News & Politics

Speaking of Hillary: A Reader’s Guide to the Most Controversial Woman in America

“Unusual addition to the glut of Clinton-related books.”

Not only is she arguably the most controversial woman, but she might be the most written about as well. An unusual addition to the glut of Clinton-related books, Speaking of Hillary is a collection of mostly previously published pieces on—and in a few cases, by—Hillary Clinton, from her childhood to her husband’s 1992 election to her own Senate candidacy.

This style of biography allows us not only to revisit the subject in “real time” but also to see our own prior perceptions through the lens of what we know now. Did we really once wring our hands over how Hillary would fulfill her duties as First Lady? How quaint!

Contributors range from columnists Maureen Dowd, A.M. Rosenthal, and the late Meg Greenfield to playwright Wendy Wasserstein and intellectual gadflies Camille Paglia and Christopher Hitchens. If there’s an op-ed dryness to some of the writing, it’s balanced by occasional brilliance. In one case, this unintentionally distracts: Henry Louis Gates’s absorbing 1996 New Yorker profile, “Hating Hillary,” is so well done that the whole time I couldn’t help thinking, as least as much as I thought about Hillary, just how damn good New Yorker profiles are.

Speaking of Hillary—try to overlook the college-syllabus subtitle—is a reminder that history is being written, and rewritten, every time we pick up a newspaper or magazine.

Susan K. Flinn

White Cloud Press


Senior Managing Editor

Bill O’Sullivan is senior managing editor; from 1999 to 2007, he was a features editor. In another lifetime, he was assistant managing editor. Somewhere in the middle, he was managing editor of Common Boundary magazine and senior editor at the Center for Public Integrity. His personal essays have been cited three times among the notable essays of the year in The Best American Essays. He teaches at the Writer’s Center in Bethesda.