June 28, 2003


P.J. O’Rourke on Hillary Clinton’s Lumbering History:

If you plan not to read this summer, "Living History" is just the book. Hillary Clinton's new memoir is more than 100,000 pages long. At least I think it is. There are only 562 page numbers, but you know how those Clintons lie. A mere ream of paper could not contain the padding that has gone into this tome. Hillary--with the help of at least six ghostwriters--nails the goose of a manuscript to the barn floor and force-feeds it with lint.

We are informed, for instance, that Jackie Onassis was once, herself, a first lady and later married a Greek shipping magnate. We learn how a chief executive walks to the podium to deliver a State of the Union speech: "The president greets members of both parties who, by tradition, sit on opposite sides of the aisle." Even Hillary's grief over the death of her dad is padded: "My father would not be at the table vying with Hugh and Tony for one of the drumsticks or asking for more cranberries and water-melon pickle, two of his favorites from childhood." And then there are the fulsome tales of official junkets--unimportant, uninteresting, uneventful, and unending. "I had given a lot of thought to how Chelsea and I should dress on the trip. We wanted to be comfortable, and, under the sun's heat, I was glad for the hats and cotton clothes I had packed." And I was glad for the scopolamine transdermal patch.

UPDATE. Stephen Romei in The Australian has an entirely different view of Hillary’s book. No link is available, but these few lines of his review should be enough:

The insider's story of a White House fixed in its ways after the Reagan-Bush years is told with wit and grace ... Some see Living History as the opening shot in the Hillary 2008 campaign. For what it’s worth, I think they’re right and I hope she wins.

He doesn't even know yet who her opponent will be.

Posted by Tim Blair at June 28, 2003 06:51 PM

Didn't PJ o'Rourke describe Hillary's previous "book", It Takes A Village, as being "so much more than just a self-help book for morons"

Posted by: Wookie at June 28, 2003 at 07:44 PM

thanks for the info

Posted by: jocbrut at June 28, 2003 at 07:47 PM

Close to a million people allegedly have bought this book, though I suppose that only one or two non-reviewers (and only 20% of book reviewers) will read it. I don't understand why. Why spend all that money? The phone book, which is free, makes a better booster seat for small children. The new Harry Potter makes a convenient hammer and can be read too. Even my father, who reads memoirs by retired statesmen, isn't buying Hillary's book.

Posted by: Joanne Jacobs at June 28, 2003 at 07:53 PM


People buy it so that they can feel that little bit closer to Hillary. Isn't that why Mein Kampf was such a big seller (and continues to sell well in the Middle East)?

Posted by: ZsaZsa at June 28, 2003 at 08:22 PM

I have not read the "Complete History of Hillary", but I hear there are 42 pages devoted to the science of how her legs grew to be the size of tree stumps.

Posted by: wallace at June 29, 2003 at 03:28 AM

Romei, the reviewer, seems to think that Hillary would make a great president because she won the Senate race in NY and WOULD have won even if Giuliani had remained in the race. (!) Her actual record -- inability to consult, secretiveness, insistence on "getting involved" in the Presidency despite the little matter of not having been elected, horribly flubbing the biggest policy project she's ever tried, etc. etc. signifies to him ... uh, nothing.

Also, there is no way publishers can track sales of a book so early. With books like Harry Potter, which sell out completely, they can tell, but otherwise it is all but impossible to accurately tot up what proportion of all books shipped have been sold. Those figures are clearly invented in order to sell more books and minimise what is bound to be a gigantic loss for the publisher.

Posted by: bill at June 29, 2003 at 09:43 AM

Roy Eccleston has an interview with the Hildebeest (thanks to the Rottweiler for the new name) in the Australian (Sat 28th June) I don't know if it is linked to their site yet; fairly tame, but even he questions whether she can go the distance. She is popular in welfare riddled and rent controlled New york, but the rest of the US (especially the South, a Democrat stronghold) she is as popular as a turd in a punchbowl. I would love to see her run and be beaten like a gong.

Posted by: paul bickford at June 29, 2003 at 12:00 PM

I don't know about the book but I'm getting a kick out of reading the reviews. Check out Mark Steyn's review too!

Posted by: Razor at June 29, 2003 at 01:15 PM

He doesn't have to know who her opponent will be to hope she wins. All he needs to know is that her opponent will be a Republican.

Posted by: Michael Lonie at June 29, 2003 at 05:42 PM

I think the term "Hildabeast" was coined by a gentleman named Neal Boortz (Atlanta GA USA talkshow host) around 1998. His web site (www.boortz.com) is usually worth checking out.

Posted by: SDN at June 29, 2003 at 11:41 PM

P.J. O'Rourke is a God. I clicked on the link and read his review - he's in top form. I especially like the bit about 'Vicious Pit Gerbil George Stephanopoulous'!
Reading Hil's book would just be a disappointment after this review.

But George Washington and William F. Buckley Jr. put together could not have foreseen, in their gloomiest moments, the rise of Clinton-style über-mediocrity--with its soaring commonplaces, its pumped trifling, its platinum-grade triviality. The Alpha-dork husband, the super-twerp wife, and the hyper-wonk vice president--together with all their mega-weenie water carriers, such as vicious pit gerbil George Stephanopoulos and Eastern diamondback rattleworm Sidney Blumenthal--spent eight years trying to make America nothing to brag about.

By the way, I wonder if P.J. has a new book in the works anytime soon?

Posted by: TimT at June 30, 2003 at 11:16 AM