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Summary

"In the past, for reasons I try to explain, I've often felt I had to be careful in public, like I was up on a wire without a net. Now I'm letting my guard down." (Hillary Rodham Clinton, from the introduction of What Happened)

For the first time, Hillary Rodham Clinton reveals what she was thinking and feeling during one of the most controversial and unpredictable presidential elections in history. Now free from the constraints of running, Hillary takes you inside the intense personal experience of becoming the first woman nominated for president by a major party in an election marked by rage, sexism, exhilarating highs and infuriating lows, stranger-than-fiction twists, Russian interference, and an opponent who broke all the rules. This is her most personal memoir yet.

In this audiobook she describes what it was like to run against Donald Trump, the mistakes she made, how she has coped with a shocking and devastating loss, and how she found the strength to pick herself back up afterward. With humor and candor, she tells listeners what it took to get back on her feet - the rituals, relationships, and reading that got her through and what the experience has taught her about life. She speaks about the challenges of being a strong woman in the public eye, the criticism over her voice, age, and appearance, and the double standard confronting women in politics.

She lays out how the 2016 election was marked by an unprecedented assault on our democracy by a foreign adversary. By analyzing the evidence and connecting the dots, Hillary shows just how dangerous the forces are that shaped the outcome and why Americans need to understand them to protect our values and our democracy in the future.

The election of 2016 was unprecedented and historic. What Happened is the story of that campaign and its aftermath - both a deeply intimate account and a cautionary tale for the nation.

©2017 Hillary Rodham Clinton (P)2017 Simon & Schuster Audio

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Rozzi
  • Leicester
  • 30-12-17

Fascinating but too long

This is so worth listening to but be prepared to invest a lot of time. Hillary reading it adds interest to the narration. It's not just the insights into the US election but what she has to say about living with such a devastating loss and coping with the barrage of insults and lies. Thank you Hillary.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Not what it purports to be

It is awful that she lost but this book spends far too much not discussing why and then primarily discussing external factors, not internal. There is a whole chapter on Chelsea Clinton which makes no sense in the context of this book unless she is being positioned to run for something. Hillary says she takes the blame for faults in her campaign but they are barely described. I don't think you will be much wider having read this: it is another example of Hillary not opening up and being real. for example she says her campaign team was amazing: everywhere. how can that be reconciled with such poor results in key states. if not intending to be fulsome, it may have made sense to wait a little until she could be.

17 of 25 people found this review helpful

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Fascinating

I know this has had bad press and called a book blaming but I didn't hear it that way. I heard an honest and heartfelt account of the most turbulent times and I'd highly recommend this

10 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Terrifying

A brilliant insight into the Clinton campaign and the 2016 US presidential elections.
Recognising that this is a one-sided account, some of the information about Russian hacking, the inability of the media to be unbiased and the obsession with Clintons emails put a new spin of horror into the result of the election and a strong warning for the future of US and western democracy!
Even if you are not a Hillary fan (I wasn't), even if you're a Bernie or die supporter, even if you're someone who has always voted republican, this is a must read/listen/share!

13 of 21 people found this review helpful

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A good listen

Naturally this book won't be for everyone, but as a Canadian observer of US politics, I found Clinton's book to be intriguing, and very insightful. In particular, her observations on what women face in political life - and indeed in all aspects of life - were frank, trenchant and fair-minded. Those who voted against her, whether in the primaries or in the general election, will doubtless find much to mock or critique, but I think her story is interesting and worth listening to.

14 of 23 people found this review helpful

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Intimate, revealing, well-crafted

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

It's a wonderful piece of writing, high quality memoir and history. HRC's performance is great -- wonderful to have her voice telling her story. As for the content... well, it is very distressing to re-live the loss and see what leadership the world could have had. But I found spending time with her company very nourishing, and I felt stronger afterwards and ready to try and make a difference to world. Not on a Hillary scale, obviously, but just in my small world.

Any additional comments?

If you are tossing up between book and audiobook, get the audiobook.

12 of 20 people found this review helpful

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She Persists

She was running for the office of the President. Her opponent was a fool. She lost. She was told to shut up. Nevertheless, she persisted.

A good primer on the madness that was Election 2016. What Hillary felt she did right, what she did wrong and what we should all do now. If you’re still smarting from the result and marvelling at the daily revelations about Trumprussia, this book is for you.

8 of 14 people found this review helpful

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Love trumps hate!

As a British women, similar in age to Hilary and sympathetic to her politics I have learned so much about her and her struggles through this book. The American people were duped at the election and are now suffering the consequences of electing a monster to the presidency. How I wish every Trump voter would read this book! No lies no hate no division, but the truth! I fear for the future of America, although we Brits have our own stupidity to blame for our current position, at least we don't have a racist megalomaniac at the helm.
Hilary you are an honest, wise and persistent role model for all women and politicians. Keep going!

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Exactly that I wanted

As someone who lives in the UK, I had no way of impacting the US election but I have been a strong supporter of Hilary Clinton since I studied US politics at school and this was the perfect read and memoir.

I also find it interesting to see behind the curtain and Hilary was able to give a sense of this as well as discussed the all the issues that were brought and perhaps cost her the presidency. but never came across a bitter or as someone who is blaming anyone else for what happened.

If you have any interest in hearing her side in what happened I would recommend this to you as she is able to give you a clinical look at the election, but also able to inject her personality and her thoughts and feelings without being overbearing or whining.

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Informative, interesting, inspiring

I listened to the book very quickly, despite its length. I'm not a fan of non fiction books. After a bit i tend to get bored. But with this book it was different. I felt that the author was talking about important themes, problems that affect not only the US but the whole world. And I know this is her side if the story so we have to pay attention not to believe everything (this is what I kept repeating myself during the book) , but I found her prepared and well-informed, rich of quotes but also principles. It made me want to meet her and ask what she thinks about what it is happening now and what she thinks it mean. I suppose I just became a fan after all.

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  • Celina Resendez
  • 21-10-17

What Happened?

I started reading the book but decided to listen on Audible for the remaining half. Enjoyed hearing Clinton’s words from her. Despite what some have said this isn’t a novel about it being “everyone else’s fault but her own.” Sec. Clinton takes a lot of the blame and shoulders much of the responsibility of how the campaign was laid out. She discusses how she campaigned and who her team members were. I like her voice in this novel because she isn’t holding back, afraid of making people angry. She tells it like she saw it. Sec. Clinton did discuss funny things like breakfast because as she states people would ask her those types of questions all the time. She wrote of her concerns about the present administration, Russia and Comey’s influence. When I listened to this and knowing what’s happening currently it served to make me more concerned with our present government. She ends the book with how to get involved and how to stay the course. Overall, great read/listen.

20 of 26 people found this review helpful

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  • Taylor Norrish
  • 23-09-17

Dissapointed supporter

Lifelong democrat and voted for Hillary.

She wants to be the most powerful person in the world yet cries sexism, misogamy, racism when others fight for it and she doesn't get it.

Just can't take chapter after chapter of complaints, excuses, and I don't buy her victimhood.

243 of 333 people found this review helpful

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  • Kyle Antholt
  • 28-09-17

"Capitalizing on My Failure"

After long unbearable hours of listening to Hillary Clinton talk about what she believed happened before, during, and after the election, I have finally finished the book. I give this book 1 out of 5 stars for several reasons.

First, Hillary claims to not have had a whiff of entitlement during the campaign, but from what I observed, that is pretty far from the truth.

Second, while she says that she takes responsibility for her loss, she spends the entire book blaming everyone from Russians to Comey to Sanders to even Obama, not to mention Republicans in general.

Third, she adds a lot of irrelevant information about her life that had nothing to do with "What Happened," which made the book seem so much longer and aided in identifying her narcissism.

Fourth, she repeatedly mentions that the majority of Americans supported her, but that isnt true. There are over 200 million voting age Americans. There are over 153 million registered voters in America. And she only got a little over 60 million to vote for her. Of the people that did vote, she didnt even break 50% of those.

Fifth, she completely disregards 3rd party candidates except for when they nice things about her. She completely manipulates their words to make her look good. And she thinks that 3rd party voters, had they not voted for Trump, would have voted for her, which is far from the truth.

Hillary Clinton had the opportunity to redeem herself, admit her faults in a convincing way, and accept some actual responsibility. She didn't, and that makes all the more satisfied in not having voted for her.

197 of 271 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Publius
  • 20-09-17

Not very honest

Hillary spends a long portion of this book attempting to make herself relatable, with folksy wisdom and pop culture references. Her email defense is 'everyone else was doing it' (no one else had their own server) and conveniently omits any discussion of the DNC or conflicts of interest with her foundation among other things. She makes insinuations and a few allegations, but ultimately she believes that she has all of the answers for our country's woes and that she wasn't given a chance to enact them. I see this book as her attempt to control the narrative and to make money. I ranked this low because I don't believe that there was much truth in the book and that much was omitted.

186 of 256 people found this review helpful

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  • Rob
  • 16-10-17

Presidential

There are many facets to this book. From a personal standpoint, it will satisfy the disappointed fans. Secretary Clinton feeds the soul...her words of hope, leadership, understanding, compassion, strength, and dignity (all articulated in full sentences with proper grammar) are inspiring. Much of the media coverage focuses on her so-called excuses for losing. The most important part of the book, however, is NOT the evidentiary case she lays out to support her conclusion that the Comey letter moved voters away from her. The most important part of the book is her detailed analysis of Russian intervention in the 2016 US election. This is the story that needs to be told. The history and motivation of Putin, along with related Russian activities and objectives, is something that all Americans need to understand.

20 of 27 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Robert
  • 21-09-17

WOW - What's her reality?

What would have made What Happened better?

I think the truth, I believe that HRC truly believes what she wrote however you can't blame everything on FOXNews, Sen. McConnell, Jim Comey, The Founding Fathers (Writers of the Constitution), Sen Sanders, the Republican Party (writ large) and not come back to a fundamental truth. HRC was a miserable candidate and her book further underlined that basic fact.

She may very well have been the most studied and well read candidate in modern history however the plans she espoused were another chapter of a playbook that is currently driving this country into bankruptcy. It is good and right to be generous however it is lost on her that a large portion of society that she is nobly trying to help have no skin in the game and as such just take and continue to expect more. That is the fallacy of her candidacy sometimes hard work and excellence is driven by being told no and pushing yourself harder to get to yes. I am convinced she does that but the constituency she wishes to serve does not; here in lies the problem. HRC is not a bad person she just has some bad ideas that have been tried and failed.

It is also clear that she is a narcissist of the first order and when it all falls apart then she wants nothing to do with the outcome. I do not believe her hypothesis that we are not ready as country for a female president. I do believe that we as a country are not ready for HRC as president and 33 states comprising of 306 EC votes agreed.

Contrary to her comment the electoral college is essential to ensure citizens (yes citizens) of less populated states still have influence over national electoral events otherwise CA, FL, TX, MA. NY and IL would elect every president and thereby that elected official would be beholden to those narrow constituencies. Popular vote only matter Madame Secretary in the state by state contests since we are confederation of the states and the states vote to elect the President of the US as designed by the Constitution that you profess to want to support and defend as the "worlds oldest and most successful democracy". Please as a student of history make sure to remember that history is written by all involved not by just those democrats that you agree with.

This is a must read as to why although the Trump victory was one which I hated was the necessary outcome of the 2016 race.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Not certain - probably another political science book on the 2016 election

Did Hillary Rodham Clinton do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

HRC should have left the narration to a professional at times she sounded like a pedantic professor allowing herself to teach a freshman collegiate English class and at other times like my grandmother at story time.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

I was angry that HRC did not get why she was not elected, that she did not ultimately understand the system that repudiated her. Sadness at her patronizing tone and disappointed that she professes to support our constitutional democracy but does not want to abide by it when it does go her way.

Any additional comments?

I think this is a must read. For those that are die hard Trump people; other that wanted to feel the Bern and most like myself who prayed that someone, anyone other than Trump would stand up against Hillary.

Sadly for Hillary if another conventional candidate had run against her (Kasich, Rubio, et al) I think her defeat would have been complete and that her drubbing would have shown up in the popular vote as well; however Trump being Trump he tried actively to shoot himself in the foot multiple times and still managed to get elected because she was such a miserable candidate.

186 of 257 people found this review helpful

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  • Eric S.
  • 26-09-17

Painful

Great book to reaffirm why I didn't vote for Hillary. The woman is so out of touch.

169 of 236 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Daniel Graham
  • 25-09-17

Her own world.

This book has 3 parts

My great life and family

the blame game.

thank you & I will always be here to make your life hell.

I picked up this book to find out what she really thinks from her point of view. I will just say she is to deep in her own world no one will ever change her mind.

144 of 201 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tmouse
  • 05-12-17

We will persist

Thank you for writing this. I cried, smiled, laughed, dreamed of what almost was, cried more, and commit to going on to persist. We are always with her. Thank you for all of your "firsts". I didnt know about many of them.

21 of 29 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • DSHeadshots
  • 29-09-17

Self-help memoir

This book is brutal. I was expecting explanations of how she should have ran a better campaign or how it could have been done better. Nope. Its endless talking about how she was coping with the loss of the election, how her and Bill watched CSI and some other TV shows, with some clever favorite character commentaries.

Then explains what was said to people we saw her talk to during the inauguration, how she ended up taking a photo with trump, etc... It's dullsville,

131 of 184 people found this review helpful