So what does it all mean?
Hillary Rodham Clinton has a deal for a memoir and policy book about her years in the Obama administration, Simon & Schuster told The Associated Press. The book has yet to be titled and is tentatively scheduled for June 2014, in time for the summer reading season and for the midterm elections, when a promotional tour could easily blend with Democratic efforts work to recapture the House.
The former secretary of state's itinerary will be closely scrutinized for any signs she may run for president in 2016 — any book tour events in early voting states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina would receive broad attention.
But her book will likely be anticipated on several levels — as a possible signal of a presidential run; as the latest chronicle of one of the most eventful public lives of the past quarter-century; as the continuation of a tradition of secretary of state memoirs that includes Dean Acheson's Pulitzer Prize-winning "Present at the Creation" and works by Henry Kissinger, Madeleine Albright and Clinton's immediate predecessor, Condoleezza Rice.
"Hillary Clinton's extraordinary public service has given her a unique perspective on recent history and the challenges we face," Jonathan Karp, president and publisher of the Simon & Schuster Publishing Group and the book's editor, said in a statement Thursday. "This will be the ultimate book for people who are interested in world affairs and America's place in the world today."
Financial terms were not disclosed. Clinton reportedly received $8 million for the 2003 memoir, "Living History," also published by Simon & Schuster. As with "Living History," Clinton was represented by Washington attorney Robert Barnett, who has handled deals for President Barack Obama and Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton. Karp previously served as editor for another Barnett client, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, and his memoir "True Compass."
Hillary Clinton, 65, stepped down as secretary of state earlier this year after serving throughout Obama's first term. Polls indicate she would be a leading contender for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, but she has yet to announce a decision. Clinton was defeated by Obama for the Democratic nomination in 2008.
According to Simon & Schuster, Clinton will write about everything from the killing of Osama bin Laden and the Arab Spring to China and climate change. She "will share her views as to what it takes for the United States to secure and sustain prosperity and global leadership. Throughout, Secretary Clinton will offer vivid personal anecdotes and memories of her collaboration with President Obama and his national security team, as well as her engagement with leaders around the world."
Clinton, who already has started writing the book, was often praised as a hard-working and effective secretary of state. But it's unclear whether she will cover one of the bleakest events of the past four years — the attack last fall against the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, which left four Americans dead and led to widespread criticism of security procedures and allegations by Republicans of an election-year cover-up of an act of terrorism.
Simon & Schuster's announcement mentions the 2011 overthrow of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, but not the Benghazi attack. The publisher did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the attack.
The book will apparently stick to her time as secretary of state and not cover the years immediately following her 2003 memoir, when she was re-elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006 and ran for president in 2008, an intense and sometimes bitter campaign that led to widespread reports of animosity between Clinton and Obama.
A person familiar with the book said that Clinton does not plan to write about the 2008 campaign or any possible future runs. The person was not authorized to speak publicly about the book and requested anonymity to discuss it.
Clinton is a well-established author. Her "Living History" was a million-seller that was highly publicized, if only for her take on her husband's affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Her other books, all from Simon & Schuster and all released while she was the first lady, include her best-seller about raising children, "It Takes a Village"; "Dear Socks, Dear Buddy: Kids' Letters to the First Pets"; and "An Invitation to the White House: At Home With History."