The latest book on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton does not hastily analyze the 2016 presidential possibility, nor does it shed light on her personal life outside the White House. Instead, The Secretary, written by BBC journalist Kim Ghattas and released by Times Books on Tuesday, provides insight into Clinton’s navigation through the rigorous, intriguing and complicated world of foreign policy.
From visiting 112 countries to addressing the 2012 Benghazi attacks, Ghattas’ book explores how Clinton’s professional struggles and accomplishments strongly impacted the Obama Administration and ultimately took geopolitics into new directions. In a recent interview with Glamour, Ghattas described her own body of work as, '[A] journey in the company of fallible human beings who devise American foreign policy in an increasingly complicated world.'
Growing up in Beirut, Ghattas integrates the stories from her own life and experiences as a guide in better understanding the goals and initiatives of Clinton’s role in the Middle East. When asked about Clinton’s image, Ghattas states, 'People see her as a role model, iconic figure...but [she] remains a polarizing figure despite her very high ratings in the polls.'
The Secretary has so far garnered attention and acclaim from both readers and reviewers alike. It currently sits at the top of Amazon.com’s bestseller list under the International Diplomacy section, enjoying a customer review average of four-and-a-half stars.
Additionally, recent reviews on Ghattas’ new book have generally been favorable by critics. Bob Minzesheimer of USA Today found the book to be, 'Balanced and informative,' while The Guardian praised the book for illustrating Clinton as a tough but compassionate diplomatic broker who wanted to emphasize the United States, '[Not] so much as a dominant superpower but as a willing partner that people can do business with, whatever the nature of the business.'
But like Clinton, The Secretary does not lack criticism. Sohrab Ahmari of the Wall Street Journal felt that the book’s comprehensiveness more so exposed Ghattas as somewhat pedantic and boastful. He states, 'Ms. Ghattas clearly enjoys the access that her job entails and deems no detail of life in the State Department press corps too insignificant to share.'
Her most recent work, Living History, was published in 2003.