American Oligarchs: The Kushners, the Trumps, and the Marriage of Money and Power

Norton. Jan. 2020. 496p. ISBN 9781324001874. $30. POL SCI
Journalist Bernstein explores the origins and inner workings of the Kushner and Trump family businesses. Beginning with the Kushner family’s dramatic escape during the Holocaust and immigration to New York, Bernstein charts the rise of their real estate empire. At the same time, she explores the beginnings of the Trump family’s business and shows how both families benefited from taxpayer money to build their livelihoods. Later chapters delve into shady business dealings by both families, and their desire to enrich themselves at the expense of others, which Bernstein argues they have continued to do while serving in public office. Finally, Bernstein shows the corruption and conflicts of interest in the Trump administration, and briefly summarizes legal efforts to curb the crimes. Many of the stories in the book were previously reported on Bernstein’s podcast Trump Inc.
VERDICT A well-reported summary of scandals and corruption surrounding the Trump and Kushner family businesses that may already be familiar to fans of Trump Inc. Still, Bernstein gives a clear analysis of complex topics, making this a solid read for all interested in politics.
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