Harness delivers an accessible overview of Clinton’s life, from childhood to her current campaign to become the Democratic candidate for U.S. president in 2016.
Similar in content and audience to Cynthia Levinson’s Hillary Rodham Clinton: Do All the Good You Can (2016), Harness chronicles Clinton’s childhood and youth in Illinois, her student activism at Wellesley College and Yale University, and relationships with her parents, daughter, and husband. She examines Clinton’s lifelong commitment to service: working for the committee investigating the possible impeachment of President Richard M. Nixon, as an attorney for the Children’s Defense Fund, first lady of Arkansas and then of the United States, U.S. senator, secretary of state, partner in the Clinton Foundation, and two-time candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. It’s all quite straightforward. “Like most people, she’s complicated,” Harness writes in the introduction, but there’s little elaboration on Clinton’s complexities or contradictions. Scant attention is given to the pivotal role religious faith plays in Clinton’s ambitions and ordeals. The Whitewater scandal is discussed, but there’s only the most glancing mention of the Monica Lewinsky affair (referred to only as “improper activities…involving a female government employee”).
This is a respectful, informative introductory biography, but it’s not a sufficiently nuanced one. (photos, further reading, sources notes) (Biography. 8-12)