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Unpresidented: A Biography of Donald Trump

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  295 ratings  ·  90 reviews
A riveting, meticulously researched, and provocative biography of Donald J. Trump from the author of Alexander Hamilton, Revolutionary.

Born into a family of privilege and wealth, he was sent to military school at the age of 13. After an unremarkable academic career, he joined the family business in real estate and built his fortune. His personal brand: sex, money and power
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published December 4th 2018 by Feiwel & Friends
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Laurie Anderson
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, non-fiction
Great book for middle and high school students interested in the background and early presidency of Donald Trump. The writing is clear and precise and narrative woven perfectly.

But the best part?

THE SOURCE CITATIONS! Holy Research, Batman! Martha Brockenbrough did an EPIC job citing the sources of all of her facts. If you care about research, the Endnotes will make you weep with joy. Not only do they raise the book to the highest level of quality, they provide in excellent example of how to tel
Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Anybody who has followed the news about the current president of the US knows that he's said a great many racist and sexist things. Brockenbrough doesn't shy away from any of that. I'm glad it is all here, documented, for young adults (the book is marketed for kids from age 12-17). I'm also glad that she's included information about Native people.

On page 98 she provides an account of trump's (I do not use a capital letter for his name) 1993 testimony at a hearing in Congress, at the House Natura
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Should be required reading not matter which side of the political spectrum you fall on.

Brockenbrough lays out, neatly and concisely, Trump's story from his grandparents down to the late summer of 2018, when it had to stop so the book could be printed. Copious endnotes and bibliography show how meticulous her research is, rumor and speculation (on the part of others, never her) are clearly labeled, and it is full of direct quotes and even scans of important documents. Much of his life I knew, th
An outstanding, thoroughly researched look at 45 and the legacy he built before and during his time as president. I had known little of his history prior to the election -- I watched an episode of a docu-series on Netflix that really dug into that after -- but this book added so much more depth and understanding. There are somewhere in the neighborhood of 50+ pages of references here, too, as Brockenbrough did her work. Seeing this only covers through July 2018, I'm hoping there will be a follow ...more
Christina Soontornvat
Dec 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The first thing I did when I opened this book is flip to the back. I was interested to see what kind of research the author did. I found 52 pages contains over a thousand endnote sources plus a full and lengthy biography. Wow - now that is a thoroughly and carefully researched book. This is a full and complete biography of the sitting President that uses facts, and his own words and actions to paint a portrait of his character. A teen reader could follow this compelling biography with ease, but ...more
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yesterday, I finished a thriller than featured a serial killer, gruesome details about torture and murder...and yet this factual recount of Tr*mp’s use of racism, sexism, and classism to come to power made me more sick. Martha has done a beautiful thing with this book and I hope every young adult library stocks it.
Katherine Moore
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned, signed, 2019-read, 2019
This biography of Donald Trump is as captivating as it is disturbing, and not surprisingly because sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction. Many readers picking up this book will already have heard or read the countless stories and news items about the current President, but to see Trump’s story on paper, told in linear form, and with 54 pages of references and endnotes, it’s hard to deny just how bizarre and mind-boggling it all is.

From the Trump family’s beginnings in America, all the
Ms. Wendy Burleson
Jan 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
This biography is a detailed compilation of Trump’s words and actions to date from various news and social media sources. It’s useful if one hasn’t kept up with the extensive news coverage and needs a primer on the who, what, where and when of events.

The drawback is that if one is already well-informed and looking for broad, balanced, and nuanced socio-political analysis of the Trump phenomena, this book will likely disappoint. It’s too packed with details for this kind of exploration; moreover,
Jun 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It is impossible for me to write a cohesive review on this book. My thoughts are all over the place.

When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. -Maya Angelou

Trump has been showing his true colors since he was a child. Why did no one stop him? Why did no one call him out? Because he is a wealthy, white, heterosexual male.

This YA book lays out the facts (as dismaying as they are) in a clear, concise manner. There is a timeline in the back of the book as well as a glossary if
Oct 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Biography of Trump, covering from his earliest years through the second year of his presidency. Intended for young readers, this book is incredibly well researched, with great endnotes and a couple of timelines. Casual Trump voters should be required to read this cover to cover with their eyes pinned open like Clockwork Orange.
Kimberly Sabatini
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mg-ya
This book is meticulously researched and documented. And it does an incredible job of showing patterns of behavior that span a lifetime. I've read several books examining our current president, but so far, this one has the most comprehensive look at his origin story. Seeing the long game doesn't make it more palatable, but it's definitely easier to understand how we arrived here.

I love that Brockenbrough knows young adults are more than capable of thinking critically when provided with FACTS a
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, nonfiction
Martha Brockenbrough's Unpresidented tells the story of Donald Trump, from his family's journey to the United States, all the way to his first two years as president. It's written for young people, and I found it to be both compelling and accessible. Brockenbrough's foreword sets a fantastic tone for the entire book by highlighting how journalism and the truth play an important role in our democracy.

Her book successfully utilizes 347 endnotes from video interviews, audio recordings, articles, p
Donald Trump (Parody)
Feb 04, 2019 rated it did not like it
My life aint 400 pages long, you fucks. You need a massive book to cover all the things I've done, and you shouldn't even write it yet because I got a whole lotta fun stuff planned, just you wait. I didn't even need to finish the damn thing to know its a hatchet job, and all you fucks giving it five stars can sit on my face! Christ, there ain't no loyalty even amongst fellow readers. I thought when I signed up on this worthless site (which claims I'm a fake! LIES!) that I was gonna get some seri ...more
May 31, 2019 rated it it was ok
This new YA biography of the sitting president received good reviews, but I'm skeptical. Is it truly possible for a person to live his entire life without ever displaying one admirable quality or sign of integrity? Reviewers must have been predisposed to be extremely critical of Trump.

I am a moderate Democrat but have church friends and conservative family members who are very supportive of the president. I hoped to find something here that would give me a glimpse into what they see, and what i
Dec 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The details in this book blew me away. For example, my husband and I were watching the news yesterday when Manafort case's was being talked about. My husband said, "I bet Konstantin Kilimnick won't be in that book." My husband was wrong. At the very end of the book, in July of 2018, Kilimnick was mentioned in connection with Manafort. Also mentioned at the beginning of the book was Felix Sater. I had to remind my husband who Sater was.

The detailed information makes this book, but what makes thi
Valerie McEnroe
Aug 04, 2019 rated it did not like it
I don't dispute the facts presented in this book, but when you choose some facts at the exclusion of others, that's called bias. ...more
I feel like I just ate too much fast food.

I cannot imagine this was a labor of love. More like a labor of meticulous, cold determination. As a regular person reading the news, the last four years of campaigns and presidency have been a continuous steady drip of bombast, lies, muddled exaggeration, outrage, attempted misdirection, and ridiculous scandal. It’s both overwhelming and numbing. Seeing the whole Trump narrative together in one place was odd, and somewhat disconcerting. I might even ca
In a social media culture today that's attention span can't go past a couple days, Martha Brockenbrough made it her mission to document the life, campaign, and first two years of the presidency of Donald Trump.

This book is meticulously researched and meant to report the truth of the 45th president of the United States. It pulls no punches but does its best not to editorialize excessively. If it is unflattering of our president, that's only of his own doing.

What I appreciate so much about this
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
wow, thoroughly researched, meticulously sourced, and engagingly written. however because of the nature of its subject and his way of making days and weeks feel like years eternities, and scandals that were insane and damning when they came out a month before almost forgettable in the wake of new scandals and tweets and revelations seemingly occurring daily, this teen non-fiction already feels a little dated. it ends in mid-summer of last year, when paul ryan was still speaker, the mueller inves ...more
Kathy Ellen Davis
Such a good and thorough account of Trump’s life, with great background on his family as well so you can see how he got to be the horrible human he is. Filled with facts (no fake news seen here!) and lots of footnotes and additional sources. All teens and adults need to read this book.
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
How can you not read this book? Every word is supported with research. Decades from now people will be thanking Martha Brockenbrough for this book.
J. Mann
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Factual and linear, Unpresidented is an easy read but a hard book. The truth hurts. And Brokenbrough gives it to us straight. A clear-eyed and direct look at our sitting president's life. ...more
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I appreciate this book, because it's written in a very neutral language and therefore I can read it and inform myself without my blood pressure going crazy. ...more
Lois Brandt
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a well-researched and clearly written biography of our current president. Although targeted at the YA market, I found Unpresidented extremely helpful in untangling the huge hairball of scandals and events associated with the Trump campaign and first years of his presidency.

Brockenbrough remains balanced and calm while laying out the extraordinary history of Trump's personal, business, and political life. She allows the young reader (and older readers) room to think about the ramificatio
Dec 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Reasonably comprehensive coverage of the first 18 months of Trump's presidency, but also notably provides a relatively detailed portrait of his earlier life. Just a pity that more people didn't read up on his background prior to voting for him! Worse still is those that did and anticipated a different result. Possibly the most interesting passage doesn't belong to the author and rather to Timothy Snyder: "Without trust, without respect for journalists or doctors or politicians, a society can't h ...more
Apr 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Although I'm not a fan of President Trump, this is not a balanced YA biography. Most of it reads like "he did this, then he said this, then he fired this guy, etc." Kind of a "one damn thing after another" narrative. I don't doubt what she is presenting because she has copious footnotes and numerous sources (many of which are his Twitter feeds). However, there is not much discussion of his personal life that is not viewed negatively, nor are there any positive discussion of successes as a busine ...more
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
The author does a good job with her research, ability to tell the story of Trump and layout of the book ... however there are many times she adds what seems to be Trumps opinion on events being discussed. Without a first hand account or direct quote from Trump I dont feel these should be included in a biography. While I am not a fan of Trumps political policies, this book is also almost completely geared towards the negative decisions and negative actions throughout Trumps life and feels very mu ...more
Dec 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This critical biography of Donald Trump that follows his journey from his early days as a real estate developer through the first half of his current term as president is well written, impeccably researched, and ultimately devastating. Martha Brockenbrough methodically builds a portrait of an entitled, self-aggrandizing man with a complete disregard for the truth. This book is both difficult to read and impossible to put down.

Just as good - and even more horrifying - the second time.
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly sourced and highly readable biography of Donald J. Trump.

I learned a lot from the early life and real estate sections - the second half of the book became more of a skim for me.

The decision to pull out quotes and have them in-text was particularly smart for developing readers and teen readers who might skim or actively poke around the book, in that those readers can still get value out of the book.
Dave Parrilli
Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
Deeply uncritical book which presents the mainstream line of narrative on Trump, rather than question both his nefarious personal motives but also the status quo power elite selling today's bullshit to the next generation. ...more
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Martha Brockenbrough is author of The Game of Love and Death, Finding Bigfoot, The Dinosaur Tooth Fairy, and Devine Intervention, books for young readers. For adults, she has written Things That Make Us [Sic], a hilarious guide to things that can go wrong with English, and It Could Happen to You, a diary of her first pregnancy. She's the founder of National Grammar Day and SPOGG, the Society for t ...more

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