture)

Eleanor Clift

A valuable primer on a first lady who is both a cultural icon and a political force. Troy's portrait of Hillary Rodham Clinton shows how her elasticity as a public figure saved her husband's presidency and ultimately led her to pursue power in her own right. (Eleanor Clift, contributing editor, Newsweek)

Meet the Author

Gil Troy, a native of Queens, New York, and professor of history at McGill University, is the author of Mr. and Mrs. President: From the Trumans to the Clintons; Morning in America: How Ronald Reagan Invented the 1980s; and See How They Ran: The Changing Role of the Presidential Candidate. His commentaries on presidential politics have also appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post, among other prominent publications.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >