Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Book Report: "Fear: Trump in the White House"

Fear: Trump in the White HouseFear: Trump in the White House by Bob Woodward
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I think this book will become more relevant and valuable as the decades pass and people look back on this surreal period of time to sort out exactly what the hell happened. Woodward's research and sourcing are sure to stand the time better than the likes of Omarosa, James Comey, Stormy Daniels or the other Trump book-of-the-week opportunists.

In the wake of Michael Wolff's "Fire and Fury," though, Woodward's work comes off as milquetoast and meek. Just about everything here has been copiously reported elsewhere. Woodward takes the newspaper-of-record tack of foregoing the attempt to break news while making sure its facts are settled and straight.

Woodward shocks no one by tearing the lid off an obviously chaotic and dysfunctional White House and showing that it's... chaotic and dysfunctional. He offers no more insight as to the haphazard way Trump operates than what anyone can see after watching him jabber on for a few minutes on camera. If anything, Woodward doesn't so much rip Trump apart as he does provide a security blanket by showing how his staff actively works to undermine his crazier impulses to keep some semblance of normalcy in the day-to-day at 1600.

Woodward's more explosive material is at the beginning and end. The bulk of the book could have been written by anyone with a stack of newspaper pieces to summarize. Woodward catalogs the list of Trump's well-reported scandals, padding out what cynically could have been an extended magazine article.

But I'm glad Woodward made this into a book. It will either be something to pass down to future generations in an effort to explain WTF happened during this episode of temporary insanity... or show how the first domino fell in the process that ended up giving us President Ivanka.

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