Beginning with the 1992 presidential campaign that propelled them to two terms in the White House, Hillary and Bill Clinton have occupied the American political stage like no other couple in history. Indeed, it is impossible to understand the past twenty-five years of American politics without understanding the Clintons. Hillary redefined the role of First Lady, taking an office in the West Wing and becoming a key member of the president’s inner circle of policymakers. As the Clinton presidency ended, Hillary won a seat in the US Senate, where she served for eight years until President Barack Obama appointed her secretary of state. Hillary’s strong campaigns for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008 and 2016 shattered the barriers against women running for America’s highest political office and made it possible to believe that a woman can now become president of the United States.
Hillary’s quarter century in the public spotlight and 2016 presidential bid offer a natural opportunity to look back at her transformation into a national policymaker, a transformation that occurred behind the scenes in the Clinton White House. One observer who had inside access to Hillary Clinton as she grew from advocate to policymaker was the former Clinton White House photographer, Robert McNeely. In The Making of Hillary Clinton, he presents a richly observed psychological portrait of Hillary’s work in the White House, comprising one hundred previously unpublished photographs drawn from his archive at the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin. McNeely reveals Hillary’s central participation in areas of politics and policy, ranging from health care reform and other domestic issues to international conflicts, far beyond that of any of previous presidential spouse. The photographs clearly show how her experiences in the White House laid the groundwork for her future political career as senator from New York, secretary of state, and presidential candidate.