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A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  3,319 ratings  ·  260 reviews
Drawing from hundreds of interviews with colleagues, friends and with unique access to campaign records, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Carl Bernstein offers a complex and nuanced portrait of one of the most controversial figures of our time: Hillary Clinton. He has given us a book that enables us, at last, to address the questions Americans are insistently—e ...more
Hardcover, 640 pages
Published June 5th 2007 by Knopf Publishing Group (first published January 1st 2007)
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Nov 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Joe Valdez
Sep 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Charlotte Apgood
Sep 21, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 25, 2015 rated it it was ok
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
Mar 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Nancy Vincent
Jul 08, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Bryan Cebulski
Jun 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Read this to learn more about the candidate and wound up with more questions than answers. I consider Bernstein a pretty trustworthy source given his input in exposing the Watergate scandal--dude kind of watches out for government corruption. My basic conclusion is that the Clintons were screwed over a lot during their time in the White House, but equally their critical flaws managed to marr both their public image and effectiveness of office. HRC has a good track record with certain issues (chi ...more
Jan 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
I read this a year or two ago. I learned a ton about the Clintons.
Jun 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
A comprehensive, easy-to-digest bio of our future president.
Aug 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 30, 2007 marked it as books-i-gave-up-on
Shelves: women, journalism
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. ...more
Oct 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Really good, objective look into the Clintons up to the point of Hillary running for the Senate.
Jul 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
May 30, 2016 rated it liked it
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
Sep 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2017
A clearheaded and fair biography of a much maligned woman demonstrating all that is inspiring and vexing about a complicated person who has been both unfairly treated and is over protective and, at times, self defeating. Hard to recommend in 2018 as re-litigating the last 2 years is pointless, but still a very good portrait of a person who is often unfairly projected upon.
Feb 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: women who deal with a lot of crap
Shelves: badgirls, goodgirls
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
Jul 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 11, 2007 rated it it was ok
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
Aug 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 24, 2007 rated it liked it
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
Apr 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 17, 2012 rated it liked it
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
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Will she win? 31 18 Jul 08, 2018 01:13PM  

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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.

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