What Happened

By Hillary Rodham Clinton

Source: Purchased

Series: n/a

Publication Date: September 12, 2017

Published by Simon & Schuster

My Rating: four-stars

What Happened

Cover image and summary from Goodreads:

For the first time, Hillary Rodham Clinton reveals what she was thinking and feeling during one of the most controversial and unpredictable presidential elections in history. Now free from the constraints of running, Hillary takes you inside the intense personal experience of becoming the first woman nominated for president by a major party in an election marked by rage, sexism, exhilarating highs and infuriating lows, stranger-than-fiction twists, Russian interference, and an opponent who broke all the rules. This is her most personal memoir yet.

In these pages, she describes what it was like to run against Donald Trump, the mistakes she made, how she has coped with a shocking and devastating loss, and how she found the strength to pick herself back up afterward. With humor and candor, she tells readers what it took to get back on her feet—the rituals, relationships, and reading that got her through, and what the experience has taught her about life. She speaks about the challenges of being a strong woman in the public eye, the criticism over her voice, age, and appearance, and the double standard confronting women in politics.

She lays out how the 2016 election was marked by an unprecedented assault on our democracy by a foreign adversary. By analyzing the evidence and connecting the dots, Hillary shows just how dangerous the forces are that shaped the outcome, and why Americans need to understand them to protect our values and our democracy in the future.

The election of 2016 was unprecedented and historic. What Happened is the story of that campaign and its aftermath—both a deeply intimate account and a cautionary tale for the nation.

The moment I heard about this book, I pre-ordered it. Like many other people, I was caught up in the non-stop coverage of the last US election.

I’m not American but I live so close (hello from your neighbour to the north!) that I couldn’t help but be interested in the election and its outcome. And when I heard that this book was coming out, I was really looking forward to reading it, because I was so interested in what Hillary had to say about the way she was treated (during and after the election), the big moments of the campaign (emails, debates), and what she might have to say to those who were hoping to see her become the first female President of the USA.

The first thing that struck me about this book was just how personable it was. Hillary was sharp and funny; it felt like she was writing/talking right to me. For the most part, the book was not dry; it was engaging and interesting (in the days surrounding the book’s release, I watched and listened to Hillary on TV and podcast interviews, where she came across much as she does in the book).

While I read the first half fairly quickly, I did have to take a break because I found myself getting really frustrated (the book combined with the news cycle led to some rage-y feelings about the world basically turning into a dumpster fire). But once I made the (probably long-overdue) decision to step away from cable news and social media for a bit, I was ready to pick up where I left off.

I hoped for a different outcome to the election and I admire that Hillary spoke so candidly about her experience so soon after the election. And she says throughout the book, in many ways, that she takes accountability for her loss.

I appreciated her message of hope, too, in the end, and while I needed a brief time out, I’m very glad that I read this book.

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