Friday, July 25, 2014

Book review: "Hard Choices" by Hilary Clinton


For those who appreciate Hilary Clinton's astonishing resilience, her new book "Hard Choices" would seem like required reading.  Dutifully, I checked it out of the library.  I would like to say that I then read it, but I didn't exactly.  I attempted to read it.   I carefully read the first 50  pages or so, then became bogged down.  In the end, I skimmed through the middle parts to the last 50 odd pages or so, which I also read carefully.  The interim parts seem to be a catalog of her travels and travails as Secretary of State, and as expected from someone who may yet run for president of the U.S., the entire book is an advertisement of her recent accomplishments.  She writes as well as she speaks--very well indeed--and yet I found the material a bit more steeped in details of foreign policy than I wanted.  Not that the material isn't important; those interested in the shenanigans of politics and public figures will want to read more diligently than I did.

One set of facts stuck in my mind.  According to the book, the U.S. State Department and Agency for International Development employ 70,000 people around the world.  I stared at that staggering number, but I was even more shocked to learn that the U. S. Defense Department employs 3,000,000 people around the world.  What a sad thing it is for the American public to be saddled such a discrepancy of emphasis on diplomatic vs. military matters.

Despite my failure as a reader, I truly love the book's marvelous photographs, including the iconic one on the inside cover (reproduced here).  If you love Hilary, don't hesitate to visit this book.  If you dislike Hilary, save yourself the aggravation.