Work Title: Hillary Rodham Clinton: Polarizing First Lady
Work Author(s): Gil Troy
University Press of Kansas
24 photographs, 256 pages, Hardcover $24.95
Reviewer: Karl Helicher
With the exception of Eleanor Roosevelt, no other first lady has stirred as much controversy as Hillary Rodham Clinton. The author says she has "been bolstered by her friends, betrayed by her husband ... interrogated by prosecutors, hounded by reporters ... and lionized by women throughout the world." Troy, a highly regarded historian at McGill University and the author of Morning in America: How Ronald Reagan Invented the 1980s, Mr. and Mrs. President: From the Trumans to the Clintons, and See How They Run: The Changing Role of the Presidential Candidate, presents an illuminating and welcome investigation of Clinton as "the first feminist First Lady." Troy's refreshingly unbiased account reveals Clinton's contributions and excesses and assesses her impact on the institution of the First Lady.
Her introduction to the nation was less than auspicious. It occurred on an episode of 60 Minutes during Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign. The interview included probing questions about her marriage that led to an angry retort, which angered country singer Tammy Wynette and droves of working-class women.
Clinton regretfully ignored America's distrust of powerful first ladies. She tackled National Health Care as a co-president, which contributed to the failure of a national plan and led to a backlash that made her a scapegoat for President Clinton's failed first hundred days. The author is especially good at identifying characteristics that the public wants in a First Lady. The most popular ones---Mamie...