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A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  2,883 Ratings  ·  253 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
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Audio, 0 pages
Published June 5th 2007 by Random House Audio (first published January 1st 2007)
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Delee
Nov 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am going to make a promise- and that is, that this will be my last angry political review for at least 3 months.... There are so many reviews that I have fallen behind on- and after I cool down- I hope to get back to doing what I do.

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...but after the political shenanigans in the last little while- I want to tick this review off the list and move along.

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I adore Carl Bernstein for the most part. When I was a little tot- his coverage on Watergate was one of the first memories I have of journalistic
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Joe Valdez
Sep 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographies
A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton by Carl Bernstein is considered by many to be the definitive biography on the celebrated despised captivating Yale Law School graduate, former First Lady/ U.S. Senator of New York/ Secretary of State and per recent and reliable polling, soon to be the 45th President of the United States, the first woman in American history to hold the highest of executive offices. Published in 2007, I came to this book already knowing which candidate I'd be v ...more
Margaret
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
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Charlotte Apgood
Sep 21, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  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
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Shaun
Dec 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 stars despite the fact that this was long...way too long. It was comprehensive and seemed honest in its portrayal of our almost first Madam President.

I really don't have the time to review this book properly so I will only say that Hillary Clinton is a fascinating woman who has lived a very public life but still remains somewhat of a mystery to most of us.

I voted for her in this election, however, I've never been a huge fan and this book seemed to provide some justification for my reservations
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Kogiopsis
This is a difficult book to review, because my feelings on how it was constructed are competing with my feelings on its content.

So, let's get this out of the way: Bernstein seems to have done an excellent and thorough job of researching this biography, directly interviewing many people involved in the Clintons' lives as well as consulting primary sources and news accounts. I do feel like there's a slant to this book, and that Bernstein came off as pessimistic about Hillary Clinton's life path to
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Richard
Mar 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Robert
Aug 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A political junkie friend of mine gave me this thick biography of Hillary Clinton published in 2007, telling me it was a good book. I was skeptical, but he was right. It's well-written, well-researched, balanced and yet painful to read because of its detailed account of Hillary Clinton's grim experiences married to Bill Clinton.

Hillary Rodham was a smart, take-charge girl who grew up under the heavy thumb of a brutish boor of a father and seemed determined--was determined, I should say--to prove
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Nancy
Jul 08, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Zachariah
Oct 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Baden
Jan 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this a year or two ago. I learned a ton about the Clintons.
Jessica
Aug 23, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  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.

Gina
Jun 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A comprehensive, easy-to-digest bio of our future president.
Jessica
Aug 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If this book is one thing, it's comprehensive. Almost 26 hours of audio was a daunting task to get through.

I didn't know much about Hillary Clinton's early life, college years, and religious conviction - what I learned impressed me and made me like her more. I had no idea that before Bill Clinton even met Hillary she was a rising political star who'd been president of Wellesley College and featured in Life magazine.

Being only 8 years old when Bill was elected president, I also knew little about
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Julie
Sep 30, 2007 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.
Don
Jul 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
Carl Bernstein's A Woman in Charge is a painstaking and I think honest biography of Hillary Clinton. It dispelled me of some myths I'd grown up hearing from my Republican family. I'd been taught, for instance, that Hillary was an opportunist who latched onto Bill because she knew he was going places. But Bernstein shows that Hillary was "on her way to becoming a political meteor" long before meeting Bill. She become a prominent antiwar leader in college, got elected student body president her s ...more
Travis Bow
A pretty objective (clearly left-leaning but not necessarily pro-Hillary), detailed account of Hillary's life and political career up to her time in the New York senate, with a lot of focus on her early political life (on the cover of Life magazine in college for speaking against the war at her graduation), her decision to marry Bill (which she and many friends feared would destroy her opportunity for a career of her own), her failure as health care Czar, her image management during the the many ...more
Theresaharris
Sep 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you take your time and really absorb the information, this is not an easy read. There is much information. I had to renew my book at the library twice!

The author, Carl Bernstein, is one of the best journalist of our time. Reading this book has given me even more respect for his work; and I will go on to read his biography of his Holiness.

Even though this book was published almost a decade ago, I found it relevant today especially for providing background to some of the stories from the Clint
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Stephanie
Feb 11, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  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
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Wendy
Jul 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a long, dense book but I'm glad I made my way through it. I grew up in an anti-Clinton household and adopted that mentality. It was only recently I realized that, as an adult, I could not articulate a reason to not like Hillary. Then, because I will not vote for Donald Trump and thus knew I would be voting for Hillary come November, I realized I also couldn't articulate a reason to support Hillary (other than Donald Trump). So I have embarked on a journey to learn about Hillary Clinton, ...more
Gail
Oct 11, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who wants to better understand the Clinton presidency
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
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
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Amanda
Aug 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Whew - wow, what a mammoth read! This long extraordinarily well-researched book is almost as incessant and relentless as the campaign against Hillary and Bill Clinton.

Bernstein offers a dense, warts-and-all read that covers more aspects and interviews than any biography I have read before in his efforts to uncover this complex and quite enigmatic woman. Despite the fact that she lived in the gold-fish bowl of the White House for 8 years, she is intensely private, making it difficult to get prope
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Sara
Feb 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nancy
Oct 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bernstein has done a good job of explaining America's response to Hillary Clinton--her plusses, her minuses, and also how politics in Little Rock vary so much from those in Washington, DC and how that was not helpful for the Clintons when they moved into the White House. It is also a look at how "boomer" women have been perceived in our country for a long time--including this quote:

"Richard Nixon, meanwhile, had been asked to comment about the Clinton campaign (Bill's) in an interview during a r
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Lezley
Nov 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: other-books
I have never read a biography that was a page turner. This book, once I started, I couldn't put down. After the election, I just couldn't figure out how Hillary Clinton could possibly have lost. I had to find answers and Bernstein's fair portrayal of this complex woman helped me understand. She just seemed to carry too much baggage. In spite of errors she made along the way, I feel that, had she been elected President, she would always have put America first. And probably, America would be bette ...more
Jane
Dec 24, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: voters
Hillary is complex, and in her heart of hearts I think wanted to do good for others, but she has been plasticized and frozen to an unrecognizable shell. In the end, if she was unable to pull herself away from Bill as he deserved, what other reason could there be but a political one? And if you sell your heart and soul, you sell. I wish I could believe in her, but after Bernstein's analysis, I feel she has lost her ability to know herself well enough to govern. Glad I read this, even though it wa ...more
Katey
Apr 05, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was wanting to understand more about Hillary and respect this author's books. At the time, I was sorting out which Democratic candidate to support and was reading Barak Obama's books, as well. This particular book I found balanced, informative, and interesting. Her story, and her inclinations (that I read about in a different book as well by her)and her current actions led me to support Obama, although I respect her running for the highest office. I think Bernstein writes well (second book I'v ...more
Diane
Aug 17, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bernstein has certainly been thorough in his research. I gained some more insight into the Clintons compared to Hillary's own book "Living History". Bernstein actually refers to her book rather frequently to offer what her position was vs. the people close to her that he's interviewed. I was surprised at the number of people he actually got to speak on the record ie: close family friends and former high level employees from both the Clinton's Governor and Presidential days. The book covers from ...more
Lara Beers
Aug 01, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jyotsna Sreenivasan
If you want to know what Hillary Clinton is really like, read this book. Journalist Carl Bernstein's book is considered unbiased. He shows the struggles and flaws of this remarkable woman, but some things came through to me loud and clear: she has been working hard to help the less fortunate since she was in college; she is deeply spiritual; she is hard-working; and she learns from her mistakes.
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Will she win? 30 14 Feb 08, 2008 09:34AM  
  • Her Way: The Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Rodham Clinton
  • First in His Class: A Biography of Bill Clinton
  • Madam Secretary: A Memoir
  • The Clinton Wars
  • My Life, Volume I: The Early Years
  • For Love of Politics: Bill and Hillary Clinton: The White House Years
  • Michelle: A Biography
  • Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency
  • The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History With the President
  • The Secretary: A Journey with Hillary Clinton from Beirut to the Heart of American Power
  • HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton
  • The Survivor: Bill Clinton in the White House
  • Bill Clinton: Mastering the Presidency
  • The Bureau and the Mole: The Unmasking of Robert Philip Hanssen, the Most Dangerous Double Agent in FBI History
  • White House Diary
  • The Promise: President Obama, Year One
  • The Unfinished Presidency: Jimmy Carter's Journey to the Nobel Peace Prize
  • My American Journey
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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...
“doggerel to describe her experience in the Whitewater contretemps:” 0 likes
“Are you really able to blow it off?” Hillary was asked. “I blow most of it off. I get angry. I get confused about why people are doing what they do. I don’t get up every day thinking destructively about others. I don’t spend my hours plotting for somebody else’s downfall. My feeling is, gosh there’s more work that can be done, everybody ought to get out there and improve the health care system, and reform welfare and get guns out of the hands of teenagers.” 0 likes
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