Ben Haskett's Reviews > Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House

Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff
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bookshelves: blah-blah-politics-blah-blah-blah, listened-via-audible, non-fic

Because I can't personally verify just about anything in this book, I feel I'm better off treating it like a work of fiction. And truly, this book will fit in great next to my copy of Brave New World as a wonderful example of a dystopian sci-fi novel.

I should also point out that I don't like Trump. But then again, I never have. For most of my life --honestly, maybe until about the third season of The Apprentice, which I never watched-- I consistently confused Donald Trump with Larry Flynt. That's part of the reason I never watched The Apprentice. It started running in 2004, when I was 18 and not at all interested in reality shows of any kind, and it seemed aggressively unappealing to me to watch Flynt look for a new apprentice. When I realized a couple years later that he was a real estate guy, I couldn't fathom why anyone cared about him. Of course, I understand that it was a wildly successful show (even if I don't understand *why*).

My first moment of absolute incredulity regarding Trump was the day (shortly after becoming president) he publicly declared he would not be releasing his tax returns. And look, I don't care about the guy's taxes. I just couldn't believe that, after publicly giving his word that he would release them, he so flippantly told the country that, now that he'd been elected, anyone seeking to hold him to that could just fuck right off. It was a startling moment of brazen, unintegrous backtracking that has made every partisan decision he's since made disappointing, but never, ever, ever surprising.

With that out of the way, the book's portrayal of him was unexpected, because it paints him mostly as a victim of his own desire to trust and to be liked. Surprisingly, this is mostly a story about Bannon, the cruel Royal Vizier bent on overtaking the kingdom through the power of a genie, er, wait, wrong story. I meant: Bannon, the chief strategist who treats every day like a casual Friday and surreptitiously implants ideas into Trump's head. The word "Bannonism" must have popped up 200 times in this book.

We've all seen Disney's Aladdin, right? To continue with the lame joke I started in the last paragraph, Bannon is truly portrayed here a lot like Jafar, in that, while he wants to use Trump to carry out his agenda, his ultimate goal is to replace him. This comparison also carries to the palace (White House) staff, including the first daughter, whom he'd be happy to see thrown off a cliff.

And, unfortunately, Trump is portrayed a lot like the sultan--incredibly dimwitted, easily distracted, easily fooled, easily impressed, and keen to goof off.

Almost everything that happened in this book happened without Trump fully grasping what he was doing. He only knew that at least some portion of his staff wanted it, so he was for it. As a result, he was constantly shocked and appalled that he got bad press. The exceptions to this are that he apparently decided on the transgender military ban after 10 minutes (and without any input from anyone at all), and then just tweeted it without telling anyone; his flustered confusion at why so many people were upset that he wouldn't denounce white supremacists; and his on-a-dime decision to make kneeling for the anthem a thing when one of his rallies went south.

It occurs to me that the reason he keeps bringing up kneeling during the anthem and his idiotic claim that he saved Christmas might be because it's the only thing he can say to make his base really go nuts.

Anyway, I recommend this book to anyone looking for a laugh. It's hilarious. If it's all true, then it's less hilarious, but not by much.
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Reading Progress

January 7, 2018 – Started Reading
January 7, 2018 – Shelved
January 7, 2018 –
page 98
29.17% "Quite entertaining so far."
January 9, 2018 – Finished Reading
February 4, 2019 – Shelved as: blah-blah-politics-blah-blah-blah
February 11, 2019 – Shelved as: listened-via-audible
February 11, 2020 – Shelved as: non-fic

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