••• The International Writers Magazine: Review
Fear (Trump in the White House) by Bob Woodward
Simon & Shuster
Sam North review
‘Real power is – I don’t want to use the word – fear.’ Donald Trump 03.31.2016
Having read ‘Fire & Fury’ by Michael Wolff followed by ‘The Road to Unfreedom’ by Timothy Snyder, ‘Fear’ by Bob Woodward I hope it is my last until we get the definitive book on the conclusion of his presidency and his subsequent jailing (with luck). Bob Woodward has excelled himself to bring all the players to life and shows us the total dysfunction of the White House in the first seven months of the presidency. Pretty much all the people surrounding Trump agree he is a serial ‘liar’ and a ‘moron’ and many of the early staff did their best to protect American from his worst inclinations. Sadly those grown-ups like Rob Porter or Rex Tillerson are gone and now we are left with the economic illiteracy of Peter Navarro (who is all out for destroying China), as is Bolt. Trump had the uncanny knack of surrounding himself with dubious people such as General Flynn and his election campaign manager Paul Manafort (now facing jail) both heavily compromised by Russia and then of course there was Steve Bannon, who to be fair doesn’t come out of this book as badly as others. His main enemies were Ivanka and Jared and there’s a lot of detail on their undefined roles in the household.
‘Fear’ is about the past, about a man discovering the limits of power and balking at having to do any work (research, reading the daily briefs, open-minded debate). Trump is a man used to getting his own way by bullying tactics and of course all his bluster now about tariffs against China is all that. Gary Cohn from Goldman Sachs, was a grown up who soon realised that he was dealing with a man who could not grasp simple concepts, whose ideas to make America great again meant taking America back to the 1950’s when men did hard labor jobs such as coal mining and that he had seemingly no awareness that 80 percent of the US economy was now service jobs. Others did their best to prevent him canceling trade deals with South Korea that actually favoured the US. There were losing battles on Climate Change (leaving the Paris Accord for example). Trump is obsessed with proving to his base that he will keep his promises even if it will eventually cripple the economy with debt. That is still the ‘nightmare to come’.
There is little that is new in Fear. It is well constructed and one has confidence in the veracity of the interviews Woodward did with the White House staffers. It reinforces one’s view that the world is not a safer place with Trump in charge and we will all suffer great consequences long after he’s gone. Trump meanwhile will be doing his damnedest to frustrate the Muller enquiry and prevent the real truth about him and whatever deal he made with Putin. It’s a horrible never-ending soap opera called ‘I hate Ivanka’ and I guess Bob Woodward will want to bring out an amended version of ‘Fear’ a year from now because it is a long way from being finished. Now we await Greg Miller's 'The Apprentice: Trump, Russia and the Subversion of American Democracy.' I guess I'll have to read that one too. Sigh.
© Sam North 19 Sep 2018
Editor - Author of 'Another Place to Die - Endtime Chronicles'
The Road to Unfreedom by Timothy Snyder
The role of Russia now is to create anarchy, lawlessness, create doubt where there is none, and undermine credibility
Fire and Fury
Inside the White House by Michael Wolff
Sam North review
you will reel with horror at the paucity of intelligence in American Governance and if you ever thought ‘The Donald’ or Steve Bannon deserved any sympathy – think again. This is all very frightening stuff.