This is the first in a series of blog posts on Donald Trump’s Autobiography, Crippled America, and Hillary Clinton’s autobiography, Hard Choices. Look for weekly updates on each book in these months before the election.
In Donald Trump’s 193 page book, which includes a 6 page ‘about the author’ section at the end, and no index, Crippled America, he opens the preface of the book with the headline “You Gotta Believe” and describes the reason he chose an angry book cover. He noted that there were “some beautiful pictures taken” that his family wanted him to use instead, but he chose the angry faced photo because there is “nothing nice” about America right now, we are “crippled” and the cover photo should represent the state of the country. He wanted a photo that represented the “anger and unhappiness” he feels over the state of the country. He went on to describe how people think he has self confidence and the the incompetence of the president and executive branch is “beyond belief.” He went on to explain that when he started to speak out about running for president, he had “no idea” what the reaction would be. The reaction is much greater than he though and he wants to turn America around from despair. In chapter one, Donald Trump asserts that “America needs to start winning again.” He begins by saying “Nobody likes a loser and nobody likes to be bullied.” He writes that he became a candidate because “We don’t need more political rhetoric, we need more common sense” and that he has proven everybody who doubted his candidacy wrong, “EVERYBODY” he writes. He sums up the first chapter with a continued series of short, declarative sentences: “Winning matters. Being the best matters….We need to ensure America starts winning once again.”
Hillary Clinton’s 634 page book, Hard Choices, (which includes an epilogue, acknowledgements and a comprehensive index), opens with an author’s note that is a brief biographical sketch explaining the titled for the book and how over the course of her entire life she has been faced with difficult choices — many of which involve the juggling the demands of work and family, such as caring for a sick child or an aging parent, figuring out how to pay for college, finding a good job, and what to do if you lose it. She explains to the reader that in making her decisions she has listened to both her heart and her head. She wrote: “I followed my heart to Arkansas; it burst with love at the birth of our daughter, Chelsea; and it ached with the losses of my father and mother. My head urged me forward in my education and professional choices.” She went on to explain that “My head urged me forward in my education and professional choices.” She makes the connection that what is “true in our daily lives is also true at the highest levels of government.” She concluded her author’s note with: “One thing that has never been a hard choice for me is serving our country. It has been the greatest honor of my life.” In the first chapter, titled “2008: Team of Rivals,” Hillary Clinton recounts how close she came to winning the nomination in 2008 and how disappointed she felt because she “came up short.” She described the first after campaign meeting with President Obama, held at Senator Dianne Feinstein’s home, over a glass of chardonnay and noted the similarities of she and Obama: “both lawyers who got our start as grassroots activities for social justice.” Their first meeting was awkward but “the candor of our conversation was reassuring and reinforced my resolve to support him.” She reflected on the criticism she received as a candidate and said, “One silver lining of defeat was that I came out of the experience realizing I no longer cared so much about what the critics said about me. I learned to take criticism seriously but not personally, and the campaign certainly tested me on that.” She also reflected on how difficult it was to accomplish the goals of her speech of concession at the Building Museum and how she composed her speech for the convention where she said, “Whether you voted for me, or you voted for Barack, the time is ow to unite as a single party with a single purpose. We are on the same team, and none of us can afford to sit on the sidelines.” As she mulled over the decision of whether or not to accept President Obama’s invitation to become Secretary of State, she kept “returning to a simple idea: When your President asks you to serve, you should say yes.” She noted upon reflection of her work at State, “The President fully lived up to his promises. He gave me free rein to choose my team, relied on my advice as his chief foreign policy advisor on the major decisions on his desk, and insisted on meeting often so we could speak candidly.” She concluded the chapter with “Our rivalry, once fierce, was now over. We were partners.”