What Happened

What Happened

Author: Hillary Rodham Clinton
Simon & Schuster
2017
ISBN #978-1-5011-7566-5

What Happened cover

“What Happened”, by Hillary Rodham Clinton, covers her run for presidency against Donald Trump, and the disastrous aftermath. Disastrous for Hillary Clinton, and disastrous for our country. (Yes, this is a biased review – I am a diehard Clinton fan. If you disagree with that – don’t waste your time here, just mosey on.)

I immediately found it interesting that there was a book out there that is basically a copycat, refuting Clinton’s book. It is entitled

“Everybody Knows What Happened Except Hillary Rodham Clinton”, and was written by Dr. John Bridges. I would note here that all of his other books are about how to be a gentleman – nothing in the political genre. I have not read the book, nor do I intend to. The cover is a replica of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s book – with a title change. I mention this book because how many books are taken so seriously that someone feels the need to refute them in this manner. For those who wish to throw their money away, Dr. Bridges book can be found here.

“In the past, for reasons I try to explain, I’ve often felt I had to be careful in public, like I was up on a wire without a net. Now I’m letting my guard down.” —Hillary Rodham Clinton, from the introduction of “What Happened”.

I have followed the Clinton’s since Bill Clinton ran for president. I voted for him, and I voted for Hillary. I totally understand where the title for this book came from. The day after the election, when Trump had been declared the winner, we were all in shock, going “What happened?” It has not gotten better over time. I am very happy to see this book come out, as it gives Hillary Rodham Clinton the space to tell her side of the story, and it allows the reader to get a behind the scenes view of her campaign. It is part political commentary, part memoir – and all heart. The tone of the book is conversational (i.e. kitchen table), which may irritate some readers, but it flows, which is what we want any book to do, and reflects who Hillary Rodham Clinton is.

Hillary Rodham Clinton was the first woman to be nominated to run for president from a major political party, and her journey was not an easy one. The campaign against her was vicious, including hidden interference by Russia, constant reference to the private server e-mail brouhaha, then Director of the FBI James Comey’s letter to Congress concerning the e-mails, and the issue referencing Benghazi. (And how many of us remember Trump following her around the stage during the presidential debate in St. Louis. That was scary!)

“What Happened” is broken down into sections: Perseverance, Competition, Sisterhood, Idealism and Realism, Frustration, and Resilience. I found this to have value, in that it allowed Clinton to express her views as a statesperson, as a woman, and as an individual.

We are given insight into the DNC itself, and how that energy affected her campaign. We hear personal stories about names that we see in the media daily. We see how some decisions that were made hindered the campaign, and how others moved it forward. We see how Hillary Rodham Clinton interacted with individuals and groups that she met as she campaigned, and how they affected her thoughts and her visions.

In the end, we see how we got here, and we see what we need to do as individuals to change the future into a better place. We see that sitting on our hands won’t help – that we need to take action on what we want to happen, even if it is a simple phone call to a political representative, an e-mail (or snail mail) giving our opinion, or a donation to help the campaign of someone who is running for office who holds our view of the future.

There is hope for the future. “Love and kindness” was a staple of the Clinton campaign – it should be a staple for all of us in how we live our lives. At the end of the book, Clinton talks about an umbrella organization that she helped form called http://onwardtogether.org. Through this organization funds are being raised to help support and give advice to groups that are working to make grassroots change in the Democratic party.

I encourage everyone to read this book – especially women. I say especially women, because one of the things that Hillary Rodham Clinton has had to face all of her professional life is that she is a woman, and as such, has her “place”. That, and the fact that she is a very decisive individual, which is not accepted well by male colleagues.

It is a wonder that this book was ever written – considering all of the “Crooked Hillary” nonsense that went on, and is still going on. Writing this book was part of her healing process – reading it can be part of ours as readers. We are not just reading about history here – we have lived this history with her!

© November 2017 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission from the author.

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