Hillary Clinton's 'Hard Choices': Here's what the reviews are saying

Hillary Clinton's memoir 'Hard Choices' was released on June 10. What are critics saying about the book?

By , Staff Writer

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    Hillary Clinton speaks after receiving the 2013 Lantos Human Rights Prize during a ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington.
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Hillary Clinton’s new book “Hard Choices” has been endlessly examined for hints about whether she’ll be running for president in 2016.

But how is it simply as a book – something that might tempt you to put your feet up and peruse?

Reviews of “Choices,” which was published on June 10, have so far been mostly positive. New York Times critic Michiko Kakutani called it “a subtle, finely calibrated work.”

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“Though she does not possess the genial explanatory gifts of her husband (showcased in his 2011 book about the economy, 'Back to Work'), [Hillary Clinton] provides the lay reader – and potential voter – with succinct and often shrewd appraisals of the complex web of political, economic and historical forces in play around the world, and the difficulties American leaders face in balancing strategic concerns with ‘core values,’” Kakutani wrote. “The tone is calm and measured, with occasional humorous asides… For readers who are less policy-oriented, there are personal tidbits strewn lightly throughout.”

Los Angeles Times writer Robin Abcarian found the book a “compelling chronicle." 

“Clinton's blunt charm goes hand-in-hand with an impressive sang-froid,” Abcarian wrote. “The prose of ‘Hard Choices’ may not have the soaring quality of a transcendent political speech… but it's also mercifully free of the bromides that mar most campaign biographies… The book teems with small, entertaining details about her interactions with foreign leaders.”

Meanwhile, Washington Post writer David Ignatius called the book “clear and at times riveting.”

“This is a careful book, written tactically to burnish friendships and avoid making enemies,” Ignatius wrote. “There are times when the reader feels he is being ‘spun’ rather than enlightened… There’s nothing here that seems likely to get her in trouble with anyone, which is doubtless good politics but a bad thing to say about a memoir… The book opens with an unfortunate gush of clichés… But once Clinton gets rolling, she does what’s most valuable in this kind of memoir, which is to take readers inside her meetings — sketching portraits of the world leaders with whom she did business.”

And the Guardian critic Ed Pilkington also found the book to be “carefully crafted." 

“In her portrayal of her four years at the State Department, Clinton comes across as a faithful servant, but one with her own firm sense of America’s role in the world,” Pilkington wrote. “Between the lines, she allows herself plenty of wriggle room in which to distance her record from that of the Obama White House, should she need to in 2016.”

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