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The Trump Trilogy #2

Siege: Trump Under Fire

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Michael Wolff, author of the bombshell bestseller Fire and Fury, once again takes us inside the Trump presidency to reveal a White House under siege.

With Fire and Fury, Michael Wolff defined the first phase of the Trump administration; now, in Siege, he has written an equally essential and explosive book about a presidency that is under fire from almost every side. A stunningly fresh narrative that begins just as Trump’s second year as president is getting underway and ends with the delivery of the Mueller report, Siege reveals an administration that is perpetually beleaguered by investigations and a president who is increasingly volatile, erratic, and exposed.

352 pages, Hardcover

First published June 4, 2019

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About the author

Michael Wolff

53 books442 followers
Michael Wolff is an American author, essayist, and journalist, and a regular columnist and contributor to USA Today, The Hollywood Reporter, and the UK edition of GQ. He has received two National Magazine Awards, a Mirror Award, and has authored seven books, including Burn Rate (1998) about his own dot-com company, and The Man Who Owns the News (2008), a biography of Rupert Murdoch. He co-founded the news aggregation website Newser and is a former editor of Adweek.

In January 2018, Wolff's book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House was published, containing unflattering descriptions of behavior by U.S. President Donald Trump, chaotic interactions among the White House senior staff, and derogatory comments about the Trump family by former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 402 reviews
Profile Image for H.M. Ada.
Author 1 book386 followers
June 16, 2019
A behind the scenes look at Trump's bizarre and increasingly unhinged second year in the White House. It's easy to dismiss a lot of the tidbits in this book, such as that Trump wishes he hadn't given Don Trump Junior his name, that he didn't want to visit his own recently born grandchild in the hospital, or that he makes fun of anyone with a mustache and his own dad, Fred Trump, who routinely belittled and humiliated him, just happened to have a mustache. But for worse or worser, these items are now a part of the historical record because we the American people made the mistake of giving this man the nuclear codes.

In many cases, the point is not so much whether what was said was true, but the fact that it was said at all. After two years in office, and really a lifetime of surrounding himself with codependent sycophants and fellow grifters that he will turn on at a moment's notice when it suits him, Trump has no real friends or allies. Everyone in his orbit is there to gain money or power, because Trump holds something over them, or simply because no one else will hire them. Staff run office pools about when and how Trump will go down, they avoid meetings because they don't want to be subpoenaed to testify later, and all the while, they plot their exit.

And while I don't personally enjoy reading these kinds details (I find them kind of depressing) I don't think we should bury our heads in the sand either because we are so worn down from this circus-like reality show. That Trump talks to Sean Hannity several times a day, is willing to make policy decisions based on criticism from Hannity and Ann Coulter, and that he is outraged when Fox News says anything negative about him, all have implications for the state of our democracy and the free press. There is also a good chapter here on Kushner and how his attempts to use his position for personal gain have driven our nation's foreign policy. It's been said many times before, but we must never normalize this president.

The book has a happy ending, at least for Trump, in that to his surprise and the surprise of everyone else around him, Mueller's final report played it relatively safe, punting the hardest questions to Congress and allowing Trump to live to fight another day. But I think this victory will be short lived, and that Trump's eventual downfall is inevitable. In my opinion, Trump will be remembered as one of history's great deranged, mad rulers. How much damage he does is up to us, and, borrowing some words from my favorite Democratic primary candidate, Pete Buttigieg, I hope we can "change the channel" in 2020.
Profile Image for Ian "Marvin" Graye.
855 reviews2,133 followers
January 20, 2021


"Fire and Fury", the predecessor volume to "Siege", was published in January, 2018, and led to the departure of Steve Bannon as Trump's chief strategist.

In the acknowledgements for this volume, Michael Wolff states that Bannon was "the most clear-eyed interpreter of the Trump phenomenon I know."

After his departure, Bannon had less immediate access to what was occurring within the White House, but was still able to offer insightful commentary on what could be observed from the outside. Wolff says that he was "in this volume, back again, and on the record, with my thanks for his trust and cooperation."

Second Time Round

What he doesn't acknowledge is that, just as Trump dismissed Bannon, many other sources left the White House or effectively dried up (under pressure from Trump), leaving Wolff with less sources of direct quotation. As a result, the structure of the volume changed.

It's still chronological, though each chapter focuses on a particular event or crisis, usually through the lens of a single participant or player. That said, there's much more commentary or judgment from Wolff himself, which changes the tone of the book. It's less fly-on-the-wall, and more critical or, at least, analytical.

This means that there is less to differentiate the analysis in the book from the contemporary journalism found in newspapers, magazines and cable TV coverage (e.g., CNN).

Pre-Term Termination

This volume begins in February, 2018, at the outset of Trump's second year in office, and ends 12 months later, just as Mueller's Report is about to be published (March). The book was published in June, 2019.

Wolff's sources seem to agree that Trump is "batshit crazy" and surrounded by "small-time crooks". He "needed to surround himself with the dysfunctional and the inept, because he was dysfunctional and inept. Only in the land of the blind could he be king."

He would get no better in the next two years. Actually, he probably got worse, as the pressure from the impeachment hearings, the COVID crisis, and the 2020 presidential election got to him. Steve Bannon anticipates that "he won't go out classy...[unlike Nixon] we don't have smart and we don't have classy."

"Nobody Else Could Get Away With This Shit"

You have to wonder whether Wolff will write a book (or books) that deal with the final two years of Trump's first term, which include the impeachment hearings and the response to the COVID crisis.

Would I read another book anyway? It depends on who wins this election. Would it be less painful, if Trump loses? If Trump wins (by hook or by crook), I probably won't be in the mood for reading about it. I'll probably sit back and watch the civil war unfold on TV. Besides, I feel dirty enough, as it is. These two books packed with Trump-dust have tested the limits of my curiosity and endurance.

What more can we learn, once it becomes obvious that it was:

"Not just that the Trump circle lacked experience and talent, but that it was the greatest concentration of ignominious lowlifes, scammers, and con artists ever seen in national politics..." (218)

As Steve Bannon says of Trump:

"Nobody else could get away with this shit." (221)

Still, it remains to be seen to what extent he ultimately gets away with it. Or whether he gets away with the presidency for a second time.

The Spectacle of a Deplorable Society

I was amused to see that Steve Bannon had co-opted Hillary Clinton's term and started to call Trump's base "the deplorables". I suspect that their true character will emerge, if Trump loses. Unfortunately, many of them will be carrying guns. It will test their commitment to and respect for law and order.

"Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!" (Edgar Allan Poe, "The Raven")



Blinded by the Shite

They're trying to blind us with Trump-dust,
There's no one or nothing we can trust.
He got help from Bannon and Breitbart. 
He's the only one who thinks he's smart,
He gets away with copious lies.
He doubts that we'll ever realise
There's no tradition he can't debase,  
There's no reward for his loyal base.
They'll never know the nation could burn
Before he rounds the corner of the turn.
You'll not avert the calamity,
If you only watch Sean Hannity.

Helsinki Tryst (Crimea River)

Don't box me in; I
Need to be open.
Wishin' and hopin'
To see you, again.
Crimea River,
Crimea River,
Don't leave me alone.
Call me on the phone.
We could meet at your
Dacha by the stream.
Crimea River,
Crimea River,
You said you loved me.
Nothing was unsaid.
You're the only one,
The damage is done.
Crimea River,
Crimea River,

Street Hassle
[Apologies to Lou Reed]

He's really some bad shit
He's lower than a worm.
He thought that he could be
King for another term.
Amongst the street hassle
I'm sure that he would squirm.
In the morning, he'd be detained,
And the cops would confirm
His suit pocket contained
A rubber full of sperm.

Profile Image for Amal.
100 reviews10 followers
June 10, 2019
Where Fire and Fury was all sly innuendo and fun gossip with a dose of holy crap this man is an idiot, Siege paints a far grimmer picture of not just a man but a family so venal that the Office of the President of the United States of America has essentially become a booth in a flea market for all sorts of influence peddlers and lobbyists. The picture painted here is of an Office that was once the most highly regarded position in the world brought so low by not just the person occupying it, but by the dregs of society he has surrounded himself with. The conmen and hangers-on, the foul bigots, the ones who would sooner spit on the Constitution as they would honour it, and worst of all, the ones using the office for monetary gain; they have all by turn despoiled that Office and it is just a tragedy.

Wolff opens Siege by addressing the number one charge against him: his sources. He discusses openly how he gets his materials and the many steps he has to take to verify information. Contrary to what many mainstream (jealous) journalists say, this is solid writing.

Before I get into the guts of the book, the other thing I would note that is so very interesting – and that seems to escape the notice of some – is that the things that Wolff discussed as being planned for behind the scenes in Fire and Fury have indeed come to pass and have played out in the public eye so wildly that I actually went back to my copy of Fire and Fury to check and see what he had written about them.

Now on to the book:

This book purely deals with the events after Fire and Fury, during the time of the Mueller investigation and report. While the book focuses primarily on Trump, it does give a thorough accounting of the backroom happenings of things we saw on the news (Khashoggi, McDougall), the many many avoidable fiascoes that would never happen if you had a President who was actually understanding of what the title meant and herein lies the crux of the problem. After two years in office, Trump still has no idea what he can and can’t do as President, he has no idea how bad it is that Congress is investigating him, he has no idea of how much jeopardy he is actually in. He appoints people who have no idea what they are doing to positions they don’t understand. It isn’t Trump under siege, it is the country.

A continued theme throughout the book is that the President is managed by sunshine being blown up his ass. I believe that. Someone like him is likely in a position where that is true, the other big theme? It is President Bannon all the way. He is basically directing policy without even being in the White House, all he has to do is blow the wind towards his friends at Fox News and there you are. The Caravan crazy tweets? Bannon’s idea. The Wall tweets? Bannon’s idea. The National Emergency? Guess who?

In terms of foreign policy? There is so much to unpack that it would take pages of review to get to, I will just say that any possible standing the U.S. had as an honest broker in foreign policy is gone thanks to the fumbling of his son-in-law Kushner. It is gone, squandered and sold so he could get a bail out for his family’s financial real estate company.

Wolff writes compelling work because he gives you behind the scene minutiae about items that seem perplexing. This book is meant more for people who are following this administration closely more than it is for people who are looking for another Fire and Fury fun gossipy read.
Profile Image for Louise.
1,632 reviews285 followers
September 2, 2019
I didn’t finish Robert Woodward’s Fear: Trump in the White House because it read like a string of anecdotes. In contrast, Michael Wolff’s earlier book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House gave a cohesive portrait of the Trump administration’s culture. While he is not embedded, in "Siege", Wolff further perfects the Woodward genre.

The Introduction gives a portrait of Trump that holds throughout. The chapters are topical; most of them named for people but expand.

There is a lot more here than you get in the news. Some of it is substantive such as a Republican near mutiny following Helsinki and some of it humorous such as staff takes on what Putin said to Trump to make him look so defeated. The press would have you believe that Trump wanted Brett Kavanaugh on the bench, but Wolff is clear that Trump wanted his own justice which is both humorous ("I know about attorneys, I've been firing attorneys for years") and serious, he wants someone who owes him - not one from the Federalist Society.

Wolff’s background /speculation fills in the blanks, such as with both Trump and Stormy Daniels having reasons to keep their story private, after all these years and her objections, why was she paid off? Wolff poses a Michael Cohen “fix” where he can skim off the top. Wolfe gives the obvious answer about Guilani that you will not find in the news- he drinks.

F&F seemed to be Wolff ghost writing for Steve Bannon; this new book is still heavy on Bannon, but the Wolff voice comes through. An example is the chapter on Manafort which begins “For Bannon, Manafort had long been an incomprehensible and comic presence…a quintessential Trump sort of character, useful and amusing to Trump as well as a potential mortal threat to him.” It goes on to say how Bannon and Manafort met and the times they interfaced. The parts on Manafort’s connections to Derpaska to Putin, his trial and pardon vs. witness strategies seem to be Wolff.

Wolff, the author of The Man Who Owns the News: Inside the Secret World of Rupert Murdoch seems to be the voice of the chapter “Hannity” which is a deeper look at Fox News. Never the (Woodward-style) stenographer Wolfe’s ties Roger Ailes’ warning that the network should guard against being the administration’s mouthpiece to the current situation where the 3 Fox talking head anchors have acknowledged that if Trump goes down, they go with him. This chapter includes the channel’s impact on the Murdock family. All the Murdock’s dislike Trump (Rupert can’t get him off the phone fast enough); the divisive issue is the money the channel brings in.

There is some interesting color on Nikki Halley and the timing of her resignation. You see the fragile position of Ivanka and Jared. You also see Henry Kissinger attempting to benefit from Jared’s position and lack of preparation for it. Mitch McConnell is shown to know how to play Trump and seek cover.

The final chapter “The Report” has a portrait of Robert Muller that would never appear in the main stream media. Either Wolff or Bannon, or both, see him not as “a by the book Marine” but as “a cautious, indecisive bureaucrat”. Very little is said of Robert Barr.

This is a must read for political junkies (who have surely already read it) or for those who are reasonably informed who want a more interpretive (and most likely realistic) portrait of what is going on than you can get in news produced for a mass market.
Profile Image for Ray.
Author 16 books283 followers
July 7, 2019
What a contrast that was with Woodward’s book. Instead of high-level leaks and national security, Wolff’s Siege is just pure gossip.

And that makes for an entertaining read. The guy does know how to write.

There’s Karen Pence drama, Giuliani’s drinking, and behind-the-scenes family scuffles at Fox News.

For the most part, this book is comfort food for the resistance. The president is always portrayed as a total idiot, and there’s a certain reassuring satisfaction in having that confirmed. Apparently, absolutely everyone around him thinks he is the absolute worst.

Even when criticizing the left and quoting Bannon (and there is so much Bannon), the overarching theme is still that the president is dumb as shit.

Another overarching theme is how all the people in his circle are constantly trying to steer and manipulate the highest office in the land, with endless distractions and strategies and theorizing what makes that infamous reality show host tick.

And the reason they work so hard is, of course, so that they can save their careers. That’s about it when it comes to making the government go round.

It gets very disturbing to hear about how all these people seem to be in it only for themselves. Very seldomly do any of his inept kids or cohorts worry about what’s best for the country and for the world. More often they totally admit how unethical and often illegal the whole operation is, and yet they must try their best to win. Because it’s their team, or something.

This goes most for Bannon, who is basically the co-writer of this book. He goes on and on and on about how stupid and insane his chosen president is, but that’s okay because he’s fighting the so-called establishment. But after all those thousands of words, Bannon never truly tries to explain exactly how his “movement” would make citizens lives better in any way. He fights hard to win, and the question of why is never addressed.

The furthest Bannon seems to be able to think is that he’s against third world immigrants, and he’s against China. Oh, and the bad thing about democrats is that they only care about people in the margins. (Again, it is not addressed what people at all his party cares about.) The conclusion is that the new far right is only against things, and for nothing.

What horrible people.

Then the book ends on an anti-climatic note, due to the disappointment of the Mueller Report as we all know. Wolff certainly assumes the inevitability of the coming downfall, there’s no question as far as this author and all his sources are concerned. I most definitely do hope so myself. But without a proper ending for the book, as much as it’s worth reading as a Fire and Fury sequel, it simply doesn’t feel like it has a proper ending.

No doubt there will be at least a third in the trilogy, and many will want to read and analyze the historical trainwreck of it all. For this reader, however, I am left wondering why it is I keep coming back to these shitty Tr*mp books.
Profile Image for Owlseyes .
1,642 reviews263 followers
Want to read
June 26, 2019

“A President cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office. That is unconstitutional. ... Charging the President with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider."
Robert Mueller

Michael Wolff will be under fire, for sure. Because the indictment "documents" just don't exist, and Mueller has just resigned from the Department of Justice, so he may return to "private life".

These are terrible news for Jarrold Nadler. No Mueller testimony in Congress.




UPDATE: Michael Wolff under fire

(in Die Zeit)


Michael Wolff just told an Australian network: "Donald Trump has no chance of re-election".
Hmmm By 2020 there will be ...hell for some.
Michael Wolff should read this:
"Four reasons why Trump is cruising toward re-election"
in: https://www.theguardian.com/commentis...

Game ain't over for Nadler and Schiff:
"Mueller to testify before House committees in July"
in: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2...
Profile Image for Bettie.
9,988 reviews15 followers
June 19, 2019

Henry Holt will publish Michael Wolff’s new book Siege: Trump Under Fire on June 4. The book is a sequel to Wolff's 2018 bestseller Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, which went on to sell more than a million hardcover copies, according to NPD BookScan. Stephen Rubin, Holt’s chairman, bought the book from Andrew Wylie of the Wylie Agency. John Sterling, the editor of Fire and Fury, will edit the new book, which is embargoed until publication.

Fire and Fury launched book publishing's Trump exposé craze last year, in part thanks to President Donald Trump's attempt to silence Wolff's account by sending a cease-and-desist letter to Macmillan Publishers. Holt is billing the follow-up as "an equally essential and explosive book about a presidency that is under fire from almost every side" with "a stunningly fresh narrative that begins just as Trump’s second year as president is getting underway, and ends with the delivery of the Mueller report."

Eyes down, ears perked, here we go...
That bit about him not liking anyone taller reminds me of this bit in King & I

Alastair Campbell interviews Michael Wolff | British GQ
Profile Image for Tanabrus.
1,831 reviews156 followers
October 29, 2020
Non se ne esce: leggere questo resoconto del secondo anno di presidenza di Trump, che chiarisce alcuni dettagli che mi erano sfuggiti leggendoli tra la marea di notizie giornaliere e fornisce interessanti notizie di background sui personaggi di contorno nella galassia Trumpiana, non fa altro che farmi rimbalzare incessantemente una domanda in testa.

E la domanda è sempre quella: come è stato possibile arrivare a questo? Quando l'incompetenza e la delinquenza sono diventate così affascinanti da garantire a un personaggio di questo tipo di diventare l'uomo più potente del mondo? Com'è stato possibile che un intero partito con una lunga storia alle spalle si sia piegato così tanto ai capricci di un uomo chiaramente inviso alla maggior parte dei suoi stessi componenti?
E soprattutto, dato che Trump non è la causa di questa situazione ma il sintomo più eclatante, resta il dubbio angoscioso: quando riusciremo a uscirne per tornare a tempi più normali?

La serie di scandali e assurdità che anche solo un decennio fa avrebbero causato maremoti politici e fatto volare teste come foglie in autunno, adesso si è rivelata innocua, incapace di ferire realmente una figura che da sempre si è mostrata così, e la cui difesa principale pare essere "la gente sa che sono così e mi ha votato, mica penserete che ricordarle come sono cambierà i suoi pensieri".
E poi le macchinazioni dietro di lui, le fazioni che concorrevano a guadagnarsi la fiducia del presidente o meglio a riuscire a convincerlo a seguire per un poco una linea di azione, per poter perseguire i propri scopi.

Più si legge sulla West Wing di questi anni e più si resta allibiti.
Profile Image for Chris Esposo.
671 reviews31 followers
June 9, 2019
Have you watched the news on a semi-regular basis over the past 2 years? Have you ever read the president's tweets? And lastly, are you modestly intelligent and can make simple inferences based on what you watch, read, and listen to? If the answer to all those questions is yes, then 95% of the information in this book will either already be known to you, or you will have guessed it as much.

What of the other 1/20 bits of data found in this book that may be new? Wondered what Trump affiliated lawyer Sam Nunberg was doing prior to his bizarre, incoherent, history-making 8 interviews in one day, shattering the previous "Full Ginsberg" daily record of 4 news interviews during the Clinton-Lewinsky affair? Hint: Snorting copious lines of coke off of a female prostitutes body part, at least according to Steve Bannon.

Did I want to know that? No. Could I have guessed it from Sam Nunberg bug-eyed performance during his interviews that day? Probably. Is this really important to get to the bottom of the whole mess that is the current administration? Possibly.

The above actually accentuate the issues with the book. Like the previous book "Fire and Fury", this book's "value" to the well-informed reader is that adds much color to what *may* be going on in the background of the current administration. I write "may" because, like the previous text, it is highly suspected by many readers of both of Wolff's books that the primary (and possibly sole) source for most of this book is, in fact, Steve Bannon, who is an unreliable conveyor of information at best. In fact, you can see Wolff in the background hanging out with Bannon during the November 2018 election night events in a scene from Allison Klayman's recently released an acclaimed documentary on Bannon, "The Brink", which followed Bannon contemporaneously in the same time period as "Siege".

The portrait we get of Trump is not at all dissimilar to what is apparent from his public performance, an extremely self-centered individual, who has little patience to read his briefings or study issues, has bigoted mentalities, frustrates everyone that works for him, and has very little capacity to engage in "long term" or strategic thinking, leading to poor decision making that diminishes US economic and political standing vis-a-vis other nations.

What else is there? According to Wolff, Trump has claimed an "encounter" with Nicki Haley, to leverage a Clintononian terminology for the "act" in question. Wolff suggests this is just bluster and probably not true. Though, according to Wolff Trump has engaged in similar activity with subordinates when he was a businessman. Other less salacious notes include the way his son-in-law has come to be the "man in the wall" of US diplomacy, and how he has performed (or not performed) to the task. How Trump's habit of blaming his subordinates for all failings in his leadership provokes animus against him from his administration, Trump's habit of eating bologna, his fear of going to jail (which has recently flared up in public during his D-Day 75th anniversary travels to Europe), and other similar things.

Yet again, none of this will be a surprise to anyone who even just passively follows the news. At best, this book validates what one observes. At worst, it fills in details with tabloid rumors.

Not to say that the story Wolff has written isn't entertaining. There's much hilarity in this book, in a "The Wolf of Wall Street" kind of way. These books will make Wolf spectacularly rich one day when they're optioned and turned into a biopic dark comedy. Assuming the remainder of the Trump years doesn't end up being profoundly tragic because of errors made by the administration on the world stage.

Unless you can get this book in a severe discount (or free) one can probably hold off on it. If you're entertained by reading about a three-stooges like a team of grifters, a sort of anti-Ocean's 11 and have nothing to read, it may be a decent pickup. I'd suggest you could get 90% of the same effect by just watching Steven Colbert's "Our Cartoon President".
Profile Image for Carla Bayha.
246 reviews8 followers
June 7, 2019
I made it through Chapter 13 ("Trump and Putin"-Helsinki, oh my!), and then my hay feverish eyes gave out for the day. For understanding Trump and his crazy train, this is better than Wolff's earlier book (or Woodward's, or Comey's). In the first 12 chapters at least, Wolff has surfaced forgotten stories, and given new information on the Pences, Guiliani, McConnell, and the Trump family. With one of the most respected editors in the book business and a squad of fact-checkers, I haven't even found a typo yet. Don't let the news media investment in other stories this week, keep you from reading this book. I can't wait to go back to it.
Profile Image for Susan.
792 reviews40 followers
June 29, 2019
I think I'm suffering from Trump fatigue; I found that I couldn't immerse myself in this second book by Michael Wolff about Donald Trump like I did when I read his first book. This time around I found myself easily distracted by other things than reading, which isn't a good sign. Of course, I know how the story ends so far...

I did find it interesting that apparently no one who works for Trump can stand him. Wolff claims that Kelly Ann Conway can't stand him even though she keeps standing up for him to the media. I guess that's why she and George haven't divorced yet.

Worth a read, but check it out from the library.
Profile Image for Doug.
1,937 reviews672 followers
July 10, 2019
Even though I found Wolff's first 45 tome, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, extremely informative and fascinating, the daily barrage of garbage coming out of the current administration had wearied me to such a point I despaired of tackling this sequel - but am glad I rallied. Like the first book, it is both compulsively readable, gossipy (yet poorly copy edited) - and largely composed of material any savvy follower of politics either already knew or suspected.

This volume, much more so than F & F, is clearly indebted to the revelations of Steve Bannon - who even gets a full page thank you in the acknowledgements for his efforts. As such, it is colored (tainted?) by his viewpoint, which doesn't necessarily invalidate any of it. And as with volume 1, one must take a lot of this insider info with a large grain of salt - but even if only 50% were strictly accurate (and I'd say the real figure is northwards of 90%)- that is more than enough to rattle one to just how far the USA has sunk in the past two years under this tragicomic figure.

And there ARE revelations here that I didn't know, and just following the timeline once again of the continual degradation of the position sobers one to how important it is to get this woefully inadequate and dangerous man out of the WH - and hopefully behind bars where he belongs.

One thing that was a bit frustrating is that during publicity for book 1, Wolff stated he was 100% sure Mango Mussolini was having an ongoing affair - and that if one perused the final chapters you could discern who that individual was (I figured from the clues it was most likely Nikki Haley, or maybe Hope Hicks). Although Wolff casually drops in many instances of 45's continual sexual harassment of various women - and states that The Russian Asset told numerous pals that Haley had provided him with a BJ - there is nothing hinting at anything ongoing here. As I finished this the day after the arrest of close pal and (fellow?) pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, perhaps if the allegations against 45 prove true, then that might FINALLY spell the end of this nightmare.
Profile Image for Misfit.
1,637 reviews276 followers
July 4, 2019
So, if only 1/2 or 1/4 of the *facts* stated in this book are really true - be afraid, be very afraid. Yikes!
Profile Image for Tom Walsh.
573 reviews9 followers
June 10, 2019
Interesting, but not for the reasons you think.

I assumed that in this book Wolff would follow the same furrow of tabloid gossip he plowed in Fire & Fury. The tidbits of gossip are scattered throughout the work but it’s really a very different exposé. The Resistance can find plenty of evidence of Trump’s madness, stupidity and greed uncovered during his two years. The Administration is shown to be as chaotic as expected and filled with even more liars, thieves and fools than we thought. Whether Wolff’s sources are completely accurate or accurately quoted or not, the reader can taste the Special Sauce and Aroma of Trumpworld.

But the essence of Siege is elsewhere. The title itself is a distraction. This book was “dictated”by Steve Bannon. Every page is filled with Bannon’s take on each event and decision of the first two years and Bannon’s take is almost never positive. Trump is nothing but a tool for Bannon’s Populist Vision of Armageddon. Trump’s greed, duplicity, narcissism and stupidity was ruining his Dream and he is vicious in his anger and frustration.

This is the real value of the book. Not the crazy quotes and revelations of insecurity, fear and lust but rather a peek inside the fearsome Bannon Worldview. Americans should understand this view and fear it.

As we should have come to understand since 2015, Trump is only a distraction, a batshit crazy, narcissistic sociopathic distraction, but a distraction nonetheless. He’s not the greatest danger. The Destruction of Liberal Democracy of the type planned by Bannon is the greater peril.
Profile Image for Bander Aali.
9 reviews4 followers
December 10, 2019
اذا كان كل ماذكر في هذا الكتاب حقائق مطلقه فإن هذا الطفل العملاق المعتوه (دونالد ترامب )سيتسبب بأحد أمرين على ما اعتقد خلال فترة حكمة إما انهيار أمريكا أو سيتسبب بحرب كارثية مفاجئة خارجية قبل انتهاء فترة حكمة الاولى ليتسنى له الاستمرار لفترة حكم أخرى
Profile Image for tasya ☾.
347 reviews173 followers
August 30, 2019
I would like to thank Pansing for sending me a copy of Siege: Trump Under Fire by Michael Wolff in exchange for my review.

In this book, Michael Wolff lays bare about Trump's demand in wall standoff, the government shutdown, Kavanaugh's testimony, Trump's North Korea strategy, Mueller report, and so much more. The harsh reality is that we live in a world flooded with wannabe leaders. If you would like to know the full throes of scandal and crisis that were enclosing the White House then this is the book for you.

This book is available at all good bookstores.
320 reviews1 follower
June 8, 2019
Some observations.

First, I should but I cannot resist these books, it is like crack cocaine.

Second, Wolff is an excellent writer, capable of telling compelling stories.

Third, no one should place any credence on anything Wolff says. Reviewers have noted the many mistakes he has made. I think the stories he tells about what Trump said or did are plausible but completely untrustworthy.

Fourth, it remains astonishing that Trump has survived all that he has survived. It is easy to forget all the things that Trump did that were so appalling, so worthy of condemnation, so revealing of the complete zero that he is. But he is still standing. True, his popularity is low, much lower than it should be given the state of the economy. But Wolff has so many stories where people thought: this is the end of his presidency; he can't survive this. If this happens he is through. That has been the theme of the shows on CNN and MSNBC. Almost every day and night there is another story about how awful Trump is (all true) and how this will now be the end of his Presidency (not true, so far).

Fifth, it is clear that Bannon might as well have written this book. He is one of the only people quoted and his view of the world is given ample and respectful attention. Wolff is quite critical of Woodward's book. It reads almost that Wolff is not happy that someone would be willing to put together many sources that criticized Trump. More to the point, Wolff argues that Woodward's book represents the establishment fighting back and it is not surprising that since Bannon opposes the establishment that Wolff would then criticize Woodward.

Sixth, it certainly does seem that Trump has no respect for anyone and is loyal to no one.

Seventh, it is also clear that Trump has surrounded himself with the biggest group of incompetents ever assembled. That is to a large degree why there was no collusion with the Russians, the people were too incompetent to know how to collude.

Eight, I do believe that many of us put too much stock in the belief that the Mueller report would be the end of Trump's administration. And now the response has been to turn on Mueller, to suggest that he faltered, that, as Wolff states, he acted like Hamlet. All that is unfair. Mueller had a clear charge: to investigate charges of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. When he uncovered other possible crimes he referred them to other prosecutors. Also, he did not occupy the position that Ken Star occupied. Mueller was a Special Counsel and Starr was a Special Prosecutor. Starr had much greater independence than Mueller. Mueller did what he was instructed to do and to have done more would have been to exceed his authority. People who want to see the end of Trump, and I am certainly among them, must stop hoping for some outside force to accomplish this and must work to elect a Democratic President and remove this national embarrassment from the Oval Office.
Profile Image for Marco G.
110 reviews6 followers
June 14, 2019
Could not put this book down. That is about as good a sign as I can give for how much I enjoyed a book. It is probably not for everyone. It is a book that contributes to the partisan nature of politicks of today. Lots of quotes but no named sources. Will it be a political classic a la Bob Woodward's work? I don't know. But it is a really interesting chronological encapsulation of the two years of Trumps presidency. And it is dark, purulent and depressing.

It ends on a bit of a cliff hanger, so I am 100% sure we will get another book from this author in a year or so. Wolff has this ability to hit you with a lot of info in an easy to digest way. Honestly, this tome is never boring, and had me engaged the entire time. If you are a political wonk you will enjoy this book.
4,769 reviews53 followers
February 12, 2020
Over the coming years, the Trump administration will be one of the most confusing to study for historians. Nobody knows what the heck is going on. Trump's chaotic managerial style is difficult to trace. Also there is the fact that nobody will be able to trust what is often thought of as primary sources: journalists. They've proven to be not only inaccurate, but flat out liars.

This book is supposed to recount the second year of the administration, and the Russian collusion investigation. However, we know now that much of the investigation was illegal from the start, and that Wolff was probably in the know as to that illegality.

Wolff tried to commit journalism here, but on the whole, he failed.
Profile Image for Farrah.
709 reviews
November 27, 2021
More in-depth crazy town Trump presidency stories that make you want to cry. Some of it was too inside baseball for me to fully understand. I think I’m done with trump books. Too stressful. He’s a narcissistic egomaniac with very limited intelligence. We lived through four years and I realized while reading this that I have no desire to keep reliving it post-mortem!!

It is strange to imagine right wing conservatives reading a book about Biden and feeling as vehement about the “damage” they perceive he is doing as I feel about trump. I mainly feel Sad that we’re all so far apart from each other these days and people are so deeply entrenched in their own echo chambers. Politics is kind of the worst.
Profile Image for Alan Teder.
1,948 reviews88 followers
December 15, 2020
Bannon Snipes From the Sidelines
Review of the Henry Holt & Co. hardcover edition (June 2019)
He has no idea what can happen, no f***ing idea. Totally la-la. He thinks Nancy Pelosi is an annoying elderly lady rather than a steel-tipped bullet aimed directly at him. - Steve Bannon as quoted on pg. 270 of Siege

Siege: Trump Under Fire is currently (as of mid December 2020) the 8th most top voted book in the Trump Tell-alls List on Goodreads, which has the somewhat shocking current total of 226 books. The list is likely going to increase by 100+ with the Trump era ending and many retrospectives and memoirs yet to be written* and published.

I found Siege: Trump Under Fire to be slightly less engrossing than Wolff's 1st Trump book Fire and Fury. The main reason for this is that Wolff's prime source is Steve Bannon, who had been fired from his strategic advisor role in the White House in August 2017. Siege continues the story into 2018 with the focus towards the November 2018 mid-term elections. Fire and Fury provided more drama with the inside the White House views of the power struggle between Bannon vs. Jarvanka (the Jared Kushner & Ivanka Trump contingent).

Siege thus has Bannon sniping from the sidelines at the idiocy of the Trump White House while he still seeks to mobilize what he, at various times, calls the "deplorables", "hobbits" and "peasants" for his populist crusade which he views as something that will persist without Trump. He does still try to manipulate Trump via his proxies such as Fox News commentator Sean Hannity, who was apparently a regular late night phone caller with Trump during those days. The rest of the book tends to lean more towards the tawdry and seamier side with the stories of lawyer Michael Cohen and the various payoffs. The Mueller investigation grinds on in the background throughout.

I do enjoy Wolff's style though and thought his 1st one, Fire and Fury, to be the best of all of the several Trump books I've read. Hopefully Wolff will do a 3rd book to cover the end of the story.

I read Siege: Trump Under Fire as part of my reading survey of various books in relation to the 2020 American Election. As a Canadian I’ve generally ignored American politics and elections in past years, but the drama of the situation in 2020 has heightened my interest.

* Already announced are a 3rd, as yet untitled, book by journalist Bob Woodward and a 2nd book titled "The Reckoning" (July 2021) by estranged niece Mary Trump.
Profile Image for Mary.
281 reviews12 followers
July 23, 2019
I enjoy Michael Wolff’s books and articles but I know he has credibility issues. “Siege” may as well have been written by Steve Bannon. But I do think Bannon provides color and some accurate descriptions of Trump. Problem is, Bannon has an agenda and I can’t discern truth from fiction in his telling of the Trump saga. Boring and modest he is not. Bannon claims he was still able to influence and manipulate Trump after he was fired (through Hannity, among others). Trump is his weapon against the establishment elites.

Seems like Wolff spoke with someone on Mueller’s team, or with a go-between. The leaks seem credible about how Mueller disappointed his team with his uncertainty and institutionalism. They mostly wanted to go after Trump but Mueller was VERY conservative. They supposedly drew up indictments for Trump but didn’t go through with them. OTOH, ”[Mueller] was divvying up evidence of other possible crimes and sending it out to other jurisdictions, all of which were eager to be part of the hunt.” Wolff also claims it was Barr who determined when to request the Mueller report, that it had been ready earlier than it was sent to DoJ. Wolff also claims that Pelosi knows more than we do and she’s waiting for Trump to destroy himself. He quotes a sound engineer from “The Apprentice” on Trump groping women and getting them up to his room. Mark Burnett and MGM are protecting Trump by hiding “Apprentice” outtakes. Wolff seems to have spoken with a few of Trump’s after-dinner phone buddies like Robert Kraft. Wolff suggests that the Trump Org and his family are FBI targets. Everybody knows he’s in very poor mental health. People on Trump’s team worry about him using the pardon to obstruct justice. Firing Comey could be considered obstruction. Trump’s “resilience—perhaps his most underestimated quality….”

Wolff suggests Putin told Trump about the kompromat he has on him during their infamous tete-a-tete in Helsinki. “Many of Trump’s friends” think Putin has his college transcripts of D grades, proof of his stupidity which would embarrass him much more than a sex tape. I think Jeffry Epstein has something on him and raping minors, the 14-year-old models.

Wolff credits Henry Kissinger with realizing that Jared Kushner was a blank slate ripe for manipulation. Kushner strikes me as someone who would collude with foreign governments and individuals to get Trump elected and to get loans and investments for his family firm. He seems to think he’s way more accomplished and intelligent than he actually is. A danger to our country.

I found some mistakes such as Wolff’s claim that Trump had John Brennan’s security clearance revoked. Trump threatened to revoke without following through. If I, as an amateur and casual observer, know that, I wonder what other mistakes and misinfo is in this book.

Profile Image for #AskMissPatience.
153 reviews20 followers
September 28, 2020
DNF... Although some of the details are new I'm not finishing this book because oftentimes the author, Michael Wolf appears to speak for people. To me this is hearsay and bias.

What I've learned over the years is... unless I hear it from the horse's mouth it's probably not a talking horse...

Meaning, I'm finding memoirs from people way more convincing to the integrity of a story. I can see where the term #fakenews comes from in the context of this book. Even the appearance of false statements is something I refuse to subject myself to when I'm certain this will continue through the book. Fire and Fury convinced me this is the authors plan.

Personally, I enjoy the traditional channel, CBS this morning and the evening news. Currently with Norah O’Donnell. Jane Pauly on Sunday Morning before church.

Being a grown a55 woman with my big girl pants and truth glasses on do research if there seems to be a story with bias. I seek facts. Toss out fiction. And, am very happy outside the noisy drama wheel of accusations and distractions.

Deciding to read a bunch of books prior to the election from many points of view is meant to help me see bridges and common ground. While having empathy for differences. Being able to speak with anyone about the current election, politics and even the forbidden ’religion’ rabbit hole is easily manageable.

Fire and Fury is now tossed in the DNF pile of political biases with Fear, by Bob Woodward. Both National Enquirer level non-newsworthy supermarket end cap quality
Profile Image for Chris Sosa.
Author 1 book9 followers
June 6, 2019
Let's start with the good. "Siege: Trump Under Fire" has less of a draft manuscript feel than "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House." I didn't catch overt glaring factual errors akin to the "NSC" mix-up in "Fury." And the book is a lot of fun, mixing a tabloid style with a reporter's eye.

"Siege" also benefits from Michael Wolff's confounding level of continued access to Trump World players. That anyone with even a passing connection to Trumpism would want a thing to do with Wolff following his last book is a testament to how reviled and disrespected the president is among his own political sect. Perhaps more accurately, Trump's political supporters view him as such a personal liability that they're already in the market for a more stable standard-bearer.

Unfortunately, through no real fault of the author's, "Siege" isn't essential in the way "Fire and Fury" was. Trump's initially shocking behaviors are so well-documented by now that they've become an accepted fact of daily life among the populace. The backstabbing of his confidantes is so commonplace that their searing commentary is no longer a bombshell. Trump's demonstrated lack of knowledge is on such public display that Wolff can provide no significant new understanding. We know Trump, and we know his world.

"Siege" is a solid read for those who want to be in on the political gossip. But don't expect more than Wolff can deliver.
Profile Image for Pam Cipkowski.
286 reviews15 followers
June 18, 2019
Michael Wolff continues where he left off with Fire and Fury, his first expose into the disastrous comic opera that is Donald Trump's white house. Siege details Trump's second year in office, with more jaw-dropping details about the pathetic goings-on at the top levels of our government during this administration. Wolff had an eager whisperer throughout this installment in the form of the ostracized Steve Bannon, who provided him with much of the bathroom fodder detailed here, so you have to take a lot of it with a grain of salt. We've heard a lot of this before, but there are some little surprises thrown in here and there that you might not have known about, which keeps it interesting. And Wolff tells it with such biting wit and humor that it's hard not to laugh along as you view the whole stinking mess.
Wolff's aim is to show the emotional rather than the political state of Trump's presidency, and he perfectly captures in his genie bottle what he describes as his "train-wreck fascination with Trump" and let's it out for us all to stare blankly and unbelievingly at together with him. Bannon's constant presence is annoying, but he was there to see all the carnage. Will there be a third volume to come?
3 reviews
June 14, 2019
Too much Steve Bannon, full of his monologues and crazy theories. "Trump Under Fire - as told by Steve Bannon from his hotel room watching Trump on TV".
Profile Image for Jill Meyer.
1,167 reviews105 followers
June 4, 2019
Author Michael Wolff's newest book in his Donald Trump series, is called "Siege: Trump Under Fire". It is basically the story of President Trump's second year in office, beginning February 1, 2017. Wolff's first book, "Fire and Fury" was the accounting of Trump's campaign and first year in office. And as with the first book, if you're a Donald Trump fan, you won't like the second.

A book review on Amazon is supposed to focus less on the material than on the writing style and impact the book can make on those who read it. I received an early copy of the book, and it really is quite interesting. As a work of non-fiction, I can only hope that Michael Wolff is right in both his facts and his interpretation of those facts. He's already been called out on some basic facts about the Mueller Report; his critics say Wolff "couldn't have possibly known that". Certainly the Mueller Report is covered as much as possible in Wolff's book. But what about the others mentioned in the book? For instance, while Michael Wolff tries to name names and square the circles, he never really states what Hope Hicks did for Trump. Hints are put out, but they're really too thin to discern the truth from.

Among the others who riding around in Trump's orbit are Putin, Paul Manafort (and his growing legal woes), Rudy Giuliani, and John McCain, who, even in death managed to bedevil Donald Trump. A few members from the cast of "Trump: The First Year" are back in "Siege", including Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, Michael Flynn, and Rex Tillerson, among them. But Year Two and Book Two are as interesting as Year One and Book One.

Fans of President Trump are going to accuse Michael Wolff (and me) of writing "fake news", but I really think Michael Wolff has a pretty good read on the second year of the Trump Administration.

308 reviews1 follower
June 11, 2019
This book is a must read for everyone, it highlights how Trump and his Administration are crushing our Democracy. It explains why There was a Government shutdown, it explains the World wide Right Wing power play. Wolff had people in The Trump Administration telling him things that they hoped would stop Trump from hurting our country. It explains why there has been so much turmoil and why so many people leave the Administration. It is very timely because it explains the Mueller Report and why there was " No Smoking Gun". It quotes Steve Bannon as saying " Never send a a Marine to do a Hitman s job" . It explains in detail the type of man Trump is and the power and influence Jared and Invanka have. Sadly it points out how people in the Trump Administration ( Jared Kushner) was complicit in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. The book highlights The Partnership between Fox News ( Sean Hannity ) and Trump. Bannon calls Hannity about " The Wall" Hannity makes a statement on his TV show about the Wall, the next day Trump repeats it. Very scary times.
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