cover image Hard Choices

Hard Choices

Hillary Rodham Clinton. Simon & Schuster, $35 (656p) ISBN 978-1-4767-5144-3

The once and possibly future Democratic presidential candidate looks back on her adventures as Secretary of State in this diplomatically phrased memoir. Clinton (Living History) recounts her handling of four years of world crises and conflicts, including nuclear negotiations with Iran and North Korea, the killing of Osama Bin Laden, the Arab Spring, the attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi that killed four Americans, countless joustings with the Chinese, the Russians, and Congressional Republicans and journeys stumping for human rights, women's rights, and LGBT rights. The charisma that made her an international celebrity%E2%80%94"When was the last time you fell in love%E2%80%A6" gushes one star-struck attendee at her "town hall" meeting in Turkey%E2%80%94comes through in her warm prose and self-deprecating humor. But the book's role as a potential campaign autobiography precludes the candor that ex-diplomats sometimes uncork in their reminiscences. Clinton carefully strike hawkish poses and distances herself from some of the Obama Adminstration's wrangles with the Israeli government; she defends American "values" as the idealistic soul of its foreign policy even as she struggles unconvincingly to square interventions against some Middle Eastern dictatorships with support for others. Clinton's calculated mix of soaring rhetoric and tacit realpolitik reveals much, but not everything. Photos. (June)