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Publisher's 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

Overall

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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Story

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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,

88 of 103 people found this review helpful

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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.

118 of 139 people found this review helpful

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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.

106 of 126 people found this review helpful

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"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.

128 of 153 people found this review helpful

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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.

94 of 113 people found this review helpful

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If you liked her before, you won't anymore!!

Oh my goodness. I finally understand why people feel she's unlikeable! This entire book reeks of disdain for half the country.

I can summarize this book for you: I'm a kind loving amazing person with no flaws and I only lost because of racism, sexism, and Comey.

I had a favorable impression of her even though I'm conservative before but not anymore!

71 of 86 people found this review helpful

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Underwhelming

It is difficult to review this book without reflecting on the current political climate in which it exists. However, I will do my best. I am somewhat ambivalent toward Hillary Clinton. This stems from my expectations of this book, and its very real shortcomings. Even for someone who supported her during election, it is difficult to hear some passages without rolling my eyes. Most notably, when Clinton describes her relationships with friends and family, her lifelong achievements, and her policy positions for the betterment of the country, it comes off as.... too perfect. It is akin to asking someone in a job interview what their greatest weakness is, and they respond with "I often work too hard." Therefore, if you're looking for candid admissions of real flaws and hardships, you won't find them in this book.

There are a few other things that this book does not contain. Unlike some reviewers have mentioned, it does not contain blame shifting. Clinton does take full responsibility for her failure to win. She takes responsibility for having that "damn email" server, for being wary of the press, for not being able to connect with rural voters, for her "coal jobs" gaffe.

This book also does not contain any hints to her future endeavors, and yet reads eerily like we may be seeing more of Hillary Clinton. Especially in her remark that "Putin has not had the last laugh yet." While this is not an issue for me, I leave it for others to decide whether this is a good thing or not.

This book does contain a thorough description of Clinton's days after the election, her thoughts on the Russian investigation, many references to Trump (none all too flattering), a brief history of her public service, her viewpoints on some big issues our country faces today, and anecdotes from her mother's life. It also contains a few swear words, which gave me a brief chuckle in hearing Clinton read them.

Overall, this book probably won't change your mind on Clinton, and it isn't really supposed to. I think it is worth a read (or a listen).

16 of 19 people found this review helpful

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Hillary fails Voight-Kampff test

"Humans, I am one of you, dramatic pause, I consume your entertainment media, dramatic pause, you can trust me white female humans." One of the most painful, egotistical attempts at self promotion I have ever heard, read with the enthusiasm of Siri's less emotional older, meaner sister.

92 of 114 people found this review helpful

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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.<br/><br/>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.<br/><br/>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.<br/><br/>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.<br/><br/>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. <br/><br/>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.

137 of 172 people found this review helpful

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Found myself not caring and not listening at times

The audio book is just short of 17 hrs long. Hillary read it aloud about as deadpan and without emotion as one could read any mundane obscure medical journal. It’s her story for Christ’s sake let’s hear some different inflections to accentuate points or situations. And there are constantly annoying “quote” and “unquote” to the point that it gets distracting and takes away from the story. I get it, she wants it clear that it’s exactly what is said, word for word. But her precise inflection and enunciation sounds more like a talk to text dictation than her telling her own story. The devils bargain was way better put together, riveting, and read. I voted for her but the audio book is just a mess and not worth 17 hrs.

17 of 21 people found this review helpful

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  • Manavendra Pathania
  • 10-20-17

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.

14 of 20 people found this review helpful

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  • Colin McIntosh
  • 09-22-17

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

8 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Gray Emma
  • 09-16-17

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.

12 of 21 people found this review helpful

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  • Owen Williams
  • 09-19-17

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!

9 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Dr Omar Tillo
  • 10-15-17

Empty book, waste of time and space

Don’t waste your time and money. You’d expected to learn something new, or behind the scene facts. It was an empty regurgitation of the election camping, empty promises, blaming, moaning and boring.
Honestly I learned much more from reading the comedian Kevin Heart and Rob Webb’s memoirs than this.

10 of 18 people found this review helpful

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  • Malik Gibbons
  • 09-26-17

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.

6 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-28-17

a very insightful listen

It is always refreshing to have the author narrating and Hilary did a good job of that. This book made me realise that Hilary is very similar to Trump in her world outlook; she seems to believe, like Trump does, that everyone is to blame except for herself. On the one hand it is good that she can use this as an opportunity to express her frustrations but her attacks on everybody from Obama and Sanders to News outlooks and even the FBI seem very vindictive and hyperbolic in their lack of substance. There is also an extreme sense of entitlement that she should be President because she has experience and was the Democratic nominee. She seems to think that the green parties voters belong to her because she is 'progressive'. She failed to address her abhorrent foreign policy record or her infamous 'We came, we saw, he died' remarks about the brutal rape and murder of the leader of a sovereign foreign state. I think this book reinforces the idea that she was a lesser of two evils but that was not enough to win.

8 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Jessica
  • 09-16-17

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.

9 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-11-17

an important story that needs to be told

although Clinton comes across as self pitying and unable to accept the fact that a large number of Americans simply do not trust or like her, the story is an important one and one that people need to here if they truly care about democrat American values

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  • cat
  • 12-07-17

incredible read/ listen

This book is an amazing story from Hilary's side of the election. It really helped me to understand further the issues in America

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-14-17

Unexpectedly Emotional

This book took me by surprise. I was not quite ready for the impact it would have on me. What a thoughtful, pragmatic, powerful, compassionate woman. Someone I shamefully misjudged. Cannot recommend this book enough.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Nils
  • 12-03-17

Interesting but unstructured retrospective by HRC

HRC writing is like the narrative structure uneven, sometimes providing insightful commentary on the election and sometimes merely self-serving excuses. The best parts of the book is when gives context to her flaws without being defensive.

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  • Chirag
  • 11-30-17

highly recommended

It is as much a reflection as it is an explanation on what happened. Insightful and balanced.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-23-17

Bittersweet and Truthful

Hillary lost, but she's gotten over it.

Instead of using her time to throw witty remarks and spread hate (like some people consider this book is), she spent her time elaborating the controllable Strengths and Weaknesses of her campaign, including the mistakes she made, while detailing the uncontrollable Opportunities and Threats she faced - including those God-darn emails!

But, despite being laden with all these facts, she manages to keep sprinkles of hope trailing the journey this book undertakes. It could easily be summed up by three quotes:

"You try, you fail, you try, you fail... but the only true failure is when you stop trying." - Madame Leota, The Haunted Mansion

&

"A ship is always safe at shore, but that is not what it is built for." - Albert Einstein

&

"Keep going." - Hillary Rodham Clinton

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  • Roland
  • 11-16-17

What Happened?

The title should have come with a question mark. It's clear Hillary still doesn't see how it happened.
But her book does an excellent job of explaining how she lost. Although it's still not clear how Trump won.
Her flat narration is part of the reason. She sounded like she was speaking to a microphone rather than through it to an audience.
She threw out hundreds of reminders that she is a female.
She almost lost the white college educated womens vote because a large share of this cohort don't rely on the woman card and resent those that do. It undermines their legitimacy that some of their peers pull of the woman card.
But Hillary can't be faulted for her honesty. When she says she can't fathom how a college aged man in the late sixties would prefer he toot h place of woman, lest he get drafted. I believe her. When she says here Brooklyn office was decorated with a sign "wonks for the win". I believe her. As though swing voters are interested in parsing policy detail. Almost autistic interpretation of human motivation.
She really thought laying down good policies is the path to election victory. Weird.
It's a popularity contest.
She lost to Trump.
She took his ties with Russia as a headwind. Bill would have handled that like the tailwind it was.
But at the time, during the campaign, she was ahead on virtually every single poll. Her advisors were banking cheques saying she didn't need to change anything and her approach (ex 2008 and the first Arkansas gubernatorial where she forgot she was in the south and needed to change her last name) had worked.
...
One final note that wasn't in the book, the experience of the middle of the road TV audience. Nightly they saw TV panel hosts tear into Trump for some gaffe. Laughing at him. Pointing out how this gaffe reminded them of an earlier gaffe. And then they produced some time for their sponsors, the ads. These ads were disproportionality HRC ads. Trump telecast only a tiny number of ads. For all the world it looked like the sponsor of the show had infiltrated the editorial.
Her ads were undermining her campaign. She saw how sharp the ads looked, but didn't consider the context they would be shown in.
...
Conditions and changed and HRC wasn't aware.
She didn't have the staff, the incentive (she was far ahead in the polls) or the natural ability (anyone that is surprised in then1970's the Arkansas isn't ready for a wife not taking her husbands name is not terrific at empathy of those not like her).
Post-Mortems on yourself are extremely hard, empathy for people unlike yourself is also vexing.
This book communicated clearly that Hillary Rodham Clinton was a terrible campaigner, perhaps the worst ever. But a marvellous candidate.
...
To attempt a post mortem after the great personal humiliation ever is courageous. The boom shows how excruciatingly hard such a task is.
And yet look at the prior world record humiliation, Richard Nixon and how he could explain his downfall in his "never be petty" speech. Post mortems are hard. But some can do them.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-25-17

"Keep going"

Rodham Clinton delivers in this inspiring book. Her message of persistence and authenticity is moving.

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  • Candy
  • 10-21-17

Fantasic

I enjoyed this brutally honest and very brave account from Hillary Clinton
. I felt she did a spectacular job of writing and reading it .I highly recommend it !

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  • Kelum Hettiarachchi
  • 10-04-17

a famtastic read written from the heart !

what happened is and always will be a memorable book for me. it is both timely and comes from the writers heart. before i read the book i was not so much of a beliver of hillary clinton. that has changed a lot since i read the book. i belive with her election loss in 2016 america and the rest of the world lost the golden opportunity to see the work of a determined female leader in politics. but most of the americans let trivial issues stop them from electing her. in her book secretary clinton takes responsibility for her own shortcomings. i think it is time we all did the same. that lesson, that we must stop looking for the perfect and flawless candidate is to me the most important lesson of all. even before reading this great book i would have voted for HRC. but now after reading her book i would never hesitate knowing whats in her heart and mind. all in all a perfect piece of wrintng which also attempts to ease our pain in the deceitful political arena exacerbated by the trump white house. i give it 4.5 stars out of 5.

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  • Maria Jones
  • 09-22-17

Fantastic

I really enjoyed this audio book. Clinton does a fantastic job reading. Most interesting, was to hear how the media covered the election, and the influence they had in deciding what they chose to report or not, and the construction of Clinton's persona. Highly recommend.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • MM
  • 09-20-17

3 of 4 musings prove true @Sept 2017

Shivers listening to the final chapter as HRC contrasts Trump's failure to govern against the bigger picture. Imagining 4 different serious disasters- each a test for a strong leader - and as I listened, having just seen Trump's taunts at the UN, wonder how much HRC could see into the future, as 3 of her examples have happened

1 of 2 people found this review helpful