Portraying Clinton with all due complexity, D’Antonio chronicles every public ordeal she endured as First Lady of Arkansas and the United States, U.S. senator, secretary of state, and popular-vote-winning presidential candidate in pinpoint detail, then reveals with equal meticulousness the vicious machinations of the Right as their hostile tactics grew ever more diabolical and perversely profitable, their hypocrisy epic. He calls out a veritable army of character assassins, including Newt Gingrich, Roger Ailes, Kenneth Starr, Brett Kavanaugh, Rush Limbaugh, and Donald Trump, contrasting their venomous and ludicrous accusations and outright threats with Clinton’s poise, stamina, and dignity under fire. This galvanizing exposé will stand as a key resource in the study of sexism and politics.
[D'Antonio] is a fluid writer, responsible summarizer and diligent researcher. This volume is a comprehensive history of the way right-wing attacks have both replicated and morphed over the decades, and across technologies ... But the book is most successful as a work within the terms of its chosen genre: Clinton defense. Just as the Clinton prosecution — in the manner of Edward Klein and Peter Schweizer — is a recognizable literary category (one to which D’Antonio rightly draws critical attention), so is Clinton defense. (The defense is less given to magical realism; D’Antonio writes factually and journalistically) ... This book goes over a lot of familiar biographical terrain but is at its most interesting when it relates the details of the complicated, twisty scandals that have been hyped up and then boiled down into catchphrases: Whitewater, Benghazi, the email server. Still, anything that happened in Clinton’s career between the moments when she was most fervidly pursued by the right is skirted over quickly, unsatisfyingly ... D’Antonio does a certain amount of feminist-inflected analysis in his text, particularly in the early biographical chapters ... It’s impossible to argue with the substance of this — misogyny is hypermagnetized toward Clinton, not to mention virtually every woman in politics or the public eye — but it’s a comment that’s certainly been made before. And in places, D’Antonio seems a little blinkered from noticing sexism that doesn’t target Clinton herself. He isn’t particularly generous or thoughtful in his assessment of the way the media treated women like Paula Jones or Monica Lewinsky, or Juanita Broaddrick, who made a credible accusation of rape against Bill Clinton that has, in recent years, become the subject of much feminist reconsideration ... The fact of Bill Clinton’s unfaithfulness is mostly used as a launching point for discussing the right’s exploitation of it. D’Antonio can rarely bring himself to admit the couple have legitimate baggage ... It’s understandable that D’Antonio might shy away from anything that would seem to feed the trolls — more than three years after Clinton’s loss, in the midst of a world-historical pandemic and impending economic ruin, several of the most-shared “news” stories on Facebook in March involved Hillary Clinton’s emails — but there is little room in this book for considering that the Hillary Clinton story, in all its complicated richness and particularity, may not best be presented as a chapter from the Lives of the Martyrs.
... exhausting ... the notion of scapegoat sacrifice deserves more thoughtful exploration ... We’ve read most of this before. D’Antonio is a workmanlike compiler of other people’s reporting and insights — he produces a new book every year or so — and his intentions are good. But there is no art to it. Indeed, quite the opposite: The book plods along through Whitewater and Lewinsky and Benghazi and the email non-scandals, and a host of others. There is the familiar cast of twisted characters ... There are occasional revelations — or rediscoveries — along the way ... I suppose there is value in compiling all this vile stuff. There will be first-time voters in 2020 who weren’t even born when Bill Clinton was president, and they should know where the Trumpist wing-nuttery came from. For the rest of us, though, there is a larger question, unasked in this book: In the end, what are we to make of Bill and Hillary Clinton — not just as 'magical' scapegoats but as public servants ... D’Antonio’s assessment is saintly, although he does allow that she has a temper ... In the end, a true scapegoat sacrifice tells us more about the sins of the society in question than about the goat. The Hunting of Hillary was always more about us than it was about her.