A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton
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A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  1,404 ratings  ·  161 reviews
Carl Bernstein’s stunning portrait of Hillary Rodham Clinton shows us, as nothing
else has, the true trajectory of her life and career with its zigzag bursts of risks taken and safety sought. Marshaling all the skills and energy that propelled his history-making Pulitzer Prize reporting on Watergate, Bernstein gives us the most detailed, sophisticated, comprehensive, and...more
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Published June 5th 2007 by Random House Audio (first published January 1st 2007)
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Charlotte Apgood
Sep 21, 2007 Charlotte Apgood rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all informed voters
Carl Bernstein obviously has done a prodigious job of research on a woman who has stirred strong emotions among Americans for many years. Despite copious media coverage and intense scrutiny, she has remained somewhat of an enigma. Bernstein has written a book that smoothly presents a remarkable human being whose intellect and political savvy are impossible to ignore.

Collectively, the author's presentation of Hillary has defined a human being who, her tribulations notwithstanding, has stayed on...more
As someone who at this point is still undecided, I thought that I'd pick up both this book and one of Obama's to read.

Let me tell you - HRC is a completely kick-ass woman, much more so than I'd ever thought. She's not an easy person to get behind, and this book make an unintentional argument against the cult of personality that seems to be sweeping the political arena right now.

Reading this book confirmed the things I didn't necessarily like about her, but it also gave me much more insight into...more
I'm no less conflicted about her being president than I was before I picked this up.

I found the section on her childhood illuminating, and as an amateur armchair headshrinker I thought it makes her attraction to Bill (and his to her) make perfect sense. I found the section on the White House years illuminating as well, in terms of the dynamics that culminated in Bill doing that utterly stupid thing he did.

While this isn't the hatchet job I thought it might be after hearing Carl on the talk circu...more
Seemed to be a balanced account.

Hillary is such an INTJ, so it was interesting hearing about her personality since I'm one too. It's interesting how bad she was politically early on--due to some typical INTJ traits and being unable to play the social-political game in Washignton.

I like her and Bills relationship-matching too; two smart strong people who can argue and sharpen each others minds while also supporting and sticking with each other.

Going into this book, I didn't realize how religious...more
Sep 30, 2007 Julie marked it as books-i-gave-up-on  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: women
Maybe it's that I write about people for a living too (I'm not a journalist) but I couldn't stand the style of this book. I know journalists are allowed to have unnamed sources but when I make a statement about somebody that's damaging I always name it's source so the reader can evaluate the context. Every nasty remark in this one was from an unnamed source. It just grated on me. I couldn't take it and I put it down. Perhaps I'll come back to it some day.
Sep 28, 2007 Jessica rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Democratic Primary Voters and Independent General Election Voters
I chose to read this bio of Hillary because I wanted a more objective opinion about her. This particular book is supposed to be critical of her political motives. However, the more I read it, the more I admire and respect Ms. Clinton.

Feb 11, 2008 Stephanie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: women who deal with a lot of crap
Shelves: goodgirls, badgirls
I was inspired to read this book after hearing an interview with Carl Bernstein on NPR. I must say, he couldn't have picked a more fascinating subject for a biography. Somehow, Hillary Clinton has managed to keep her private life under wraps for all these years, which is strange, given how much of it has been devoted to good works.

The single thing that most surprised me about HRC is her deep and profound faith. After reading this book, I'm extremely impressed that she doesn't trot it out for pub...more
Let's be honest, I was going to like this book no matter what. I love me some Hills. But, I really do think Bernstein does a good job portraying an accurate picture of HRC. He is especially critical of her own biography, Living History, which I also thought was pretty much crap. The portrait he paints is much more realistic, and super-detailed, and still positive overall. The one thing I disliked is that he focuses ALOT on the Clinton presidency, which I suppose is to be expected, but it almost...more
Lara Beers
Detailed overview of what makes Hillary, Hillary. I found that many of my perceptions of her were challenged and changed. Ultimately, I had more in common with her than I ever thought I would and I am proud of her as a female politican. It was a facinating read, I still am confused about many things--why she put up with Bill for one, but you do understand more of where she is coming from than ever before.
Now we know who was the better writer between Woodward and Bernstein. Woodward liking sensationalism; Bernstein checking out his facts.

And that shows in this biography about Clinton.

2016 or bust for President!
I took a while to get into this book. It was so detailed and very heavy reading for a while. Once I became familiar with Carl Bernstein's writing style, it was a fantastic read. His research seemed very thorough, and, given it was a book about a political person, it was presented in a very balanced, apolitical manner. I particularly liked reading about the struggles Hilary went through when she made mistakes, I think the frantic sense of panic she felt is not uncommon amongst women who are used...more
I read this a year or two ago. I learned a ton about the Clintons.
Excellent to read simultaneously with Living History
Although a daunting 600+ pages, this biography by Pulitzer Prize winning author Bernstein is not a quick, riveting read, but rather an attempt to assemble the facts from a variety of noted sources about Hillary from childhood to her beginning efforts to run for president. It is more a look at a politician rather than the total person...perhaps because of the male prospective from this long time Washington D.C. news writer...or perhaps because both Clintons refused to be interviewed. Nonetheless,...more
This book came out in the early stages of the 2008 Presidential campaign. It added to the already growing interest and debate surrounding Hillary Clinton, since she was a front-runner in the Democratic Party. Some critics have accused Carl Bernstein of deliberately releasing the book to enhance Hillary's campaign, since it paints a mostly favorable image of her. The book is not, however, a political tract, in the context, as Bernstein points out, that her books ("It Takes a Village" and "Living...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
It only took me a week and a half to read this book. But that is because I had jury duty. Anyway, I have become more interested in Hillary Clinton over the past couple years while she was Secretary of State. I was born in the 80's and grew up in the 90's. So I was aware of who she was (first lady) and some of the problems with her husband and his Presidency. But mostly I didn't pay attention to it. With her approval rating sky high and members of her party talking about her running for President...more
Blog on Books
Until the last few years it would have been considered unusual to have a biographical tome delivered in the middle of one’s continued political assent (as opposed to years later.) But modern day campaigns have dictated that the ‘approved’ biography be released almost as a marketing tool of the political aspirant. Such is not the case here.

Famed investigative reporter Bernstein spent the last eight years researching and writing this extensive book interviewing over 200 friends, enemies, staffers...more
Fascinating biography of HRC, chronicling her formative years, ambitions during college, varied legal and political work including working for the Children's Defense Fund, the Nixon impeachment, the McCarthy campaign, as well as her relationship and marriage to Bill Clinton. During her years as governor's wife, she and Bill worked together as equal partners in politics, both having shared ideas and work during their college years.

As one of the first women in the white house who was not content t...more
Dec 17, 2007 Gail rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who wants to better understand the Clinton presidency
Shelves: memoir, non-fiction
OMG - I feel like I deserve to be president after finishing this book!

Sarcasm aside, I picked a bad time of year (with the holidays upon us) to read a 550-page tome focused on politics. 'Nuff said.

But for what it's worth, this book is captivating in its own way. I was fascinated by Bernstein's retelling of Hillary's youth, her years in college, first meeting Bill, their early years in Arkansas, and so on ... It's when I hit around Page 300 that I started to lose a bit of interest with the book...more
Frank Sloth Aaskov
Feb 03, 2013 Frank Sloth Aaskov rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in Hillary Rodham Clinton
An nuanced insight into one of our time's most notable politicians written before the democratic presidential nomination in 2007. I found the book interesting and enlightening, giving me a better understanding of Hillary Rodham Clinton and the battles she has fought. I was a bit hesitant about reading the book as I feared it would be a idealisation and rosy picture of Hillary, but the author included both valid and invalid critique of her, describing both her many flaws and positives attributes....more
Paula Dembeck
This is a detailed and comprehensive account of the life of Hillary Rodham Clinton, written by a well known investigative reporter after eight years of research. Bernstein examined hundreds of written materials and interviewed over 200 friends, associates, enemies and staffers to portray this intelligent and complex personality. This is not a small book and comes in at over 600 pages.

As a young girl Hillary adored her tyrannical and domineering father and was always anxious to please him. During...more
Trudee Hunter
I am presently quarter of the way through reading this biography. It is obviously extremely well researched but I am finding that I am glossing over the heavier political data in favour of the story line which interests me more.

I am learning that the life of a politician is complex in many ways and one not to aspire to unless 'chosen' for such responsibility. Whether one chooses this position themselves or is lifted to these lofty heights by majority votes from people who for whatever reason hav...more
I should be a fervent supporter of Hillary Clinton, but somehow I just can't be. It must be the crush I have on Obama.
Anyway, Bernstein does a great and fair job of dissecting Hillary and you find out that she has a lifelong commitment to public service, and the wit and grit and smarts to be a good politician and maybe even a good leader.

What isn't so great though is the lengths she has gone to to willfully obfuscate and obstruct justice in the past and I feel uneasy about some sort of pact betw...more
Thoroughly and painstakingly researched with treasure trove of insights, anecdotes, observations ... the danger with these kind of books is that in the context of a heated election, they can become partisan. The politics and biases of the author can seep through. Hilary Rodham Clinton is a highly charged bio subject ... she evokes strong emotions from both extremes. Bernstein deftly navigates through her life raising issues, describing challenges, ups and downs. For example, he describes how HRC...more
This is probably the longest I've ever taken to read a book that captured my attention. I knew a book by Bernstein would be thorough and illuminating, and it was. Funny how during the time I was reading it, Mrs. Clinton went from being the Obvious Woman in Charge to Has-Been Woman in Charge back to the Front Runner Woman in Charge. And I think Carl Bernstein could have predicted the entire thing!

For those of us ruminating over our political choices this season, the book is a wonderful review of...more
A well researched, warts-and-all telling of Hillary Rodham Clinton's life story, through her senate career. I would be interested to see the book republished to include a chapter on her time as Secretary of State.

Usually very readable and often a bit of a page turner, even though we know how it ends. Bernstein occasionally seems to insert paragraphs that he didn't quite know what to do with, most often when he tries to foreshadow future events. These odd chunks of flotsam break up the flow of re...more
Mo Johnston
Better written and more comprehensive (ie less scary) than Her Way. Devious Devious Devious! Secretive. Pushy. Great anecdotes that are revealing of Hillary's character--anyone with a question is an enemy, etc. It IS interesting to read this a story set in the Clinton Whitehouse with Hillary as the main character. People I talked to see some Nixon in her. SCCARRRRRRY.

Edit: Wow, just re-read this review. Clearly written in the height (beginning) of the 2008 Democratic primary. I was obviously res...more
Carl Bernstein’s A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton, is a stunning portrait of Hillary Rodham Clinton and shows us, as nothing else has, the true trajectory of her life and career with its zigzag bursts of risks taken and safety sought. Marshaling all the skills and energy that propelled his history-making Pulitzer Prize reporting on Watergate, Bernstein gives us the most detailed, sophisticated, comprehensive, and revealing account we have had of the complex human being and p...more
Update: I have finished reading the book. In hindsight it seems like I read the whole thing looking for a reason to be sure I shouldn't vote for her on April 22. 550 pages and it wasn't till the last 5 pages that I got my answer: actively, passionately supports/ed a ban on flag-burning. Why couldn't he have written that at the beginning?
The book: engrossing until she marries Bill, from there on out a useful history lesson. Poorly, poorly edited, especially for a second edition. Well-researched,...more
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Will she win? 30 10 Feb 08, 2008 09:34AM  
  • First in His Class: A Biography of Bill Clinton
  • Her Way: The Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Rodham Clinton
  • Madam Secretary: A Memoir
  • The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama
  • My American Journey
  • The Promise: President Obama, Year One
  • The Natural: The Misunderstood Presidency of Bill Clinton
  • The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History With the President
  • Last Lion: The Fall and Rise of Ted Kennedy
  • Living History
  • The Bureau and the Mole: The Unmasking of Robert Philip Hanssen, the Most Dangerous Double Agent in FBI History
  • Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency
  • Obama: From Promise to Power
  • In Spite of Myself: A Memoir
  • Michelle: A Biography
  • Eleanor Roosevelt: Volume 2, The Defining Years, 1933-1938
  • HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton
  • All Too Human
Carl Bernstein is an American journalist who, as a reporter for The Washington Post along with Bob Woodward, broke the story of the Watergate break-in and consequently helped bring about the resignation of United States President Richard Nixon. For his role in breaking the scandal, Bernstein received many awards; his work helped earn the Post a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 1973.
More about Carl Bernstein...
All the President's Men His Holiness: John Paul II and the History of Our Time The Final Days Loyalties: A Son's Memoir The Fall of a President

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