All of us face hard choices in our lives,” Hillary Rodham Clinton writes at the start of this personal chronicle of years at the center of world events. "Life is about making such choices. Our choices and how we handle them shape the people we become."

In the aftermath of her 2008 presidential run, she expected to return to representing New York in the United States Senate. To her surprise, her former rival for the Democratic Party nomination, newly elected President Barack Obama, asked her to serve in his administration as Secretary of State. This memoir is the story of the four extraordinary and historic years that followed, and the hard choices that she and her colleagues confronted.

Secretary Clinton and President Obama had to decide how to repair fractured alliances, wind down two wars, and address a global financial crisis. They faced a rising competitor in China, growing threats from Iran and North Korea, and revolutions across the Middle East. Along the way, they grappled with some of the toughest dilemmas of US foreign policy, especially the decision to send Americans into harm’s way, from Afghanistan to Libya to the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

By the end of her tenure, Secretary Clinton had visited 112 countries, traveled nearly one million miles, and gained a truly global perspective on many of the major trends reshaping the landscape of the twenty-first century, from economic inequality to climate change to revolutions in energy, communications, and health. Drawing on conversations with numerous leaders and experts, Secretary Clinton offers her views on what it will take for the United States to compete and thrive in an interdependent world. She makes a passionate case for human rights and the full participation in society of women , youth, and LGBT people. An astute eyewitness to decades of social change, she distinguishes the trendlines from the headlines and describes the progress occurring throughout the world, day after day.

Secretary Clinton’s descriptions of diplomatic conversations at the highest levels offer readers a master class in international relations, as does her analysis of how we can best use “smart power” to deliver security and prosperity in a rapidly changing world—one in which America remains the indispensable nation.

A Letter From the Publisher of Hard Choices

Dear Reader,

I was trying to convey to my young daughter the significance of publishing Hillary Rodham Clinton, so I typed “Most Admired Woman in the World” on Google. You can guess whose name came up first, again and again.

Much will be written about Secretary Clinton’s latest book, Hard Choices. Here’s what I know, based on my own experience as her editor and her long history with our company:

Secretary Clinton has been a loyal Simon & Schuster author for 18 years, working with Carolyn Reidy, Simon & Schuster’s Chief Executive Officer, who acquired all five of her books. It Takes a Village (1996) explored the ways in which public policy affects children. Living History (2003), her first memoir, spent 18 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, was published in 36 countries, and sold approximately four million copies worldwide.

The author worked on Hard Choices from February 2013 through May 2014, mostly on the third floor of her home in Chappaqua, New York. The book principally covers her four years as America’s 67th Secretary of State, but those experiences are informed by events throughout her entire public life, which she also describes. As her editor, I’m pleased to report that Secretary Clinton addressed every topic I raised while working on the manuscript, through numerous drafts.

While she was writing, she had to balance a challenging set of objectives: to tell interesting and entertaining stories while offering substantive analysis of policy; to describe her experiences as Secretary of State accurately and candidly without compromising the trust of her former colleagues and ongoing diplomatic efforts; to cover recent history while also looking forward; to raise awareness of crucial issues; and to engage readers of general nonfiction as well as those who follow international issues closely.

The result of those efforts is a brilliantly perceived, behind-the-scenes account of how world leaders make decisions that affect our lives.

No one has had the range of experience Hillary Clinton has had. Over the past 22 years, she has been our First Lady, a U.S. Senator, and a Secretary of State. Only a few people in the world have had such a close and sustained view of major events. That’s why the stories and analysis in Hard Choices are so illuminating. With this remarkable book, Hillary Clinton has made a lasting contribution to the historical record, and, more immediately, an important contribution to an international conversation all of us will benefit from having.


Jonathan Karp

President and Publisher of Simon & Schuster

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