MixedThe New York Times Book Review...an altogether fitting, if ultimately unsatisfying, book on the chaotic first nine months of President Trump, another media-obsessed Manhattanite ... what makes Wolff’s account at once undeniably entertaining and lamentably unrewarding is precisely what makes covering this administration so frustrating ... Wolff is unsparing in his portrayal of Trump as an aberrant chief executive, not only detached from governance but barely literate...Yet much of Wolff’s sourcing is opaque ... Wolff is strongest when he’s writing on what he knows best: the insecurities and ambitions of Trump and other media fixtures. Yet while much of this presidency does revolve around news coverage, it is still a presidency. And Wolff is far weaker when it comes to politics ... The writing is often vivid but Wolff, who tries to hold to a chronological narrative, can be as repetitive as Trump, returning again and again to preferred words or phrases (joie de guerre is a favorite). What ultimately salvages the book are those moments when he all but makes Bannon his co-author
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewInfusing a well-known story with suspense, Countdown to Pearl Harbor reconstructs the military’s glaring errors of omission, the secret American effort to intercept Japan’s encrypted communication and the fruitless 11th-hour diplomatic negotiations between Tokyo and Washington ... The effect can be dizzying at times, as Twomey introduces an enormous cast of participants, at least one major new figure seemingly brought forth in every chapter. But his day-by-day narrative is gripping. He does not uncover any fresh documents or offer a revisionist account. Rather, he relies heavily on the nine official inquiries into the assault and the oral histories, diaries and other papers from the actors who were unable to prevent what Franklin Roosevelt decided to call 'a date which will live in infamy.'