In the context of our enduring fixation, Chasing Hillary reads like a surprisingly intimate campaign memoir ... Unusually, it is Chozick’s own, admitted obsession with Hillary Clinton which lends her book not just credibility but gravity. Having been on the front lines, Chozick has a keen understanding of the current political climate. She grasps the power of obsession in today’s politics and doesn’t pretend to be immune; rather, she crafts a compelling narrative out of her own biases and experiences that reads like a juicy but insightful novel. At times, she comes up short when it comes to honest reflection on the big themes...But Chozick thrives at bringing campaign shenanigans down to a human level ... Chasing Hillary succeeds because, unlike so many recent tell-alls which have purported to shed light, Chozick relishes the incendiary ... Chozick observes Clinton critically but in admiration. Their relationship is richly complex, if mostly unspoken: a fascinating portrait of two brilliant, wounded women unknowingly headed for a collision course ... In its emotional messiness, Chozick’s story commands nuance. Politics is personal, and the personal is never clear-cut.
In Chasing Hillary, Chozick has written neither a raw personal memoir nor a biography of Clinton, but rather an account of all the elements that came between Clinton and the journalists condemned to cover her. Her impressions of Clinton are less about the woman herself and more about the brutally effective apparatus that shielded her from public view ... With her lively voice and eye for detail, Chasing Hillary is an enjoyable read, like The Devil Wears Prada meets The Boys on the Bus ... Political junkies will enjoy deciphering her various pseudonyms for Clinton staffers, history junkies will find a valuable first-person account of an extraordinary campaign, media junkies will devour the backstage antics of the traveling press corps ... ordinary readers may find themselves swimming in references to journalists and staffers who are far from household names ... Chasing Hillary is a portrait of two women with shared hopes and weaknesses, both driven and blinded by an ambition that could be possible only in the 21st century, bound by history but not by love. This book won’t make you know Hillary any better. But it will help you understand why you don’t.
These dodgy ethics are what make Chasing Hillary so wickedly readable: like Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury it’s a nonfiction novel, in which scenes have been 'recreated from memory' and identities concealed by pseudonyms, 'sometimes to protect the innocent but usually to protect the story' and keep it from sagging into tedium. But how can journalists hold Trump to account for his whoppers if they also artfully elasticise the facts? ... Chozick’s infatuation with her subject is personal as well as professional, and Chasing Hillary might have been entitled Stalking Hillary. It’s the sad, comical tale of an unreciprocated love that slithers into disillusion, before belatedly lurching back to implore forgiveness.
Chozick, whose prose can be as lethal as that of Maureen Dowd, her newspaper’s most Clintonphobic columnist, generated oceans of anguish. The relationship between the Clintons and America’s leading newspaper was 'weighed down by old grudges and fresh grievances,' writes Chozick ... it is Chelsea Clinton who fares worst in Chasing Hillary. Chozick writes that the former first daughter was so demanding that even her mother’s staff spoke ill of her ... Perhaps we should see it now as a funeral for how politics used to be done. Almost nobody, including Chozick, saw it coming. But her book captures the horrors of the journey. It is worth its price in stilettoed prose. Her future as a writer is strawberry-coloured.
Chozick aims her most withering criticism at herself. You’ll feel sympathy every time she checks into a low-rent motel or is relegated to another lunch from Panera Bread, but she’s quick to confess how much her complicated feelings for Clinton could override her duties to report all the news that’s fit to print. Those revelations may not sit well with her colleagues at the New York Times, but those looking for a raw, brutally honest examination of a reporter’s life will be riveted.
Chozick’s narrative, stretching over Clinton’s two campaigns, is, like the campaigns themselves, a blend of the fraught and the bland: too many buffets and too much alcohol here, breaking news and critical moments there ... Entertaining and informative reading for politics junkies, though not as meaty as Katy Tur’s Unbelievable, reporting on the other side.