There is something about the relationship between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama that fascinates Washington journalists — and then stymies them.
In 2009, we learned that NBC’s Chuck Todd was writing a book about Obama and Clinton, a “nuanced analytical narrative” of their political relationship, according to Todd’s agent. By the time “The Stranger”came out in 2014, though, it had devolved into a daily rundown of Obama White House coverage; the portions focusing on the president and secretary of state, however tantalizing, were a small part of the story.
Now Mark Landler of the New York Times offers “Alter Egos,”promising the inside account of Obama and Clinton, “protagonists in a great debate over American power . . . archrivals who became partners for a time, trailblazers who shared a common sense of their historic destiny but different instincts about how to project power.” The result is an outstanding book on U.S. foreign policy over the past seven years, a work that is granular when it must be and overarching when it can, revealing how foreign relations are conducted and deliberated, and packed with fly-on-the-wall anecdotes.