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Reviews for Fire And Fury

by Michael Wolff

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

This much-discussed take on the Trump presidency reads like a cross between The Emperor's New Clothes and The Twilight Zone. The commentary from the ever-giddy talking heads on the excerpts that have appeared in the last several days has focused on the juicy tidbits (and, really, they're all juicy) concerning what the palace guard really thinks of Donald Trump, but there is also context here for the dysfunction and infighting that have made the president's first year so rocky. That said, there are plenty of warning signs about the book's sourcing. First and foremost, author Wolff gives a rather convoluted description of how he researched the book. Yes, he did interviews, but he also includes second-hand stories; sometimes, Wolff says, there was no way to verify accounts, so he leaves it to the reader to decide what's true. Yet the text is mostly written in an omnipresent voice, so it's difficult to determine what you're reading material from interviews or second-hand sources or pure speculation from moment to moment. In other words, a middle-grade nonfiction book typically has clearer sourcing. At the same time, while the book may have a truthiness feel about it, many commentators have come forward to say that what Wolff says stacks up with what White House observers have been reporting. Among the most telling information is that the administration felt expertise, that liberal virtue, was overrated. As shown throughout, the president, believes most of all in his gut instincts, no matter what the facts say. It is also fascinating learn about how three factions Steve Bannon, Ivanka and Jared, and Reince Priebus fought, often with each other, to move the president and his polices in the direction each wanted. Alternatively, in ways both funny and frightening, this account does reveal a distressing level of dysfunction, starting with Wolff's ability to sit on a couch in the White House for months without someone kicking him out. Fake news or genuine exposť, this will have people talking for a long time or until the next presidential tweet.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2018 Booklist