- About the Book
For the first time, Hillary Clinton reveals what she was thinking during one of the most controversial and unpredictable presidential elections in history. In an intimate voice now free from the constraints of politics, Hillary tells the story of what it was like to be the first woman nominated for president in an election marked by rage, sexism, exhilarating highs and infuriating lows, kooky theatrics, Russian interference, a maddening inattention to serious issues, deplorable (yes, deplorable) bigotry, and an opponent who broke all the rules. In these pages, Hillary describes what it was like to run against Donald Trump, the mistakes she made, how she has coped with a shocking and devastating loss, and what the experience has taught her about life. With humor and candor, she tells readers what it took to get back on her feet--the rituals, the relationships, and occasional yelling at the television. She also addresses the challenges of being a strong woman in public life, the criticism over her voice, age, and body, and how all women in politics confront a double standard whenever they express anger or ambition. Drawing upon the inspirational quotations she has collected for decades, she shows us how she became strong in the first place, how to find your core truths, and how to keep going in the face of adversity. In that sense, her book is a guide not just for how to persist in politics but also how to win in the real contest of life. Hillary Clinton lost an election but she remains unbroken and undefeated. This memoir is for the millions of Americans who want to understand what really happened in 2016, how to make sense of it, and how we all can keep going.
What stood out most about WHAT HAPPENED, which is a memoir not just about politics, is how personally Clinton chose to express herself in writing. Where the campaign was meticulously managed, it is remarkable how open the language of the book is, while still remaining substantial and smart.... But there is so much more in here than just the controversial topics everyone wants to hear about. If you are a follower of Clinton, this book represents a considerable offer. It starts off on the day of the election, goes back to the kickoff of her campaign, considers her family, her time spent out crossing the country, election night and a way forward.... There is probably one reason for every person to read WHAT HAPPENED. It certainly was an important moment in American history that we can understand more as time goes on.
In What Happened, Hillary Rodham Clinton tries to explain why she lost the presidential election of 2016 without seeming bitter, defensive, or shifting blame away from herself. Her book contains an account of the extraordinarily divisive campaign, insights into Ms. Clinton's personality, character, and values, and the challenges confronting women in politics. In the end, the task she has set for herself turned out to be difficult, if not impossible, to accomplish.... [H]er narrative will be familiar to virtually all readers of "What Happened," and seems belabored.... In my view, What Happened is at its best when Ms. Clinton addresses the role of women in politics.
What Happened is a necessary if at times clunky and unconvincing retrospective.... That the book is marked by her flaws (namedropping, contrived inspirational anecdotes, a refusal, or at least an inability, to reckon with her own failings as a candidate) as much as by her strengths (an expert's understanding of policy and process, as well as an unexpectedly authentic sense of empathy) is only as it should be.... Read What Happened, then, not as score settling or revisionist history. Read it, rather, as what is it: self-serving in places but relatively honest, if not a knockout blow then something of a necessary punch.
—Los Angeles Times
—Los Angeles Times
Only Hillary Clinton could make this book boring. What Happened recounts the events of her 2016 presidential campaign, defends her own conduct and decisions, and assigns the blame for her loss to Donald Trump in the November election. Ms. Clinton has always been a tough critic of her foes. Surely we were in for a scorcher. And yet it's a snoozer excruciatingly tedious.... What Happened is full of long, detailed explanations of why Ms. Clinton and her campaign were always well-meaning and principled but constantly disadvantaged and repeatedly sabotaged at crucial moments.... The trouble with What Happened is not that Ms. Clinton insists that she was right and that her adversaries were wrong and unfair in their criticisms. The trouble with her writing, and indeed with her whole political persona, is that she is obsessed with her own rectitude, and nobody else is.
—Wall Street Journal
—Wall Street Journal
The Hillary Clinton of this bitter memoir resembles the shrunken, beaten Richard Nixon who told David Frost that he gave his enemies a sword and they twisted it with relish. Again and again she blames herself for losing, apologizing for her dumb email management, for giving paid speeches to banks, for saying she'd put coal miners out of business. She veers between regret and righteous anger, sometimes in the same paragraph.... What Happened is a raw and bracing book, a guide to our political arena.
What Happened is not one book, but many. It is a candid and blackly funny account of her mood in the direct aftermath of losing to Donald J. Trump. It is a post-mortem, in which she is both coroner and corpse. It is a feminist manifesto. It is a score-settling jubilee. It is a rant against James B. Comey, Bernie Sanders, the media, James B. Comey, Vladimir Putin and James B. Comey. It is a primer on Russian spying. It is a thumping of Trump.... The best, most poignant parts of What Happened reveal the Hillary Clinton that her inner circle has assured us was lurking beneath the surface all along: A woman who's arch but sensitive.... You may have heard that What Happened is angry. It's true. Or defiant, anyway. Love it or loathe it, chafe at it or cheer it; you will now see, for the first time, what it looks like when Clinton doesn't spend all of her energy suppressing her irritation.
—New York Times
—New York Times
Many readers will enjoy this journey of 600 days, seeing the details of the bizarre 2016 campaign from Clinton's perspective and with the benefit of her thorough, minutely detailed analysis... Many people from across the political spectrum feel that Clinton is not the person she says she is. They don't believe she loves her husband, that she is truly dedicated to the public good, that she wasn't hiding anything in those emails. This book gives us Hillary's version of Hillary, and it has the ring of truth.