Devil’s Bargain
by Joshua Green
Penguin

Hong Kong played a role in White House chief strategist Steve Bannon’s ability to manoeuvre Donald Trump to victory. To find out how, read Joshua Green’s riveting book about the odd confluence of circumstances that brought together two of the world’s most odious people. Odd, however, is putting it mildly when it comes to the business for which Bannon headed to the city in 2005 – video games and the selling of digital loot. Bannon joined a Hong Kong company that, Green writes: “sought to take gold farming to industrial scale by building out a supply chain of low-wage Chinese workers who played World of Warcraft” to secure virtual goods to sell to gamers in the West.

How Stephen Bannon guided Hong Kong firm running ‘virtual sweatshops’ in China that made millions helping gamers cheat

The experience apparently gave Bannon the conceptual framework to build far-right website Breitbart News and the sense to use trolls and others to help Trump win. Of course, that career anomaly is only one among many examples Green uses to fill out the contours of Bannon, who now seems to be out of favour with Trump because of perceptions of who’s running the show. Should there be a follow-up volume, Bannon’s personal motto, “Honey badger don’t give a sh*t,” could be the title.