American Resistance: The Inside Story of How the Deep State Saved the Nation

PublicAffairs: Perseus. Nov. 2022. 288p. ISBN 9781541700635. $29. POL SCI
The phrase “deep state” has become a shorthand term for a sinister, out-of-control bureaucracy within the U.S. government. Political analyst Rothkopf (National Insecurity: American Leadership in an Age of Fear), who also hosts the podcast Deep State Radio, is a champion of dedicated, selfless bureaucrats. The focus of his new book is on the government employees, including many appointed by the Trump administration, who, in his view, placed the Constitution and the interests of the country first and above loyalty to an individual. Through more than 100 interviews, Rothkopf relates how highly competent civil servants triumphed over the gross ineptitude at the top of the Trump administration. This book provides chapter-length case studies on immigration policy, Trump’s relationship with the military, Ukraine, and Vladimir Putin, plus the mishandling of the COVID pandemic and the insurrection of January 6, 2021. Heroes that emerge from these accounts include Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Chief of Staff John Kelly, and Secretary of Defense James Mattis, all who either resigned or were fired by Trump.
VERDICT This book is a worthy companion to recent books by Marie Yovanovitch (Lessons from the Edge) and Alexander Vindman (Here, Right Matters). It is an unrelenting indictment of Donald Trump’s abuse of the presidency.
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