In This Review

What Happened
What Happened
By Hillary Rodham Clinton
Simon & Schuster, 2017, 512 pp

The 2016 U.S. presidential campaign refuses to end: President Donald Trump endlessly revisits the subject in his tweets, and now Clinton has written a book about one of the most bitterly fought and unpredictable races in U.S. history. What Happened is readable and in places quite charming, but it is neither a literary masterpiece nor a work of overpowering political wisdom. It does, however, offer readers real insight into what moves Clinton. Her paradoxically liberating and frustrating experiences as a member of the first generation of American women allowed to compete in the professional arena—but disadvantaged by rules and assumptions from earlier times—made her feel like an underdog even as she scaled the political heights. To her, the 2016 campaign felt like a continuation of this uphill, unequal struggle, even as many voters saw her as the insider candidate, the establishment favorite running because it was “her turn.” Her campaign never resolved this tension; that failure helps explain why Trump is tweeting from the White House and Clinton has time to write books.