Fire and Fury (Book Review)

I was a little hesitant to read it, because it seems like exactly what the Trump presidency would want to produce: a hot gossip story that continues to distract people from the work of actually creating social change and finding power within themselves to change the course of the US’s consistently racist, sexist and power hungry system. To save you the trouble of having to read this soap opera that is already dominating the news on a daily basis- I have taken a few choice bits to share with you.

The book traces the beginning of the Trump administration, stating that none of this was planned:

“Donald Trump and his tiny band of campaign warriors were ready to lose with fire and fury. They were not ready to win.”

Wolff also details the push and pull within it from the “Bannonite” side and “The Family” (Jarvanka) side- and the petty bickering that ensues.

According to the book, from the beginning Bannon was positing that China was the new Russia in the modern Cold War. Bannon also seemed to have a plan behind everyone of Trump’s supposed blunders- for example,

“Why did we do this on a Friday when it would hit the airports hardest and bring out the most protesters? almost the entire White House staff demanded to know. ‘Errr… that’s why,’ said Bannon. ‘So the snowflakes would show up at the airports and riot.’ That was the way to crush the liberals: make them crazy and drag them to the left.”

Also, the book gives the image of Trump being pulled around by his Achilles hills pretty routinely:

“Trump, a man whose many neuroses included a horror of forgetfulness or senility.”

And more neurosis:

“He had a longtime fear of being poisoned, one reason why he liked to eat at McDonald’s- nobody knew he was coming and the food was safely pre-made.”

The most surprising thing I learned, but perhaps it’s not that surprising, is that Trump has a loyal sort of work wife named Hope Hicks who was hired as his personal PR person when she was 26, and she is now 28 and is his main confidant according to the book (she’s the one who sends out his tweets). The book detailed that Trump tended to communicate and confide more in women, because he viewed them as more loyal and helpful. However, as we all know, just because a man talks to women a lot does not mean he knows how to be respectful toward them. Wolff writes that Trump had the same approach to winning over politicians and the people of the world as he did toward “courting” women:

“Some seducers are preternaturally sensitive to the signals of those they try to seduce; others indiscriminately attempt to seduce, and, by the law of averages, often succeed (this latter group of men might now be regarded as harassers). That was Trump’s approach to women- pleased when he scored, unconcerned when he didn’t (and, often, despite the evidence, believing that he had).”

Wolff closes the book with Bannon- and Bannon’s plans to run for president in 2020:

“Trump, in Bannon’s view, was a chapter, or even a detour, in the Trump revolution, which had always been about weaknesses in the two major parties. The Trump presidency- however long it lasted- had created the opening that would provide the true outsiders their opportunity. Trump was just the beginning.”

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© Copyright 2018 Annie Windholz



midwestern librarian, writer, activist

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