Hiding in Plain Sight: The Invention of Donald Trump and the Erosion of America

Flatiron: Macmillan. Apr. 2020. 288p. ISBN 9781250210715. $27.99. POL SCI
A scholar of authoritarian regimes and an experienced reporter, Kendzior (The View from Flyover Country) predicted Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election, as well as the current crisis of U.S. democracy. The author argues that the Trump administration’s authoritarian tendencies that initially took many by surprise were preceded by larger political shifts that have eroded democratic policies and civil liberties since the 1980s. The narrative moves through important events and people in Trump’s life during the 1980s through 2019, such as his Russian-connected real-estate deals and time on the reality TV show The Apprentice, while also focusing on the role that corruption and the media played in building his public profile. Similar to her previous works, Kendzior’s latest maintains that Trump is a media-savvy, white-collar criminal. She links the changing landscape of media with Trump’s political rise.
VERDICT A chilling account of how the media, government, and public have failed to hold Trump accountable, and how this has significantly impacted U.S. democracy. Recommended for readers curious about the intersection of politics and media.
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