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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Perhaps the most frequently asked question over the last two years has been: Why does she stay with him? ("She," of course, being Hillary Rodham Clinton and "him," her husband, the President.) And there may be no one more qualified to tackle that question than bestselling author Gail Sheehy, who has been covering Hillary Clinton for Vanity Fair magazine for more than seven years. The author's book, Hillary's Choice, expands on the revelations contained in Sheehy's February 1999 Vanity Fair piece, "Hillary's Choice: Inside the Clinton Marriage," which portrayed the Clintons as an oddly complementary — if, by most standards, dysfunctional — pair, neither of whom might have risen as far as they have without their particular mix of yin and yang.
In Hillary's Choice, Sheehy expands on the insights contained in that profile and further explores the path Hillary Rodham Clinton has followed to this point. Hers was a strict upbringing: Her father had trained young naval recruits for battle in World War II, and his approach to child rearing was not so different from his military tactics. As Sheehy has written, in the Rodham household, "Life was seen as combat." So it's perhaps no surprise that Hillary Clinton now shifts quickly into battle mode when she senses outside attacks on her "camp."
For it is, Sheehy attests, Hillary, not Bill, who possesses the killer instinct and toughness necessary to battle back when her husband's transgressions have threatened to derail him politically. Indeed, as Sheehy wrote in the aforementionedVanityFair profile, "[H]is recklessness and her love of stepping in to save the day have created a dynamic of crisis (his) and management (hers). They seem to thrive on it."
The Clintons, it seems, are a prime example of that old saw, Behind every great man stands a woman. Sheehy suggests that, though the young Bill Clinton was not without ambition, it was Hillary who possessed the vision and foresight required to perceive how far he could go and just what sort of guidance and even prodding he might require to get there.
And it appears likely that, to at least some degree, the roles are now to be reversed, that it will soon be Hillary in the spotlight and her husband in the support role — if in fact she does, as expected, announce her Senate candidacy. Sheehy explores how the dynamics of the Clintons' marriage might change in that course of events.
Hillary's Choice offers many other revelations as well, as Sheehy sheds light on Hillary's symbiotic relationship with political guru Dick Morris, reveals the true reason Clinton couldn't help Hillary pass health-care reform, uncovers the source of Hillary's hostility toward the press, explores how Hillary avoided prosecution by Ken Starr, and reports why Hillary chose to seek her own political voice.
Hillary's Choice is an unblinking but fair-minded examination of a man, a woman, and their often confounding partnership. It fills in many of the gaps that have remained in accounts of the Clintons' triumphs and tribulations and brings the reader up to date on how their relationship and their individual careers might develop in the future.