Clinton fails to deliver answers in her newest book, “What Happened”

Kaizad Irani, Managing Editor

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Following the craziness that was the 2016 United States presidential election, Hillary Clinton quickly announced her seventh and latest book, What Happened. Refusing to be forgotten after her shocking defeat to President Donald Trump, Clinton announced that her memoir would reveal to readers her thoughts during the election and her vision for the future. While What Happened is one of the most personal histories written by a politician in the modern-era, Clinton continues to act like the politician that many Americans disliked during the election: one that tirelessly promotes her agenda and accomplishments, while constantly attacking her political opponents.

The book begins with her experience at Trump’s inauguration and her conversation with former President George W. Bush during it, in which Bush reportedly described the inauguration as “some weird s**t.” After reading the first few pages, I became truly excited to continue reading the book. Clinton does an excellent job in catching the attention of readers through her use of blunt rhetoric and frequent use of quotes.

However, this experience only lasts about one-fourth of the way in, before Clinton starts to promote herself. She begins by dedicating three chapters of the book to her experience as a woman in politics. Even though many already view her as one of the most influential women in American history and appreciate the work she has done to further women’s rights, Clinton still feels the need to boast about her accomplishments and talk about how great of a mother, wife, and politician she is.  

I am not trying to undermine Clinton’s successes in politics whatsoever. However, despite  repeatedly writing that one of her biggest weaknesses was that she was “not great at talking about [herself],” and that she should have bragged a lot like Trump did, Clinton contradicts herself by spending lots of pages writing about her achievements throughout her lifetime. I often found myself yawning as I read paragraph after paragraph in the later sections of the book, in which she talked extensively about specific policy ideas she has implemented, or wanted to implement if elected President. I want to hear about how you lost to someone who claimed ties between Ted Cruz’s father and the JFK assassination during the election. Not about your policy plans that you would have somehow passed through a GOP controlled congress if you were elected.

The biggest problem I have with What Happened, is Clinton’s relentless attacks on anyone that has ever disagreed with her. She attacks news agencies for creating a “false equivalency” between her mistakes and Trump’s. She criticizes her fellow Democratic colleagues, including former Vice President Joe Biden. Rather than talk about her partnership with Bernie Sanders following his endorsement of her after the Democratic primary, she accuses his team of destroying their party. Former FBI director James Comey gets his fair share of criticism too, in regards to Clinton’s email scandal. And of course, grasping at every possible opportunity she has, Clinton verbally attacks Trump’s policy agenda and personality.

Overall, What Happened exceeded the low expectations I initially had for it. There were some genuine moments in this book where I felt I was in the mind of Clinton and experiencing what she felt during the campaign. I enjoyed hearing her views for the future of America during the few last pages of the novel. There is no doubt that she is one of the most influential and successful politicians of all time, through her time as Senator, First Lady, and Secretary of State. However, some of her greatest flaws as a politician that contributed to her defeat in the presidential election remain prominent in her writing and do not significantly help in uniting our ever-so-divided America.