S. & S. Sept. 2020. 480p. ISBN 9781982131739. $30. POL SCI
Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Woodward explains in his latest book on Donald Trump (after Fear) that he gained access to the presidential family through flattery. This is a recurring theme throughout an account that reads more like a fluff piece than objective journalism. Woodward takes great care to praise the intellect of senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, as well as ousted secretary of defense James Mattis and disgraced secretary of state Rex Tillerson. He reserves the most pages for Trump's meetings with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and their ongoing platitudes toward each other. Readers may be interested in learning more about the Trump administration's attempts to sabotage the Mueller Report, Sen. Lindsay Graham's efforts to become a yes-man, and Kushner's running the presidency behind the scenes, as well as Trump downplaying the threat of COVID-19, as recently reported in the media. Toward the end, the book veers into Sinophobia on both Trump and Woodward's part. Woodward's final line states that Trump is unfit for the job, yet readers will be reminded of his open willingness to appease the presidential family, and by extension his employer, The Washington Post, and its owner Jeff Bezos, to gain access, which ultimately lessens his credibility.
VERDICT Similar to Woodward’s previous book, Fear, only purchase for initial demand.
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