After Fire and Fury: five new books on Trump range from objective to subjective to satire
Michael Wolff’s Trump book topped the Amazon chart and The New York Times bestseller list. A number of authors are putting out their own books on the president. Here are five, from Trump supporters, haters and scholars
Randall Hansen, author of Fire and Fury: the Allied Bombing of Germany has been delighted to see his 2009 title hit the bestseller list. Some hapless readers, unable to find Trump’s name anywhere inside, are less delighted.
This mix-up is one of the unforeseen results of Michael Wolff ’s Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, a 336-page flame of the president. The book, decorated with Trump’s signature off-kilter grimace, leapt to number one on Amazon, iBooks and The New York Times bestseller list. Ahead of publication, Trump’s team issued a cease-and-desist letter to Wolff and Henry Holt, his publisher.
Do you follow Trump’s Twitter, like Dallas but not The Bachelor? Fire and Fury is definitely for you
Holt moved up the launch by four days citing “unprecedented demand” of over a million pre-orders, but they were understandably keen to pre-empt legal action.
Another unexpected result of Wolff’s fiery and furious oh-no-you-didn’t rant-all is a pronounced sales bump for Trump-related literature. Here’s a look at what’s coming soon, from the political to the personal, the rabidly anti to the cultishly devoted, the scholarly to the profane.
It’s Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration Is Doing to America
David Cay Johnston
This is not a love letter. Johnston, a journalist who’s tracked Trump for 30 years, analyses how the current administration is remaking the federal government in Donald’s image and, wait for it, “making America worse again”. Johnston describes the Trump administration as “political termites who have infested our government … destroying it from within and compromising our jobs, safety, finances, and more”. If the book is half as entertaining as it sounds, it promises to be a keeper. According to Johnston, the border wall will be financed by a tariff, which means American citizens will ultimately foot the bill through higher prices on Mexican goods – Corona will be so expensive, you won’t be able to afford the lime.
Trump’s First Year
This is a balanced look at the successes and failures of Trump’s first year in office by a noted political scientist. As Nelson contends, Trump took office under promising conditions: no war, solid economy, both houses of Congress under Republican control. He successfully cut back on government regulation and saw his Supreme Court pick, Neil Gorsuch, swiftly confirmed. In other respects, however, the president’s freshman report card has been plagued by failure and even “threats to a safe, functional democracy”. Trump scored lower grades on North Korea, immigration, legislative pratfalls, and the revolving-door programme for White House staffers.
Newt Gingrich (foreword by Eric Trump)
This book takes a more upbeat view of the president. This study comes from America’s most astute salamander-named political thinker, and Trump’s son. Gingrich’s contention is that Trump is unique in American history and, “marks a profound change in the trajectory of American government, politics, and culture”. Trump is the only president who wasn’t first an elected official, military leader, or had hair colour from the visible light spectrum. If Trump differs from traditional politicians, Gingrich says, it’s because his character was shaped by the institutional culture of business, finance and real estate.
American Grand Strategy in the Age of Trump
From Hal Brands, a “leading scholar of Grand Strategy”, which is apparently a thing, these essays examine America’s geopolitical platform from cold war to Trump. Brands’ work is highbrow political philosophy rather than ideological screed, personally motivated attack or advertorial. America and its place in the world order, Brands writes, is more uncertain than ever. He addresses the role of Trump and the “America First” policy in relation to this dynamic and explores the emerging role of America in world affairs.
Telnaes is a Pulitzer-winning cartoonist for The Washington Post. Her new book, an anthology of “scathing” political cartoons about Trump, is marketed to adults but composed in a nursery-rhyme cadence and formatted like a child’s board book. One might assume that this is analogous to the adult colouring book craze or the dumbing-down of public discourse.
However, the Amazon blurb calls it a “critique and exposé of Donald Trump and his janissaries, poltroons, and dissemblers, illustrating his public policies, his personal defects, his ethical dysfunction, and the consequences of his presidency on the lives of Americans – in a format that is cleverly designed to reflect the commander-in-chief ’s attention span and mental level”. So no, this is an utterly grown-up text. Even mature, erudite readers might have to pretend to know the meaning of janissary.