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Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  4,989 ratings  ·  555 reviews
From the reporter who was there at the very beginning comes the revealing inside story of the partnership between Steve Bannon and Donald Trump—the key to understanding the rise of the alt-right, the fall of Hillary Clinton, and the hidden forces that drove the greatest upset in American political history.

Based on dozens of interviews conducted over six years, Green spins
Kindle Edition, 286 pages
Published July 18th 2017 by Penguin Press
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3.81  · 
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 ·  4,989 ratings  ·  555 reviews

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Michael Finocchiaro
Joshua Green's book was a bestseller from the minute it hit the shelves. Is it a great book? Almost, IMHO. It certainty made me feel almost physically ill seeing the utter depravity of Bannon and Drumpf as they mounted their assault on America in 2015-2016. It definitely reassured me in my previous statements (see my reviews of The Plot Against America by Philip Roth and It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis) that we are living in a dystopia where populist ideals amd alt-right fundamentals are ...more
Bill  Kerwin
Aug 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Did you watch the Charlottesville “white power” vigil on TV, and were you surprised to see a new variety of racist, a Millennial, a man unmasked, unhooded—brandishing mommy’s tiki torch, wearing granddad’s WW II helmet—gazing self-confidently into the camera? I watched it, and began to question where this strange new beast had come from, when I remembered I had just read a book that provided me with part of the answer: Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump and the Storming of the Presidenc
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Update (August 18, 2017):

Well, Bannon's down -possibly because of this book - Donald doesn't like other people taking credit for his successes. His bizarre interview with the American Prospect may also have played a role - undercutting your boss's bluff on North Korea is not a good look. But is he out? Probably not.

He's already back on the board of Breitbart, and so the big question is who he decides to attack next, and whoever else decides to attack him.


Shawn Mooney
Aug 16, 2017 marked it as did-not-finish
A little more than a quarter of the way in, I've decided I don't want or need to know one more effing thing about these assholes.
Yuck. Steve Bannon has a twisted sense of the world. One wonders how he got from the Navy & Harvard to the raving, unshaven ideologue he is today, but one guesses it was because he discovered good looks, money, and brains weren't enough to make him happy. But one could use these things to blow up the world.

Steve Bannon at Harvard
Steve Bannon at Harvard

Joshua Green undoubtedly deserves at least four stars for being able to write and having the material no one else did. But I'd been following pretty closely this pa
Rex Fuller
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was ok
The author suffers the liberal’s handicaps of mistaking his opinions for facts and presuming his biases are received wisdom. Look no further than the title: insinuating that Steve Bannon’s relationship with Trump is sinister or possibly evil. In the text, examples are legion. One of the most glaring is his citing of Trump’s campaign flourish – at worst a rhetorical joke – suggesting that Russian intelligence might have, or be able to locate, Hillary’s missing emails to baldly assert “[Trump] inv ...more
Kressel Housman
The last time I read a book with the word "devils" in the title, it was about Wall Street and the crash of '08. This book is very similar; it shows how a bunch of disparate actors came together to create utter chaos, except this time it's political instead of financial. The main question I had going in was whether Bannon has ties to the Kremlin in the way the Trump family does, but it seems not. Either that or he's so politically savvy that he knows how to cover his tracks. But who knows what wi ...more
Tom Mathews
Green book changed the fundamental question about the 2016 election from "How could this have happened?" to "How could we have not seen this coming?"
Jan 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Some of the same trolls who attacked Zoe Quinn in Gamergate are the same group who got Trump elected president, this is such a strange phenomenon, that I can't believe I just wrote this sentence. I just finished Quinn's book Crash Override about her horrible experience. Apparently Steve Bannon who worked happily for "elite enterprises" as he would state it, like Goldman Sachs and out in Hollywood in the movie industry, tapped into this group of disgruntled young men who live in their parent's ba ...more
Jul 15, 2017 marked it as wish-list  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: published-2017

Description: From the reporter who was there at the very beginning comes the revealing inside story of the partnership between Steve Bannon and Donald Trump—the key to understanding the rise of the alt-right, the fall of Hillary Clinton, and the hidden forces that drove the greatest upset in American political history. Based on dozens of interviews conducted over six years, Green spins the master narrative of the 2016 campaign from its origins in the far fringes of right-wing politics and reali
I can't… I— Y'know what? Screw it! Just imagine this gif from Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, but somehow worse.
Helga Cohen
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a must read book to understand how Donald Trump won the White House. This reporter was there from the beginning and this telling book explains their partnership and is key to understanding the rise of the alt-right, the fall of Hillary Clinton and the forces that drove the biggest upset in American political history.
This book is based on 6 years of interviews. Bannon is describes as a hard edged nationalist who plotted for years on how to destroy Hillary Clinton and was the manipulator w
Alex Nelson
Jul 11, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
Rating: 3.5 out of 5, mostly because it seems to be a rushed effort.

Some History

In 1824, for the first time in American history, no single candidate for president received a clear majority of electoral delegates. John C Calhoun received 99 delegates, John Quincey Adams received 84, William Crawford won 41, and Henry Clay 37. The US Constitution specified, at the time, the US House of Representatives would choose who (among the top 3 winners of electoral delegates) would become President. After s
A very interesting account of the presidential election from the viewpoint of Joshua Green, a senior national correspondent for Bloomsberg Businessweek and Bloomsberg News who had front-row seats for the whole process.
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In writing Devil's Bargain, author Joshua Green has arguably drafted the most encapsulating politically relevant book of 2017. Green's book focuses on the populist alt-right persona of Steve Bannon as a centerpiece to the understanding of the political climate that led to Donald Trump's victory in the 2016 election. Bannon can be described as a Machiavellian puppet-master, who's unconventional methods and shrewd political manuevering took years to fully formulate. For decades he sought the right ...more
The Kali Yuga is upon us, Mr. President. Push the button.

Someday there will be a great book written about all this, assuming human civilization survives long enough. This isn't that book, and probably couldn't be, but it is a quick and informative read, similar in style to a magazine article. Some of the early chapters sketch Steve Bannon's life story; these are mercifully brief, but offer some important insights into Trump's former campaign manager and now senior advisor. I was particularly str
Oct 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Interesting and horrifying, though, given the outcome, “horrifying” predominates. The opening and some bits toward the end that rehashed familiar stories of the surprise and delight of Trump and his minions at winning the election almost made me set this aside, but after wading through those painful scenes the examination of Bannon's background and how he developed his ideology, skill sets, and influence was rather fascinating. Green's evaluation of Trump's “principles,” or, rather, lack of them ...more
Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Investigative piece extraordinaire. I appreciate the superhuman effort it took to gather this information together, make sense of it, organize it and write it up well and SO FAST. I admire and thank Joshua Green and those who supported this effort. And Robert Mueller. And Eric Schneiderman. And their teams. I crave justice.

Steve Bannon comes off even worse than I feared. He is smart, he knows it and he doesn’t waste it. He’s been studying, scheming and planning for a long time. He’s bursting wi
Aug 17, 2017 marked it as did-not-finish
I may try this another day, but it was time for it to go back to the library. Interesting, but at the same time I lost interest after spending so much time on CNN and other news sites, after that overload it was hard to pick this up.
Dec 28, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’d like to preface my review by saying that I’m Canadian. Proudly Canadian. So, my opinion about what happened in the American presidential race and vote and about the people involved, ultimately, means nothing. Therefore, my review will focus solely on the delivery of the content rather than not the content itself.

I decided to read Devil’s Bargain after becoming more interested and educated in American politics. American politics are thrilling and full of drama when compared to Canadian politi
Nov 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency, Joshua Green, author; Fred Sanders, narrator
This was a difficult book to focus on because the message seemed preplanned simply to demonize the current President, Donald Trump, using Steve Bannon as the means to that end. In addition, as Bannon’s background and life wre explored, the author seemed intent on creating an evil human being, ignoring the positive side of his life. He is presented as ever eager to hurt and
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Reading this book taught me two terrifying things: first, that as much as we like to hate Steve Bannon, make fun of his appearance and mock his weird apocalyptic beliefs, he is almost certainly the smartest guy in the White House and the primary reason Trump made it to the presidency; second, that with Bannon there and helping spin stories, the Trump campaign didn't necessarily need help from Russia in order to win. Steve Bannon found the right levers and pulled- and, Russia or no Russia, that m ...more
Sep 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
First I need to say as an irregular reader of nonfiction, I really appreciate Joshua Green's accessible writing style.

Devil's Bargain is an illuminating portrait of the man who so heavily influenced Trump's rise and the first 7 months of his presidency. Bannon's backstory and how it led up to Trump's 2016 election provided me with many "a-ha" moments. I'm glad I read it. Note: whether you're a fan or not, you'll love finding out exactly how Bannon made his millions. My husband has now sworn off
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Interesting to read knowing that there's a slew of information festering below the surface. This book might not hold up in the years to come when we know more, but at this point in time it gives us something. A lot of this stuff you might already know, but having the series of events articulated in this manner might put some things into perspective for you.
Jan 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
A well-researched and fascinating (if sometimes nauseating) look at the relationship between Donald Trump and Steve Bannon, now-ousted White House chief strategist. The book, published long before Bannon's recent departure from Trump's staff, details Bannon's early life and career, and how his and Trump's paths intersected. I finished the book with a somewhat grudging respect for Bannon's wily intelligence and ability to manipulate situations to fit his desires, although I still think he's a whi ...more
Siva Liva
Jan 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Was very surprised to learn that Steve Bannon was not born of a puddle of slime
Sep 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Want to know how a narcissistic grifter with no core values or beliefs managed to get elected to our country's highest office? This book provides valuable insight into how it happened, and it's pretty unsettling. Know the enemy. Resist.
Ryan Petrie
Jul 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting look into some of the behind the scenes of the Trump campaign. The book focuses mainly on Steve Bannon, but the small bits that lend light on other lesser players in the campaign (such as the humiliated Chris Christie) made for almost MORE interesting stories. I kinda wish the book was longer and had included more about the secondary players as well.
Donna Hines
Remember this one thing: Everything that glitters isn't gold yes Fool's Gold is shiny but it's a facade. Reality is so much better than fiction and those who stay true to themselves in the end have nothing to lose.
I must note front and center I attended Trump's rally here in Wilkes Barre Pa and while you could feel the energy I went for one reason to try to ascertain what was capturing the momentum of so many from my state which was conservatively Democratic. I married a malignant narcissist and
Tara Brabazon
Sep 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
An extraordinarily disturbing book. Green captures the role of Bannon in the development of Trump's ideology and campaign. There is no doubt - after reading this book - that Trump would not be president without Bannon. Bannon encouraged the excesses, the ignorance, the racism and the sexism. He was able to mobilize the feral tantrums and unfortunate xenophobia to claim power. Finding the control in the hysteria, Bannon enabled a Trump presidency. This book explains how he did it. The 'why' to Tr ...more
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“Ivanka spoke up: “My father has something big to tell you.”  “What’s that?” Murdoch said. “He’s going to run for president.” “He’s not running for president,” Murdoch replied, without looking up from his soup. “No, he is!” she insisted. Murdoch changed the subject. Trump nursed the slight for months, seething at the indignity. “He didn’t even look up from his soup!” he’d complain. The insult weighed heavily on him, and it made Fox News a perennially fraught subject.” 2 likes
“After Pope John Paul II permitted limited use of the Latin-only Tridentine Mass, which was banned by the Second Vatican Council, the elder Bannons became Tridentine Catholics. “When [the Roman Catholic Church] first started allowing it in the mid-eighties,” Steve Bannon recalled, “we left our parish that we’d been in for years and went and joined St. Joseph’s in Richmond, which offers a Tridentine Mass.” 1 likes
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