Fear : Trump in the White House
by Woodward, Bob

Draws on interviews with firsthand sources, meeting notes, personal diaries, and other documents to depict life in the Trump White House, focusing on Trump's decision-making process for foreign and domestic policies.

Michael Wolff told us about it, Omarosa flaunted it, and now veteran White House watcher Woodward pounds it home. The wheels have come off the White House bus. Of course, anyone with access to a TV set or a news feed is already aware of the book's juiciest bits: General John Kelly calling President Trump an idiot, or Trump lawyer John Dowd telling his client that a sit-down with Robert Mueller would lead to an orange jumpsuit. It requires the book as a whole, however, to really convey what a dysfunctional environment the Trump landscape has become. Woodward's writing, as in previous books, leans toward the leaden. The way he uses/ignores quotation marks and his tendency to pop into the narrative are particularly annoying. Yet, when he describes the key players together in a room in full cry, fighting, for example, about the response to Charlottesville, the book is riveting. Trump's temper, his obsession with image, his incapacity to do his job or to even understand some of the most basic responsibilities of the presidency-these are the things that take readers, along with many of the president's staffers, through the looking glass darkly. But what is equally disconcerting, displayed here again and again, is Trump's inability to take advice, along with his unwavering faith in his gut. Still, at times, Woodward is able to make Trump relatable as an Everyman infuriated by government; after all, who hasn't wondered about the point of staying in Afghanistan after 17 years? Although there's no sourcing, it's not difficult to figure out who spoke to Woodward. The perspectives of Dowd and economic advisor Gary Cohn are apparent, and Steve Bannon's presence is obvious whenever an interviewee describes something brilliant being said or done by . . . Steve Bannon. The title of the book comes from an interview in which the president states that true power comes through fear. Well, this look inside the Trump White House is pretty scary. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

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