From veteran Washington Post journalist and First Lady-watcher Radcliffe: a fulsome biography of Hillary Rodham Clinton that's long on quotes from F.O.H.'s and F.O.B.'s and short on any from those who might be a tad more objective. In less than sparkling prose, Radcliffe tells the story of a woman who's far too exceptional in her accomplishments to be trotted out for public consumption as just another working woman of the 90's trying to juggle family, career, and other commitments. Raised in a Chicago suburb, the future First Lady had parents who not only encouraged her to excel at academics and athletics but made no distinction between her and her two brothers. With this priceless advantage, she went on to achieve great things, not only in her education but in all the subsequent positions she's held. Radcliffe describes tales of how Hillary Rodham, a Goldwater supporter, changed during the turbulent late 60's at Wellesley to become a McGovern campaign-worker and a liberal Democrat. The author suggests, however, that Mrs. Clinton's liberalism is tempered by her Methodist up-bringing and religious readings: Her sense of human frailty has led her to reject ``sentimental liberalism'' and to adopt a more pragmatic response in working for justice and reform. ``I wonder if it's possible to be a mental conservative and a heart liberal?'' the First Lady once wrote. Her meeting with Bill Clinton at Yale; her decision to move to Arkansas (``My friends and family thought I had lost my mind. I was a little bit concerned about that as well''); her marriage; the campaign and the first hundred days of the presidency are also chronicled here. More a postcampaign bio than a probing assessment of a woman who doesn't need the White House to validate her. Still, a readable primer to fill in until the big book—and there must be one—comes along. (First printing of 75,000)

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 1993

ISBN: 0-446-51766-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1993

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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