For 'Living History'

By Karen Valby
Updated December 26, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST

Hillary Rodham Clinton gives one of the year’s Great Performances

Senator Clinton, how do you do it? With critics crying that you weren’t worth the price tag, you scored an $8 million advance for your book Living History. You filled up 562 pages — delivering more a political mission statement than a humanizing memoir — and somehow avoided any intimate revelations about your cheating husband. You got yourself a couple of sensible suits, blanketed almost every media outlet available — curtly deflecting probing personal questions — and readers still elected you to No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list. The sweet frosting on a shoe-shaped cake came when conservative political pundit Tucker Carlson boasted that he’d eat his loafers if your book passed the million mark. (You fed him his just desserts.) Now a million and a half copies later, you’ve shored up publisher Simon & Schuster’s trembling bottom line, scored a Grammy nod with the audiobook, earned yourself a nice bit of bank, and escaped with your dignity intact. Today the best-seller lists, tomorrow the world.