During this ridiculous political season, I decided I wanted to learn more about Hillary Clinton – but not from the internet. Mainstream media focused so much on the negatives, and I was looking for something different. I wanted a book. Something that an author researched, an editor touched, and a publishing house approved. My library had The Secretary: A Journey with Hillary Clinton from Beirut to the Heart of American Power by Kim Ghattas, so I decided to give it a try. Here’s what the book is about:
For four years, BBC foreign correspondent Kim Ghattas followed Hillary Clinton and her entourage as she traveled the world as secretary of state. Clinton took the job in November of 2008, though she and President Obama were rivals, and she set out to find her own style of diplomacy and repair America’s relationship with foreign nations. Ghattas uses interviews with Clinton, administration officials, and players in Washington and overseas to shape her narrative. Ghattas grew up in Lebanon during the civil war, so she also uses the book as an attempt to get her own questions answered about America’s place in the world and the strength of its power.
The book was incredibly dense. It covered the history of relations with different countries as Ghattas and Clinton traveled there, and then filled readers in on the current situation and what Clinton was up against. For me, it was too much information. I thought I was going to learn more about Hillary and what she’s like – both personally and professionally. But the book only gave tiny snippets of her personality and was more about US foreign policy and the author’s own quest to understand the events of her childhood in Beirut. The book was tough for me to get through and took me two full weeks to read. Even though the book wasn’t quite what I was looking for, I did learn a lot.
Just a few thoughts I had while reading this book:
- I had no idea how the press worked. It was interesting to hear that reporters work inside the State Department and travel on the plane with Hillary. Sometimes they don’t even know where they’ll be traveling to. I imagine that they must do a lot of sitting around, waiting for something to happen that they can report on. Which leads me to…
- I’m disappointed by the mainstream media for not providing me with more REAL, IMPORTANT news content. The only thing I knew about Hillary’s trips to other countries was that she wore a scrunchie in her hair. There was no coverage of the town hall style meetings she held about human rights and women’s rights.
- It makes me angry that people think Hillary couldn’t be president or wouldn’t make a good president. She’s far and above the most qualified and experienced candidate of all the candidates there were this election season. She has been everywhere and met everyone. The book talks about the huge binders and dossiers of information that Clinton would read before traveling anywhere. She knows the background histories between the countries and understands the policies. She has built up relationships with other countries and leaders. On top of that, she lived through many of the job’s demands already as First Lady. She knows how to act appropriately when visiting another country’s leaders. She knows how to be respectful. It’s insulting, really, that people don’t see her as the clear choice.
- The book made me really grateful that we are able to elect people to our government, as opposed to other countries where there is a fake democracy or military dictatorships. Other countries have constantly changing leaders, or perhaps even worse, are sometimes stuck with the same terrible leader for 20 years. At least we get an opportunity to change the situation every four years.
Why anyone wants to be a politician is beyond me! I wouldn’t want the job. You are under scrutiny all the time. There is very little thanks, and fifty percent of people are always going to hate you, no matter what you do. And there are no fast or easy answer to the problems that plague our country and our world. One thing we can do: educate ourselves and VOTE for the politicians we believe can do the most good.