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Fear: Trump in the White House

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With authoritative reporting honed through eight presidencies from Nixon to Obama, author Bob Woodward reveals in unprecedented detail the harrowing life inside President Donald Trump’s White House and precisely how he makes decisions on major foreign and domestic policies. Woodward draws from hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand sources, meeting notes, personal With authoritative reporting honed through eight presidencies from Nixon to Obama, author Bob Woodward reveals in unprecedented detail the harrowing life inside President Donald Trump’s White House and precisely how he makes decisions on major foreign and domestic policies. Woodward draws from hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand sources, meeting notes, personal diaries, files and documents. The focus is on the explosive debates and the decision-making in the Oval Office, the Situation Room, Air Force One and the White House residence. Fear is the most intimate portrait of a sitting president ever published during the president’s first years in office.


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With authoritative reporting honed through eight presidencies from Nixon to Obama, author Bob Woodward reveals in unprecedented detail the harrowing life inside President Donald Trump’s White House and precisely how he makes decisions on major foreign and domestic policies. Woodward draws from hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand sources, meeting notes, personal With authoritative reporting honed through eight presidencies from Nixon to Obama, author Bob Woodward reveals in unprecedented detail the harrowing life inside President Donald Trump’s White House and precisely how he makes decisions on major foreign and domestic policies. Woodward draws from hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand sources, meeting notes, personal diaries, files and documents. The focus is on the explosive debates and the decision-making in the Oval Office, the Situation Room, Air Force One and the White House residence. Fear is the most intimate portrait of a sitting president ever published during the president’s first years in office.

30 review for Fear: Trump in the White House

  1. 5 out of 5

    Betsy Robinson

    About a quarter of the way through this comprehensive history of everything leading up to the election of Trump and all the current events, Gary Cohn, the former president of Goldman Sachs who is the president’s top economic advisor, attempts to explain our economy to Trump. He brings him copious research and data and finally makes it as simple as possible by asking: which would you choose—to go into a mine and get black lung or to make the same salary doing something else? He is attempting to i About a quarter of the way through this comprehensive history of everything leading up to the election of Trump and all the current events, Gary Cohn, the former president of Goldman Sachs who is the president’s top economic advisor, attempts to explain our economy to Trump. He brings him copious research and data and finally makes it as simple as possible by asking: which would you choose—to go into a mine and get black lung or to make the same salary doing something else? He is attempting to intrude into Trump’s belief that our trade agreements are disgraceful because we’re losing manufacturing jobs—despite the data that more than 80 percent of our jobs are not in manufacturing and that a trade deficit is not a bad thing since it allows people to spend more money on what they’re spending it on anyway—services. Nothing seems to penetrate. Several times Cohn just asked the president, “Why do you have these views?” “I just do,” Trump replied. “I’ve had these views for 30 years.” “That doesn’t mean they’re right,” Cohn said. “I had the view for 15 years I could play professional football. It doesn’t mean I was right.” (138) Multiply this thousands of times and apply it to all government issues (foreign policy, trade, immigration, etc.) and you begin to understand the problem of a person who never tells the truth because he lacks a basic understanding of what truth is and how one discerns it. Nor can he learn. No amount of correction penetrates: he is told repeatedly that Iran is in compliance with its nuclear weapons agreement, yet he insists on his belief about cheating; he’s given the world history that makes South Korea’s partnership crucial to world peace, yet he wants to disrupt the relationship; he’s presented with statistics proving that steel tariffs will weaken our economy, but he wants what he wants, etc. Nor can he understand the intricate symbiotic relationships between national security, foreign policy, and immigration. In other words, we have elected a man who lives in a fantasy and who therefore bollixes the efforts of anybody who operates according to facts, and when those facts are inconvenient, he dismisses them as “fake” and the people who spew them as “stupid.” He places no value in experience and expertise, ignoring advice derived from those things as he inexplicably disseminates information that is Russian-derived propaganda. And naturally this constant whirlwind of ignorance as a management style has created a whirlwind of people spinning out of control while they simultaneously try to control or please him. There is little new news in this book (except for a harrowing account of how close Trump came to declaring war with North Korea, with no understanding of the ramifications of doing so!), but Woodward is every much the historian that Doris Kearns Goodwin is writing about past presidents, and this book is an alive blow-by-blow meticulous record that will be studied by students who have not yet been born—if we live to see that future. (I am not usually a history buff, so sometimes the details become overwhelming; but I made the choice to be a student when I read both Doris Kearns Goodwin and this book, and that choice has me applauding the value of the detail for posterity.) There is nothing mean-spirited about this book. Everybody is presented at times sympathetically—even Trump in his albeit fleeting upset about the chemical-weapons-killed babies in Syria; Jared and Ivanka (who have a miniscule role in this book) come across on the side of DACA kids and the Paris Climate Accord; advisor Rob Porter is heroic in slow-walking terrible orders from Trump; Lindsay Graham is a great deal-maker willing to find ways to make sane things happen; General McMaster tries so hard to do a good job. And this even-handedness highlights the horror of the chaos—everybody is working against each other, undercutting somebody else, running around secretly to “save the world” or “fight for the president.” The horror of this book is that our president has no understanding of truth and has evoked absolute pandemonium in the White House and subsequently all over the world, creating problems where none existed—in trade, in immigration, etc. For me the value of this book is to better see the whole story, which for some reason makes it both more and less horrifying. It is an alarming story that will result in either the destruction of the world (via WWIII) by a child president who is incapable of learning or understanding the consequences of his hyperbole, or the activation of all of us who love the planet and want peace. However, in my opinion, Trump and his minions are not the threat to our lives. It is the great apathetic public who refuse to vote let alone know the story that is so well written here. Those who most threaten our security are the people with fixed beliefs like Trump, who shrug and are bored by talk about the relationship between their ability to walk down the street and troops stationed in South Korea, and although I think this is a wonderful and necessary book, I know that it will never be read by those who most need to recognize their peril. *** Postscript: Because it has come up in my review thread comments that probably will not be read by many people, I would like to reiterate and elaborate on my sense of the tone of this book: It is not only even-handed and steady, but there is a compassionate undertone. Woodward is not out to get anybody. In the acknowledgements and the front-of-book personal note, he shares about his researcher and collaborator, Evelyn M. Duffy, and his wife, Elsa Walsh, "known widely as the Kindness Lady." He attributes to Evelyn a noble work ethic and a reverence for authenticated fact-based journalism, which is palpable in this book. And to Elsa he acknowledges "not just an unselfish appreciation for each person but a reverence for each." This best describes the compassion I sense in Woodward's writing and his approach to even those people with whom he disagrees. All this adds to the reader's sense that he is telling truth.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Will Byrnes

    …the only thing we have to fear is fear itself - Franklin Delano Roosevelt Inaugural address – March 4, 1933 Real power is—I don’t even want to use the word—fear. - Presidential candidate Donald J. Trump in an interview with Bob Woodward and Robert Costa on March 31, 2016FDR was correct. The fear that gripped the nation in the Great Depression may have had a basis in reality, but acceding to that fear could have hindered any attempts to make the dire economic situation better. Would Roosevelt f …the only thing we have to fear is fear itself - Franklin Delano Roosevelt Inaugural address – March 4, 1933 Real power is—I don’t even want to use the word—fear. - Presidential candidate Donald J. Trump in an interview with Bob Woodward and Robert Costa on March 31, 2016FDR was correct. The fear that gripped the nation in the Great Depression may have had a basis in reality, but acceding to that fear could have hindered any attempts to make the dire economic situation better. Would Roosevelt feel the same way today? Do we have nothing to fear but fear itself? Well, we do have a very concrete problem that generates a fair bit of concern, anxiety, nervousness, and yes, fear. The guy in the White House. The fear that Roosevelt addressed was a concern that the nation, under the weight of the latest in a series of economic collapses, might not be able to recover from it soon enough to matter, leaving the nation impoverished, riven with internal strife, and in danger from external enemies. The fears we contend with today include a widespread concern about a declining standard of living, a whipped-up concern about minorities, both foreign and domestic, distrust of those who worship differently, or not at all, confusion about increasing gender fluidity, and diversity. But there are specific fears that center on the guy in the Oval Office, both of the incoming and outgoing sorts. Bob Woodward - image from the Washington Post As illustrated in the opening quote above, (which is the opening of the book as well, the Trump quote, that is) Donald Trump believes the application of fear in dealing with people and nations is the proper course. Threats, bullying, and intimidation are the favorite irons in his bag. In the application of this approach, it is distinctly possible that he might miscalculate to the point of sparking economic mayhem, or even war. But the other element of fear that should terrify us all is his fear for himself. Donald Trump has paid vast sums of money to see that his under-the-covers philanderings remain under cover. (“You’ve got to deny, deny, deny and push back on these women,” he said. “If you admit to anything and any culpability, then you’re dead.”) He is terrified that the world might see what an empty vessel he truly is. You may recall his conversation with the Mexican president in which Trump pleaded with El Presidente to give him some political cover so he would not have to face his supporters with the news that building the wall was really only a campaign scam. He is afraid that he will be shown to be a mobbed-up front-man, a tool for the Russian mafia, living large by laundering their ill-gotten rubles. He is terrified that he will be exposed as an asset of the Russian government, impacting American foreign and domestic policy in ways that advantage his Russian handler. Where those fears become kinetic is in how he attempts to protect himself. He has done his best to shred the two American institutions that might hold him accountable, the justice system and the fourth estate, waging war on truth itself. Trump has been griping about the media, well the media that is not Fox, Infowars, Clear Channel, Rush Limbaugh, or any of the far right-wing outlets that serve as a public relations propaganda support system for him, at least since his campaign. It has always seemed clear that the intent here is to erode the standing of news organizations that were likely to expose his many misdeeds. His attacks on judges handling suits against him, on the FBI, which was investigating his campaign’s potential ties to Russia, and on the Justice Department, which controls the FBI, and under which the Special Counsel was appointed, are all attempts to undermine the authority of agencies that are likely to bring his crimes to light and him to justice. If he can persuade the American people that the cops and judges are all corrupt he might get away with his particular responsibility for decades of money-laundering, at the very least, and quite likely a traitorous alliance with Putin, whether entered into willingly or via blackmail. Fending off investigators, public and journalistic, is an existential challenge for him, driven by his fear of exposure. The focus of Woodward’s book is on one particular form of fear, the concern the people who work for Donald Trump have that he might do serious damage to the United States, and even to the world, either in his handling of potentially fraught negotiations, domestic or international, (there is particular attention paid to dealings with South and North Korea that illustrates this very well) or in his need to preserve his freedom, and privilege, by destroying respected norms and institutions. He is Godzilla, and we are all Tokyo. Another substantial element is the chaos that is the White House, where established lines of communication and authority are regularly crossed, where the staff are constantly on the edge, wondering when the next absurd and/or dangerous presidential action may require their intervention, to try talking him out of it, slow him down, or make the requisite paperwork vanish. A third theme that permeates is Trump’s flaws as a leader, his lack of intellectual curiosity, his adherence to preconceived notions regardless of research and advice that would lead a flexible human to a more informed opinion, (for example, accusing Iran of violating the treaty despite his own people telling him that they had not) his inability or unwillingness to take in more than a minimum amount of information on pretty much any subject, suggesting an attention deficit disorder. You have probably heard quite a few quotes from this book, as coverage of its contents has been widespread. Perhaps the most significant are in the prologue It was no less than an administrative coup d’état, an undermining of the will of the president of the United States and his constitutional authority. In addition to coordinating policy decisions and schedules and running the paperwork for the president, Porter told an associate, “A third of my job was trying to react to some of the really dangerous ideas that he had and try to give him reasons to believe that maybe they weren’t such good ideas.” Another strategy was to delay, procrastinate, cite legal restrictions, Lawyer Porter said, “But slow-walking things or not taking things up to him, or telling him—rightly, not just as an excuse—but this needs to be vetted, or we need to do more process on this, or we don’t have legal counsel clearance—that happened 10 times more frequently than taking papers from his desk. It felt like we were walking along the edge of the cliff perpetually. …the United States in 2017 was tethered to the words and actions of an emotionally overwrought, mercurial and unpredictable leader. Members of his staff had joined to purposefully block some of what they believed were the president’s most dangerous impulses. It was a nervous breakdown of the executive power of the most powerful country in the world. As with Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury, Steve Bannon has clearly offered the author considerable information on the goings on inside the White House. It is also clear that there are many other insiders who have talked to Woodward. One must always wonder, of course, where reporting events accurately leaves off for these sources, and where reputation embellishment begins. Thankfully, Woodward has gone to great lengths to corroborate diverse accounts to arrive at an accurate picture. I would be inclined to take what is reported in this book as the best obtainable version of the truth. Here are some other details that are worth remembering. -----Reince Preibus, as head of the GOP, had invested heavily in analytics and big data, over $175 million, and was very effective in using the drill-down intel to target neighborhoods with battalions of volunteers in the 2016 election. The intel even allowed targeting of individuals. -----It was in 2015 that the NSA first found that Russia was looking at US voter rolls. -----After pussygate, while almost all of his advisors urged Trump to drop out of the presidential race, there were two who urged him to stay in, Bannon, which is no shock, and Melania, which is, given the general view that she wanted no part of a presidential run. -----Woodward also reports that, while Trump and Melania operate in pretty much separate spheres, there is genuine affection between the two. Color me skeptical. ----- It was interesting to learn how much influence and access Lindsay Graham had at the White House, which goes a long way to explaining how Graham could have pulled such a 180 on Trump. Graham had called Trump a “race-bating xenophobic bigot” in 2015, but in 2018, Graham said “He’s not, in my view, a racist by any stretch of the imagination.” It’s enough to give a guy whiplash. -----Fascinating to read about Trump’s lawyer John Dowd and his dealings with Trump and Robert Mueller. -----It was somewhat alarming learning of the sundry notions that were floated by presidential advisors re how to deal with North Korea’s acquisition of ICBM capability. -----And also alarming, although not at all surprising, to read of John Kelly’s avid hostility toward Dreamers. ----- His people manage Trump’s time so he gets home after the weekend news on CNN and MSNBC goes into softer mode at 9pm. Much of the book goes into specifics on the hirings and firings that keep the doors of the White House in need of constant oiling. Sometimes the idiocy is mind-boggling. Trump, early on, passed over John Bolton for a significant position because he did not like his moustache. Not that I have any particular fondness for Bolton, myself, but you do not base such decisions on the quality of someone’s facial hair. I mean he hired Ty Cobb, for god’s sake, or had him kidnapped from another century. Gripes – Woodward sticks by his public position that the Steele dossier was a “garbage document” and that Comey should not have presented any of it to the president. It is unclear on what Woodward bases this position, given the solidity of the investigator, and the ongoing verification of information reported in that document. You have probably heard/read this, but here are some of the lovely things said about Trump by his own appointees -----Cohn had witnessed this for over a year—denial when needed or useful or more convenient. He’s a “professional liar,” Cohn told an associate. -----He’s a fucking moron,” Tillerson said so everyone heard. ----- Trump had failed the President Lincoln test. He had not put a team of political rivals or competitors at the table, Priebus concluded. “He puts natural predators at the table,” Priebus said later. “Not just rivals—predators. -----The president’s unhinged,” Kelly said -----Trump normally wouldn’t listen long or very carefully to his national security adviser but it had gotten much worse, McMaster told Porter. “It’s like I can’t even get his attention.” -----Cohn realized that Trump had gone bankrupt six times and seemed not to mind. Bankruptcy was just another business strategy. Walk away, threaten to blow up the deal. Real power is fear… Applying this mind-set from his real estate days to governing and deciding to risk bankrupting the United States would be a different matter entirely. ----- In a small group meeting in his office one day, Kelly said of the president, “He’s an idiot. It’s pointless to try to convince him of anything. He’s gone off the rails. We’re in crazytown. “I don’t even know why any of us are here. This is the worst job I’ve ever had. -----McMaster said that he believed Mattis and Tillerson had concluded that the president and the White House were crazy. As a result, they sought to implement and even formulate policy on their own without interference or involvement from McMaster, let alone the president. ----- In the political back-and-forth, the evasions, the denials, the tweeting, the obscuring, crying “Fake News,” the indignation, Trump had one overriding problem that Dowd knew but could not bring himself to say to the president: “You’re a fucking liar.” The man really commands loyalty in his people. And then there are the insults, the abuse to which he subjected that staff, regardless of their level of loyalty to him. It is amazing anyone will even speak to the man. I will spare you those. It is obvious that there is a clear and present danger to all Americans from the man currently resident in the White House, a man who is not only unfit to hold this highest position in the nation, but a man whose dull intellect, exuberant venality, core-deep corruption, contempt for American values and laws, authoritarian inclinations, and unsurpassed greed have made him the worst president in the history of the nation. His rigidity and ignorance have caused even people who share the political values he espouses to engage in activities that are probably criminal in order to spare the nation the downsides of his ill-informed, and often darkly-intentioned decisions. Fear is not the only thing we have to fear. We have just cause to fear what Donald Trump might do with the gigantic instrument he has been charged with operating. While busying himself looting the national treasure for himself and his pals, while paring back sane restrictions on polluting industries, while dismantling much of the mechanism of government that produces and distributes factual information for the nation, while engaging in border practices that make us remember the 1930s and 1940s, he is also busy tearing down respected institutions, shredding political and moral norms, and making the USA the laughingstock of the world. So, President Roosevelt, it is most certainly NOT THE CASE that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. There are plenty of fear-generating people, nations and events on our planet that can justify our fears. But the one that supersedes all, for the moment, is Donald J. Trump. He is a danger to us all, and, as the investigations into his dark deeds progresses, he is only getting more paranoid and desperate. Be afraid. Be very afraid. We must especially beware of that small group of selfish men who would clip the wings of the American Eagle in order to feather their own nests. FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, State of the Union Address, Jan. 9, 1941 Review posted – 9/21/18 Publication date – 9/11/18 =============================EXTRA STUFF Links to the author’s personal, Twitter and FB pages September 5, 2018 - I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration - by Anonymous Interviews -----September 15, 2018 - New York Magazine - Bob Woodward on the ‘Best Obtainable Version of the Truth’ About Trump - by Olivia Nuzzi -----September 5, 2018 – CNN - 13 totally bananas moments from Donald Trump's phone call with Bob Woodward - by Chris Cillizza. – a fun piece ----- September 14, 2018 - The Guardian - Bob Woodward: 'Too many people are emotionally unhinged about Trump' - by David Smith ----- September 14, 2018 - KQED.org – Washington Week Washington Week episode: ‘Fear’ inside the Trump White House - with Robert Costa – Woodward’s final line in the interview - “He’s really disabled. He can’t tell the truth.” -----October 15, 2018 - A nice short video that puts the current danger into historical context - If You’re Not Scared About Fascism in the U.S., You Should Be

  3. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    It’s Bob Woodward. How do you think Trumpworld will react? Woodward is methodical, precise, and willing to hold anyone to account, regardless of political stripe. https://www.politico.eu/blogs/on-medi...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    Revelation? “Cohn realised that Trump had gone bankrupt six times and seemed not to mind. Bankruptcy was just another business strategy. Walk away, threaten to blow up the deal. Real power is fear.” Donald Trump is probably the most divisive President in US history and has created a polarised nation between those believing he is honestly and strategically playing a role to achieve gains for the US, and those who think he’s destructive, stumbling from one, sometimes self-imposed, incident to a Revelation? “Cohn realised that Trump had gone bankrupt six times and seemed not to mind. Bankruptcy was just another business strategy. Walk away, threaten to blow up the deal. Real power is fear.” Donald Trump is probably the most divisive President in US history and has created a polarised nation between those believing he is honestly and strategically playing a role to achieve gains for the US, and those who think he’s destructive, stumbling from one, sometimes self-imposed, incident to another. The world that shaped Trump is one of privilege and wealth. His business style is one of brash authority where he doesn’t need to placate others, and if he makes a mistake, it costs money but is not life and death. As US President, one of the most powerful men in the world, he is responsible for global politics, economics and national security, and IT IS a matter of life and death. The big issue I wanted answering is, whether Trump is equipped with the capability, integrity and selfless ambition to form a Government and serve his nation. He is required to shoulder the expectations of ALL citizens to deliver prosperity and security to his country and play his role on a more and more inclusive world stage. Is he doing this? Bob Woodward sets out a journalistic-style, piece-by-piece book, that draws a picture of a leader that is erratic, unpredictable and will say and do anything to remain a popular public figure. The image of Trump is of a president that lacks knowledge about his area of responsibility, someone who lacks integrity, someone who cannot analyse a situation in depth and bring comprehensive diverse advice to inform a coherent defendable but definite decision. He will make irrational decisions with little appreciation of political structures, legislature or legal agreements. “Despite almost daily report of chaos and discord in the White House, the public did not know how bad the internal situation actually was. Trump was always shifting, rarely fixed, erratic. He would get in a bad mood, something large or small would infuriate him” Trump is presented through the various incidents covered in the book to show a lack of understanding on economic strategies and how they affect domestic and global markets, and how little candour and loyalty he has when it comes to building a team that can cohesively deliver the Government’s plans. His turnaround in staff is deeply concerning and his history of turning apparently close friends into enemies is shocking. In particular the Clintons, Steve Bannon (Trump’s Chief Strategist) and Gary Cohn (Director of National Economic Council). With Trump’s impulsive and unpredictable approach, this can be advantageous in certain instances and can achieve results. For example, the NATO agreements on moving each member country to honour it’s committed financial contribution, or the rapid consolidation of the Gulf Cooperation Council, showing unity against Iran. It would be a great tool to have at your disposal when diplomacy drags in the quagmire of debate and negotiation. However, if it becomes the norm, it becomes predictable and playable. Woodward describes a White House environment where advisors, aides, appointed officials, and Government staff are constantly berated while they protect the President/Country by hiding executive order documents to prevent serious international consequences. Rex Tillerson (Secretary of State), after one of the senior staff meetings, says to Reince “I just don’t like the way the president talks to these generals. They don’t deserve it. I can’t sit around and listen to this from the president. He’s just a moron.” Chapter by chapter, the narrative covers the period from pre-Republican nomination to recent times, through issues involving, immigration, racial divisions, tax reforms, North Korea, South Korea, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, NATO, and the numerous trade deals. Unfortunately, there are no real revelations that we may have hoped for. The sad result is that our greatest fears about Trump, his bullish, disrespectful and offensive character, and his inability to constructively contribute to a domestic and international political and economic agenda have a solid foundation, and are not just a front. The pace of these events and the dialogue are a little slow but there are moments of interest that are engrossing, and then it’s gone again. It’s almost impossible to be unbiased in considering Trump and his position as President of the USA. I haven’t read other books on Trump but when this account became available from Bob Woodward, my perception was that if there is an opportunity of reading a considered account of Donald Trump as US President, where the veracity of the background research and sources are validated, this would be it. There are obvious debates over those sources being played out in the news and Woodward’s own agenda, but I feel it slightly irrelevant, as there were no surprises or startling insights that would cause me to change my perception of Donald Trump. Whether open-minded pro-Trump supporters will see their President in a different light, is an interesting question. I would recommend reading this book as it does provoke interest and debate but don’t expect any great revelations. I may just be cynical, but I’m still not convinced I’ve heard the whole truth and I’m just wondering what hidden agendas are at play by sources providing material for this book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Michael Ferro

    Unlike FIRE AND FURY, Bob Woodward's work is backed by the validity of two Pulitzer prizes and numerous accolades for his inscrutable reporting. One of the key men responsible for helping to shed a light on (and bring down) Nixon and his atrocities, I can think of few other journalists who are needed more in our modern political realm than Woodward. That said, FEAR scared the shit out of me. Move over, Stephen King, Bob Woodward has written the most terrifying book in years. Never has it been so Unlike FIRE AND FURY, Bob Woodward's work is backed by the validity of two Pulitzer prizes and numerous accolades for his inscrutable reporting. One of the key men responsible for helping to shed a light on (and bring down) Nixon and his atrocities, I can think of few other journalists who are needed more in our modern political realm than Woodward. That said, FEAR scared the shit out of me. Move over, Stephen King, Bob Woodward has written the most terrifying book in years. Never has it been so crystal clear as it is within these pages just how unfit and batshit insane our president is. From his rambling tirades, to his painful ignorance, to his absolute steadfast intentions to push for his own interests and casting aside the greater needs of our country, Woodward paints an revoltingly intimate portrait of a man who conned an entire country and seems determined to watch it all burn in his wake. Let me make this clear: I don't want things to be like this; I don't live to read about the salacious and cringeworthy acts of our president—I take no joy in this. I just want a competent, compassionate president who has the greater interests of our country in their heart. Woodward's intricate and detailed reporting gives us incredibly specific examples of our president's malfeasance and the shock and awe not only among our allies, but within his own White House. The bottom line: none of this is normal. We, as Chief of Staff General Kelly himself said, have gone off the rails—this is Crazytown. There is no way that this is sustainable. Either we will tear ourselves apart as a nation, or one of the president's nonsensical actions will do the job for us. One of the most important books of the year. Woodward gives us the facts—the rest is up to us.

  6. 5 out of 5

    HFK

    Okay, you motherfuckers and fatherfuckers - who of you has enough hairy balls and hairy pussies to buddy or group read Fear with me, starting 11 of September? According to my friend-list, there is 331 potentials to be brave enough to accept the challenge. As many know, I am pretty neutral when comes to Trump. I just do not posses strong feelings towards him, and it does not cause much discomfort for me when discussing of him (even sometimes I def want to run into my safe space when the hysterics Okay, you motherfuckers and fatherfuckers - who of you has enough hairy balls and hairy pussies to buddy or group read Fear with me, starting 11 of September? According to my friend-list, there is 331 potentials to be brave enough to accept the challenge. As many know, I am pretty neutral when comes to Trump. I just do not posses strong feelings towards him, and it does not cause much discomfort for me when discussing of him (even sometimes I def want to run into my safe space when the hysterics gets too much for my taste). This definitely is not the case when comes to politicians like Putin (every time I need to correct some false information about him, it takes around half of my soul away - but the truth and nothing but the truth is my motto) who I despise with the fullest. I am reading this for fun, and for taking an eye towards journalism, hoping it is not complete lost art. I am sure this will be rather scandalous so I will have tons of candy and good food to accompany me. I am not gonna engage in heated political discussions - I do it enough outside GR - but I am interested on reading this with neutral-Trumps, anti-Trumps and pro-Trumps as I am interested on seeing your views and reactions to this book - not as an outsider but in a spirit of insider experiment. So, do you have got what I need, punk? Here is the link for the group, ladies and gentlemen: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/... I am a n00b with groups, so if there is a problem, message me here in this comment section.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Bill Kerwin

    The thing you should know about Woodward and Bernstein is that Woodward was never much of a writer. No, Bernstein, he was the writer. Choosing the right word, arranging the facts in a persuasive array, concluding with a rhetorical flourish: these are contributions Bernstein made that gave the work of Bernward and Woodstein its sophistication, its polish. Of course, Bernstein was a heck of a reporter too, but the two of them were different. Bernstein was mercurial and intuitive; Woodward was indef The thing you should know about Woodward and Bernstein is that Woodward was never much of a writer. No, Bernstein, he was the writer. Choosing the right word, arranging the facts in a persuasive array, concluding with a rhetorical flourish: these are contributions Bernstein made that gave the work of Bernward and Woodstein its sophistication, its polish. Of course, Bernstein was a heck of a reporter too, but the two of them were different. Bernstein was mercurial and intuitive; Woodward was indefatigable and relentless. Bernstein knew instinctively what would move the reader; Woodward was the boy who got things done. (Speaking of getting things done: in addition to their collaborations, Woodward has to date completed seventeen books. Bernstein has completed three.) Still, for all his strengths, Bob Woodward has always been a plodder. For example, he introduces his “characters” with predictable adjectives: Bannon is “aggressive, certain, and loud,” Kellyanne Conway is “feisty,” Mitch McConnell is “wily.” He does not paint a scene well, and he seldom tries. Instead, he lets his dialogue do it for him. It is the dialogue that gives his books their strength. Woodward is known to make audio recordings when he can, and stenographically record everything else. His dialogue has the ring of authenticity. If not completely accurate, each scene undoubtedly reflects the memory—however self-serving—of his principal source for the particular event. And, given Woodward’s methods, you can be sure each source is backed up by one or two others. In Fear, it is not difficult to see who these sources are. Predictably, they seem to be big-time players already ejected from the administration: Bannon, Priebus, Cohn, Porter, McMaster, Tillerson, and Dowd, with an occasional scene contributed by a peripheral player, such as Lyndsey Graham or Chris Christie. The sad fact, though, is that little is to be learned from Fear, in spite of all the hype. The value of the usual Woodward book is that Bob—because of his sterling reputation—has a knack for getting on record sources other people can’t get. But this is an unnecessary virtue when you are writing about a White House where everybody leaks all the time. I’m not saying you don’t learn things from the book. You learn, for example, how Mattis (in conjunction with McMaster and Tillerson) saved us from WW III by saying “no” to Trump, how Gary Cohn and Rob Porter forestalled economic meltdown by stealing papers from Trump’s desk, and how Dowd (unsuccessfully) tried to rescue Trump from Trump. And of course you learn how stupid and erratic and childlike everybody thinks Trump is. But if you’ve read Fire and Fury, if you’ve been following the Times and the Post, then you know most of this stuff anyway. I’d like to end with a brief passage. It is not central to the book, not even germane to the coprological cataclysm that is the Trump White House, but I liked it because it told me something I did not know: why Kim Jung Un is a more effective leader of his nation than his father Kim Jung Il. The elder Kim had dealt with weapons test failures by ordering the death of the responsible scientists and officials. They were shot. The younger Kim accepted failures in tests, apparently absorbing the practical lesson: Failure is inevitable on the road to success. Under Kim Jung Un, the scientists lived to learn from their mistakes and the weapons programs improved.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mackey

    If Bob Woodward's latest book doesn't put a little fear in your heart, then you're not paying attention. I'm a Watergate kid. I grew up with the Watergate hearings on our television - along with Vietnam, of course - every single day. We knew who John and Mo were and Senator Sam and the entire mesmerizing, horrifying bunch. But the pair we knew best were Woodward and Bernstein. To me, they were heroes who met in dark alleys to get the scoop and had the power to bring down the president! Of course If Bob Woodward's latest book doesn't put a little fear in your heart, then you're not paying attention. I'm a Watergate kid. I grew up with the Watergate hearings on our television - along with Vietnam, of course - every single day. We knew who John and Mo were and Senator Sam and the entire mesmerizing, horrifying bunch. But the pair we knew best were Woodward and Bernstein. To me, they were heroes who met in dark alleys to get the scoop and had the power to bring down the president! Of course, that was a different era when high crimes and federal laws actually were important and breaking those laws meant you would indicted and incarcerated or, in the case of Nixon, forced to resign. Thankfully. And sadly. We no longer live by the same standards today. :( If you're looking for commentary on the meat of this book, there are plenty of other reviews out there to read. You already know what it is about. I'm not going to discuss politics or who is right and who is wrong. Everyone who reads this review already will have their mind made up - and that is sad. Just as Woodward listened to Deep Throat and wrote about that informant's information and kept that source a secret for decades, he again has listened to informants and recorded the despicable acts committed by an entire group of people but namely, Donald Trump. There is enough information in the book, credible information, to impeach Trump. However, it is doubtful in this age that it will be done. No one cares. Americans don't care. Americans can get riled up until hell freezes over regarding political parties but that is not what this is about. It is about an incompetent man in the white house; a man who broke laws to get there, one who is putting this nation in jeopardy with his tantrums, insidious postings to twitter and inability to lead a nation that once was the greatest in the world. For the record, I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat. This country doesn't have a party for me and my political ideology. Again, that is not what this is about. The book - the one being read and reviewed - was written by a capable journalist whose facts are very succinctly laid out. Yes, his sources are protected - AS THEY SHOULD BE. Journalists have gone to prison for keeping a source's identity unknown. That does not negate their information and the information presented here, in the book, is spot on. I wouldn't expect anything less from Bob Woodward!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cecily

    I don’t read many non-fiction books, and almost never politics, let alone foreign politics. But more than two years of slavishly, horrifiedly(!) following a spectrum of US news sites and tweeters has changed that. First, I read and reviewed Fire and Fury (my review HERE), as one of the early headline-grabbing books of Trump’s regime. Then, A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo (my review HERE), as it was refreshingly fun, and with a good, positive message. Next up was The Faith of Donald J. Trump: A S I don’t read many non-fiction books, and almost never politics, let alone foreign politics. But more than two years of slavishly, horrifiedly(!) following a spectrum of US news sites and tweeters has changed that. First, I read and reviewed Fire and Fury (my review HERE), as one of the early headline-grabbing books of Trump’s regime. Then, A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo (my review HERE), as it was refreshingly fun, and with a good, positive message. Next up was The Faith of Donald J. Trump: A Spiritual Biography (my review HERE) as it’s at the rotten heart of what I most despise. And now this. Because it’s by Bob Woodward: a multi award winning journalist and biographer of nine presidents, red and blue. There’s a detailed index, notes, explanations, and no gossip. No analysis either. Just reportage “from multiple deep background interviews with firsthand sources”. Fear is a Liar “Real power is - I don’t even want to use the word - fear.” - Candidate Trump, in an interview. Trump weaponises fear, deliberately: “Real power is fear. It’s all about strength… You’ve got to deny, deny, deny.” - Trump to a friend accused of sexual misconduct. Image: “Fear is a Liar” - graffiti. Source. What does the fearmonger fear? He pivots and lies instinctively, compulsively, and maybe sometimes unconsciously. Even in private, on trivial matters, and regardless of how easy to disprove. That’s why his lawyer didn’t want him to talk to Mueller. There’s plenty to fear from a fact-averse White House that is as unpredictable as its nominal head: one minute threatening “fire and fury” on North Korea from his bigger nuclear button, and a few months later declaring he “fell in love” with Kim thanks to a “beautiful letter”. Trump’s dysfunctional regime is one long nervous breakdown, and, with key documents being swiped from the Resolute Desk before Trump can sign them (the big scoop of this book), there has perhaps been an “administrative coup d’état”. Cast Aside Fear Is Trump a puppet (whether of Putin, Bannon, the Mercers and other 1%ers, the Saudi royals, or the Faith and Freedom Coalition and other fundamentalist conservative “christians”) or is he the master manipulator? I’m not sure which would be more alarming, let alone which is true. “All presidencies are audience driven, but Trump’s central audience was often himself.” Staff despair of his TV and Twitter habits, but he knows their power, and harnesses it: “This is my megaphone… This is who I am. This is how I communicate. It’s the reason I got elected.” Trump gets printouts of his most popular tweets to spot what works. The showman knows what he’s doing in this medium, and thus controls the public discourse and news cycles. For the narrow period covered, this book is thorough, and it’s reasonably well-written. But it's old news. The worrying aspects of Trump’s personality and behaviour have long been in plain sight; this book adds context and examples, but nothing new. It will doubtless be referred to thirty years hence and beyond, but it’s not history yet. There is certainly the fear of the title. But somehow it's dull. Maybe I have fear fatigue. Image: “Cecily is finished with Fear” - GoodReads auto-generated status. Focus on Hope Did staffers speak to Woodward to salvage some integrity, especially those who left it too late to leave Trump’s regime untainted? (With hundreds of pages of detailed notes, plus hours of recordings, I’m sure their identities will eventually be proven.) “It’s not what we did for the country… It’s what we saved him from doing.” - Gary Cohn. That gives hope to those who still fear what this unpredictable and unprincipled president might do. Image: “Hope” by George Frederic Watts. Source. I’ve seen this beautiful picture in London. Hope is blinded, seated on a globe, and clutching a lyre with a single remaining string. It is apparently a favourite of Obama’s after it was used in a sermon, and the pastor said the woman in the portrait had the audacity to hope - an idea Obama used as the title of his autobiography (my dusty review HERE). Hope isn’t about fluff and rainbows. Hope is most powerful in times of need. In times of fear. "Real power is hope. It’s not all about strength… You’ve got to hope, hope, hope. And act when, where, and how you can." - Cecily.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    i am going to read the hell out of this book (as soon as it is beamed to my kindle).

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tatiana

    I have to say, I'd enjoyed Michael Wolff's book much more than this one. Simply because it was so much easier for me to indulge in Wolff's narrative of chaos and stupidity. What Woodward's serves up here is harder for me to accept. The gist? The president gets what he wants and has plenty of enablers and supporters who will make any of his wants come true. I don't know how others see it, but it's clear to me the real pushback Trump ever got had to do with tariffs and South Korea. Yeah, his staff I have to say, I'd enjoyed Michael Wolff's book much more than this one. Simply because it was so much easier for me to indulge in Wolff's narrative of chaos and stupidity. What Woodward's serves up here is harder for me to accept. The gist? The president gets what he wants and has plenty of enablers and supporters who will make any of his wants come true. I don't know how others see it, but it's clear to me the real pushback Trump ever got had to do with tariffs and South Korea. Yeah, his staff calls him names behind his back, so what? They go along with his bullshit anyway. I don't know why the White House needed to rebut anything written in this book. It portrays Trump as a man who will go after his goals with relentless stubbornness. No amount of information, common sense, expertise will distract him. You and I may have an issue with his view of the world where America's only purpose should be making money, and more money; his inability to understand complexities of geopolitics; or his use of power as the only diplomatic tool. But Trump's supporters love it! What depressed me the most not that the book draws Trump as the small, limited person that he is, but that he will achieve most of what he aims to achieve, because he has the likes of Lindsey Graham and Mike Pence around to help him. And he will do so while tweeting disgusting garbage about women, people of color, asylum seekers, et al. There is no resistance in the White House, let's not kid ourselves. This is America now; and it can be changed only by people voting in the next election. As far as the writing itself goes, I found the book to be very messy and poorly organized. I am guessing it is well sourced, but the main sources work here mostly to repair their public image. It's clear Cohn, Porter, Priebus and Bannon were the main spillers of the beans. Now I am going to watch Brett Kavanaugh's hearing and get even more depressed.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Darwin8u

    Since All the President's Men there really hasn't been a Woodward book I've enjoyed. I once owned a bunch of his Clinton, Bush books, but I found them obnoxious and DC proximity porn. While I think some of the information gleaned by Woodward for this book is worth the proximity porn, I still don't like his style. I'm also not a fan of the actual writing of this book. It doesn't flow. Does it convince me more that Trump is a danger, an idiot, self-absorbed, reckless, without a moral compass, lack Since All the President's Men there really hasn't been a Woodward book I've enjoyed. I once owned a bunch of his Clinton, Bush books, but I found them obnoxious and DC proximity porn. While I think some of the information gleaned by Woodward for this book is worth the proximity porn, I still don't like his style. I'm also not a fan of the actual writing of this book. It doesn't flow. Does it convince me more that Trump is a danger, an idiot, self-absorbed, reckless, without a moral compass, lacking empathy, compassion, loyalty, etc.? Sure. But I figured most of that out from JUST Trump's tweets. There are some nice quotes from various Trump-enablers calling Trump various versions of dumb, but still, not anything new. We've caught glimpes and shadows of this already (see Comey's book, see the Wolff book, etc). Anyway, I'll write more later, but I'm done with Trump for the night.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Michael Burnam-Fink

    Fear is the establishment's answer to Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury. Where Wolff is a gossip rag arsonist who relied heavily on Steve Bannon's version of events, Bob Woodward is, well, he's Woodward. He took down Nixon and written books on every subsequent president. Fear relies on hundreds of hours of transcribed interviews on deep background, and reading between the lines its easy to huess his sources are mostly "responsible adults" who have left the administration: Priebus, Porter, Cohn, Till Fear is the establishment's answer to Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury. Where Wolff is a gossip rag arsonist who relied heavily on Steve Bannon's version of events, Bob Woodward is, well, he's Woodward. He took down Nixon and written books on every subsequent president. Fear relies on hundreds of hours of transcribed interviews on deep background, and reading between the lines its easy to huess his sources are mostly "responsible adults" who have left the administration: Priebus, Porter, Cohn, Tillerson, Dowd, and Senator Lindsey Graham. The picture he paints of Trump is less salacious, but no less damning. According to these men, who were once close to Trump and who have fallen from grace, the president is an idiot, a rage-filled child, a reckless gambler, a lazy slob addicted to cable news, a bullying narcissistic, and an inveterate liar. If there is any fixed star in Trump's universe, it's that if you're not screwing someone, you're being screwed. Woodward covers the first year or so of Trump's presidency, focusing on the intrigue around the oval office, and the seesawing attempts to find a strategy on Afghanistan, North Korea, and trade. The results are either wise men restraining the worst impulses of a mad king, or an administrative coup by the Deep State, depending on how you feel. The book opens with Gary Cohn stealing a memo off Trump's desk to prevent him from blowing up a vital US-Korea trade agreement, which is probably the most dramatic example, but again and again, his aides have to reign in Trump's emotionally driven decisions, ranging from declaring victory in Afghanistan and turning it over to Erik Prince and the mercenary army formerly known as Blackwater, starting a nuclear war with North Korea, or demolishing the post-1945 consensus on free trade, no matter the cost. Of course, these men are not some Obama-holdover Deep State. They're men Trump appointed, praised, and mostly refused to fire. Despite that idiotic anonymous op-ed in the New York Times, they are not the resistance inside the administration. They are Trump's instruments, and his dishonor stains them. The revolving door outside the Oval Office is interesting, but Woodward doesn't have much to say about the things that really matter about Trump. How much racism comes from him, and how much from ethnonationalist ghouls like Steve Bannon, Sebastian Gorka, and Stephen Miller? The Mueller investigation drives Trump crazy, but is there fire beneath all the smoke? What of the real harms that dismantling the 'administrative state' of EPA regulations, educational standards, and SNAP assistance brings? What about the judges? How about the dead of Hurricane Maria? The utter nonsense spewed at ongoing campaign rallies? What is up with Jared Kushner? Is there, contrary to all the evidence, any actual depth to the man? The only humanizing touch is that Trump refuses to meet with the families of soldiers killed in his military adventures. I can understand that moral cowardice. I'm not sure how any ostensible patriot can square that cowardice with their support of the man. Woodward's book doesn't reveal any deep truths. We all knew Trump was incompetent, incapable of empathy or foresight, the meanest creature to ever occupy the White House. What it does reveal, in chilling clinical detail, is how bad the situation really is.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    Occasionally Goodreads members review a book using non-conventional criteria to protest bad behavior by the author on the site, or to protest the author or the author’s subject. One star because they hate the author or their subject. Five stars because they love the author or their subject. My review is not that kind of review. Otherwise stated, my rating should not be conflated with an endorsement for or a demonstration against Woodward or Trump. Instead, this is simply a book review. Reading t Occasionally Goodreads members review a book using non-conventional criteria to protest bad behavior by the author on the site, or to protest the author or the author’s subject. One star because they hate the author or their subject. Five stars because they love the author or their subject. My review is not that kind of review. Otherwise stated, my rating should not be conflated with an endorsement for or a demonstration against Woodward or Trump. Instead, this is simply a book review. Reading this book was neither enjoyable nor informative. A friend, Mike who commented below, pointed out what became painfully clear, Woodward gives a remedial lesson on every topic before he rehashes the news of the last 24 months. Don’t we all know what NAFTA is? Aren’t we all aware of the ongoing trade war as well as the Russia investigation? And at this point, don’t we all know what narcissist means? Apparently Woodward doesn’t believe so. He defines the word for us and seemingly did it without the use of a dictionary. Perhaps I would have been willing to suffer through all these things if there were a lot of new information in here. There is not. Ninety-five percent of the facts in here come straight from the pages of our daily newspapers while maybe five percent is new information—information that was teased to us and put in every article about this book. Sometimes in Hollywood they put all the good stuff in the trailer. Same thing here. If Woodward was able to put the Trump presidency and all its horror into some kind of historical or political context that has not been reported before--bring his wisdom to bear--that might have made the book worthwhile. Unfortunately, Woodward offers no lessons, just rehashes information and news. Spend your time and money on a Washington Post subscription. Most worthwhile breaking news ends up there anyway.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kelly (and the Book Boar)

    Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/ “Can you come with me up to New York?” “For what?” “To see Donald Trump.” “What about?” “He’s thinking of running for president.” “Of what country?” If you have ever bothered tuning in to the fake news, or read any failing publication or interacted with another human being in the past few years at all, nothing contained within the bindings of Fear will be new to you. I’m not a “let’s talk politics” on social media type of person and I’ve a Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/ “Can you come with me up to New York?” “For what?” “To see Donald Trump.” “What about?” “He’s thinking of running for president.” “Of what country?” If you have ever bothered tuning in to the fake news, or read any failing publication or interacted with another human being in the past few years at all, nothing contained within the bindings of Fear will be new to you. I’m not a “let’s talk politics” on social media type of person and I’ve already blurred the lines of my own comfort zone enough by opining on Fire and Fury. I don’t have much more to say about this one . . . . pretty much because they are the same damn thing. Of course Woodward is a “respected” journalist so he claims to present a book full of facts and sources. Yet somehow it seems he just can’t wait to dive in to Pissgate and once again relies on using “deep background,” which although apparently mostly recorded (maybe) still relies a lot on the “I was in the room and heard this guy say this about this” type of telephone game sourcing rather than direct information. At this point the only thing I’m interested in is what I quoted above. How the hell did we even elect someone like this into office . . . . Are Americans really so stupid to believe in a snake oil salesman like Trump? Were they just so opposed to the status quo that they were willing to not only rock the boat, but potentially blow the whole motherfucker up in order to be heard? Was he simply the lesser of two evils? I know that’s what Hillary was for me. As soon as Trump threw his name in the ring I told my husband he never planned on winning. I will stand by that statement until the day I die. Running for President was simply a marketing ploy for Trump. He wanted to revamp his brand and there was no bigger platform in which to do so. His appearances proved it – wheeling steaks, water, etc. onto various stages – remodeling a former post office into a luxury Trump hotel within walking distance of the White House. What I want to know is at what point things changed and he decided he wanted the big prize. I never believed the polls – partly because until a few months ago I still had a landline which received 99.99999% polling calls while our cell phones received about .00001% so I knew there was not a diverse section of society necessarily being reached, at least in my neck of the woods – but also because were people ever really going to admit they were voting for Trump? That’s what’s great about our election process – anonymity. It appears at least some of the powers that be felt the same – requesting donation money be diverted to Republican Senate campaigns generically and away from Trump. But at some point I think Trump began drinking his own Kool-Aid. I will never believe that on election night he expected to lose. What I do think is he had no idea how government operates or what was ahead. It’s clear he still doesn’t. He simply wanted to win and make everyone admit that he’s “the best.” Eventually Trump will no longer be President and actual sourced information will be divulged. Hopefully I’ll stop taking the bait on these damn books in the interim. Until then my new hope will remain that in addition to being 35 years old and a natural born citizen of this country, we also implement a “must be able to pass an 8th grade civics exam” as a requirement for running for Head of State in order to avoid a debacle like this in the future.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Michael Perkins

    I am not a Trump defender. Quite the opposite. But this story is better suited as a Philip K. Dick novel come to life, that would truly capture the insanity of what's happening. I have written some of that story below. But first a word about the puzzling Woodward book. A missed opportunity..... This book is a failure. It started out promising, but drops like a lead balloon about 25% in. After that, he has very long chapters on topics that anyone who is keeping up with what’s going on in the U.S. I am not a Trump defender. Quite the opposite. But this story is better suited as a Philip K. Dick novel come to life, that would truly capture the insanity of what's happening. I have written some of that story below. But first a word about the puzzling Woodward book. A missed opportunity..... This book is a failure. It started out promising, but drops like a lead balloon about 25% in. After that, he has very long chapters on topics that anyone who is keeping up with what’s going on in the U.S. and the world already know— Hezbollah and the Middle East, Syria, The Afghan War, NAFTA, Tariffs. Russia, China, Mueller. Woodward introduces each subject as if it's new to the reader, when it's yesterday's news. I did not learn a thing from that part of the book. And it reads like an extended Wikipedia article in the same bland style. There was some interesting material in the beginning, much of which has already been used to promote the book in newspaper articles. But it did stimulate my thinking about what kind of book should be written about Trump. What’s really happening is like something out of a dystopian Philip K. Dick novel and was actually anticipated by David Foster Wallace in Infinite Jest. (See link below). It’s a horror fantasy come true. Trump has lived in a make-believe world his whole life. He got to play out that fantasy on his show “The Apprentice.” In spite of the phony drama of those shows, that many viewers somehow take as real, what happens does not matter, there are no real-world ramifications. Then one day, in our PKD novel, the earth tilts on its axis and this nasty fellow, aka Agent Orange, steps out of his pixilated simulation into the material world. At first he’s confused. What happened? How did he get here? But to his delight, he discovers he has real power, in fact he is the most powerful person in the world. He can do whatever he wants. Hire people on the spot, regardless of qualifications, and fire people on whim if he happens to be in a bad mood. Agent Orange doesn’t know anything about the world. He was the C student who always figured life was only about making money. His dad taught him that. He has no use for eggheads or research. The main thing is to be decisive, to act. And to lie as much as necessary to get what you want. It’s become such a habit that it’s pathological. The world is his game board, he must move the pieces as he sees fit. He hires a defense minister because he wears a uniform and stands “ramrod straight.” This officer has a secret SEAL mission he has always wanted to implement. Now is his chance. He wants to do a raid in Yemen. Agent Orange knows that all Muslims are evil and ISIS is bad, so go for it general! At dawn on a Sunday morning, the raid goes into action. But, sadly, it does not go as planned. During a 50-minute firefight one SEAL is killed, three wounded. Civilians, including children, die. A $ 75 million Marine MV-22 Osprey lands hard, disabling the plane. It’s destroyed to keep it from falling into the hands of the enemy. The SEAL’s death is a waste. But telling the truth is out of question because his widow is devastated. Everything in this world happens for a reason, so his death must have purpose. So, Agent Orange recognizes him in Congress and calls him a hero. Everyone stands and claps. The widow cries. Her life is changed forever. She should still have her husband. But at least she has a medal and a flag. Though Agent Orange knows nothing about economics, his followers think he’s some kind of finance genius. A worried staff member brings in the president of a famous bank to try to educate the dear leader. His ignorance is shocking. He expresses surprise when the banker tells him that tech is costing jobs and will likely cost more in the near future. He better have a plan. Agent Orange is alarmed and confused. You mean I can’t bring those manufacturing jobs back from overseas? Sorry, no, the banker tells him, it will never happen. But Agent Orange promised the people. Oops. He travels to North Korea to meet a leader he admires, because he has complete control over the country and has military parades. In advance, he has a movie produced about their future partnership that looks as if it were created by the Church of Scientology. The photo op in North Korea seems to go well. Agent Orange comes back and his fans hail his negotiating skills. But soon spy satellites show that North Korea has accelerated their nuclear development. Agent Orange is shocked. He’s had enough. He orders a missile strike. That’ll show ‘em. One of this ramrod straight generals is stunned. He runs to meet with a notorious right wing, militarist Senator to come meet with Agent Orange to convince him to rescind the order. The Senator is very obsequious to Orange because he knows that’s the only way Orange will listen. He wants to give him an alternative to pushing the button. He takes a page out of the old Kissinger playbook about working through China. Orange thinks this would work because he believes China loves him. It probably won’t work, but at least there’s not a missile on the way. Speaking of Korea, why do we own all that “shit land” in South Korea that includes a bad golf course? Well, it’s part of the agreement for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system, the ramrod straight generals tell him. The system would help protect South Korea from a North Korea missile attack. You know, like how we protect Israel? More crucially, it could be used to help protect the United States. “It’s actually a very good deal for us,” ramrod straight General McMaster says. “They gave us the land in a 99-year lease for free. But we pay for the system, the installation and the operations.” It costs too much, says Agent Orange. This is a terrible deal. Put it in Portland, OR. Syria is another thorn in his side. These complicated situations really frustrate Orange. Diplomacy and tactics are a pain in the ass. Always look for the simple solution, his dad always told him. Good. He orders the covert assassination of Assad. That’ll fix it. Again his staff has to scramble to talk Orange off the ledge. But this is his way: playing by ear, acting on impulse. This worked in the casino business, although he did go bankrupt a few times. But Agent Orange’s fans are still happy. He’s the same bold, decision maker he was on TV. What’s not to like? Others don’t care for him personally, but that’s okay, they’re getting what they want for their businesses: corporate tax cuts, deregulation, increased defense budget and Supreme Court nominees who will reverse Roe v Wade. The evangelicals are particularly excited about the Court. They actually don’t know the Bible very well. This reviewer, who knows the Bible backwards and forwards, can attest to that. They simply listen to their pastors who freely mix politics and faith. As to helping the poor, can’t go for that. It’s their own fault they’re poor. What about aid to unwed mothers who won’t be able to have abortions? Not our problem. We just want to save the babies. Besides we want to go back to the Christian nation America once was, just like the Founders, who were mostly evangelical, wanted. Um, you’re thinking of the Puritans. The Framers, as they are more properly called, were Enlightenment Deists who did not believe in a personal God. They also instituted a strict separation between Church and State because they saw what a disaster it was in Europe when they were mixed. What’s a Deist? Agent Orange is emotionally overwrought, mercurial and unpredictable. Members of his ever-changing staff have to scramble to block his most dangerous impulses. The executive office is having a nervous breakdown in front of the whole world and Russia, North Korea and other enemies are only too ready to exploit it and feed the chaos through cyber-attacks. But Agent Orange still admires their leaders. If only he could muzzle the media the way they can. But “The Apprentice” watchers are so happy. They’re getting everything they hoped for. This is more than they could have expected. We’re getting rid of those criminal immigrants who threaten to destroy our country. The police have the black population under control and more of those predators are in jail. And gun rights are no longer threatened, we can take them anywhere we want, including to church and on to college campuses. We are more than ready to shoot the bad guys when they show themselves. He’s making America great again! Yay! Addendum.... President Trump says he and Kim Jong Un “fell in love” after the North Korean leader wrote him “beautiful letters” and characterized the U.S. as having “a very good relationship” with North Korea. ======== Hardcore Trump supporters.... "The narcissism in question is not only Trump’s. More important is that of his followers, who idealise him as they once, in childhood, idealised themselves. Beyond that, the demagogue has a special appeal to wounded narcissism, to the feeling that one has failed to meet standards one has set for oneself." https://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2018/09/18... David Foster Wallace character..... http://dagblog.com/infinite-winter-pr...

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lois

    This was extremely readable. I listened to this on audio yesterday. It was interesting enough to hold my interest all day. I briefly paused, started a new book I also like but in the end returned to listening to this and finished it. This isn't my first book on the 2016 Election, chump's campaign or presidency. I've read: Unhinged by Omarosa Manigault Mewman, Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff, What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton, Hacks by Donna Brazile, and Unbelievable by Katy Tur. Most of the This was extremely readable. I listened to this on audio yesterday. It was interesting enough to hold my interest all day. I briefly paused, started a new book I also like but in the end returned to listening to this and finished it. This isn't my first book on the 2016 Election, chump's campaign or presidency. I've read: Unhinged by Omarosa Manigault Mewman, Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff, What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton, Hacks by Donna Brazile, and Unbelievable by Katy Tur. Most of the previously mentioned books have also doubled as biographies for the authors, with the exception of Fire and Fury. They have been packed full of info about the author I could give zero fucks about and mostly unsubstantiated gossip about the candidate. I give the most credibility to Donna Brazile who I think told a more narrow and focused tale. I don't think HRC lied and am not trying to imply that. Her book was about her and not really the campaign as a whole. This book for me gives the most complete picture of the chump Whitehouse. This does not read like an excited, gossipy, exposé at all. Instead we are taken through events that are thoroughly explained with participants that we are familiar with. The dysfunction of the white house isn't offered as shocking. It's offered as business as usual. I don't know what to say. I'm not shocked. Chumps antics have made us all jaded. Actions that I once would've found unbelievable became common place long before chump formally took office. I think the world has normalized so many bizarre and embarassing presidential behaviors we've lost the ability to respond appropriately. It's just too much. So we have the now standard image of the president being managed by his staff. Priebus stealing documents off the Resolute Desk in hopes that chump will forget. It works too. I want to point out that this is how my husband and I handle our toddler grand kids. When they aren't looking we take away obnoxious toys, hide them and hope they forget. That this strategy is successful with the president is humorous and horrifying in equal measures. What stuck with me was members of his cabinet needing to every single day explain the exact same facts to this man. Only for him to ignore or refuse to look at the facts. His stubborn misunderstanding that the US is a service economy and manufacturing jobs aren't desired by the US workers. He truly is unable to understand diplomacy. That's frightening. The book goes over how his personal or perceived personal relationships with other World Leaders impacts how he interacts with them. He is convinced President Xi of China likes him and is his friend. He doesn't trust or believe his own advisors over other world leaders. Other world leaders know this and use this knowledge to manipulate him. He's not intelligent at all and doesn't trust the smart people in his own cabinet. It's like a Mad TV skit. Some advisors try repeatedly to explain why trade agreements and military presence are interwined. Others just do business around him and without consulting him. It's a mess. He literally does not understand trade agreements or how our nation benefits from them. He dislikes the President of South Korea, Moon Jae-in and is extremely rude to him and even yells at him. He truly does not understand that the primary purpose of our military in South Korea is about the 7 second nuclear warning versus the 15 minutes later warning we can get from Alaska. Why in the world should or would South Korea pay us for that privilege? He doesn't at all understand how business is even done in this country much less internationally. He thinks the budget problems can be fixed by borrowing more money or just printing it. He has the understanding of a toddler. What this really brought home to me was how extremely corrupt the Republican Party is. They are just robbing the candy store and taking important papers off this foolish world leaders desk in hopes he'll forget. They are managing him until they run out of patience or he gets mad at them for following the laws and established customs of the POTUS. He fires them for doing their jobs or they quit when they get exhausted from explaining the same thing over and over. The author describes the repetitiveness of this process as 'groundhog day' like the movie with Bill Murray. Part of the problem is that chump believes he has the solution when he doesn't understand the question or issue. He stubbornly clings to his solution even in the face of facts to the contrary. He is confused and has a bad memory so he just makes shit up as he goes along. He is unconcerned and unfamiliar with the truth. The very last line of the book is, "You're a fucking liar" in relation to chump. I tend to give this book more weight than the others I've read. Woodward is a serious and credible reporter. Still I think it'll be at least 25 years or more before we get the real scoop about this presidential shit show.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    more dirt on the dirtiest creep to ever occupy the whitehouse... thank you bob!!! ********* rofl, lol, lmfao, hahahahahahahahahaha, etc.... https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-can... say it with me - "coup d'état! coup d'état! coup d'état!" ************** it's gotta be John Kelly https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/05/op... ************* early reviews of the book are... good? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwA1v...

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nadine Jones

    I had zero interest in this book until POTUS started a tweetstorm about it last night. Well, now I HAVE to read it. Do you ever wonder if that's actually his goal? Maybe Trump is the Master of reverse psychology. Maybe he hates the Republican Party. Maybe he was actually tired of the USA dominating the world stage and decided to bring it down by exploding from within ... **** UPDATE (now that I've actually read the book): The reality was that the United States in 2017 was tethered to the words an I had zero interest in this book until POTUS started a tweetstorm about it last night. Well, now I HAVE to read it. Do you ever wonder if that's actually his goal? Maybe Trump is the Master of reverse psychology. Maybe he hates the Republican Party. Maybe he was actually tired of the USA dominating the world stage and decided to bring it down by exploding from within ... **** UPDATE (now that I've actually read the book): The reality was that the United States in 2017 was tethered to the words and actions of an emotionally overwrought, mercurial and unpredictable leader. Members of his staff had joined to purposefully block some of what they believed were the president’s most dangerous impulses. It was a nervous breakdown of the executive power of the most powerful country in the world. What follows is that story. This book was a disappointment. Here's the short version: Gary Cohn and Lindsey Graham are Trump's top advisors, Rob Porter is great, Steve Bannon is a man of the people, and Trump is dangerously ignorant when it comes to economics and global relations. There are so many ethical violations and concerns that I have that aren't even mentioned. This is comprehensive in an adulatory way, in a "all us guys are great and let me bend your ear" way. It should probably come as no surprise (but yes I was surprised - I've never read anything by Woodward before) that Woodward has a very dun-dun-DUNNN writing style. In a breezy, almost chatty, tone, he details the ongoing fall of our American empire ... sob! It was very readable. Woodward's Trump emerges as a well-meaning good guy who is just kind of clueless and acts without thinking. I was expecting a lot more insight and commentary than I got. I'm kind of surprised Trump bothered to criticize this book so much (it was his excessive criticism that inspired me to read it). Trump comes across like that archetypal befuddled, crass, lewd yet amusing old guy that shows up at family parties and delights in chaos, as not a bad guy but just sort of shooting from the hip. I was left with the distinct impression that Woodward likes and admires Trump. For example, during the campaign (just after the "grab 'em by the pussy" tape was aired, and the team was attempting to firefight by scheduling an ABC interview and a rally): The glass in Trump Tower was thick, but they could hear the roaring crowd of Trump supporters in the street—a riot of “deplorables,” who had adopted Hillary Clinton’s derisive term as their own. “My people!” Trump declared. “I’m going to go down. Don’t worry about the rally. I’m going to do it right here.” “You’re not going down there,” a Secret Service agent insisted. “You’re not going outside.” “I’m going downstairs,” Trump said. He headed out. “This is great.” Conway tried to intervene. “You just can’t cancel” on ABC. “I don’t care. I’m never doing this. It was a dumb idea. I never wanted to do it.” Overall I thought this book really soft pedaled things . I was disappointed that Woodward implied (several times) that Trump was a complete neophyte to politics, and he never acknowledges Trump's candidacy in the 2000 Republican Presidental Primary. That was ... weird. Considering that (a) I'm reading this solely because Trump criticized the book so vociferously, and (b) multiple times Woodward acknowledges Trumps skill as a showman and his intuitive understanding of how to promote things, I now suspect that Trump WANTED us to read this book. Because Trump looks pretty good here. Yeah, we see him trying to print more money, but is that really so awful? Sounds more like a childhood fantasy that many of us can understand. It's pretty clear who his sources were, not only because they have direct quotes, but also because they are portrayed entirely sympathetically: Reince Priebus, Rob Porter, Gary Cohn, and Lindsey Graham are all the stars. Porter is such a star of this show, I'm guessing he must've handed Woodward his detailed daily journals; very little mention of his history of domestic abuse, I guess he didn't journal about that. (And what IS mentioned makes it clear that Woodward buys into Porter's claims of being falsely accused. By TWO ex-wives. Who have nothing to gain by it. Uh-huh. Ok. Good one, Woodward. Way to get to the facts.) And to go by this book, Graham is Trump's main right hand man that he turns to in every crisis, and Cohn is the brains of the entire operation (that is, when Porter is not the brains). Here is the entire section of the book discussing Porter's domestic abuse: Porter left the White House on February 7 after two ex-wives went public with allegations that he had physically abused them. One released a photo showing a black eye that she said Porter gave her. Each, one to the press and one in a blog post, gave graphic descriptions of domestic abuse. Porter quickly concluded it would be best for all—his former spouses, his family and close friends, the White House and himself—to resign. He wanted to focus on repairing relationships and healing. The New York Times wrote, “Abuse Claims End Star’s Rise in White House” and “Aide’s Clean-Cut Image Belied His Hot Temper, Former Colleagues Say.” In a statement, Porter said, “I took the photos given to the media nearly 15 years ago, and the reality behind them is nowhere close to what is being described.” “Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation,” Trump tweeted. The Washington Post editorial board accused the White House of “shrugging off domestic violence” and The New York Times said “Trump Appears to Doubt the #MeToo Movement.” Cohn saw that one of the main restraining influences on Trump was now gone. I realize that this book is not about Porter. But considering he is mentioned by name a staggering 239 times (the only names that show up more often are "Bannon" and "Cohn"), I would expect more coverage of the abuse than just this brush-off. According to Woodward, it doesn't matter that Trump admired an abuser, what matters is that Cohn lost his ally. Woodward does make it clear that Trump tends to fall apart under pressure, and he has no grasp of economics. He may drive the entire USA to bankruptcy. Then what? Probably the most damning quote in the book is this, from Priebus: “The president has zero psychological ability to recognize empathy or pity in any way.” A few other faintly damning quotes: “The president’s unhinged,” Kelly said. *** Oval Office business and decision making became increasingly haphazard. “The president just really doesn’t understand anything about that. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” Kelly said. *** Cohn realized that Trump had gone bankrupt six times and seemed not to mind. Bankruptcy was just another business strategy. Walk away, threaten to blow up the deal. Real power is fear. *** Grievance was a big part of Trump’s core, very much like a 14-year-old boy who felt he was being picked on unfairly. You couldn’t talk to him in adult logic. Teenage logic was necessary. During Trump’s first six months in the White House, few understood how much media he consumed. It was scary. Trump didn’t show up for work until 11: 00 in the morning. Many times he watched six to eight hours of television in a day. Think what your brain would be like if you did that? Bannon asked. *** Cohn realized again what he had said before to others about the president: “He’s a professional liar.” *** Trump’s action and mounting threats on tariffs were jarring. Cohn thought that Trump had to know. “But he’s not man enough to admit it. He’s never been wrong yet. He’s 71. He’s not going to admit he’s wrong, ever.” There is very little discussion of: - Trump's clear violations of ethics laws, especially the emoluments clause - Trump's obsession with Trump properties - the huge amount of time Trump spends golfing at trump properties - Trump's complete lack of empathy - Trump's obvious racism and dog whistles to white supremacists - the staggering number of lies coming directly from Trump (starting with his ridiculous obsession with inauguration attendance numbers) - Trump's inability to stop criticizing Hillary Clinton, even years after the election - the unbalanced Electoral system that let Trump "win" in the first place - the startling 180 from many politicians - like Lindsey Graham and Paul Ryan, who originally criticized Trump. (There are so many quotes here from Graham, he was clearly a source for Woodward. Does that explain the kid gloves?) - the inexplicable support Trump receives from Evangelicals, despite his own lack of religion (and his pro-choice tendencies, which ARE acknowledged at least) It's great that Woodward is so unbiased and compassionate, but Trump is unlike any President we've had before, and I think it's time to be bluntly honest rather than bend over backwards to be "even-handed." I wasn't hoping for another gossipy hack job like Wolf's, but I was expecting to see these difficult issues raised. Trump's blatant violations of the emoluments clause has me fit to explode, and I don't understand why it's allowed to continue, nor do I understand why reporters like Woodward don't dig in on that one. Also, Woodward only appears to be even-handed, but he clearly works to present his sources in the best light, leading me to wonder if he's maybe more concerned with maintaining his connection to a source than he is with presenting all the unbiased facts. For example: Priebus had his troubles with Bannon but Bannon had fallen in line and was 10 times the unifier that Jared and Ivanka were. Translation: Bannon and Priebus were good sources for this book, and Woodward worked hard to maintain that relationship, meanwhile Jared and Ivanka refused to talk to him. It's pretty clear that Woodward finds global issues fascinating, and domestic issues (including Trump's sexual harassment history, general sexist attitude, and blatant racism) to be completely uninteresting and barely worth mentioning. A quick word count in my ebook makes this obvious. But I disagree with the focus, I think Trump's true and shameful legacy will be primarily domestic. On the global stage, he is laughed at. This isn't the book I hoped it would be. There are also some odd tangents which just felt like padding. In the middle of chapter 22, about escalating tensions with North Korea (a subject which had already been discussed in detail in the Prologue, so I felt like I was rereading the same information), Woodward suddenly goes back in time to discuss - for pages! - the US operation in Iraq in 1998-2003 under Presidents Clinton and Bush. Why?? Is this a book about the Trump Administration or a more expansive book about US history and current events? I skimmed over these tangents. The very last chapter comes back to the Mueller investigation (and I'm frankly surprised by the amount of quoted dialogue Woodward has here), but it's inconclusive. Much like the Mueller investigation itself continues to be inconclusive, as of October 2018. The final paragraphs of the book: Some things were clear and many were not in such a complex, tangled investigation. There was no perfect X-ray, no tapes, no engineer’s drawing. Dowd believed that the president had not colluded with Russia or obstructed justice. But in the man and his presidency Dowd had seen the tragic flaw. In the political back-and-forth, the evasions, the denials, the tweeting, the obscuring, crying “Fake News,” the indignation, Trump had one overriding problem that Dowd knew but could not bring himself to say to the president: “You’re a fucking liar.” I thought the great Bob Woodward would be more of a hard hitter. This was comprehensive, but I didn't really learn anything new. There is sort of an odd note right up front, in an opening author's note, Woodward lavishes praise on his longtime assistant, Evelyn Duffy, concluding with: Evelyn brought her endless good sense and wisdom, serving as full collaborator and in the spirit—and with the level of effort—of a coauthor. And that left me wondering why she's NOT credited as co-author? Word count: Trump - >1000 Kushner - 80 Ivanka - 39 McMaster - 190 Mnunchin - 48 Mattis - 206 Cohn - 277 Porter - 239 Priebus - 241 Bannon - 389 (and he wasn't even in the Cabinet!) DeVos - 0 Carson - 0 Graham - 183 (that's a lot of Graham!) Other prominent Senators: Schumer - 3 Durbin - 16 Cruz - 0 McConnell - 12 Cornyn - 0 Hatch - 4 And in the global vs domestic front: Russia - 212 China - 98 Korea - 294 Canada - 8 Mexico - 11 Germany - 9 Trade - 245 Tariff - 90 Climate - 19 Environment - 9 School - 10 Supremacist - 10 Racism/racist - 7 And regarding ethics and scandals: Mueller - 174 Ethics - 2 Emoluments - 0 Collusion/collude - 28 Golf - 32 Nepotism - 1 Bribe - 2 "Pee tape" - 0 I was unable to easily search for "gun" or "NRA" because those three letters make up several other words, but I can say they were not mentioned much.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Faith

    Most of the interesting bits of this book have already been revealed in news stories. The book confirms that Trump is a dumb, ignorant, narcissistic, arrogant and mean liar. We already knew that, but his followers don't seem to care. I doubt that this book will help much. When you populate each branch of the government with people who lack integrity, compassion and decency, the checks and balances system won't work. However, at least this author has better credentials and more credibility than o Most of the interesting bits of this book have already been revealed in news stories. The book confirms that Trump is a dumb, ignorant, narcissistic, arrogant and mean liar. We already knew that, but his followers don't seem to care. I doubt that this book will help much. When you populate each branch of the government with people who lack integrity, compassion and decency, the checks and balances system won't work. However, at least this author has better credentials and more credibility than others who have written about this chaotic presidency. His writing style is extremely dry.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    I'm not finished. I'm coming back to it. But for the moment, I hate this narcissistic sociopath so much that it's actually causing me anxiety to read about him. Hopefully, when he's fitted for his orange suit, this will be easier reading.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Although this book is written by a distinguished journalist, it is unlikely that any Trump supporters will read it. That is because, like Trump himself, they have made up their mind. From reading this, it is very clear that Trump has made up his mind about pretty much everything and he isn’t going to change his opinion no matter what evidence is shown to him. Not that it is easy to try to show him anything, if this book is to be believed. He won’t read more than one sheet of paper and even that Although this book is written by a distinguished journalist, it is unlikely that any Trump supporters will read it. That is because, like Trump himself, they have made up their mind. From reading this, it is very clear that Trump has made up his mind about pretty much everything and he isn’t going to change his opinion no matter what evidence is shown to him. Not that it is easy to try to show him anything, if this book is to be believed. He won’t read more than one sheet of paper and even that seems a bit of a trial. Advisors to the President are informed to keep things brief and use charts rather than reports (probably in nice, bright colours). In fact, the whole thing reads rather as though Trump is a small child, needing to be contained and controlled. His worst excesses preferably stopped before they explode onto the world stage and, if they do, the disastrous results mopped up as quickly as possible. I recently read a book about Hillary Clinton’s campaign, “Shattered,” in which it was apparent that she really had no clear outline about why she wanted to be President. In the same way here, it was obvious that Trump not only did not have a plan, but did not seem to imagine that he needed one. He had slogans, and chants, which appealed to his mass audience, but – as this book shows – during his campaign, he didn’t – for one second – think he would lose, but, also, never really imagined that he would win… After an election which caused shock around the world, he reacted by randomly offering jobs to everyone who came within his orbit. There was, indeed, turmoil before he ever set foot in the White House. The problem is, that we, the public, can see the chaos of the Trump administration every day on television and the internet. Bizarre, extremely un-Presidential, tweets, odd behaviour, strange announcements, shocks, scandals, the indignation, the play acting, and a virtual revolving door of those working with Trump, have desensitised readers from any kind of shock. You read of people removing papers from Trump’s desk before he can sign them, aware that out of sight is, quite literally, out of mind with him. Of his advisors becoming frustrated, depressed and falling from favour. Of Trump’s childish desire for those to support everything he says, whether it is wrong or not; but, does it shock? Well, no, not really. Nor does it surprise. Perhaps that is really the most shocking thing about this book. It is, undoubtedly, an utter condemnation of Trump, but we know what he is like. What you see is what you get and the real shock is how anyone thought he could actually carry out the role bizarrely assigned to him.

  23. 4 out of 5

    The Just-About-Cocky Ms M

    Courtesy of H. G. Wells's "War of the Worlds:" We've seen this awful thing before..." I bought and read Hillary Clinton’s book, which I found rather tedious, repetitive, and lacking in some of the same crucial insights missing during her 2016 campaign. I bought and read Ivanka Trump’s book of hints ad cheerleading for working women, which I thought was an amazing and banal pastiche of clichés and platitudes from someone largely clueless about real working women. I bought and read Sean Spicer’s bo Courtesy of H. G. Wells's "War of the Worlds:" We've seen this awful thing before..." I bought and read Hillary Clinton’s book, which I found rather tedious, repetitive, and lacking in some of the same crucial insights missing during her 2016 campaign. I bought and read Ivanka Trump’s book of hints ad cheerleading for working women, which I thought was an amazing and banal pastiche of clichés and platitudes from someone largely clueless about real working women. I bought and read Sean Spicer’s book about his short-lived career as press secretary and thought it was a valid, albeit overly apologetic and whitewashed, window into how he functioned in a milieu like no other. I can’t be bothered with Omarosa and others like her who peddle gossip and sleaze like a political “Upstairs Downstairs.” Honesty, verisimilitude, and even a smidgin of gravitas are as absent from those tell-alls as they are from the Oval Office. Bob Woodward is another story altogether. I was in my late twenties during the Watergate saga, and watched it all, from the June 1972 break-in to the final, sordid act of August 9, 1974. Since then, just to provide a sort of check and balance for what I remembered, I’d read a stack of books about Watergate, including Woodward’s and Bernstein’s seminal and spare recounting of “how they did it.” And what I learned from these experiences was that Woodward delivered the truth as he found it, documented it, multi-sourced it, taped it, and explained it. He presented the truth in few words—adjectives and adverbs, like the hyperbole so beloved of some journalists and op-ed writers, are not Woodward’s friends. Instead, we get page after page of “Just the facts, ma’am” story-telling, and in this rather stark literary environment, the fear is real and believable. So are the admissions of what has, by design and necessity, been going on in the West Wing, with some admissions more outspoken than others, I’ve lived through the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, the 1963 Kennedy assassination, the cataclysms of 1968, and every amazing national upheaval through 1975, and survived all of it. I’m no delicate snowflake, but I will admit that what I read here, in one interview after another, one incident of subterfuge and deceit after another, endless attempts to thwart and manipulate what goes on in the Oval Office and outside it, and of allegedly trying to protect the country from its president to be more fear-inducing than Khrushchev’s missiles parked 90 miles from the US coast. Don’t expect a book that reads like an expanded National Enquirer or Daily Mail. Don’t expect a laundry list of bombshell revelations never before seen or heard. Don’t read this book to be amazed, titillated, or appalled. If that’s what you prefer, go cuddle up with Omarosa. However, if you want your worst fears confirmed in the most straightforward and unadorned manner, the bits and pieces you’ve been hearing from assorted cable news bobbleheads repeated but this time from a position of credibility, and what we might expect in the near future, this is your book. Readers already disposed to accept, with or without a certain degree of credulity, will be agreeing with every page. Readers who adamantly oppose the very idea of criticism large or small of this president might want to take a look at Woodward’s book, just in case. It was not entitled “Fear” without good cause.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    It's almost worth reading the entire thing just for the last sentence, which is the biggest non-spoiler ever: The president is a F%&*ing Liar. These are the things this book reveals that we already could have guessed: 1. Our president watches a lot of TV and gets his information and opinions from TV pundits. At one point, he overrules one of Kelly's hires because Lou Dobbs says mean things about her. When he's not watching TV, he's playing golf. 2. The president has no to-do list and only pa It's almost worth reading the entire thing just for the last sentence, which is the biggest non-spoiler ever: The president is a F%&*ing Liar. These are the things this book reveals that we already could have guessed: 1. Our president watches a lot of TV and gets his information and opinions from TV pundits. At one point, he overrules one of Kelly's hires because Lou Dobbs says mean things about her. When he's not watching TV, he's playing golf. 2. The president has no to-do list and only pays attention to what is in front of him. Kelly and Porter and Gary Cohn would have to steal letters and executive orders from his desk so he wouldn't sign them. 3. It's a shit show of different interests and camps and no one knows what they're doing. The Bannon wing pushes populism and I was sort of rooting for this racist piece of garbage because the other options were either Hawks who wanted to bomb Iran and cuddle up to the Saudis or deregulate Wall Street. 4. The biggest takeaway for me of this book was not the ins and outs of the Trump white house--I don't care about the salacious details that Woodward trots out. It was that the GOP agenda was unbreakable even by Trump. This is what Bannon says when he quits--Trump was able to get through the Hillary juggernaut, but not the GOP. Cohn and Ryan get their absurd tax cuts, Mattis gets his hawkish military--all they have to swallow is a Muslim ban. Fair deal. 5. I'm starting to hate these books even though I keep reading them. Trump is not some crazy outlier--he's the symptom of a broken system. He happens to be a terrible human being, but things would not be ok if he were calmer and he lied less. We would still have a broken system. I want to say that this is the last of these books I am going to read, but I know I won't be able to keep this promise.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Bettie☯

    Description: With authoritative reporting honed through eight presidencies from Nixon to Obama, author Bob Woodward reveals in unprecedented detail the harrowing life inside President Donald Trump’s White House and precisely how he makes decisions on major foreign and domestic policies. Woodward draws from hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand sources, meeting notes, personal diaries, files and documents. The focus is on the explosive debates and the decision-making in the Oval Office, Description: With authoritative reporting honed through eight presidencies from Nixon to Obama, author Bob Woodward reveals in unprecedented detail the harrowing life inside President Donald Trump’s White House and precisely how he makes decisions on major foreign and domestic policies. Woodward draws from hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand sources, meeting notes, personal diaries, files and documents. The focus is on the explosive debates and the decision-making in the Oval Office, the Situation Room, Air Force One and the White House residence. Fear is the most intimate portrait of a sitting president ever published during the president’s first years in office. The takeaway is that this backs up all that Wolff wrote in Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House. One of the questions I would like to see come to light is where it is mentioned there is a file on Paul Ryan... Woodward truly is the modern day Suetonius (Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus) West Virginia libraries refuse to carry this. Open Culture gave out a link for free download to thwart the banning brigade HUZZAH 05:09:2018 New Woodward book paints Donald Trump as unfit to serve. Rachel Maddow rounds up highlights from Bob Woodward's new book, Fear, which depicts chaos in the Trump White House as staffers struggle to compensate for Trump's abject incompetence. 4* All the President's Men 5* The Final Days WL Fear

  26. 5 out of 5

    Shaun Hutchinson

    What an awful book. The biggest problem I had with this is that it's clear that the majority of Woodward's sources are people from within the administration—Rob Porter, Reince Preibus, Steve Bannon—and that while Woodward is trying to remain objective (though his biases actually are fully on display with regards to his feelings about the Obama administration), he fails to offer any critical analysis of the people who are steering the narrative. As a result, white nationalists like Bannon and acc What an awful book. The biggest problem I had with this is that it's clear that the majority of Woodward's sources are people from within the administration—Rob Porter, Reince Preibus, Steve Bannon—and that while Woodward is trying to remain objective (though his biases actually are fully on display with regards to his feelings about the Obama administration), he fails to offer any critical analysis of the people who are steering the narrative. As a result, white nationalists like Bannon and accused spousal abusers like Porter come off painted as heroes attempting to keep Trump from starting a nuclear war. And maybe they did the things they claim, such as hiding papers from him, etc, but those players also had VERY CLEAR agendas for America, and most of those agendas were just as insidious and despicable as what Trump tried to do. Secondly, there is absolutely zero critical analysis of the events or attempt to offer a multi-sided view of many issues, even when such views already existed! I understand that Woodward didn't want to offer his own views, but for many of the issues that were brought up, there were opposing views of them that could have helped to present them in a more nuanced light. Instead, Woodward simply forces the reader to take his sources at their word for their integrity and sincerity, which is a crock since many have proven they have neither. Finally, the scariest part of this book is that many of the sources in the book attempt to pain Trump in a softer light, to offer motivations behind much of his behavior, and yet he still comes out looking like an unhinged brat who happens to be in charge of the most powerful military on the planet. The truth is probably far, far scarier. In short, this book was a waste of time.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    SUMMARY Bob Woodward reveals the details of life inside President Donald Trump‘s White House. He has written precisely about how Trump has made decisions on major foreign and domestic policies. Woodward has drawn from hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand sources, meeting notes, personal diaries, files and documents. The focus is on the debates and decision making in the Oval Office, the situation room, Air Force One and the White House residence with Trump’s most trusted advisors. “Cohn SUMMARY Bob Woodward reveals the details of life inside President Donald Trump‘s White House. He has written precisely about how Trump has made decisions on major foreign and domestic policies. Woodward has drawn from hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand sources, meeting notes, personal diaries, files and documents. The focus is on the debates and decision making in the Oval Office, the situation room, Air Force One and the White House residence with Trump’s most trusted advisors. “Cohn and Porter worked together to derail what they believed were Trump’s most impulsive and dangerous orders. That document and others like it just disappeared. When Trump had a draft on his desk to proofread, Cohn at times would just yank it, and the president would forget about it. But if it was on his desk, he’d sign it. “It’s not what we did for the country,” Cohn said privately. “It’s what we saved him from doing.” REVIEW I thought I knew what was happening in the White House. After all, I watch the news everyday. I listen to talk shows. But reading FEAR I realized it’s even worse than I thought. Much worse! I’m not only in fear, I’m horrified. A man that won’t even listen to his very own experts. A man who threatens to fire anyone that disagrees with him and frequently belittles his staff. Trump appears to believe the application of fear in dealing with people and nations is the proper course for the head of State of the most powerful country in the world. Threats, bullying and intimidation are the only tactics he know. Woodward deftly paints Trump as a man with no compassion, a hairpin trigger, and the temperament of a child. Trump refuses to read his own daily briefing book, preferring to fly by the seat of his pant and interestingly finds the pace in the Oval Office hard to handle. They have had to cut back on his schedule, so he doesn’t have to work so hard, he rarely shows up at the Oval Office before 10 or 11am. More than one senior White House official has stated they were appalled at Trumps’s erratic behavior, his ignorance, his inability to learn and his haphazard way of making decisions. His personal staff spend the majority of their time trying to prevent Trump for making disastrous mistakes. The book is highly informative and the details of meetings and conversations provide the book with a strong sense of believability as well as credibility. It’s an easy and enlightening read. There was so much in this book to absorb, but one of the quotes that has intrigue me the most, and perhaps is the most revealing about his own character was his advice to a friend who had acknowledged some bad behavior toward women. Trump’s advice was: “You have got to deny, deny, deny and push back on these women. If you admit to anything and any culpability, then you’re dead. That was a big mistake you made. You didn’t come out guns blazing and just challenge them. You showed weakness. You’ve got to be strong, you’ve got to be aggressive. You have to push back hard. You’ve got to deny anything that is said about you. Never admit.” Publisher Simon and Schuster Audio Published September 11, 2018 Narrator Robert Petkoff Review www.bluestockingreviews.com

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mwanamali

    I'm looking forward to this

  29. 5 out of 5

    Bob Mayer

    This is a Bob Woodward book but for those who've read previous titles, it's a bit different in that his style of writing seems to have been, let us say, lowered. Not to bad, but to be more understandable. Which means he's directing this book toward both ends of the political spectrum. It's not a hatchet job. In fact, Trump almost (but never) comes off as sympathetic but the #1 impression conveyed by all the interviews is that our president* is simply not smart. His lack of knowledge is scary and This is a Bob Woodward book but for those who've read previous titles, it's a bit different in that his style of writing seems to have been, let us say, lowered. Not to bad, but to be more understandable. Which means he's directing this book toward both ends of the political spectrum. It's not a hatchet job. In fact, Trump almost (but never) comes off as sympathetic but the #1 impression conveyed by all the interviews is that our president* is simply not smart. His lack of knowledge is scary and thus the title. Woodward is not big on the Steele Dossier mainly because he can't check the sources-- unfortunately, let's also accept a number of the sources have been killed, which to me, confirms the dossier even more so. But Woodward is a reporter who wants his facts straight. One interesting note is how Woodward points out that Obama mainly covered up the problems with North Korea and Trump did inherit that mess, but that's true of pretty much every administration. Bottom line: a well-written, deeply researched account of how non-functional the president* is. He's a con artist, pure and simple, who has succeeded in the greatest con perhaps in recorded history.

  30. 4 out of 5

    David

    This book is entirely in a journalistic style. Bob Woodward summarizes and quotes conversations among people in the Trump administration. The book covers the time period immediately before election day through the first year of Trump's presidency. All of the conversations are based on first-person interviews with people who were actually there. So, the book seems to be entirely factual. Woodward offers absolutely no interpretation or speculation of his own. He lets the facts do all of the talkin This book is entirely in a journalistic style. Bob Woodward summarizes and quotes conversations among people in the Trump administration. The book covers the time period immediately before election day through the first year of Trump's presidency. All of the conversations are based on first-person interviews with people who were actually there. So, the book seems to be entirely factual. Woodward offers absolutely no interpretation or speculation of his own. He lets the facts do all of the talking. The reader has to do a lot of interpretation on his own, to fully understand the impact of Trump in the White House. And the facts are often chilling. According to Secretary of Defense General James Mattis and former national security adviser Gary Cohn, President Trump does not understand that the trade deficit does not harm the American economy. Trump wanted to impose tariffs, thus starting a trade war--a war that has just begun. Trump does not understand the importance of South Korea to the United States. Trump doesn't understand the importance of overseas allies, intelligence partnerships, or the relationships with the economy and the military. His advisers were concerned about his relative ignorance, his erratic nature, his inability to learn, and his dangerous views. It becomes clear that Trump did not do what President Lincoln did, to fill his administration with political rivals. Instead, he filled his administration with natural predators. The common distinguishing characteristic of his administration--in particular, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, Conway and Bannon--is that they have no experience in government. Their discussions were not designed to persuade but, like Trump, to win, to slay, crush and demean. There was no leading on key issues like health care, tax reform, or foreign policy. Trump had put "a rat and a falcon, a rabbit and a shark and a seal in a zoo with no walls." Trump developed the habit of watching up to 6-8 hours of television each day. He required teen-age logic, not adult logic, to get through to him. Mattis said that Trump acts, and has the understanding of a 5th or a 6th grader. The crazy thing is that for about the first third of the book, Trump seems like a perfectly reasonable, entirely competent person. It is not until the middle of the book, that his true nature begins to show up, showing him to be the incompetent fool that he is.

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