Ah, the hype! So I was really hot to read it right at first because I was so curious. But then, after thinking a bit, I thought no, I’ve had enough of the clown. Then I changed and thought no, you almost have a responsibility to read it just to support freedom of the press – (#45 tried to stop publication!). Finally, I thought maybe there’s something more in the book than what we see on the news, maybe there’s background and/or depth. The book does seem generally on the level – any gross errors would be reported by someone – so far there are some details which are suspicious but nothing major (as far as I know).
Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House
By Michael Wolff
2017 / 336 pages
Read by Holter Graham – 11h 56m
Rating: 8+ / nonfiction-politics
Mostly I found it to be funny. Oh yes, there is plenty of information about the personalities and power struggles And if you think much about it, the “behind- the-scenes” stuff, the reality (?), can be downright scary.
From the horror of finding himself actually elected and getting the *job* of POTUS through the bumbling attempts at putting together an organization, the scandals and the looming Russia probe all the way to the Charlottesville protests and Bannon’s exit in August of 2017 this book kind of covers the highlights in order. It also has an epilogue hitting the Roy Moore campaign, Carl Kaepernick’s knee and Rex Tillerson’s “moron” comment in October as well as Kelly’s term as chief of staff and more recent developments – last changes were probably around early December – prior to the Moore defeat. The beat just kept rolling as the book went to press.
Theres’s a fair amount of speculation, but much of the narrative is based on some observation, over 200 interviews, and so on. Some people talked about other people and some about themselves, some are on record, some not – some hidden. Wolff explains that approach but I will say a LOT of the information seems to have come from Bannon who was at the center, is a talkative guy, and has an axe to grind and is now apologizing all over the news. lol
I follow the news pretty closely, so much of it was a review of what’s gone on for the last 18 months or so (and there has been so much!) but it’s presented concisely and pretty completely although it’s not every Tweet or any of Melania’s troubles – a LOT has been edited out. But this way I feel I’ve gotten a more complete overview of the whole time and the important issues besetting the WH and POTUS. Also, there were a few new things (or stuff I didn’t remember) scattered around.
There are bits of insight into the policy-type thinking of different members of the show – er whole entourage but mostly it was just “do it different” on issues ranging from health care to foreign policy. It seems much of it was a game of how to get to talk to Trump and then wait for him to make up his own mind – if it wasn’t already. (The man does not read anything. He watches three TV sets and talks to people.)
There’s quite a lot of stuff about Trump’s personal habits, idiosyncrasies, rages and, of course, tweets. But also covered are the personalities, Lewandowski, Ayles, Mercer, Bannon, Priebus, Conway, Ivanka, Kushner, Flynn, Ryan, Hope Hicks,, Sally Yates, Comey, Joe & Mika, Don Jr, McMaster, Scaramucci, etc (and a LOT more). But there’s precious little about Melania and Saturday Night Live is not mentioned. The staff were all mostly concerned with how to keep Trump happy – and with their own feuds which grew quite hostile.
The basic take-away for me is that it says straight out that Trump and company really didn’t expect to win and weren’t terribly happy with that outcome. I think I read this as a little factoid long ago, but there wasn’t much about it. Imo, that explains the Russian thing – there was probably no “collusion” *to win the election.* Trump likely wanted the bad stuff about Hillary to push for impeachment later (and to “lock her up”) while keeping his name in the news and increase the value of his brand. That said, there is certainly evidence of “obstruction of justice,” but I think it’s because Trump doesn’t want Mueller following the money or the family. And yes, Russia probably did interfere with our election in terms of putting a lot of fake news out there about Clinton- I don’t know if Putin won or not. – Putin loathes Clinton.
So then Donald became president and it was all about “OMG! Now what?” And the rest of the book shows the chaos and blunders and posturing for the favors of an ignorant, incompetent, probably criminal semi-nut case in charge of our country. That’s what our situation seemed to me prior to reading the book and seems to me still. I just know more specifically how bad it all is. It’s scary bad.
Is it worth it? Imo, yes but basically because I enjoyed it – not because I learned anything really new, but I feel I have a deeper understanding of a shallow administration – how bad it is – or was – maybe it’s better now. I doubt it. Not if the same guy is at the helm.
The book’s reader, Holter Graham, is quite good but kind of emphasizes the idiotic aspects – It’s always quite obvious that neither the author nor the narrator is a fan. .