As Hillary Clinton’s longtime former speechwriter, I was worried about whether she could write a book with authenticity and self-reflection less than a year after her shocking defeat in the presidential election. But writing What Happened (Simon & Schuster, $30), she explains, became her therapy. The book forced her to reckon with her own mistakes as well as the external forces that contributed to one of the most bizarre and disastrous presidential campaigns in American history. It is her sixth book and in it she speaks with candor and a wry humor that the public rarely sees. Especially poignant is her masterful connecting of dots on the allegations of Russian intrusion into our electoral process. This is not self-serving; she clearly and persuasively alerts Americans to the very real dangers presented when hostile countries and political foes weaponize social media and technology to manipulate opinions and attitudes, and attempt to erode our democracy. The book is interesting, very funny, and covers really important stuff. Read it.
Susan Bordo makes no pretense of journalistic objectivity in this excellent political book. Instead, The Destruction of Hillary Clinton (Melville House, $24.99) makes the case that external forces were part of what undid Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Bordo, a respected feminist academic and author of a previous biography of Anne Boleyn, blogged almost daily during the presidential race and turned her real time observations into this book. Most in her crosshairs are Bernie Sanders, James Comey, and the press. For those looking for a smart defense of Hillary in 2016, this is it.
Just about anyone would find Shattered (Crown, $28)—Washington Post reporters Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes’s fast-moving and detailed account of the trials and travails that beset the 2016 Clinton campaign—an interesting and compelling read. I’d be remiss if I didn’t single out two particular groups of people who would be especially intrigued: campaign wonks on either side of the political aisle, and fans of Greek and Shakespearean tragedies. For liberals weary of re-experiencing any election-related trauma, have faith: Allen and Parnes, who previously authored the positive portrayal of Hillary Clinton in the biography HRC, depict both Clinton and her campaign staff sympathetically, trying as best they can to navigate the minefield that was the 2016 election. Even if you experienced last year as an avid news consumer and continue to be flabbergasted (and/or horrified) by the outcome, Shattered will help shed some light on what may have seemed unexplainable. A must-read read for news junkies everywhere.