What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton
What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton is a book I wanted to read after seeing her delivering the University of Oxford Romanes Lecture last year. As today is International Women’s Day I thought it will be appropriate to share my review of her book. The book was interesting and I did enjoy reading it. It made me sad to see that US is far from the democracy I was believing it was.
One of the things I didn’t like in the book is that she said that unlike prime ministers that are elected by their colleagues, presidents are elected by people. I didn’t make a note of that, so I’m paraphrasing. But there are two different countries with female prime ministers that were elected: UK and Germany. In the United Kingdom, Margaret Thatcher was elected as Prime Minister in 1979, after being the first woman to lead a major political party in the United Kingdom. We now have Theresa May elected as Prime Minister. In Germany Angela Merkel has been Chancellor from 2005. Is true that none of them are considered head of state, but the Queen and the German president have limited powers and ceremonial roles. On top of that, all these three women were representatives of right-wing politics. This is why I gave the book only 4 stars.
The thing that most surprised me in the book is the misogyny that still persists in America. She shared that by not changing her name after getting married to Bill Clinton, this affected his campaign. I have to admit I was shocked to hear something like that. Why would anybody care if Clinton’s wife is called Hillary Rodham or Hillary Clinton? How something like that is an indicator of his ability to do the job he was campaigning for? That was very puzzling indeed.
She shared things that happened in the campaign, that might be already known to people from US or whom followed the election closely. I didn’t and I was unpleasantly surprised to read about the things people would say about her, how she looks, dresses, or how she talks. Unless is something terrible inappropriate that would create a poor imagine of the country, like meeting the Pope in an official visit while wearing a minimalist swimsuit, her voice and her looks should have no importance whatsoever.
Another thing I didn’t like in the book is the us vs them narrative. She talks down right wing voters and politicians, but blames Trump for alienating the country’s allies, like Britain and Germany (both with right wing governments), and so on. She also is less than courteous towards Bernie Sanders.
In my opinion, if politicians can’t get over this destructive narrative of us vs them and continue to use tactics like running ads presenting how inappropriate the other candidate is, instead of saying why they are a good fit, it can get worse and it will lead to the rise of populism.
What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton
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My rating: 4/5 Stars.
Would I recommend it: Yes
Published by: Simon & Schuster
Year it was published: 2017
About the author: Hillary Rodham grew up in a middle-class home in a suburb of Chicago. Her father was a World War II Navy veteran, owning a small business. Her mother had a hard childhood, after being abandoned by her parents. At 14, her mother started working as a housekeeper.
Hillary attended public school, after high school going to Wellesley College. Next step was Yale Law School, where she was one of the few women in her class. At Yale she met Bill Clinton. After graduating, she was involved in the Children’s Defense Fund before moving to Arkansas to teach law. There she co-founded Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, one of the state’s first child advocacy groups. She and Bill got married in Arkansas in 1975. After five years, they had Chelsea.
In 1992 Bill Clinton was elected president and was re-elected in 1996. In her role as first lady, Hillary was involved in the reform of the health care system, to make it more affordable, but without achieving success due to the political climate at that time. A few years later, she led the US delegation to Beijing to attend the UN World Conference on Women. There she gave a well known speech, saying that “human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights”.
In 2000, Hillary was elected to the U.S. Senate. After the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Hillary helped secure $20 billion to rebuild New York and fought to provide health care for responders who were at Ground Zero. Besides she launched different partnerships between eBay, local colleges, restaurants, schools, farmers, and producers, so they could work together more easily, to help small local businesses.
Hillary ran for president in 2008, but lost to Barack Obama, and gave him her support so that a Democrat is elected. President Obama asked Hillary to serve as his secretary of state. As secretary of state, she was involved in creating tough sanctions against Iran that led to bringing them to the negotiating table. Besides, she brokered a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, while continuing her support for rights and opportunities for women and girls and LGBT.
In 2016 she ran for president again. In July that year, she became the first woman to earn a major party’s nomination for president, and went on to earn 66 million votes. After losing, she founded the organization Onward Together, with the aim to advance progressive values by encouraging people to organize, get involved, and run for office.
Website & Social Media Links: hillaryclinton