Top critical review
Surprisedly, I enjoyed this, but...
18 August 2018
I haven't read any of Hillary previous books and not being American, didn't have a great deal of personal interest in the 2016 US election or her history. I did watch the election night though. Personally, and from an international viewpoint, I think Hillary achieved her greatest success as Secretary of State, which allowed her to demonstrate she was a force to be reckoned with and not just a 'former 1st lady'.
My interest in the book was to understand what Hillary felt 'after the loss', when she, and many others probably felt defeating Donald Trump was a foregone conclusion. Early book reviews were positive so I thought, why not.
I actually think 'What Happened' is a number of stand-alone stories combined into one book. Not that this a bad thing. Overall, it was an easy read and concise. I've read other books by political figures where they drone on and on, but Hillary was disciplined in keeping the stories 'to-the-point' and interesting i.e. her family, history, etc.
There were two aspects of the book that disappointed me. 1. there wasn't a great deal of explanation of why certain internal decisions were made during the election and how these impacted the outcome. Yes, there are some stories, but expected more given the book's title. There were a few stories that offered real insight into what it takes to build an election team and the external factors that lost her the election. Would have liked more internal examples thought, as I found these stories to be the most fascinating. 2. Where Hillary outlines mistakes they made; she stops short of taking sole responsibility and spreads the 'blame' - if this is the right word - with others. Once or twice I would have liked her to say 'Yes, that was my call and it was the wrong one'. It was more like, 'Yes, that was our call and it was the wrong one'. But then, once a politician, always a politician.
Overall, I enjoyed the book and didn't realise how much thought/effort there is in building the right team months/years before the election. From a personal point of view, to be in the spotlight for so many years i.e. first lady, Bill's affair, Secretary of State and lose two - very public - elections (democratic nominee and presidential election) takes a lot of guts. Not sure I'm as thick-skinned as she. I'm probably what you would call a 'neutral' Hillary supporter, but have to give credit where credit due.
I probably should have given 4/5 stars given my comments above, but thinking about it, I really wanted more 'internal antidotes' of decisions made, less focus on criticising Bernie Sanders and one or two key reasons why she lost. While Hillary covers a raft of reasons 'why she lost', I finished the book wondering if she really didn't know - like us all.
Still worth the read, even if you are not a Hillary fan.