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Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man

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In this revelatory, authoritative portrait of Donald J. Trump and the toxic family that made him, Mary L. Trump, a trained clinical psychologist and Donald’s only niece, shines a bright light on the dark history of their family in order to explain how her uncle became the man who now threatens the world’s health, economic security, and social fabric.

Mary Trump spent much of her childhood in her grandparents’ large, imposing house in the heart of Queens, where Donald and his four siblings grew up. She describes a nightmare of traumas, destructive relationships, and a tragic combination of neglect and abuse. She explains how specific events and general family patterns created the damaged man who currently occupies the Oval Office, including the strange and harmful relationship between Fred Trump and his two oldest sons, Fred Jr. and Donald.

A first-hand witness to countless holiday meals and family interactions, Mary brings an incisive wit and unexpected humor to sometimes grim, often confounding family events. She recounts in unsparing detail everything from her uncle Donald’s place in the family spotlight and Ivana’s penchant for re-gifting to her grandmother’s frequent injuries and illnesses and the appalling way Donald, Fred Trump’s favorite son, dismissed and derided him when he began to succumb to Alzheimer’s.

Numerous pundits, armchair psychologists, and journalists have sought to parse Donald J. Trump’s lethal flaws. Mary L. Trump has the education, insight, and intimate familiarity needed to reveal what makes Donald, and the rest of her clan, tick. She alone can recount this fascinating, unnerving saga, not just because of her insider’s perspective but also because she is the only Trump willing to tell the truth about one of the world’s most powerful and dysfunctional families.

7 pages, Audible Audio

First published July 14, 2020

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About the author

Mary L. Trump

8 books418 followers
Mary L. Trump, born May 1965, a clinical psychologist, is the oldest child of Fred Trump Jr., and the oldest grandchild of Fred Trump Sr. Mary's father died in 1981 at the age of 42 from a heart attack due to alcoholism.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 11,667 reviews
July 22, 2020

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In TOO MUCH AND NEVER ENOUGH, Mary L. Trump draws a detailed portrait of the Trump family pathologies with the intimacy of a psychological case study-- which makes sense, considering that she's a clinical psychologist. Her even-keeled, neutral (for the most part) tone make the irrational behaviors of the people in this book seem even more abhorrent by comparison. The occasional sarcastic aside is just icing on the cake.

I wasn't too sure what to expect about TOO MUCH AND NEVER ENOUGH going in, despite the attempted block from the Trump family to keep it from being published. Trump had also attempted to block Michael Wolff and John Bolton from publishing their "tell-alls," as well, and the result was that both of them became best-sellers and garnered a whole bunch of free press. Literally the same exact thing happened with Mary L. Trump's book, but Donald Trump's inability to admit to fault or learn from past mistakes is just one of his (many) flaws. I was left with the impression that Mary Trump was essentially opening her own "tea" shop to spill all the gossip about Trump, but this book doesn't tell anything too scandalizing or surprising. It basically fills in the gaps about things that are public knowledge but have been forgotten or pushed aside in favor of newer, more recent scandals.

The book starts out with a history of the Trump family, beginning with Fred, DT's father, who appears to have been a high-functioning sociopath that enjoyed pitting his children against each other, reveled in the humiliations of others, despised weakness and personal accountability, and groomed Donald to be his successor, while also enabling him to be antisocial, unaccountable, and superficial by not punishing him for misbehavior and essentially providing him with a bottomless well of cash flow for all of his horrible and/or questionable business decisions. Freddy, Mary's father, was the original successor, as the eldest child, but his personal weaknesses made him distasteful to Fred, and the inability to please or escape ended up facilitating an alcohol addiction that helped kill him.

We follow Trump through the 80s, when he began to be popular as "the poor man's idea of rich" (paraphrased from Fran Lebowitz), his two previous wives, his inappropriate comments and cruelties. It's chilling how his lack of empathy or concern towards the mounting American deaths in the COVID-19 crisis mirror his behavior towards his own family members. For example, when Freddy Trump was in the hospital for the heart attack that would end his life, Donald Trump went out to the movies instead of waiting at home with the family. When his own mother was mugged so violently that she suffered a hemorrhage, and Mary visited her every day, Trump snarked that wasn't it great that she had so much "free time." In his own internal calculus, it seems clear that weakness and suffering are liabilities that he can't afford in a world of superlatives where everything around him must be "great" or "fantastic," and especially if those things are a reflection on him.

Perhaps the most heartbreaking part of this book-- apart from the obvious, which is how this country facilitated and continues to enable the abuses of power that Donald Trump wields with the carelessness of a child with a dangerous weapon-- is how badly Mary and her brother Fritz were treated by the family. Donald Trump first tried to essentially oust his whole family from his father's will by attaching a codicil to his father's will that would have made him sole executor. It was caught by pure luck and he and his siblings were all made executors with equal power. You would think that this would make the siblings sympathetic to being cut out of what is their due, but the whole family undervalued Mary and Fritz's inheritance when they were cut out of the will and forced to settle for a pittance, giving them a very, very small fraction of what they should have received. And when they tried to sue for what was theirs, Maryanne, Trump's older sister, had their health insurance revoked-- which came as a huge blow to Fritz, whose son had severe medical issues that necessitated hospital visits for frequent seizures. The lawyer suggested that if they were worried about their child not breathing, they could "learn CPR." Charming.

His lack of respect for Melania and creepy behavior with Ivanka get a throwaway scene each, which is all that's really necessary, because they are so emblematic of his usual patterns. Likewise, his pompous, inappropriate form of "leadership" as president is showcased in the opening scene, when he invites his relatives to the White House for a visit that ends up being both classless and disturbing. TOO MUCH AND NEVER ENOUGH is a portrait of a person who lacks empathy, shirks responsibility (but would like to take all the credit while also avoiding any blame). I think it's pretty safe to say, objectively, that he is the worst president the United States has ever had, and that his handling of our crises and petty attempts to deny care and funding to those who oppose him while also making a concerted effort to sow dissent while attacking our nation's most vulnerable showcase his bullying mentality and his desperate need to always feel strong by making others seem weak.

Some will probably say that Mary was too kind or too level in her biography of this man, but I think when writing books like this it's important to strike that kind of tone. If you make someone into a cartoonish villain, it becomes too easy to write them off as a joke, and I think that was one of the biggest mistakes of the 2016 election. Nobody took Trump seriously until it was too late. He needs to be held accountable and taken to task for his bad behavior, and his policies need to be questioned, and he needs to be asked the tough questions that he fears will make him out to be the fool he is.

4 to 4.5 stars
Profile Image for Roxane.
Author 121 books157k followers
July 15, 2020
This is written well enough but there is no new information here. Most of the book focuses on Fred Trump Sr (trash) and Fred Jr, the author’s dad whose story is quite sad. The whole family is very terrible! Donald is a blathering moron. The best parts are when she eviscerates him and tells us what we already know—that he is the literal worst person, and the least competent man. She seems to have empathy for him. Fuck that. Lots of people have asshole fathers and they manage not to destroy the world as a coping mechanism.

Anyway. Worst family ever.
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews155k followers
March 5, 2021

A Trump-tell-all that he's desperately trying to block publication of?

You have my full, undivided attention.


Holy shit. It was good.
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,002 reviews36k followers
July 15, 2020
Thumbs up?
Thumbs down?

Isn’t that a question many of us around the world have been curious about? The book was released at midnight-July 14th....
I’d bet ‘thousands’ of people ( like myself), have already finished it.

I’ve got to take some personal inventory: “why did I feel an urgency? obsession? desire? to read this book today?
It’s easy to quickly come up with answers as to why I rushed to read it....
But perhaps it’s more valuable to sit with the question longer.

Fact is....
Trump’s bizarre- evil - unkind behavior and choices are sooo mind- boggling for many of us....there ‘still’ is a sense of mystery about him...
Yes...I understand we intellectually know he’s ill. We intellectually know he’s not going to change....
but a part of us still hope we can reason with Mr. Unreasonable.
We can’t....and it’s maddening & frustrating.

Another question:
WHAT IS WRONG with the rest of us to have allowed a mentally unstable - unqualified - dangerous - racist - mean- cheating - lying - monster-of-a-human being.....to be President of the United States of America?


Are there juicy parts? Inside family gossip and commentaries? You betcha! Some parts were very interesting.....some parts just very sad....and a few parts dull.
But overall....a valuable ( short time investment), book.

Mary L. Trump’s perspectives come with her professional qualifications, as a clinical psychologist, personal experiences, honest-as-one-can- be-objective points of view, and a few of her own biases. ( splitting at the seems). Not sure I can blame Mary for this...but a little resentment is noticeable.

‘Viva-la-la’-dirty-laundry highlights...and/or excerpts:

....Donald Trump cheated on his SAT’s. ( paid someone to take them)

....”The media failed to notice that not one member of Donald’s family, apart from his children, his son-in-law and his current wife, said a word in support of him during the entire campaign”.
WOW!! My thoughts... many of us were too nonchalant - never believing Trump would win. We thought it was a joke. Ha....the joke has been on us for the past 3.5 years....and now ‘nothing’ is funny any longer. Our country is in need of serious help!

.... “Donald Trump’s need for affirmation is so great that he doesn’t seem to notice that the largest group of his supporters are condescending people who wouldn’t be seen with him outside of a rally”.

.... “Donald today is as capable as he was at three years old....incapable of growing, learning or revolving, able to regulate his emotions, moderate his responses, or take in and synthesize information”.

.... Nothing is ever enough. Trump goes far beyond the garden-style-narcissism. Donald is not simply weak. His ego is a fragile thing that must be bolstered every moment because he knows deep down that he is nothing of what he claims to be. He knows he has never been loved. So he must draw you in if he can by getting you to accent even the most seemingly insignificant thing.
He makes his insecurities and vulnerabilities other peoples responsibility.

..... “His bragging is not really directed at the audience in front of him...but of his audience of one.

..... “Our country is suffering from false-positivity”

With literally thousands of people reading or ‘audiobook-listening’ to this book today - (July 14th, 2020 release date)-
[300 pages - or 7 hours and 5 minutes audio]
.....’dozens’ of reviews ( professional and mainstream reviews), can be found on the Internet already.
I can’t help but wonder how human-thought is shifting around the world...
As a global community....what are we ( readers), really seeking from this book? I think - in actuality - we want more than the inside family scoop....but the inside insights are a great place to start. ( so thank you Mary L. Trump)

It took me a few chapters to feel ‘invested’ fully in this book.
I wondered if I was going to learn anything new about Donald Trump....
I did....but nothing was shocking....still there were eye-openers.
Contextually we get the panoramic overview of three men:
1. Fred Trump: Donald’s father ( a sociopathic, alcoholic,bullying, dictator of a man) > NOTE... this book feels equally about him as it does Donald Trump.

2.Fred Trump Jr: Mary L Trump’s father ( lots of trials and tribulations between father and first born son)...
and lots of sadness .... that spills over to Mary. Mary suffered watching her dad suffer. Fred Trump Jr. died young of a heart attack in his early forties.

3.Donald Trump > mental illness, personality disorder, social anxiety disorder, trauma related disorders, childhood years, real estate years, tax fraud details, holiday stories at Christmas and Thanksgiving, gift giving, Mary’s relationship with Uncle Donald through her ‘growing up’ recollections, etc.
We are brought to date with Donald’s recent handling (not handling), the tragic emergence and unfolding devastation of Covid-19.
Mary explains why Donald Trump cannot - will not - is unable to show compassion and empathy.

....We learned a little about Donald Trump‘s other siblings and his mother....the broken relationships.
....We learn about the education Donald had - and Mary had.
....We can see where Donald was indulged with material things....but not with moral values.
....Mary Trump’s insights are undeniable. She confirms what many of us have suspected. She’s a skillful writer....a good storyteller....

Our country has some serious healing to do!
GREAT CONTRIBUTION, Mary L. Trump! Thank you!!!

4+ moving rating up to 5 stars ....for the value this book might stimulate in the area of world community conversations.
Profile Image for Jeanette (Ms. Feisty).
2,179 reviews1,910 followers
July 20, 2020

Look at that photo. He's been doing the same stupid shit with his hair all his life. What a dork.

The current administration has engendered an entirely new category of creativity as we all struggle to find outlets for our rage and sorrow and fear of the future. I'm no Randy Rainbow, but here's my humble contribution to the new rage genre, with apologies to the lovely Miss Linda Ronstadt.

If you're not familiar with the original song and you'd like to sing along, here's the inimitable chanteuse's version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0vJN...

Feelin' ready for somethin' new,
We'll feel better when we're rid of you.
No one loves you but Kim Jong Un,
November's comin', so you'd better run.

You're no good, you're no good, you're no good,
Donny, you're no good.
I'm gonna scream it again,
You're no good, you're no good, you're no good,
Donny, you're no good.

There's just one digit in your I.Q. ,
Vladdy knows it and he gives you the screw.
Bully Barr can't make it to Mass,
With his lips skin-grafted to your ass.

You're no good, you're no good, you're no good,
Donny, you're no good.
I'm gonna scream it again,
You're no good, you're no good, you're no good,
Donny, you're no good.

I'm tellin' YOU now, Donny,
Wipe that smirk off your face.
Moscow Mitch will ditch you when you're losin' the race.

You're no good, you're no good, you're no good,
Donny, you're no good...

That's all, folks. Perhaps the Biden team would like to adopt it as a campaign jingle.
I'm toying with a couple more verses, which I may add if the muse moves me. If you could see me dance while I sing this, you'd know how truly disturbed I am.

Now I've had my fun, and I do have some cogent thoughts about this book. I will post them after they've had time to brew and stew and shrink to a manageable volume.
Profile Image for Justin Tate.
Author 7 books906 followers
July 19, 2020
Who could have predicted that a Trump presidency would lead to 200,000+ dead Americans and staggering unemployment?! Mary L. Trump and—oh yeah, anyone.

I haven't read one of these trendy political exposés since Fire and Fury but somehow Mary's book enticed me. Her interviews have suggested the book might include racist rants over Thanksgiving turkey or other squabbles revealing Donald as even more villainous than how he behaves in public.

Unfortunately it's not like that. Not at all. Donald is barely mentioned. Maybe 5% of the book at most. The rest focuses on other foul characters in the Trump family and how Mary's side was mistreated. It's a 200 page poor-me sob story with a few pro-Hillary lines of red meat to sell copies.

A huge chunk of the book blabbers about her lawsuit trying to a get a share of the family fortune. It's a scene straight from "Knives Out." Mary even has her lawyer argue that her grandfather's will was invalid because he wasn't of "sound mind" when it was signed! How cliché is that?

Another disappointment is that Mary's psychology background is rarely put to good use. She hypothesizes what might have been going on in Donald's head at certain times and theorizes that he is still a spoiled toddler seeking his evil father's approval. Probably true, but she doesn't provide enough expertise as to why she thinks that. I could make just as many good assessments about Donald's mental instability from my armchair.

Overall, uninteresting and uninformative. I appreciate Mary's willingness to speak out against her evil family, but this is just an attempt to separate herself from Trump baggage and cash in at the same time. The irony is that she's portrayed nearly as annoying as they are. At this point I'm done with all the Trumps. That includes you, Mary.
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
793 reviews3,608 followers
February 14, 2021
A shocking insiders´ autobiographical story of epigenetic in action, opening the question of where to go with ethics and morality if one has no chance to choose on from the beginning, with an absentminded, ill mother just interested in her own suffering and a sociopathic father Trump has become himself too.

It´s vicious, the author shows how the influence of the elder generations formed a climate that was a dark caricature of what family should mean, the opposite of what someone needs to become a friendly, mind opened, and tolerant human. Ironically it´s closer to what is shown on the TV, Donald Trump loves so much to watch and see himself in, than to normal family life and one simply wouldn´t believe that it happened like that.

But I had the same thought before reading Bob Woodwards´rage.
I just couldn´t imagine that someone would deliberately, because of a desperate need for attention, openly speak about so many things that can be used against him. These interviews are a glimpse into a soul formed by a childhood dominated by fear, humiliation, alpha predatory male dominance, frigidity, psycho terror, and extreme affluence neglect.

It also popped up in Michael Cohens´Disloyal
especially regarding the leadership style that could be seen as a reflection of how he and the other kids were treated when small and how he used to behave towards employes, family, spouses, and humans in general in his own company before becoming president of the once less hate filled and troll lead United States of America.

Reading these 3 books opened my mind for the thoughts and mindsets of conservatives, republicans, and ideology fueled people in general and made me just more tolerant in one regard. That they had no chance, that the same would have happened to me if I would have been born in such a family, that I could be like Trump. And that it´s the ideology and model of society that is breeding modern humans for a few tens of thousands of years now, not to forget the origin before, that is mainly to blame, because many highly developed nations have intelligent and responsible leaders and would never vote that way, never let it happen that their population is so susceptible for propaganda and manipulation thanks to devastated educational systems and extremism thanks to neoliberal turbo capitalistic privatization. Thanks, Milton.

It doesn´t wonder that someone who was brought up under such conditions is cold as ice, goes to the movies while Freddy Trump is dying, doesn´t care about his mugged mother, tries to get all his father´s money, treats his wives and women in general that way, and the hundreds of known things he did over his life. In a way, his father succeeded, because he seems to have made him exactly the unscrupulous person he wished for.

As a clinical psychologist, Mary Trump has a special look on what happened to her and her family, and reading this reminds one that one shouldn´t underestimate people who grew up in sociopathic madness, to be unleashed onto the world with the trouser pockets full of unlimited money to do whatever they want without consequences, treat people like garbage, especially never get sophisticated and wise themselves, take no responsibility for their actions, be incompetent because of a disinterest in education and learning, etc.

She draws a picture of someone who never grew out of his defiant phase, is at the same time extremely unfriendly and inhuman, but craves for attention and recognition (that´s extremely obvious in Woodwards´Rage too), has no real control over his emotions, could be diagnosed with a load of mental problems or even real diseases, etc. and really shouldn´t be in a position of power.

Hard to imagine a home without books, but even this was inherited. I had to think of Trumps´proudness not to read, imagining him as a kid in a mansion without novels, well described with the quote "A home without books is like a body without a soul." That´s just topped by the dynamic between Fred Trump, Donald Trump´s elder brother Fred Trump Jr, and the man himself. As said, one normally sees this in TV dramas, not in real life, a father that is disappointed by a normal, friendly boy like Fred and motivates and promotes any kind of negative Donald behavior. It´s like breeding supervillains and punishing the social, normal kid for not being a bully and reckless egomaniac.

In this anti intellectualism could also lie the foundation of his hostility towards science, because bashing against something one doesn´t know, understand, or like is much easier with complete ignorance than with at least reading a book a year or something. I kind of wonder how he reads all the important top secret and general stuff a president gets put onto his table…

There is no excuse for becoming such an adult, but it gets easier to understand why and how people could become like this, when vivisecting how ideologies shape the societies they control.

Looking at different socioeconomic and cultural evolutionary steps, one can see the living consequences of different ideologies put in action, from futuristic to anachronistic with many stages in between. The Scandinavian states, Netherlands, Swiss, etc. with their
focusing on Keynesian eco social ideals, free education and health care, strong social nets in strong states, fair taxes, etc., are highest on the Human development index
followed by many other Western democracies, but the more free market, neoliberal, and weak state it gets, the worse the situation for the humans living there.

It´s no wonder if, in democracies around the world that are still fueled by wacky ideologies from fringe humanities such as economics, bad pop psychology and sociology, and political sciences, people develop mentalities like Trump. If an innocent baby and small child can be formed into an adult that is disliked by so many people, something is going terribly wrong with the whole democratic system, because dozens of millions of deluded and mesmerized voters following and adoring hate speech and trolling isn´t a sign of an enlightened, progressive humankind, but of a conservative, backlashing, and extremely dangerous mentality.

A wiki walk can be as refreshing to the mind as a walk through nature in this completely overrated real life outside books: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preside...

I´ve added the next passage with the links to my review of Rage and Disloyal too, because it just fits perfectly, so you might have already seen it.

To be fair, I deem all, except of the Scandinavian countries, Swiss, and the Netherlands, industrial northern democracies the same messes, just with different grades of suffering and pain for the citizens. Social evolution has stagnated and lead to a dead, ridiculous democratic system, completely controlled by lobbyism, not to be taken seriously anymore, leading to a situation where comedy shows and websites such as
The daily show with Trevor Noah
The onion
The late show with Stephen Colbert
bring more depth, insight, and truth than all education in schools, newspapers, news networks, and, lol, the representatives themselves. If it wouldn´t be so sad, destroy the planet, and harm so many innocent people, especially in the Southern hemisphere, the laughs wouldn´t be that bitter.

A wiki walk can be as refreshing to the mind as a walk through nature in this completely overrated real life outside books: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preside...
History of madness

Establishing the lunacy using

The lenses it will be seen with
Profile Image for Michael Perkins.
Author 6 books354 followers
February 7, 2022
Trump is obsessed with being a loser.



Singing the same song when he crashed a wedding last year....



The first sentence of Leo Tolstoy’s novel Anna Karenina is: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” I would modernize the second half and say: “every dysfunctional family is dysfunctional in its own way.” And then add “and always destructive to the children."

My family of origin was about as dysfunctional as the Trumps, though not in the exact way. My mother, was a self-described “cold fish,” frozen by fear with PTSD, and incapable of showing affection. Her favorite writer was Ayn Rand. My father had a bad temper and excoriated his sons. And he was always pressing me to become a medical doctor like himself. The fallout for my siblings and me was severe.

My older brother, with a lifetime weight problem led a distressed, sad life, and died at age 39. My sister eloped young with a guy she barely knew, who is now dead as a result of slow suicide from heavy drinking and smoking. Her adult children despise her. My younger brother, has a very Trump-like personality, a con man who stole from others. But his glory days are over---he’s a homeless drug addict, who refuses help. I am the only one who, at least partially, escaped, thanks to years of counseling and training at Stanford University. I don’t offer these details as a plea for sympathy, but to give a sense that I know what Mary Trump is getting at with her book.

Like my parents, Donald Trump’s were a very dysfunctional pair. The damage from this dysfunction washed through the extended family like a huge dark tsunami that swept everything in its wake. This includes the author, whose father Fred, Jr. was crushed by Fred, Sr. Donald survived because he opted to become like his father, what his dad called a “killer.”

As Mary writes: “{Donald’s} personality served his father’s purpose. That’s what sociopaths do: they co-opt others and use them toward their own ends — ruthlessly and efficiently, with no tolerance for dissent or resistance.”

Meanwhile, his mother was an invalid who never stood up for the kids and didn’t seem to love them. And his father limited Donald’s access to his own feelings, rendering many of them unacceptable, thus perverting his son’s perception of the world and undermining his ability to live in it.

As Alice Miller writes in her book, “The Drama of the Gifted Child”…

“If we’re lucky, we have, as infants and toddlers, at least one emotionally available parent who consistently fulfills our needs and responds to our desires for attention. Being held and comforted, having our feelings acknowledged and our upsets soothed are all critical for the healthy development of young children. This kind of attention creates a sense of safety and security that ultimately allows us to explore the world around us without excessive fear or unmanageable anxiety because we know we can count on the bedrock support of at least one caregiver.”

I have followed this advice firsthand with two, now grown, children and a two-year-old granddaughter. I broke the cycle of emotional distress in my family and did almost everything differently, with happy results. (As the philosopher Simon Weil rightly observes: “Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.”)

Without this attention and love, there is a tremendous insecurity in the child and a void that can never be filled. He remains needy his whole life and demands constant affirmation and admiration from those around him, and cannot take the slightest bit of criticism or dissent. I know this because it’s in my own family of origin.

As Alice Miller also writes…

“The grandiose person is never really free; first, because he is excessively dependent on admiration from others, and second, because his self-respect is dependent on qualities, functions, and achievements that can suddenly fail.”

Which is exactly what happened with my younger brother.

Desperate for attention, Donald predictably acted out at home and in school. His mother was at a loss of how to stop this and his dad didn’t bother to notice. He was always terrorizing other kids and learned to evade responsibility by lying.

Trump also learned from his father that society’s rules didn’t apply to him, even while, as the author writes “his exaggerated display of self-worth drew some people to him, confusing his arrogance for strength, his false bravado for accomplishment, and his superficial interest in them for charisma.”

Again. Déjà vu.

With his father’s support, Donald became a first class con man. But he lacked his father’s business acumen. He was losing millions and millions of dollars on his failed casinos. As the bankruptcies and embarrassments mounted, Donald was confronted for the first time with the limits of his ability to talk or threaten his way out of a problem.

Always in search of an escape hatch, he came up with a plan to betray his father and steal vast sums of money from his siblings. There was a sense in the family that his father was becoming senile, so Trump hired a lawyer to draft a codicil (a legal supplement) for his father’s will that would put Donald in complete control of Fred’s estate, including the empire and all its holdings, after he died. But Fred was still alert enough to see mischief was afoot and refused to sign.

Wouldn’t you love to have a sibling like that?

Like his father, Donald had all the classic sociopath traits: lack of empathy, a facility for lying, an indifference to right and wrong, abusive behavior, and a lack of interest in the rights of others. The personality traits that resulted were displays of narcissism, bullying, grandiosity.

But if things don't go his way, he plays the victim, as my brother also did when things collapsed. They're oblivious to how they're the author of their own problems. At the end of Trump's recent interview on Fox News, when Chris Wallace asked Trump to sum up his term, he said: “I think I was very unfairly treated.”

Some of his supporters, such as Steve Bannon, suggested earlier this year that Trump could experience a “Churchill Moment” by rallying the nation to combat Covid. But if we know Trump’s true character, we know that could never happen. He doesn’t care if people die and he has no clue how to go off his hate script and inspire people to constructive action.

Evangelicals and the alt-right see Donald Trump as some kind of savior who will restore the U.S. to its supposed white, Christian glory. Some believe the hand of God is on him. This is why they let slide all of his malfeasance and nasty behavior. But we are seeing more and more that he is mentally unstable.

But if you have a sociopathic leader that people adore, and followers who have no use for democracy, let us ponder what kind of historical situation that reminds us of, shall we?


Trump has NEVER been a financial success, in spite of his claims to be a billionaire. He squandered the $400 million plus dollars his father gave to him. He had no idea how to run a business. Many people don't seem to understand that The Apprentice was just play-acting. He's trying to make up for that now by using his current position as an opportunity for kleptomania.

This is the man Republicans chose because of his business smarts and success?



Mary Trump’s Favorite Parts of Uncle Donald’s $100 Million Lawsuit

Mary says “I had no idea” until The Daily Beast called her on Tuesday night that her uncle is suing her for $100 million and she told him that he’s “a fucking loser.”

And now that she’s read the suit, she says one of her “favorite things” in there is the part about how “somehow these New York Times reporters coerced me. Like, there’s a difference between convincing someone over time and coercing them but apparently I’m such a weak child that they were able to strong-arm me into smuggling my own documents and handing them over.”

But, Mary says, “probably my favorite thing about the suit is that he quotes the Times article extensively, which outlines all the awful things Donald had done. And then he quotes extensively from my book. Thank you! Should I be angry, or should I send him flowers for selling more books for me? I think it’s the latter. Donald and Meghan McCain are like my best salespeople.”

As to discovery in her uncle’s suit, “it’s never going to come to that,” predicted Mary. “As my attorney Ted Boutrous, who’s handling the First Amendment stuff, said, it’s dead in the water. It’s doomed to fail because it’s so shoddy. How did I damage him? Even if you can argue there was a contractual breach, which there isn’t, what damage did I do to him? What, do I give him, a buck?”

“I don’t think he has lawyers left at this point who probably do anything other than operate out of strip malls. But he’s probably worried about my lawsuit against him, because this is how the Trump family communicates: We sue each other,” continued Mary, who predicted that “there will be discovery” in her ongoing fraud suit against Donald and his siblings because “it's an incredibly well-crafted suit, there’s a lot of merit, and I’m not backing down—I’m not settling.”
Profile Image for Will Byrnes.
1,295 reviews120k followers
November 6, 2022
As my father lay dying, Donald went to the movies. If he can in any way profit from your death, he’ll facilitate it, and then he’ll ignore the fact that you died.
So, you think your family’s nuts?

Usually we have to wait for historians to delve back through the years of a president’s life, digging through letters and writings, interviewing any who might have interacted with them, checking their letters and writings, to cull relevant bits, suss out impactful events, discern motivations and understand how that president came to make the decisions he (still only he) made. Also, sift fact from spin or worse in former presidents’ memoirs and other writings

Mary Trump - image from Inside Edition

It is quite likely that Donald Trump may be the most written about person, let alone politician, in modern American history. And despite his attempts, many of them, sadly, all too successful, to protect his information from the world, (still waiting on those tax returns) there are so many eyes looking his way, so many searchlights in the darkness, that details continue to emerge, daily, it seems. But there are few who have the sort of access available to a family member. Reporters and historians did not have the personal experiences of dealing with him in a household setting. His remaining siblings have their own reasons to keep their counsel, despite the odd secretly-taped statement that finds its way to the public arena. But we have something pretty close, if a generation removed. Not a sibling, but Donald’s niece, Mary Trump, daughter of the eldest of Fred Trump’s children, Freddy. She is not only a family member but a clinical psychologist to boot. While she was not present when Donald was a child, (he was 19 when she was born) she was as familiar as one could be with family who had been, and had personal exposure to him all her life, in addition to the many tales she heard from family members of Donald’s earlier days.

The stories she tells paint a picture of how Donald came to be the person he is. She does not offer a hard diagnosis on how much might be genetic and how much nurture, but the implication is clear that it was a substantial mix of both.
Whereas Mary [Donald’s mother] was needy, Fred [his father] seemed to have no emotional needs at all. In fact, he was a highly-functioning sociopath. Although uncommon, sociopathy is not rare, afflicting as much as 3 percent of the population. Seventy-five percent of those diagnosed are men. Symptoms of sociopathy include a lack of empathy, a facility for lying, an indifference to right and wrong, abusive behavior, and a lack of interest in the rights of others. Having a sociopath as a parent, especially if there is no one else around to mitigate the effects, all but guarantees severe disruption in how children understand themselves, regulate their emotions, and engage with the world.
There are better sources for the details of Donald’s lifelong crime spree. What Mary Trump offers is a look into the poisoned tree from which this rotten apple dropped. One thing that stands out is that, even though Fred Sr encouraged all Donald’s worst qualities, there is rarely any sense that Donald had any positive ones beyond a superficial charm. In the Stephanopoulos interview, though, Mary talks about there having once been some kind inclinations in Donald, but they were squashed by his father. Even as a child, he delighted in bullying children smaller than himself, to the extent that Fred was encouraged to take him out of a school on whose board Fred sat. That must have been a fun conversation. Pop relocated Donald to the New York Military Academy, six miles north of West Point, in upstate New York. It was the equivalent of being sent to reform school for rich kids.

A lot of the book focuses on Mary’s father, Freddy, the oldest of the siblings, the one expected to take over the business. He presumed he would be the head of his father’s company, but Pop never really gave him a chance, sticking him with relatively menial work. He was a kid who was kind, had friends, and interests other than his father’s business. This got him labeled as weak and a failure. Fred Senior preferred someone with what he considered a “killer” instinct, which translated into being as sociopathic as he was. He offered zero support for Freddy’s interest in flying, even though he had joined the United States Air Force ROTC in college and put in mad hours flying and training. Even after he secured a choice position as a pilot with TWA, the elite airline of the stars, flying their new 707 from Boston to Los Angeles, a pretty big deal at the time, his father regarded him as nothing more than a bus driver in the sky. But even after abandoning his flying career, and crawling back to his father, Fred Sr. never really gave him a chance at gaining any real authority. Donald, the second son, eight years younger, was more than happy to step into the favorite son shoes. He clearly had the temperament, the narcissism and malignant regard for others that his father so wanted to see in a successor.

Mary offers some details on the business disasters that Donald wrought, his business talent pretty much as non-existent as his talent for dishonesty and self-promotion was vast. Even Mary bought into the spin for a long time, not realizing that Fred Sr. had been keeping Donald afloat with hundreds of millions in loans and often illegal gifts. It was when Donald asked her to ghostwrite one of his books that she did some actual research into him, followed him around, and realized just what a totally empty suit he truly was.

There are plenty of quotes from this book making the rounds, a passel of stories. I will spare you the full list. But there are few things worth noting.
----------Donald’s disregard for women tracks with his father’s disregard for his wife, and even Donald’s dismissive treatment of her.
----------Donald even tried to steal his siblings’ inheritance, a ploy that was only sidetracked because Fred Sr was having a rare lucid day and smelled a rat, when his lawyer, whom Donald had recruited for this will-rewrite task, asked him to sign some papers. It was Donald’s mother who saw to it that the plot was foiled.
----------It is telling to see how Donald has recreated in his role as president the model set by his father for always keeping his children from any feeling of security.
----------He has inherited pop’s complete incapacity and/or unwillingness to accept any responsibility for his actions. But at some point you become responsible for yourself, and it is clear that whether he has the capacity or not, Donald never will. He will remain a spoiled child, a bully, a danger to anyone near him, and now, as someone with the instruments of national power at his disposal, an actual menace to the planet.

One of the overarching feelings I had while reading this book was sadness. However awful Donald is today (and has been almost all his life), it is still a very sad thing for anyone to grow up in a household where a father’s love was not only unavailable, but in which even wanting such affection would be considered a sign of weakness, and cause for rejection and humiliation. Add to this a mother whose narcissism combined with physical illness to ensure that their interactions would be all about her, and never about him. Mary’s relationship with her grandmother, Donald’s mother, is also heart-breaking.

Materials from the book are all over the print and digital media. The understandable focus there is on the actual content of the book. What happened, where, and when, what was said, by whom? How did Donald become so awful and what awful things has he done or said that we do not yet know about? Usually unmentioned, or maybe noted in passing, is what a bloody good read this book is. I found myself rapt while poring through it, and not just fascinated by the major multi-car pileup that is Donald’s life, but actually moved, particularly by the other main story Mary tells, that of her father’s demise. What a waste of a life, of an opportunity, and at the hands of madness.

Trumps are not known for writing their own books. But Mary had an interest rarely, if ever, seen in the Trump family.
It was love of books that set her apart when she was growing up… in what she describes as a “shitty Trump apartment” in the gritty housing projects of Jamaica, Queens, quite different to the rarefied air of the nearby Jamaica Estates where the rest of the family lived. That gave her a grounding in reality. She took the subway to school. And she devoured literature. In her memoir, she recounts that her grandfather’s house did not display a single book until her uncle published his ghostwritten The Art of the Deal in the late 1980s. “I started reading when I was three and a half,” Trump says. “My horizons were already broader than anyone else in the family simply by virtue of that.” - from the Financial Times interview
While Mary Trump does not have the objectivity of a true outsider looking at the family, that does not mean that she leaves her clinical toolbox unopened. She has a PhD in clinical psychology. She has observed and had reliable reports on a large swath of Donald’s life, and the lives of other family members, a solid grounding for offering a very well-informed, and analytically incisive, opinion about Donald and other family members.

Her personal take on 45 is the best we are likely to ever have in terms of understanding the psychological roots and early journey into madness of our Psycho President. It is a frightening picture. We can only hope that we all get to live long enough to fully appreciate just how valuable it is.
Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York and currently the de facto leader of the country’s COVID-19 response, has committed not only the sin of insufficiently kissing Donald’s ass, but the ultimate sin of showing Donald up by being better and more competent, a real leader who is respected and effective and admired. Donald can’t fight back by shutting Cuomo up or reversing his decisions; having abdicated his authority to lead a nationwide response, he no longer has the ability to counter decisions made at the state level…What he can do in order to offset the powerlessness and rage he feels is to punish the rest of us. He’ll withhold ventilators or steal supplies from states that have not groveled sufficiently…What Donald thinks is justified retaliation is, in this context, mass murder.

Review first posted – September 10, 2020

Publication date – July 14, 2020

=============================EXTRA STUFF

Links to the author’s Twitter and FB pages

-----ABC News – with George Stephanopoulos - George is a bit hostile, but it is a good interview overall
-----Financial Times - Mary Trump: ‘At Least the Borgias supported the arts’ by Edward Luce
-----The Guardian - Mary Trump on her Uncle Donald: ‘I used to feel compassion for him. That became impossible’ by David Smith
-----Mother Jones - Watch: Mary Trump on Why Donald Trump Lies, Why He’s “Racist,” and Why She Wrote Her Book by David Corn
-----MSNBC has chopped up Rachel Maddow’s interview with the author into bits. If I find a complete vid of that interview, I will add it here.

Items of Interest
-----Wikipedia entry for The Trump Family
-----The Lincoln Project - Bloodlines
Profile Image for Cecily.
1,116 reviews3,959 followers
November 9, 2020
Donald today is much as he was at three years old: incapable of growing, learning, or evolving, unable to regulate his emotions, moderate his responses, or take in and synthesize information.

Why read another Trump book?

I swore I was done with books about the Trump regime until they can be written with the long lens of 20 years’ hindsight.

But this is by a family member (DJT’s niece) with a PhD in clinical psychology. Clearly she’s not impartial (she blames her grandfather and uncle for her father’s psychological problems, alcoholism and early death, contested her grandfather’s will, and voted for Hillary Clinton), but she applies professional analysis to private family knowledge in a unique way.

The atmosphere of division my grandfather created in the Trump family is the water in which Donald has always swum, and division continues to benefit him at the expense of everybody else.

What this IS

It’s personal, readable, short, and thoughtful. Occasionally self-justifying. There’s anger and resentment, but it wouldn’t ring true without, and she stops short of self-pity.

Mary recounts incidents, then applies a psychological lens, without clinical jargon. Rather than diagnose, she shows how damaged parents raised even more damaged children. It’s far worse than Philip Larkin’s brilliant This be the Verse that famously opens, “They fuck you up, your mum and dad”.

Donald’s mother was very ill, and largely absent, when he was a toddler, and never fully recovered: “the kind of mother who used her children to comfort herself rather than comforting them”. His father was a manipulative sociopath with many of the behaviours that are so evident in his son today.

Nothing is ever enough... His ego is a fragile thing that must be bolstered every moment because he knows deep down that he is nothing of what he claims to be. He knows he has never been loved.

Image: Donald and parents in 1992 (Source.)

The title isn't primarily about money:

Child abuse is, in some sense, the experience of ‘too much’ or ‘not enough.’ Donald directly experienced the ‘not enough’ in the loss of connection to his mother... [and was] subjected to my grandfather’s ‘too-muchness’ at second hand—witnessing what happened to Freddy when he was on the receiving end of too much attention, too much expectation, and, most saliently, too much humiliation… Their father’s “love,” as they experienced it, was entirely conditional.

Others have noted how Donald taps into MAGA voters’ fears:
The role that fear played in his childhood and the role it plays now can’t be overstated.

This conjures a degree of sympathy for Donald's abusive upbringing - ironic, given his own inability to empathise. Mary is not excusing him, but she is explaining him.

The other connected theme is enablers: family, banks, media - and now most of the GOP. The pain and cruelty applied across the family now have full rein across the country.
Enablers suffer the effects of the addict’s behavior rather than the addict. Enabling ‘removes the natural consequences to the addict of his or her behavior’.” (darlenelancer.com)

Fortunately, it’s also sharply funny at times, especially put-downs of Pence, Jared and Ivanka, and Charles Kushner, and the ludicrously inappropriate items Donald and Ivana regifted.

What this doesn’t include

Like other chart-topping Trump-related books, there are no big surprises: it confirms what I’ve long observed, read, and inferred. But the examples and reasons are new and revealing.

The focus reflects the fact it’s an analysis of a dysfunctional family. There’s quite a lot about property deals because it was the battleground between Fred, Freddy, and Donald. Similarly, trusts, tax, and wills, because “Wills are about money, but in a family that has only one currency, wills are also about love”. Conversely, there’s almost nothing about Putin/Russia or the Apprentice..

Image: Money was the shadow of love (Source.)

Sexual impropriety is barely discussed. The Access Hollywood tape is noted only because the GOP didn’t waver, and the many women who’ve accused him of sexual assault or rape aren’t mentioned, nor Stormy Daniels. There are few incidents of Donald's inappropriate lechery, but his many creepily sexual comments about Ivanka merit a single mention:

"Donald went to sit on the chair by the TV, and [teen] Ivanka climbed on his lap. The boys started wrestling. Donald watched the action from his chair, kissing Ivanka or pinching her cheek. Every once in a while, he’d stick his foot out and kick whichever boy was being pinned to the floor."

Surely a psychologist, unpicking unhealthy family dynamics, should have more to say?

Why she wrote this, now

People are literally dying because of his catastrophic decisions and disastrous inaction.

This book won’t change anyone’s mind. Even if it could, it's 5 years too late. But it's clearly a rushed job: no TOC, chronology sometimes jumps unnecessarily, and some chapters are broken into very small chunks, while others are not. Covid-19 was the final straw.

I was confident he could never be elected… The events of the last three years, however, have forced my hand… By the time this book is published, hundreds of thousands of American lives will have been sacrificed on the altar of Donald’s hubris and willful ignorance. If he is afforded a second term, it would be the end of American democracy.

A secondary motive is to understand and exonerate her father, Freddy - the only one of Fred’s five children to accomplish anything entirely by his own efforts (becoming a TWA pilot, “a bus driver in the sky”). The tragedy is that that’s what doomed him.

Donald, following the lead of my grandfather and with the complicity, silence, and inaction of his siblings, destroyed my father.
Donald started addressing the opioid crisis and using my father’s history with alcoholism to burnish his anti-addiction bona fides.

Image: Freddy Trump, youthful and happy. I couldn’t find a picture of him with the planes he loved to fly. (Source.)

Money, money, money

If your only currency is money, that’s the only lens through which you determine worth; somebody who has accomplished in that context as little as my father was worth nothing—even if he happened to be your son. Further, if my father died penniless, his children weren’t entitled to anything.

Mary says if money was her motive, she’d have published years ago, when it was less risky. That may be true, especially as one of the most startling revelations was how massively she underestimated the family’s vast wealth until, in 2018, she helped the NYT research “potentially fraudulent and criminal activities my grandfather, aunts, and uncles had engaged in”. And she wasn’t the only one: the “two oldest children grew up feeling ‘white poor’”, Freddy mostly lived in relative poverty, and only Donald was rich and extravagant.

The family’s occasional church was Norman Vincent Peale’s. He wrote The Power of Positive Thinking, a precursor to the Prosperity Gospel, which implied Fred “was rich because he deserved to be” and “weakness was perhaps the greatest sin of all”. Consequently “there can be only one winner and everybody else is a loser (an idea that essentially precluded the ability to share) and kindness is weakness”.


“The library, a room without books until Donald’s ghostwritten The Art of the Deal was published in 1987.”

This was published only days ago, but all the best/worst bits are widely quoted online.

Family dynamics

• “Donald was to my grandfather what the border wall has been for Donald: a vanity project funded at the expense of more worthy pursuits.”

• “Although frugal, Fred was neither modest nor humble. He had had a propensity for showmanship, and he often trafficked in hyperbole—everything was ‘great,’ ‘fantastic,’ and ‘perfect.’”

• “For some of the Trump kids, lying was a way of life, and for Fred’s oldest son, lying was defensive. For Donald, lying was primarily a mode of self-aggrandizement.”

• “He had a streak of superficial charm, even charisma, that sucked certain people in. When his ability to charm hit a wall, he deployed another ‘business strategy’: throwing tantrums during which he threatened to bankrupt or otherwise ruin anybody who failed to let him have what he wanted. Either way, he won.”

• “Everyone in my family experienced a strange combination of privilege and neglect. Although I had all of the material things I needed—and luxuries such as private schools and summer camp—there was a purposely built-in idea of uncertainty that any of it would last.”

• “Claim that a failure is a tremendous victory, and the shameless grandiosity will retroactively make it so.”

• At Fred’s funeral “The emphasis was on my grandfather’s material success, his ‘killer’ instinct, and his talent for saving a buck. Donald was the only one to deviate from the script… His eulogy devolved into a paean to his own greatness.”

• “Taking away our [medical] insurance didn’t benefit them at all; it was merely a way to cause us more pain and make us more desperate.”

• “The country is now suffering from the same toxic positivity that my grandfather deployed specifically to drown out his ailing wife, torment his dying son, and damage past healing the psyche of his favorite child, Donald J Trump.”

• “Freddy kept trying and failing to do the right thing; Donald began to realize that there was nothing he could do wrong, so he stopped trying to do anything ‘right.’... Fred liked his killer attitude, even if it manifested as bad behavior.”

• “Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-un, and Mitch McConnell... bear more than a passing psychological resemblance to Fred.”

Blaming enablers

• “Donald’s aberrant behavior has been consistently normalized by others.”

• “In the 1980s, New York journalists and gossip columnists discovered that Donald couldn’t distinguish between mockery and flattery.”

• “But that was how it started—with his misuse of language and the media’s failure to ask pointed questions.”

• “The media failed to notice that not one member of Donald’s family, apart from his children, his son-in-law, and his current wife said a word in support of him during the entire campaign.”

• “The media were more than happy to go along without question, and the banks followed suit.”

• “It seemed as if the sheer volume of purchases, the price tags of the acquisitions, and the audacity of the transactions kept everybody, including the banks, from paying attention to his fast accumulating debt and questionable business acumen.”

• “The banks admonished him for betraying their agreement, but they never took any action against him, which just reinforced his belief that he could do whatever he wanted.”

• “He is, in the West Wing, essentially institutionalized.”

• “Donald’s chiefs of staff are prime examples… First they remain silent no matter what outrages are committed; then they make themselves complicit by not acting. Ultimately, they find they are expendable when Donald needs a scapegoat.”

• “The news networks refuse to pull away. The few journalists who do challenge him, and even those who simply ask Donald for words of comfort for a terrified nation, are derided and dismissed as ‘nasty.’”

• “When Donald became a serious contender for the Republican Party nomination… the national media treated his pathologies… as well as his racism and misogyny, as if they were entertaining idiosyncrasies beneath which lurked maturity and seriousness of purpose… The vast bulk of the Republican Party… either embraced him or, in order to use his weakness and malleability to their own advantage, looked the other way.”

Snarky barbs

• “Mike Pence continued to lurk on the other side of the room with a half-dead smile on his face, like the chaperone everybody wanted to avoid.”

• “Halfway through the [aunts’ birthday] meal, Jared walked into the dining room. ‘Oh, look,’ Ivanka said, clapping her hands, ‘Jared’s back from his trip to the Middle East,’ as if we hadn’t just seen him in the Oval Office. He walked over to his wife, gave her a quick kiss on the cheek, then bent over Donald… They spoke quietly for a couple of minutes. And then Jared left. He didn’t acknowledge anybody else, not even my aunts… Donny leapt out of his chair and bounded after him like an excited puppy.”

• “‘Lara, there,’ he said. ‘I barely even knew who the fuck she was, honestly, but then she gave a great speech during the campaign in Georgia supporting me.’ By then, Lara and Eric had been together for almost eight years.”

• “When Freddy, at fourteen, dumped a bowl of mashed potatoes on his then-seven-year-old brother’s head, it wounded Donald’s pride so deeply that he’d still be bothered by it when Maryanne brought it up in her toast at the White House birthday dinner in 2017.”

• “Jared’s father… released from prison three years earlier, rose to tell us that when Jared had first introduced him to Ivanka, he had thought she would never be good enough to join his family… Charles had been convicted of hiring a prostitute to seduce his brother-in-law, taping their illicit encounter, and then sending the recording to his sister at his nephew’s engagement party, I found his condescension a bit out of line.”

Image: “The secret to happiness is short-term, stupid self-interest!” (Calvin and Hobbes, by Bill Watterson)

My other Trump reviews

• Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, HERE.
• Fear: Trump in the White House, HERE.
• The Faith of Donald J Trump: A Spiritual Biography, HERE.
• A Ladybird Book About Donald Trump (satire in style of Janet and John), HERE.
Profile Image for Dr. Appu Sasidharan (Dasfill).
1,135 reviews2,164 followers
May 15, 2022
Summary (Throwback Review)
This is a book written by Mary L. Trump about her family. She ventilates the life of her grandfather Fred Trump Sr., her father, Fred Trump Jr., and Donald Trump and other members of her family. She chronicles how the family succeeded in the real estate business and how Donald Trump took over the family business and how he became the American President and what was the family members response to it and do they consider his Presidential stint with revere or with ignominy

Is this a right book released at the right time?
Is this book simply hate speech aimed to languish Donald Trump and bring him down from the USA Presidency. Numerous Pandits considered this book as the right book released at the right time when America was going into the election. But, I have a different opinion about this book. If you consider this book from the sole angle of the extremely competitive business of book publishing or American politics, we will have to agree with the above Pandits. But this book is much more than that. I think this book was marketed wrongly, right from the title and the front cover (if we consider the emotional aspect more than the business aspect).
The above photo of Fred Trump Jr. should have been the front cover of this book according to my opinion (with a different positive title). This book tells the tragic life story of Fred Trmp Jr. (this book's author, Mary L. Trump’s father). He seems to be such a great guy who followed his passion for becoming a Pilot, which ultimately led to his father's wrath as he considered Pilot as a “Glorified bus driver.” This ultimately led him to lose all his family inheritance and died at 42 in 1981. It was challenging for me to find much about him from the internet. There are very few photos of him on the internet or any media, unlike the other Trump's. The tragic life story, his alcoholic addiction, his continued unsuccessful attempts to show his worth to his father are all heartbreaking to read. The laconic attitude of Trump towards Fred Trump Jr. made him despondent.

Is this book doing a Psychological exploration of Donald Trump’s brain?
Being a Psychologist herself and knowing Donald Trump so closely, Mary was the best person and had an extraordinary chance to explore his Psychology. Unfortunately, she even didn’t try to explore that aspect. The only psychological factors discussed were a couple of paragraphs where she mentioned narcissistic personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, sociopathy, dependent personality disorder, and undiagnosed learning disability. I can clearly say that she missed a golden opportunity to discuss it assiduously here.

How troublesome childhood affects an individual
Mary successfully shows us how a troublesome childhood can scar a person's life through both her father and her uncle's lives.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Self Help
The author shows us how some tips and tricks were implemented by the Trumps, which Mary describes they learned from Dale Carnegie and Norman Vincent Peale. We can see it clearly in multiple parts of this book. She vividly shows us that Trumps have a penchant for self-help and how it has the power to make or break an individual here.

The Good (in a figurative sense )
“Donald stood in the doorway, greeting people as they entered. I (Mary) was one of the last to arrive. I hadn’t yet said hello, and when he saw me, he pointed at me with a surprised look on his face, then said, “I specifically asked for you to be here.” That was the kind of thing he often said to charm people, and he had a knack for tailoring his comment to the occasion, which was all the more impressive. He opened his arms, and then, for the first time in my life, he hugged me.”

The Bad
“As the first-generation son of German immigrants, Fred Trump Sr. had English as his second language, and he needed to improve his communication skills- he had taken the Dale Carnegie course for a reason, and it wasn’t to boost his self- confidence. But the course had been a failure.” It affected Fred badly, and even his relation with his mother.”

The Ugly
“When Fred Trump Jr was struggling with severe alcohol addiction, his father told him,” Just make up your mind, Fred,” offering a useless platitude that Norman Vincent Peale would have approved of. The closest thing Fred(Sr.) had to a philosophy was the prosperity gospel, which he used like a blunt instrument and an escape hatch, and it had never harmed any of his children more than it did right then.
"That’s like telling me to make up my mind to give up cancer,” Dad (Fed Jr.) said.”

Some questions we expected to be answered in this book regarding Donald Trump

Can the way he patronized media and called them using the pejorative words "fake news" be taken as a peccadillo?

Were his ideologies like building the wall quixotic to the core?

Were his followers a clique of detestation?

Was he a demagogue who believed in the ideology of enlightened despotism?

Was he cogent in his own sense after all the drawbacks in explaining the need to vote for him in 2020?

Was he unable to drop a preferred narrative even when it's contradicted by established fact?

Was the increased attack on black people in the USA due to collusion by him?

Was he culpable for not taking the coronavirus situation and Black Lives Matter movement seriously?

Was it a dearth of empathy that made him separate the young kids from their parents in his controversial assertion of illegal immigrants?

Was he a mountebank who deluded us into thinking that he would make America great again?

Was he a maverick that many people didn’t understand?

Is this work written with the sole aim to deprecate all the work done by Trump when he was the President?

Was his dogmatic nature in controversial topics like global warming led to his downfall?

Was his contentious dealing of expatriates paved a way to cause racist attacks in the USA?

Was he an anti-intellectualist who considered literature pedantic and loved to pummel Artists, Scientists, and Metereologists?

Was the cacophony of his blatant tweets an embodiment of his callousness?

Were his conciliatory efforts not enough to bring concord?

Is the American President's legacy, as the strongest person in this world to be frivolously lampooned in the national media and late-night shows?

Did Russia play any nefarious plot in getting Trump elected in 2016?

Did Trump's antics make the world nihilistic?

Did his Presidency and his capricious behavior lead to an anachronic period that will be considered a bastion of banality?

Is Donald Trump heading into oblivion in American politics?

These are the questions I expected to be answered in this book regarding Donald Trump. Unfortunately, Mary was unable to address even half of these questions. Even those questions she tried to discuss were dealt in an ostensible and superficial manner instead of diving deep into it. I can’t blame her too, as she should be assiduous when she was writing about her own family, especially if one of them was the American President.

3/5 Only history will tell whether Donald Trump was a charlatan and whether his period was clandestine and chagrin in the USA's history. But many people liked his methods, and a lot more disliked it, which was reflected in the recent US elections. I believe that this book should have been written by Mary about her father, Fred Trump Jr, right from its title and book cover to the majority of discussions and mention the life of Donald Trump as another family member. There are a lot of books out there discussing the life of Donald Trump. But there is nothing out there in public discussing the life of Fred Trump Jr apart from his short stint as a pilot and his alcoholism. Mary was the ideal person to write about her father. Unfortunately, Mary was neither able to discuss much about her father nor about her Uncle Donald Trump, especially from a psychological aspect. This book doesn’t contain much about Donald Trump apart from what we already knew from the media. Still, there are some real heart touching family moments in this book that have the propensity to bring tears to your eyes. If you are a politically neutral person, there is a chance you might not hate this book, but whether it is cogent enough for you to show cognizant love to it is a matter of personal contention.
Profile Image for Katie.
267 reviews3,840 followers
December 3, 2020
One of my favorite horror novels of 2020.
Profile Image for Lexi.
479 reviews186 followers
July 15, 2020
How do you nurture a sociopath?

If you were not aware, this book is written by Donald Trump's niece Mary. It is a VERY short book, but it is very good.

So let's break down a little bit about what this book is exactly. You aren't going to find any state secrets here. For anyone asking "Why Didn't Mary speak out earlier", this is addresses, but this is isn't a political expose. At it's heart, Too Much and Never Enough is a story about an extremely twisted family, that is much about the other Trumps as it is Donald.

Nothing in this book would sway a true believer. Nothing here is going to rock the world of an undecided voter- because this is a book about who the Trumps are as people. We have already seen Trump mock women, non white folks, disabled people. We have seen him do so many evil things. If you don't know who Trump is by now, I don't really know what to say about you. Too Much and Never Enough is this woman's catharsis- its a way for her to release her trauma. Her book chronicles essentially, how she was became disenchanted with her family before 45 ever decided to run for office, how she was disinherited, and where Fred Trump comes into play as a lynchpin at the center of it all.

Mary's father, Fred Trump junior, was an outlier. Not necessary a good man, but a complicated one who had made a number of visible mistakes before she was even born. She describes his dark relationship with his brother, and her father's slow physical and mental decline as he falls out of favor with Fred Senior. Much of this book is really told through her father's eyes, and through the stories he told her before his passing.

Mary's grandfather Fred is also hi lighted as an abuser that gaslit and traumatized his children, saw the evil in his own younger son, and then raised him as an ideal son to take on the family name. Fred Senior's cruelty towards everyone around him, and shady business practices help shaped the monster we now know today as 45.

As for Donald Trump- Mary uses a number of personal and family stories to paint a picture of Trump's youth. Trump's behavior doesn't come out of thin air, and Mary is really able to paint a picture of 45 at his darkest, which started at a much earlier age than some may expect. These personal stories are chilling and callous- often reflecting his relationships with the American people during his four years as president.

You get some interesting little tidbits about "modern" behavior from the family as well, from small squabbles to election night anecdotes. Imagine the literary families of Long days Journey Into the Night or Haunting of Hill House. The Trump family in Mary's book is almost laughably literary "broken wealthy".

I highly recommend Too Much and Never Enough, even if you don't find yourself often drawn towards non fiction- if only because this is a simple and easy to follow biography that helps us understand how we got where we are now. How Donald Trump, against all odds, rose in the ranks of his own family from a younger "second son", and ended up making all of us pay for his neurosis.

I think most folks would go into this worried that Mary is providing excuses or sympathy for her family, and I can assure you that is not the case. Mary is an exceptional author and intelligent woman who makes no excuses for her family, and manages to tell a hard and painful story with striking objectivity and honesty.
Profile Image for Jonetta.
2,202 reviews918 followers
August 3, 2020
I’ve been reluctant to read books about Donald Trump because I didn’t think I’d learn anything beyond what I already know. But, I don’t know a lot about the Trump family, where he came from. I remember watching The Apprentice years ago, trying to figure out who this guy was because when I lived in Manhattan, he wasn’t a force in the true business community (my professional backyard). It didn’t take long for me to figure out from the show that something was missing from the business acumen. For me, Mary Trump fills in the missing pieces.

Ms. Trump tells the story with precision to complete a psychological profile that finally makes sense. She fills in the blanks where I finally understand his behaviors. A close friend of mine researched Fred Trump, Sr. and has pleaded with me to read his history. I didn’t dismiss his request, just filed it with all of the other stuff I thought I already knew enough about. Well, my friend should feel validated right now because to understand Donald, you have to know his father. He was completely shaped by this man, his creation on every level. That’s not a compliment as it would be if the same was said about me and my own father.

I’m really glad I opted for the audio version as Ms. Trump narrates her own story exceptionally well. In addition to the family dynamics, she provides an astonishing chronicle of exactly how they structured the family business and distribution of Fred’s estate to swindle the state and federal governments. This is more than sour grapes about what Ms. Trump did or didn’t receive. It’s a comprehensive forensic analysis of the financial transactions and structuring. My background in accounting didn’t hurt but it wasn’t necessary to understand what they did.

In summary, I believe this is necessary reading, no matter your political persuasion or thoughts about Ms. Trump. It is telling that, to date, no one from the Trump family has disputed the facts of the book and I now understand why they took extreme measures to block its printing and distribution. It will give you background to decide for yourself the measure of Donald Trump from someone who was there on the inside.

Posted on Blue Mood Café

(Thanks to Simon & Schuster Audio for my complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.)
Profile Image for Lori.
359 reviews425 followers
October 12, 2020
review still to come, Trump, of your "stacked" niece's book --
10/12/20: Breaking news! Review will not come.
I'm so tired of The Mask of the Orange Death I can't bear to review this terrific book.
Full of inside family background and useful info on the sleazebuckets.
Glad I read it.
That is all.
Profile Image for Marchpane.
293 reviews2,129 followers
July 20, 2020
Too close and not close enough

This book won’t tell you much that you didn’t already know about the current U.S. president—his personality, his psychological makeup—the man’s not exactly a closed book.

But that’s not this book’s purpose. The author isn’t concerned so much with the ‘what’ as the ‘why and how’. As a psychologist she naturally places the locus of this question with Donald’s family, upbringing and formative years.

Finding the answers is tricky—you need someone who 1) has access to the family’s intimate moments, but 2) also has enough distance to put them in proper perspective. Donald’s surviving siblings would be best placed to meet the first criteria but, having spent their whole lives swimming in the same toxic water, would probably fail the second. As the insider-outsider niece, Mary L. Trump had a decent shot at being the ideal observer, but as it turns out she’s just not quite able to meet either one of these hurdles (except for one meaningful occasion).

Not being part of the inner sanctum, the author relies heavily on recollections from her aunt, Maryanne Trump Barry, and this rather hampers her ability to analyse the family dynamics in any depth. It’s a fairly shallow portrayal of a family where ‘wealth = success’ and success is the sole measure of a person’s worth. While she acknowledges the coldness and cruelty this toxic value system spawned, and how it created the man for whom ‘everything is transactional’, the author doesn’t really ask where these values come from, or about the wider culture that fosters them. She objects to Donald’s ‘success’ being essentially faked—but doesn’t seem aware (or sufficiently interested in?) the deleterious psychological effects of massive wealth in and of itself.

For one dramatic moment in the book though, she is the ideal observer—the death of her father, Donald’s older brother Fred Jr. This is one instance where Mary L. Trump was both present and central to events. At 16, she was old enough and independent-minded enough to recognise the family’s callousness for exactly what it was. And the event was shattering enough that her vivid memories of it are credible. It’s heartbreaking stuff. In a move emblematic of the man he is now, devoid of compassion and easily bored: while waiting for news of his big brother’s death, Donald went to the movies.
Profile Image for Richard Derus.
2,887 reviews1,923 followers
August 16, 2020
First and foremost, this book is *NOT* a takedown of 45. It is *NOT* a cash-grab by an angry, estranged niece whose greed was stoked by envy.

It is the story of Fred Trump's family from the viewpoint of someone who, despite not being welcomed within it because her father needed to be himself, still was there inside the bunker until her father's death.

It is the memory of a person whose entire life was formed by bad parents, her own and theirs. It is the analytical conclusions of a trained psychologist whose degree is from a highly regarded school. It is also chilling, infuriating, and deeply, deeply saddening to read.

Freddy Trump never got a break; he died before his life developed meaning and long after he stopped caring about it. Fred, father of the Devil's Brood, was a tyrannical, withholding man without a shred of empathy or emotional capacity. Mary Anne Trump, illegal Scottish immigrant, was useless and indifferent as a mother or grandmother.

And there is no doubt that 45 was formed in this nuclear reactor to be exactly who he is. Mary Trump had a balcony seat to the process and tells us exactly what happened on the occasions she was present. This is not sensationalized or presented as a bid for pity. Dr. Trump made a concerted effort to tell us what happened *then* contextualize it on a psychological level.

I didn't want to read another hatchet job on 45. Of course I despise him. I don't need more fuel for that binfire. I do, however, need to have some context, some sense of *why* this catastrophe is unfolding. Dr. Mary Trump told me what I wanted to know.

The seeds of the present are always in the past.
Profile Image for Betsy Robinson.
Author 9 books1,034 followers
August 6, 2020
My family was not rich, but it was every bit as stark, raving wacko as the Trumps. For that reason, I found myself identifying to a point that was nearly unbearable with much that was in this book. Mary Trump is a shrink and a teacher, and although this book could have used one more editing pass, her psychological light illuminating this level of "crazy" is something everybody from a dysfunctional family might benefit from reading.

If you are only interested in understanding the president, you are missing what's here. This is "Dysfunctional Family Deconstructed 101."

If you have experienced being humiliated by abusive authority figures who were aroused by their ability to inflict pain, read it. If you come from drunkenness and/or addiction, read it. If you have family members with compulsive debting problems and limitless sense of entitlement, who lie the way others breathe, read it. If you have sat in the middle of absolute insanity with everybody around you acting as if it was normal, read it. And if you've ever been essentially erased after you confronted the insanity and abuse with truth, for goodness sake, read this book.

Oh, I could go on and on.

When I was about 10 and my sister was 13, we stood at our front door as extended family were about to swarm us. My sister and I were not close, but in that moment when I looked up at her and whispered, "Good luck," and she repeated it back, we were as close as we would ever get—both of us knowing the trauma we were about to experience without any place to run. If this resonates for you, read this book.

I've been very proud that I've worked on my own "stuff," live a responsible life, and have no more day-to-day contact with the kind of insanity that I grew up with. Many of the major players are dead, and those who remain alive are estranged. Disconnection really is the only way to deal with people who are that crazy. Anything else is enabling them and/or willfully playing the role of victim. I've felt good that I've known when to call it quits. However the election of Donald Trump has not only brought back all of the old pathologies, but it has turned my country into the family I'm happy to have lived through and left behind.

Mary Trump is a good shrink. She knows there is no way to change her uncle and she gives no advice for how to deal with him. The answer is you can't. What you can do is vote him and his enablers out. I am grateful to her for her effort in that direction.

8/5/20 Update Contemplation
Many people are floored by Trump's "It is what it is" response to the 1,000 Covid deaths a day comment in the currently viral Axios interview. His disconnect from people's loss and pain is apparent. Someone else could come to the same conclusion that life and death "are what they are," but most empathic people would do so after experiencing inexorable loss and understanding that there are some things which you simply must go through.

One of the things Mary Trump does so clarifyingly well in the beginning of her book is to empathically convey the loss Trump himself went through when he was a very young child and how, never having recovered from that, he locked into a defense of never feeling anything. That is what we are now witnessing. It is horrific when you have a relative dying alone in an ICU or you've lost most of your family and everyone around you is sick or dying because of the lack of a well-executed national policy about something so simple as mask-wearing, social distancing, and hand washing. But it is to be expected with somebody this damaged at the head of the government. He was trained at his father's knee.
Profile Image for Matt.
3,719 reviews12.8k followers
September 28, 2020
I have decided to embark on a mission to read a number of books on subjects that will be of great importance to the upcoming 2020 US Presidential Election. Many of these will focus on actors intricately involved in the process, in hopes that I can understand them better and, perhaps, educate others with the power to cast a ballot. I am, as always, open to serious recommendations from anyone who has a book I might like to include in the process.

This is Book #13 in my 2020 US Election Preparation Challenge.

Lucky enough to have selected this book at this point during the reading challenge, I can explore an insider’s look at President Trump, penned by one who has kept a low profile. Mary L. Trump, niece to The Donald, provides readers with a look at the man that will surprise few, while offering some insights into how he became the crooked businessman whose deceit and empty lies paved the way to an unlikely victory in 2016. Full of stories that provide a family history many would want collecting dust in the attic, Mary is forthright and honest, offering readers that gift.

Donald Trump did not acquire his business sense and ruthlessness in a vacuum, at least in the eyes of his niece. Mary L. Trump, a clinical psychologist, has a story to tell, not only about Donald, but the entire Trump family. This familial examination sheds light on the patriarch, Fred, and his children. This includes the aforementioned Donald, but also Mary’s own father, Freddie. The reader can see throughout the narrative just how Fred treated those who crossed him, instilling in his second son the business acumen to kick a man when he’s down and insult his way through those who stand in his way. The observant reader will see how this works today, as Trump runs his White House like a family reunion, belittling anyone who is not sycophantic enough.

A detailed family history provides the reader with the needed backstory before focussing on some of the key events in Fred Trump’s life. His children feared more than idolised him, including the eldest son, Freddie. After trying to branch out on his own, Freddie’s vices got the better of him and he ended up losing much of what he had left, including both a position within the Trump Empire and his own family. As Mary discusses, Freddie’s alcoholism left her feeling abandoned while she watched her grandfather and uncle (Fred and Donald, respectively) scheme and make their money, yet never have anything to show for it.

The middle portion of the book looks more at Uncle Donald and his start to being a businessman in his own right, dating back to the 1970s. Fred had instilled in his son all the deceitful tricks he could, while making sure to create a persona that would make everyone take notice. Mary discusses her father’s final hospitalization, which led to his death, contrasting how the family handled in against the reactions of the Trump businessmen. Fred and Donald appeared put out by having to express emotion over it all, choosing to turn to the recent birth of Ivanka as a ‘new cycle’ worth celebrating.
Peppered amongst much of the rest of the book is a list of the various Donald Trump acquisitions and ill-timed downfalls that cost the businessman millions. Fred was caught numerous times trying to bail his son out through illegal donations, but the failures seemed only to create a need for more by Donald, with similar fiery crashes. These were part of the Donald Trump narrative, though hidden from any public discussion, as he published books to promote his brand. Mary played an early role in the third book, with her university background, but was fired when she could not sensationalise enough of her uncle’s exploits.

Mary Trump uses the latter portion of the book to step back and look at her uncle through the eyes of a psychologist, particularly during his time in the White House (up to publication of the book). She offers some wonderful parallels between Donald and Fred, drawing not only on the history she presented in the earlier portion of the book, but decisions as president, not forgetting to add her own barbed criticism. With the treatment of her own father by two family narcissists, Mary Trump seeks to salvage her father’s name, as well as that of the Trumps who do not bow to Donald, in hopes that the public will not equate everyone as part of the sycophantic flock.

Many would say that this book was an attempt by Mary L. Trump to make money off the back of her family name and insider knowledge. This would not be a lie, though not for the ways one might think at first glance. After Fred cut out Freddie’s family from much of anything, Mary and her brother fought the rest of them to the end, seeking only to ensure fairness, since the maniacal businessman (Fred) was dead and could not protest. This is a look behind many of the curtains and under the proverbial beds to share tales about growing up in the shadows of Fred and Donald Trump. Some criticise it for being without anything that was not known before, which is again misconstrued by the impatient reader. That Mary Trump can replicate many of the stories that people know goes to substantiate their truths, rather than being piled up as fake or misunderstood. There is no doubt that Donald acquired his father’s tendencies when it comes to business and treating others, which does not bode well for anyone hoping that he will soften with age. His misogyny was strong throughout, as was the entitlement, according to Mary. With decent writing and some interesting family vignettes, the narrative moved along well, though there was an obvious pall to the book when discussing the poor treatment of Freddie and his struggle with addiction. More of a backgrounder primer for my challenge, this book substantiates some things and can serve to educate the reader as to just how clueless Donald was about social and financial situations, which leaves many to wonder what happens if Donald develops Fred’s dementia. Will jars of jellybeans or Starbursts appear in every room? God help us all!

Kudos, Madam Trump, for having the courage to share, knowing that some will tar and feather you for it. Real news shines through, even if rally-goers drink too much Kool-Aid already.

Love/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at:

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...
Profile Image for Gerhard.
1,051 reviews525 followers
July 23, 2020
'We need to talk about the elephant in the room.'

I was reading this book while watching the Netflix docu series Trump: An American Dream. In the fourth and final episode entitled ‘Politics’, it is suggested that Obama’s roasting of Trump at the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Dinner was the final trigger to make the Donald run for office, as this was the sort of humiliation and embarrassment that he could neither forget nor forgive.

Up to that point, Trump had been rather coy about his presidential ambitions. It is also notable that Trump first used the slogan ‘Make America Great Again’ on 7 Nov 2012, the day after Obama won against Romney. So was Obama inadvertently responsible for priming America’s greatest nemesis, akin to a superhero origin story where the good guy inadvertently gives rise to evil?

The great value of Mary Trump’s book is, indeed, the light it shines on Trump’s own origin story – not in the sense of his personal mythopoiesis, but in the broader sense of his family relations and personal life.

All the facts here are overly familiar to anyone with a passing interest in Trump, and these do read like filler sections of the book. The writing only really sparks or presents a real sense of urgency when his niece presents her psychological insights into her uncle’s behaviour – and what a withering gaze it is.

You can sense the anger simmering beneath the surface of the page, but it is a coolly controlled rage only allowed expression in a current of black humour and acerbic wit that runs throughout like a pulsing vein.

I honestly wish Mary Trump had been allowed more time to flesh out the book, and also to give us more insight into her own character and role in the family. Surely she is as much an ‘enabler’ as everyone else she slags off, especially as she is only ‘coming out’ now, as it were, in order to ‘save democracy’.

That is quite a burden to place on such a slim book, of which 30% of the Kindle version is an index that only the publisher’s lawyers could have derived any benefit from. I do think it is an important book in that it cogently summarises everything the world has suspected about Trump to date – his cognitive problems, his lack of empathy, his narcissism, etc. – as well as issuing a dire warning about the upcoming election.

It is highly unlikely that Trump will go gently into that good night, and there are already ominous signs that he intends to destabilise the US to the point where (a) an election cannot be held as per normal or (b) where the outcome is in danger of being contested.

This was certainly not a happy reading experience, and I found it hard to judge if Mary Trump indulges in too much ‘doom and gloom’ blues. The picture she paints of the Trump household is one so dysfunctional that it seems almost Dickensian.

While Mary Trump manages to control her feelings with steely determination throughout, which is perhaps why it is such a grim and pervasively dark read, her composure slips at a crucial point. Here she allows emotion to trump her own clinical distance:

I can only imagine the envy with which Donald watched Derek Chauvin’s casual cruelty and monstrous indifference as he murdered George Floyd; hands in his pockets, his insouciant gaze aimed at the camera. I can only imagine that Donald wishes it had been his knee on Floyd’s neck.
Profile Image for Jenny Baker.
1,261 reviews195 followers
September 2, 2020
“He’s Frankenstein without a conscience.”

Basically, Donald is a sociopath and a narcissist, just like his father, Fred, Sr.

Mary talks a lot about Fred, Sr. and her father Freddy (Fred, Jr.), but I think it’s important to see how Fred, Sr. created the monster we know today, as well as compare and contrast Donald and Freddy’s personalities. In his father’s eyes, Donald could do no wrong and Freddy could do nothing right.

Some of the things Fred, Sr. taught Donald is absolutely appalling. Donald never learned honest work, because his father never demanded it; in fact, his father rewarded him even when he failed. Donald learned that monetary value was human value and the more you give, the less you have. He was taught that lying was okay and apologizing was weakness. Mary said that Donald was never held accountable for his actions growing up, so he learned early on that he could get away with anything and he still believes it. His family nurtured his selfish, unprincipled, and unfeeling behavior. She commented, “Dehumanization was common at the dinner table.” She blames her family for Donald’s behavior, and in a way, she’s not holding him accountable any more than her family.

I loved how Mary called Donald “a serially bankrupt businessman and gameshow host.” She was careful in her wording such as “He may have had help from Putin to swing the election in his favor” and he may have a learning disability. There were many examples of when Fred, Sr., financially bailed out Donald with his endless debts from repeated financial mistakes including when he owned three casinos in the same area. He foolishly tried to run them as he did the apartment buildings they owned. I don’t understand why banks kept loaning him money when he was hundreds of millions of dollars in debt. He made a disgusting comment about Mary’s breasts when she was in her 20s that no uncle should say to his niece. He described some women as ugly, fat, slobs, or something to that effect. She did mention things we’ve all heard long ago such as how he may have hired illegal immigrants when building Trump Tower and how he cheated on the SAT in college by paying a friend to take the test for him.

”Does anyone believe that bullshit that he’s a self-made man? What has he accomplished on his own?”

Five bankruptcies. That’s about it.

Trump's niece is a clinical psychologist writing a tell-all. I can't think of a more qualified person to give us that psychiatric evaluation that we're all dying to read, because we all know that there is something seriously wrong with the man.
Profile Image for Montzalee Wittmann.
4,559 reviews2,312 followers
July 15, 2020
Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man by Mary L. Trump is a book that shows a lot of courage on the author's part. The Donald is not known for being kind to those who say or do anything that he finds offensive. He has had it out with the author before and because he didn't care for his brother he doesn't care for his brother's kids.
We the readers learn a great deal about the whole bizarre family in this book. I won't give anymore good parts away but The Don is a jerk at a young age and just grew into a bigger one because people let him. His father was just like him, or he was like his father. Cold, cruel, and emotionless, heartless. His mother didn't want him around, the family tolerated him because of fear? I don't know. He did lots of shady deals behind their backs too! The Don the Con was not picky who he picked on. Family was fair game.
I think she probably has another full book or two worth of material she could dish up. I will be glad to read them. I want something juicier next time. 😊
Profile Image for Alden.
44 reviews6 followers
June 17, 2020
Can’t wait to chug some bleach, gas some Americans, and find out how my niece is doing!!!
Profile Image for Josh Hedgepeth.
510 reviews136 followers
November 4, 2020
I wasn't going to read this book, but then I read that a judge temporarily blocked the publication. This book will get published. I now intend to read it as soon as I can after it happens.
Profile Image for Lilo.
131 reviews361 followers
November 1, 2020
Dear Ms. Trump,

I thank you for writing this book. I thank you with all my heart. If enough undecided voters should read your book, you might save not only America but the whole world. (Unfortunately, the chances for this are small.)

Yours truly,

Lilo Huhle-Poelzl

I will not write a review of this book, because many of my Goodreads friends have already written excellent and very informative reviews. I fully endorse the following reviews, to which I give the links:

Elyse Walter's review:

Will Byrnes's review:

Betsy Robinson's review:

Lisa Vegan's review:

Jill Meyer's review

andy's review:

aPriL's review:

Linda's review:

ALL I PERSONALLY WANT TO SAY IS: Taking from this very believable book, if one had taken a random, not-so-very-bright 7-year old with a terribly flawed character and placed him into the White House as President of the United States, he could not have done a worse job, and he might not even be quite as dangerous.
Profile Image for Jonathan David.
20 reviews2 followers
July 15, 2020
I’m going to do my best to review this book in as much of an unbiased from the center way as possible. This is perhaps one of the hardest books I’ve ever tried to review. After a quick glance at the other reviews here (especially the 1 and 5 star ones) makes it readily apparent that most people have not actually read the book that was only released yesterday.

First, the book is well-written with an easy flowing writing style. Compared to the recent book by John Bolton, the writing style is much less dry. The story itself is a interesting tale of family disfunction. However, this book is not exactly what it or the press claimed it to be. It’s less a story of Donald J. Trump and what made him who he is today, but instead is the story of Mary L. Trump and what made her her who she is today.

Early on, Ms. Trump mentions looking at a picture of Hillary Clinton she “had to wonder how this happened.” Her politics are on display whenever she talks about her uncle today. As a lesbian clinical psychologist college professor, she probably doesn’t fall into the demographics of most Donald Trump supporters. I went into this book keeping this in mind, but trying to give the author the benefit of the doubt since it her family she’s writing about. Unfortunately, it the very fact that it is her family she is writing about her family makes it hard to take what she says at face value.

Mary L. Trump admits early on that she has spent little overall time with her uncle, and has rarely seen him in recent years. She states that she relied on the reporting of NYT, Washing Post, Vanity Fair, Politico, etc. “for general background”. At first it appears that she might be reluctantly telling her family story saying, “I’m the only Trump willing to tell it.” Though dispels any semblance of this when near the end of book when she states, “I had to take Donald down.”

The majority of the book is a chronological history (from her point of view). She pulls no punches throughout the book on anyone in her family, except for herself, her father, mother and brother.

There’s some great tidbits about members of her family. Among the most interesting is her drawing on her clinical psychology to diagnose her uncle Donald as having Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Anti-Social Personality Disorder, Dependent Personality Disorder, a learning disorder and a sleep disorder. She also claims her grandfather Fred Trump Sr. was a high functioning sociopath. The idea of “Donny” (Donald Trump Jr.) follow Jared Kushner out of a room is a humorous one that call to mind episodes of Our Cartoon President. The statement that her Aunt Maryanne, who was a liberal federal judge appointed by Bill Clinton, voted for her brother “out of family loyalty” is also a little surprising.

Unfortunately, as the book gets going, the author makes it very difficult to says at face value. The book’s family history quickly dissolves the story of how her father, mother, brother and herself are the only decent members of the Trump family whose faults are nonexistent and who were all treated horribly by the rest of the family. Unlike the author, I’m not a clinical psychologist, but it’s doesn’t take a PhD in Clinical Psychology from Adelphi University to tell that there’s more going on here than what is on the surface. The book is filled with hurt and hatred that is hard to overlook.

Mary Trump describes her father as a great man who was driven to alcoholism by his family, especially his father and brother. “Freddy should’ve been the star of the family,” she claims her Aunt Maryanne said. She seems to be angry that her father never had the acclaim or money that his younger brother had. When talking about her uncle starting to work for her grandfather she says, “From his first day on the job my 22 year old uncle was given more respect and perks, and paid more money than my father ever had been.”

Her mother is portrayed as a wonderful and caring woman who was very independent. She is obviously upset that her mother was thought to be a “gold digger” by the rest of the family. The author also seems to lay the blame for her parent’s divorce on the rest of the family instead of their own problems or her father’s alcoholism.

Her father and mother are described as having nothing, yet talks of her father buying a boat and a plane, as well as having a second home. When her father dies she bitterly states, “I got nothing.” Yet, she ended up with a trust fund that provided a living that most people. She attended a private boarding school, had her college paid for and went to sailing camp. At one point she is hired by her uncle to ghost write The Art of the Comeback before being let go by the publisher. She dismisses all this by saying, “Everyone in my family experienced a strange combination of privilege and neglect. “

As the book continued on, her own issues with her family come even more to light. When her grandfather’s dementia worsened she describes him forgetting who his kids and grandkids were in various episodes. It actually humanizes Fred Trump. Though “he never forgot Donald,” which seems to only irk her more. When her grandfather died she found that he had only left her and her brother the same amount of money that all the grandkids received, and did not leave them to split what she believed should be her father’s share of the estate. Her and her brother eventually sued her aunts and uncles. There was a bitter legal fight before being settled out of court, in a way she thought was unfair. (The NDA from this case is what almost kept this book from being published.) She slams all of her aunts and uncles for their part in this. She then later found that when her grandmother died she was removed from her will completely.

Really what this book seems to be about is her own issues with her family. If everything in the book is true, then she certainly seems to have good reasons to be upset. Yet, there little self examination in the book, which seems odd considering her clinical psychology background. Everyone knows someone who blames everyone but themselves for their troubles and jealousies, and Mary L. Trump appears to one of those people. Her father, mother, brother and herself are the only people that escape her critical eye. The whole book is summed up in the line, “Donald, following the lead of my grandfather, and with the complicity, silence and inaction of his siblings destroyed my father. I can’t let him destroy my country.”

If you read this book with the intention of gaining any real insight into Donald Trump as President then you are likely to be dissatisfied. There are better books like Fire and Fury by Michael Wolf or The Room Where It Happened by John Bolton. No matter how hard I tried it was difficult to take this book seriously at face value, because the author’s hatred and hurt are on full display throughout. Despite being well written and interesting, this book comes off as a personal family squabble brought into the public eye out of vindictiveness and personal gain. Maybe Mary Trump has more in common with her uncle than she’d like to admit in that respect.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
July 19, 2020
I wish I could say the book was very enlightening, but it only confirmed what is obvious to anyone who isn’t blindly enchanted by Donald Trump’s idiot factor. The man is a self-absorbed criminal and fraud to put it very mildly.

The book focused more on the dysfunction of the Trump family, and the role Donald Trump’s father played in feeding and creating the dysfunction.

I’ve giving the book and audio 5 stars because it’s not a question of being a Republican or Democrat. It’s about being Anti-Donald Trump.
Profile Image for Caroline .
418 reviews571 followers
August 7, 2020
It's high time someone spoke out publicly, no holds barred, against America's most destructive president. In Too Much and Never Enough Donald Trump’s niece, of all people, did it--and well.

The book is invaluable. Mary Trump knew Donald Trump starting very young and spent a lot of time in his childhood home through the years. As a psychologist, she’s in a unique position to combine this knowledge with objective facts from the field of psychology. Since the care people receive as children leaves an indelible mark, dictating future behavior, tendencies, and outlook, the book goes a long way in shedding light on why Trump is so abnormal. Newer insider accounts, although interesting, are merely exposés in comparison, with the weakest telling readers nothing they don’t already know. Not the book by his niece.

In her observation, Mary Trump believes her uncle Donald ticks most boxes for a few disorders (she mentions narcissism and sociopathy, along with others) but refrains from presenting any official diagnosis. She does feel sure that Trump’s dad was a high-functioning sociopath. With such a man for a father and a mother who was often emotionally absent and unloving, the five Trump children had a heartbreaking life. In particular, Mary Trump’s father (and Trump’s oldest brother), Freddy, was treated to a special brand of cruelty for daring to forge his own path and not take over the family business.

From the outside, the Trumps were an American success story--Donald Trump’s father, the son of German immigrants, made hundreds of millions and built a huge home for his family--but everything inside was rotten. No amount of material goods can ever compensate for psychological trauma. Reading Donald Trump’s childhood history, I was reminded of one of my favorite aphorisms: “The best things in life aren’t things.”

I found Too Much and Never Enough especially helpful in explaining Trump’s bizarre penchant for exaggeration and outright lies that claim the exact opposite of the reality. The proclivity was very possibly there at birth, but it’s undeniable this behavior was learned, both for approval from his hard-to-please father and for business purposes. The name of the game for Trump is to repeat a lie over and over until people believe the lie is actually a truth (the illusory truth effect). His unscrupulous father lied and cheated without hesitation and was rewarded handsomely in profits.

If the book accomplishes one thing, it’s that it illustrates the significance of the early years, specifically relationships with caregivers, in shaping a person’s psyche. In doing that, it highlights the pointlessness of trying to appeal to whatever shred of empathy and basic human decency Donald Trump might have. If the capacity for empathy and decency were present when he was born, it doesn’t matter now because he was emotionally numbed to the point of no return when he was a tiny boy.

Too Much and Never Enough isn’t an impersonal clinical report. Mary Trump devoted many pages to her father’s tragic story, a story that underscores well how atrocious Donald Trump’s parents were especially. Her clear love for her father and deep sorrow over his abysmal treatment makes the book more emotional; it’s not just a simple take-down of Trump. She picked up steam in the epilogue as she tore into her uncle Donald and, toward the very end, the media. She scolded the media for going easy on Trump in interviews when he was campaigning--never really holding his feet to the fire, too often allowing him to get away with deflecting and evading. She criticized them further for dismissing Trump’s sexism and racism as mere idiosyncrasies. She feels that if the media had been harder on Trump, America might not have this megalomaniac for a president now. As a clinical psychologist, Mary Trump must be objective, but she’s still a human being, an American citizen at the mercy of Trump as much as any other American citizen, and she’s scared and angry.

Upon finishing, I’m left wondering only whether Mary Trump would have written this book had her father not been treated like dirt and later disinherited. I want to believe she would have, that she’s an upstanding person with a conscience, but I think it’s obvious that what happened to her dad was the catalyst for her breaking from the family and thinking independently (or at least, there’s no evidence to the contrary). But that’s ok--and it doesn’t matter. Mary Trump’s reasons are irrelevant because she so excellently shed light on the motivations behind Donald Trump’s dangerous actions. Like most people, I’ve wondered why Donald Trump seems completely incapable of simply doing the right thing--at all, at least once. I’ve felt--and continue to feel now more than ever--sick over the staggering damage he’s wrought and the even greater threat he’ll be to American democracy if he’s reelected. I’ve been utterly baffled as to why he does what he does. I understand now.

Trump’s supporters skewer the book, asserting that Mary Trump wrote this for the profits alone or out of revenge or to hurt Trump’s reelection chances or something else--anything to resolve their cognitive dissonance and keep feeling good about voting for an unabashed criminal. My wish is that some of Trump’s staunchest supporters will be curious enough to read Too Much and Never Enough. If they put this man on a pedestal, they ought to at least understand the person they worship. They ought to ask themselves, very honestly, whether someone so scarred is even capable of running an entire country, with its diverse citizenry. They need to imagine reading Mary Trump’s account with the names changed and then asking themselves whether the person profiled is one they’d choose to lead their nation.

By now, several books on Donald Trump have been written. Too Much and Never Enough should be the first read. This page-turner is a gift to a broken U.S., and if any book has the power to prevent Donald Trump’s reelection, it’s this one.
Profile Image for Lisa Vegan.
2,759 reviews1,218 followers
August 5, 2020
Great as a psychology book. Interesting and poignant autobiography & biography of a family.

I enjoyed the writing style and think that the book is mostly well written.

That the case subject in the title of the book currently wields so much power is alarming.

There was nothing included that was surprising to me but the background information was exceedingly helpful for understanding and most of it I hadn’t known.

Her shocked reaction election night was similar to mine and to that of most of the people I know.

There isn’t much “there” there when it comes to Donald Trump so thankfully this book is not only about him. A lot of this story is interesting. I read it as an autobiography (Mary's) and the biography of her extended family. It's not all Donald all the time. Frankly, there isn't “enough” of him to really make a book. What’s there is creepy, infuriating, tragic, annoying, nothing good. I don’t know what else to say about that except that as I read I found it depressing, demoralizing, infuriating, scary, and incredibly sad, and grateful that it was written & published.

Mary Trump has cause to feel bitter and sorrowful. Anybody capable of empathy (not her uncle or grandfather) will feel for her and will feel for all the people who’ve suffered because of Donald and others in the family. That goes for the suffering of the now millions/perhaps billions Impacted by the current United States Presidential administration. My heart broke many times over for several specific people.

Even if Donald were a nobody and this family was unknown with no celebrities it would be an fascinating book and would be worthwhile to read.

This book is as much about the author Mary and especially her father and also her mother, brother, and nephew, and her grandfather/Donald’s father, and quite a few others. As I read I thought more about them than I did about Donald and also more about the bullies and sadists who’ve impacted my life and most of all those voters who didn’t vote for Hillary in 2016 (our only alternative) and those who still support Trump. I hope that people in those latter two groups of people read this book, follow legitimate news, and educate themselves before the 2020 election. I also continued to think a lot about most of our politicians and most media and how they are not doing proper jobs when it comes to containing Donald and reporting about him.

While this is valuable as a personal account it is also well researched. I appreciated the index in the back of the book. The fact that the author is a firsthand witness and also is a professional psychologist gives her analysis and observations additional validity.

This is a topical book and it is up to date within a month or two up to date as of now.

I highly recommend this book to all readers of non-fiction no matter what their political and other beliefs or what they think of Donald Trump. I believe that more understanding of people and situations is always better than ignorance. It doesn’t even matter what readers’ politics are because this isn’t an inherently political book. It’s a book about the destructiveness and dangerousness of many members of a dysfunctional family. I also suggest reading other reviews of this book. (Spoilers are really not a problem with this sort of account, in my opinion.) I particularly appreciated Caroline’s excellent review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
Profile Image for Beverly.
805 reviews291 followers
January 18, 2021
The Title Says It All

Mary Trump comes across in the book and on television as decent, forthright and thoughtful. She did not undertake the task of writing about her uncle lightly, as she says in the book, he destroyed my family, I didn't want him to destroy my country too.
The man that she knows intimately is the same man we have seen daily on our screens, brutal, uncaring, crude, and grasping. He was taught these skills by a father who was the same. I don't feel sorry for him. Mary Trump explains his metamorphosis from a little child to the malignant narcissist he is today. I feel sorry for us, we the people, those who voted for him and those who didnt. Both groups, we have been taken in and spit out, because Donald Trump had a cruel father and an absent mother. Most of us if we're lucky have at least one parent who nurtured us. Our ex-president did not.
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