TIME Foreign Policy

Here’s What John Kerry Can Learn From Hillary About Israel’s New Crisis

Clinton writes that Obama was "understandably wary" about intervening the last time violence flared

Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, amid rising fears that the confrontation between Israel and Hamas could escalate to new levels of bloodshed. But Kerry might also want to talk to his Foggy Bottom predecessor about how the last round of violence in the intractable conflict was defused.

When Israel and Hamas last fought in Gaza in November 2012, President Barack Obama dispatched then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to broker a cease-fire. As Israel called up 75,000 reservists for a possible ground invasion, Obama was “understandably wary” of the U.S. taking a direct mediation role, Clinton writes in her new book, Hard Choices.

“If we tried to broker a cease-fire and failed, as seemed quite likely, it would sap America’s prestige and credibility in the region,” Clinton says. American involvement might also risk undercutting Israel, whose “right to defend itself” Clinton underscores. Obama officials also worried a U.S. role might “elevate” the conflict’s profile, leading both sides to harden their negotiating positions.

Even so, Clinton and Obama concluded that it was “imperative to resolve the crisis before it became a ground war.” Clinton knew that Netanyahu didn’t want to invade Gaza — but that he faced domestic pressure to do so and had no clear “exit ramp” that would allow him to de-escalate without seeming to back down, Clinton writes.

Just over 18 months later, many of the same dynamics apply as Obama weighs whether Kerry can — or should — broker a deal like the one Clinton struck.

For now, Obama officials have two public messages. One is that Israel is entitled to hit back at Hamas when the hard-line Palestinian group launches rockets at its territory. “No country can accept rocket fire aimed at civilians, and we certainly support Israel’s right to defend itself against these attacks,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Tuesday. The other is that the two sides should rein in the violence — which now takes the form of Hamas rocket attacks and Israeli air strikes. “We’re continuing to convey the need to de-escalate to both sides,” Psaki said.

That may not happen on its own, warns Dennis Ross, a former Obama White House aide who has handled Middle East issues for multiple Presidents. “Even if neither side wants it to spin out of control, the potential for that is quite high,” Ross says.

That’s why Obama has to decide whether to step in, especially given growing signs of an Israeli ground invasion of Gaza. Israel’s 2009 incursion into the Hamas-governed coastal territory left 1,400 dead, and badly damaged Israel’s international image. A second invasion was averted in November 2012 only by the Clinton-brokered cease-fire, a deal struck just 48 hours before Israeli troops planned to swarm into Hamas’ stronghold.

Just before Thanksgiving that year, Clinton flew to the region and met with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. She also saw Egypt’s then President Mohamed Morsi, whose Muslim Brotherhood government was friendly with Hamas. The result was a mutual cease-fire, overseen by Egypt, with the promise of future negotiations about Hamas’ rocket arsenal and Israel’s Gaza blockade. Those talks never went far. But the cease-fire held. (Netanyahu won another concession, Clinton recalls: a phone call from Obama promising U.S. help against rocket smuggling into Gaza. “Did [Netanyahu] take some personal satisfaction from making the President jump through hoops?” Clinton wondered.)

Obama faces a different calculus today, including the recent collapse of Kerry’s push for a Middle East peace deal, and a new Egyptian regime that is decidedly hostile to Hamas, making Cairo unlikely to mediate again.

But many of the core principles that Clinton says swayed Obama in 2012 likely still resonate at the White House: that peace in the Middle East is a key U.S. national-security priority, that a ground war in Gaza would be disastrous, and that there is “no substitute for American leadership.” Indeed, Clinton writes that after the 2012 cease-fire deal, an Israeli official told her that “my diplomatic intervention was the only thing standing in the way of a much more explosive confrontation.”

The burning question for Obama is whether the same holds true today.

TIME Morning Must Reads

Morning Must Reads: July 7

Capitol
The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson—Getty Images

In the news: Ukraine military's remarkable transformation; NSA targeting; Why we stuck with Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki; Obamacare; The Highway Trust Fund; Hillary distances herself from the President; Bloomberg's gun control group

  • Ukraine Military Finds Its Footing Against Pro-Russian Rebels [NYT]
  • Why We Stuck With Maliki—and Lost Iraq [WashPost]
    • “Tony Blair has demanded a change of government in Iraq unless the Maliki regime abandons sectarianism.” [The Telegraph]
  • “Ordinary Internet users, American and non-American alike, far outnumber legally targeted foreigners in the communications intercepted by the National Security Agency from U.S. digital networks…” [WashPost]
  • Obamacare’s Next Threat: A September Surprise [Politico]
  • “Lawmakers are under pressure to refill the Highway Trust Fund when they return to Washington after the Fourth of July weekend or risk losing thousands of construction jobs that could set back recent job growth.” [Hill]
  • “Hillary Clinton has begun distancing herself from President Barack Obama, suggesting that she would do more to woo Republicans and take a more assertive stance toward global crises, while sounding more downbeat than her former boss about the U.S. economic recovery.” [WSJ]
  • “Bloomberg’s group, Everytown for Gun Safety, is asking all Senate and House incumbents and candidates to complete a 10-part questionnaire stating publicly where they stand on issues such as expanding background checks for gun buyers, limiting the capacity of ammunition magazines and toughening gun-trafficking statutes.” [WashPost]
  • A ‘Band-Aid’ for 800 Children [WashPost]
TIME

Hillary Clinton Calls Hobby Lobby Decision a ‘Really Bad Slippery Slope’

Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at Afternoon of Conversation during the 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival at the Aspen Institute on June 30, 2014 in Aspen, Colo.
Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at Afternoon of Conversation during the 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival at the Aspen Institute on June 30, 2014 in Aspen, Colo. Leigh Vogel—Getty Images

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the Supreme Court’s decision on Hobby Lobby’s challenge to the Obamacare contraceptive-coverage mandate. The ruling that closely held corporations can deny birth control coverage to their employees on religious grounds, she said, is “a really bad slippery slope.”

In an Facebook Live interview with former TIME editor and Aspen Institute president and CEO Walter Isaacson at the Aspen Ideas Festival, Clinton said she found the implication that “a closely held corporation has the rights of a person when it comes to religious freedom” to be “deeply disturbing.”

“It’s very troubling that a sales clerk at Hobby Lobby who needs contraception, which is pretty expensive, is not going to get that service through her employer’s health care plan because her employer doesn’t think she should be using contraception,” Clinton said. “We’re always going to argue about abortion. It’s controversial. And that’s why I’m pro-choice, because I want people to be able to make their own choices.”

Clinton discussed how her career has focused on the rights of women and girls in particular. Chief among those rights, she said, “is control over their bodies, control over their own health care, control over the size of their families.”

Justice Anthony Kennedy’s concurring opinion that the government could simply step in to offer free contraception coverage to the affected women drew skepticism from Clinton.

“So does this mean whoever wrote that concurrence is in favor of a single-payer system for contraception?” Clinton asked.

She also warned that companies may soon try to roll back coverage for treatments like blood transfusions. “I mean, this is a really bad slippery slope,” she said.

Clinton defended her husband, former President Bill Clinton, who signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which underpinned the court’s decision, saying that the legislation had been intended for a different purpose and was a product of another time.

“Bill signed [the act] in the ’90s, because at that point there were legitimate cases of discrimination against religions,” she said. “The people who wanted to build a church or a synagogue or a mosque in a community, and they fit into the zoning but the community was saying ‘we don’t want one of those in our community.’ You know, that was blatant discrimination on the basis of religion.”

Religious freedom for corporate entities, Clinton added, is “certainly a use that no one foresaw, and Justice Ginsburg makes that very clear.” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote a sharply worded 35-page dissent on the Hobby Lobby ruling.

 

TIME 2016 Election

Obama: Flap Over Hillary’s Wealth Not a Big Deal

"Over time, I don't think it's going to make a big difference"

President Barack Obama said Sunday that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent troubles discussing her wealth shouldn’t “make a big difference” should she decide to run for president in 2016.

Clinton has come under fire in recent weeks for comments about the fortune she and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, have amassed from speaking fees and books since leaving the White House, with Republicans and even some Democrats branding her as out of touch.

Speaking to George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s This Week, Obama said the controversy, which has opened a divide between Clinton and her party’s growing populist wing, would pass.

“I think that Hillary has been to this rodeo a bunch of times,” he said. “She is in public service because she cares about the same folks that I talked to here today. As soon as you jump back into the spotlight in a more explicitly political way, you’re going to be flyspecked like this, and she’s accustomed to it.”

“Over time, I don’t think it’s going to make a big difference,” Obama concluded.

Just last week Vice President Joe Biden drew an implicit contrast with Clinton’s wealth at a White House summit on working families.

TIME China

7 Reasons Chinese Censors Don’t Like Hillary Clinton’s Hard Choices

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives to sign copies of her book "Hard Choices" at a Barnes & Noble book store in Los Angeles
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives to sign copies of her book "Hard Choices" at a Barnes & Noble book store in Los Angeles, California on June 19, 2014. Lucy Nicholson—Reuters

Though careful in her handling of domestic political hot potatoes, the former Secretary of State holds little back when it comes to China

The publisher of Hillary Clinton’s new political memoir, Hard Choices, told Buzzfeed Thursday that sales of the book have been effectively banned in China.

The reasons are not hard to figure out. Clinton’s book, though notable for its careful treatment of controversial domestic issues, is full of criticism of the Chinese regime and its existing policy of state censorship. She also goes into great detail about her interactions with senior Chinese officials on some of the most sensitive issues for China, and maintains a consistent tone of disapproval for the regimes suppression of Democratic rights.

Here is a cursory glance at seven passages from the book that may be the most offensive to the Chinese:

She knocks China for blocking a U.N. resolution to call out North Korea for sinking of a South Korean naval vessel.

“Here was one of China’s contradictions in full view. Beijing claimed to prize stability above all else, yet it was tacitly condoning naked aggression that was profoundly destabilizing.” (Page 56)

She details China’s recent domestic suppression efforts.

“Things had only gotten worse in 2011. In the first few months, dozens of public interest lawyers, writers, artists, intellectuals, and activists were arbitrarily detained and arrested.” (Page 63)

She describes the work of Chinese censorship efforts on her speeches.

“In China, however, censors went right to work erasing mentions of my message from the Internet.” (Page 64)

She describes confrontations with President Jiang about China’s treatment of Tibet.

“‘But what about their traditions and the right to practice their religion as they choose?’ I persisted. He forcefully insisted that Tibet was a part of China and demanded to know why Americans advocated for those ‘necromancers.’ Tibetans ‘were victims of religion. They are now freed from feudalism,’ he declared.” (page 68)

She questions the power of former Chinese President Hu Jintao

[H]e lacked the personal authority of predecessors such as Deng Xiaoping or Jiang Zemin. Hu seemed to me more like an aloof chairman of the board than a hands-on CEO. (Page 72)

She tells the story of dissident lawyer Chen Guangcheng taking refuge in the U.S. embassy.

Bob hustled Chen into the car, threw a jacket over his head, and sped off. Bob reported back to Washington with an update from the car, and we all held our breath, hoping that they wouldn’t be stopped before reaching the safety of the embassy grounds. (Page 87)

She describes the Chinese crackdown on speech, and the nation’s censorship regime.

“The ‘Great Firewall’ blocked foreign websites and particular pages with content perceived as threatening to the Communist Party. Some reports estimate that China employed as many as 100,000 censors to patrol the web.” (Page 548)

TIME Morning Must Reads

Morning Must Reads: June 27

Capitol
The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson—Getty Images

In the news: The partition of Iraq; Ukraine signs historic EU agreement; U.S. involvement in Syria's civil war; Supreme Court rules on presidential appointment powers and abortion clinic buffer zones; World War I centennial; Clinton's book and the Chinese market; U.S. advances to the next round of the World Cup

  • “Over the past two weeks, the specter that has haunted Iraq since its founding 93 years ago appears to have become a reality: the de facto partition of the country into Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish cantons.” [NYT]
    • “Iraqi insurgents executed at least 160 captives earlier this month in the northern city of Tikrit, Human Rights Watch said Friday … ” [AP]
  • “Ukraine signed on Friday an historic free-trade agreement with the European Union that has been at the heart of months of violence and upheaval in the country, drawing an immediate threat of ‘grave consequences’ from Russia.” [Reuters]
  • “The Obama administration asked Congress on Thursday to authorize $500 million in direct U.S. military training and equipment for Syrian opposition fighters, a move that could significantly escalate U.S. involvement in Syria’s civil war.” [WashPost]
  • Scars of World War I Linger in Europe on Eve of Centennial [WSJ]
  • “The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a Massachusetts law mandating a 35-foot “buffer zone” around abortion clinics is unconstitutional because it limited speech on sidewalks and other ‘public fora.’ But in dozens of other decisions over the last 30 years, the court has held that buffer zones can be constitutional.” [TIME]
  • “Handing a victory to those who fear the executive branch has overreached in recent years, the Supreme Court has reined in the President’s power to appoint officers of the government when Congress is in recess.” [TIME]
  • “The best chance in three decades to rewrite immigration laws has slipped away just one year after the Senate garnered 68 votes for sweeping reform of the system, 20 months after strong Hispanic turnout for Democrats in the 2012 election sparked a GOP panic, and five years after Obama promised to act.” [Politico]
  • Here are the 43,634 properties in Detroit that were on the brink of foreclosure this year [NYT]
  • “Hillary Clinton’s new book will not be sold in mainland China, despite efforts by her publisher, Simon & Schuster, to sell the memoir there.” [BuzzFeed]
    • “Bill Clinton has been paid $104.9 million for 542 speeches around the world between January 2001, when he left the White House, and January 2013, when Hillary stepped down as secretary of state…” [WashPost]
  • “Unattractive, maybe, but not undeserved. The U.S. national men’s soccer team advanced to the knockout stage of the World Cup on Thursday despite losing to Germany.” [TIME]
TIME faith

Hillary Clinton: Anchored by Faith

Brooks Kraft/Corbis for TIME

Since childhood, the former Secretary of State's Methodist beliefs have inspired public service and private devotion

This originally appeared in TIME’s book Hillary: An American Life, available on newsstands everywhere June 27.

Hillary Clinton once described her faith as the background music of her life. Whether she hears it as Chopin, Bach or even U2, she did not say, but the tune, she said, never fades away. “It’s there all the time. It’s not something you have to think about, you believe it,” she said in an interview with the New York Times. “You have a faith center out of which the rest flows.”

It can be easy to tune out background music, especially amid the political cacophony that has so often dominated Clinton’s public life. But the former Secretary of State, U.S. Senator and First Lady is, and has always been, a Methodist. Her faith is at once public yet personal, quiet yet bold. She is part of the second-largest Protestant group in the country, but her brand of faith has never been mainstream: Methodists make up about 6% of the total U.S. adult population, according to the Pew Research Center.

If Methodists are known for one thing, it is, as the old church saying goes, that they are always looking for a mission. Clinton is no exception. Her sense of purpose has guided her from Wellesley to Washington, and may push her to seek the White House again come 2016. Certainly political aspirations have motivated her career. But her faith has also driven her, if not equally, at least consistently, to give her life to the pursuit of a higher calling.

Step By Step

Methodism knew Clinton even before she was born. Family lore has it that John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church, converted her great-great-grandparents in the coal-mining villages of Newcastle, in northeast England, in the 19th century. Clinton grew up attending First United Methodist Church of Park Ridge in Chicago, where she was confirmed in sixth grade. Her mother taught Sunday school, and Clinton was active in youth group, Bible studies and altar guild. On Saturdays during Illinois’s harvest season, she and others from her youth group would babysit children of nearby migrant workers. As the Wesleyan mantra instructed them, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”

One man in particular had a strong influence on her young faith: Donald Jones, who came to Park Ridge as the new youth minister when Clinton was a high school freshman. A Drew University Seminary graduate, Jones’s own theology had the imprint of theological heavyweights like Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Reinhold Niebuhr, and he made it his mission to give the youth a strong and broad theological training. He created a “University of Life” for his youth-group students and introduced Clinton and her peers to the great works of T.S. Eliot, E.E. Cummings, Dostoyevsky and Picasso. Faith, he argued, must be lived out in social justice and human rights. Jones ensured that students connected these ideas to life in their own communities, arranging exchanges with youth groups at black and Hispanic churches in Chicago’s inner city so that his students became aware of life beyond Park Ridge. Most important, he introduced Clinton to Martin Luther King Jr. when he came to Chicago in 1962. “Until then, I had been dimly aware of the social revolution occurring in our country,” Clinton recalled in her memoir Living History, “but Dr. King’s words illuminated the struggle taking place and challenged our indifference.”

This socially active current remained the lifeblood of her faith as her political career began to take shape. At Wellesley, Clinton regularly read the Methodist Church’s Motive magazine, and she credited it with helping her to realize that her political beliefs were no longer aligned with the Republican Party and that she should step down as president of the Young Republicans. During her Yale Law School years, she worked for anti-poverty activist Marian Wright Edelman, who is now president of the Children’s Defense Fund, and researched the education and health of migrant children she had known earlier. When she finally decided to marry a young Southern Baptist named Bill Clinton in Oct. 1975, it was local Arkansas Methodist minister Vic Nixon who married them in their living room.

Clinton became the first Methodist First Lady in the White House since President Warren Harding’s wife, Florence, who followed Methodist First Ladies Ida McKinley, Lucy Hayes, Julia Grant and Eliza Johnson. She soon brought issues like health-care reform and women’s rights to the national spotlight (even though faith alone could not make what came to be known as “Hillarycare” succeed). The Clintons regularly attended the Foundry United Methodist Church, a socially active church that today is an advocate for gay and lesbian rights, not far from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. “As a Christian, part of my obligation is to take action to alleviate suffering,” she told the United Methodist News Service not long after her husband was elected. “Explicit recognition of that in the Methodist tradition is one reason I’m comfortable in this church.”

While Clinton’s faith has always emphasized public service, it also has a private side that runs deep. Prayer and reflection have been at the core of her spiritual life, and she has been known to carry a small book of her favorite Scripture verses to reflect upon in quiet moments. “My faith has always been primarily personal,” she once told the New York Times. “It is how I live my life and who I am, and I have tried through my works to demonstrate a level of commitment and compassion that flow from my faith.”

At times, she would let the public catch a glimpse of this inner faith. When George H.W. Bush called Bill on election night in 1992 to concede, Hillary recalled in Living History, “Bill and I went into our bedroom, closed the door and prayed together for God’s help as he took on this awesome honor and responsibility.” Her words are an unmistakable echo for anyone who knows the Bible well. Jesus, in his Sermon on the Mount, preached, “But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

It is a reminder that Clinton is keenly aware that in America the Bible can often be a political tool. Early in 1993, she joined a women’s prayer group through the National Prayer Breakfast organized by conservative evangelical Doug Coe. Clinton called the women her “prayer partners,” in the long spiritual tradition of having people of faith pray consistently for you throughout your life. The group, however, was more than just spiritual—each woman had strong political affiliations, many of which served to help Clinton win allies across the political aisle. It included Susan Baker, the wife of President George H.W. Bush’s Secretary of State, James Baker; Joanne Kemp, the wife of future vice-presidential candidate Jack Kemp; and Holly Leachman, a Christian speaker who even faxed Clinton a daily Scripture reading or faith message throughout her time in the White House. Whether the group served a primarily political or spiritual purpose is difficult to sort out, but Clinton did say that she valued their prayers. “Of all the thousands of gifts I received in my eight years in the White House, few were more welcome and needed,” she wrote.

Clinton had plenty of raw personal moments that thrust her faith into the public spotlight. Her second year in the White House was particularly grief-stricken: she lost her father, her mother-in-law and her friend Vince Foster in the short time since Bill Clinton had been president. Two friends gave Clinton a copy of a book by Catholic priest Henri Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son. One sentence, Clinton said, struck her like a lightning bolt: “The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy.”

The biggest test of faith came in 1998 with her husband’s personal indiscretions. To the public, Clinton’s response was short and direct. “This is a time when she relies on her strong religious faith,” Marsha Berry, Clinton’s press secretary, said in a statement when the Monica Lewinsky news broke. But as she often did in times of personal trial, Clinton turned back to her former minister Don Jones for counsel. He pointed her to a sermon by theologian Paul Tillich called “You Are Accepted” that he had taught her youth group growing up and encouraged her to choose grace. “Grace strikes us when we are in great pain and restlessness,” Tillich wrote. “It happens or it does not happen.” Clinton explained in her memoir that she made a decision to choose grace. She also turned to Nouwen for advice on forgiveness. Prayer, Nouwen argues, takes you into the arms of God and deep into yourself to find the ability to forgive. “Do I want to be not just the one who is being forgiven, but also the one who forgives; not just the one who is being welcomed home, but also the one who welcomes home; not just the one who receives compassion, but the one who offers it as well?” he reflected in his book’s conclusion.

Clinton also developed a close relationship with evangelist Billy Graham in the months leading to and after the crisis. In 1997, at the dedication of the George Herbert Walker Bush Presidential Library, Clinton pulled Graham aside and asked him to talk with her. “She grabbed my head in her hands and held it there like that and looked right into my eyes and said, ‘I want to tell you about Bill,’ ” Graham later recounted in The Preacher and the Presidents. Graham, who forgave Bill Clinton as quickly as he had Nixon decades prior, encouraged Hillary to forgive her husband. Clinton held Graham’s hand the entire time during their private meeting at Graham’s New York City Crusade in 2005. “She was just so sweet,” Graham recalled. “She is different from the Hillary you see in the media. There is a warm side to her—and a spiritual one.”

Costly Grace

There’s a strain of Christian theology that believes self-sacrifice to be the highest form of faithful living. It was Dietrich Bonhoeffer who famously said that when Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die. Bonhoeffer took this literally—he was eventually executed by the Nazis for his role in the political resistance movement. God’s grace should mean something, he argued, and it should bring about justice on earth. “Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our Church,” he wrote. “We are fighting today for costly grace.”

It can be said that Clinton knows this personally all too well. Few people in politics today know costs as closely as she does, be they political, marital, or the costs of being the first woman poised to become president. They have followed her time and again throughout her career. But she keeps on going. As she told a gathering of Methodist women in April, “Even when the odds are long, even when we are tired and just want to go away somewhere to be alone and rest, let’s make it happen.”

In a way, the costs are just the price for doing the Lord’s work. And it makes politics, and whatever her future therein is, more than just her career: it makes it her calling.

TIME China

China ‘Effectively Bans’ Hillary Clinton’s Memoir

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives to sign copies of her book "Hard Choices" at a Barnes & Noble book store in Los Angeles
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives to sign copies of her book "Hard Choices" at a Barnes & Noble book store in Los Angeles, California on June 19, 2014. Lucy Nicholson—Reuters

Chinese publishers have declined to distribute Hillary Clinton’s new book, which includes anecdotes that are critical of Asian superpower

Hillary Clinton’s new memoir, which focuses on her tenure as U.S. secretary of state, will not be sold in mainland China, according to her publisher in an interview with BuzzFeed.

Simon & Schuster said they were not able to secure translation rights with Chinese publishers and that one of the nation’s leading import agencies, Shanghai Book Traders, has refused to distribute the English-language version.

Jonathan Karp, president of Simon & Schuster, said that China’s reaction to the book is an “effective ban.”

Clinton’s memoir is seen as critical of the People’s Republic. She wrote how the country is “full of contradictions” and the “epicenter of the antidemocratic movement in Asia.”

Ironically, she also wrote of her address to the U.N. Conference on Women in Beijing, where she “felt the heavy hand of Chinese censorship when the government blocked the broadcast of my speech.”

[BuzzFeed]

TIME Books

A Little (Heavy) Light Reading

What’s in a name? How to beachify your serious summer reads.

Illustration by Ben Wiseman for TIME

Hard Choices
Hillary Clinton
At No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list, Clinton’s account of her years as Secretary of State is indisputably popular, but its title is a little severe for the season. We suggest a more Elizabeth Gilbert approach to capture the tale of a woman at a crossroads in life who finds new purpose traveling the world.

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Illustration by Ben Wiseman for TIME

My Struggle: Boyhood
Karl Knausgaard
Knausgaard, known as the Norwegian Proust, is the current darling of the literary set, but who wants to read about struggle during vacation? We borrow from another Scandinavian sensation to give his opus a title befitting a barbecue.

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Illustration by Ben Wiseman for TIME

Capital in the Twenty-First Century
Thomas Piketty
This French economist’s study of income inequality in capitalist nations became the unexpected hit of the spring. Catch up with it this summer, by all means, but first give it a Tom Clancy -makeover—-in the hope that Jack Ryan will show up to rescue us from the rising social discontent Piketty predicts.

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Uncertain Justice: The Roberts Court and the Constitution
Laurence Tribe and Joshua Matz
The Roberts court is transforming the country we live in with its profound, sweeping rulings. A title like Barely Legalwould capture the complex dynamics and conceptual tensions in the court’s decisions, while also moving some extra units.

Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan
Rick Perlstein
Vietnam, Watergate, the oil embargo—-nobody wants to think about that stuff on a beach blanket. Surely retitling this book That ’70s Show would put people in mind of the bright spots of the Me Decade. There must have been some.

Last Stories and Other Stories
William T. Vollmann
Vollmann’s 700-page collection, the National Book Award winner’s first fiction in nine years, is an exploration of the super-natural. Why not just call it Goosebumps? It seems accurate enough and somehow much less daunting. —Lev Grossman

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