PositiveThe GuardianDefinitely worth the read. The Threat is not just another exercise in score-settling, although there is plenty of that ... should leave the reader worried that our cold civil war is taking its toll on the US and its institutions.
MixedThe GuardianLadles out scoop but is short on insight. The author is critical of Trump world’s visceral brutality but does not adequately trace the mien and tenor of the West Wing to its occupant-in-chief. In his closing pages, Sims takes Trump to task for treating loyalty as a one-way street. The reader is left wondering what took so long for the scales to fall from Sims’ eyes ... leaves more than just the impression that cultural resentment fuels the administration and the modern Republican party ... What is most memorable about Team of Vipers is the joylessness of working for this president and the acrid aftertaste it leaves.
MixedThe GuardianLet Me Finish, his bombshell of a book, could just as easily have been titled Everybody Hates Chris ... Like most tell-alls, Let Me Finish is an exercise in score-settling, albeit one written from the realm of a dystopic presidency ... a self-serving, fascinating and informative read ... Yet while Christie pours his bile on those who surround Trump, he seeks to leave the president unscathed and mostly succeeds ... As to be expected, Christie omits inconvenient details ... Throughout, Christie conveys a misplaced sense of being put upon. Unfortunately, victimhood does not suit him ... In the end, Let Me Finish is a tale of Christie’s willingness to dance with the devil and turn a blind eye when needed ... This is what sour grapes sound like.
MixedThe GuardianSasse could give greater context to these trends, but does not ... Not surprisingly, Sasse avoids drawing clear causal lines between immigration, stagnant wages, shuttered factories and Trump’s victory.... Them forcefully expresses Sasse’s support for freedom of the press and religious liberty, a combination that appears in short supply elsewhere. Laudably, Sasse also refuses to demonize those on the other side of the aisle ... what makes Them worth the read is Sasse’s amalgam of realistic alarm and warning.
PositiveThe GuardianIn print Daniels emerges as no less than Trump’s equal ... Make no mistake, Full Disclosure is a story for our times. Ancient Rome has returned, complete with bread and circuses and a president impersonating Caligula ... For the moment, Daniels is one person with an unvarnished narrative.
PositiveThe Guardian\"Fear depicts a White House awash in dysfunction, where Lord of the Flies is the closest thing to an owner’s manual. Woodward is not describing the usual flavors of palace intrigue that come with the turf ... Woodward’s Fear is big on facts and short on hyperventilation. It is not Fire and Fury redux or Omarosa 2.0. Rather, it is a sober account of how we reached this vertiginous point. Woodward’s words are quotidian but the story he tells is chilling. Like Trump himself, the characters that populate Woodward’s narrative are Runyonesque and foul-mouthed.\
MixedThe GuardianJohn Forbes Kerry served nearly three decades in the Senate, four years as secretary of state, and did a tour of duty as a naval combat officer in Vietnam. He also landed within three points of beating George W Bush in 2004, the smallest winning margin for an incumbent president since Woodrow Wilson. Now comes Every Day is Extra, Kerry’s dense 640-page tome, his fifth book and first memoir ... Like the ex-senator himself, Every Day is Extra is informed, informative and at times overly self-indulgent. Kerry’s prose is detailed but not vivid, sounding more like a transcribed diary than a personal tell-all. Still, he provides essential accounts of his time as a truly heroic but wrongly maligned Swift boat officer, and as the secretary of state who was the prime mover of the Iran deal and the Paris climate accord.
Omarosa Manigault Newman
PanThe Guardian\"As to be expected, Unhinged is self-reverential, with Omarosa, an ordained Baptist minister, offering self-absolution from the get-go. The almost mononymous author volunteers that Trump was not her first choice for president, and that she only signed up after an expected gig with the Clinton campaign fell through ... Looking back at her brief White House tenure, Omarosa writes: \'If I get hurt, if somebody cuts me, I bleed.\' But a marked lack of introspection permeates Unhinged.\
David D Kirkpatrick
PositiveThe GuardianIn December 2010, a Tunisian street vendor named Mohamed Bouazizi set himself ablaze. His death sparked a conflagration that raged from North Africa to the Levant and all the way to the Gulf. On 11 February 2011, mass demonstrations and the collapse of US support forced Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s president, out of office. After nearly 30 years, a pharaoh had fallen ... David Kirkpatrick\'s book, Into the Hands of the Soldiers, gives a first-hand account of the failure of democracy to take root in Egypt and the region. Kirkpatrick meticulously chronicles Mubarak’s downfall and the coup that ousted Mohamed Morsi ... Kirkpatrick grapples thoughtfully with events he witnessed. At one point he writes: \'We set ourselves up for disappointment … Who stole the revolution? That image of the revolution was as much about western narcissism as it was about Egypt.\'
MixedThe Guardian\"His memoir is a highly readable and often informative effort to defend Trump, restore some of the author’s own lost luster, and settle a few scores. At times, it rings like an audition for a talkshow. At others, it sounds like a family member seeking to whitewash an abusive relationship ... Spicer tries to attribute some of the tumult to inexperience and inadequate staffing. That works, to a point ... As to be expected, Spicer can be selective about scandals past.\
Salena Zito, Brad Todd
MixedThe GuardianTo be sure, Zito and Todd pull some punches. Most glaringly, they discount the role of race in the race, with not a word about Pepe the Frog, Charlottesville and Trump’s reluctance to distance himself from David Duke. Similarly, they ignore the fact that Trump’s margin among white voters was actually 1% greater than Ronald Reagan’s in his 1984 landslide over Walter Mondale ... but they paint a portrait of Trump’s base that is not standard GOP-issue, and a Democratic party overly reliant upon its upstairs-downstairs bicoastal coalition ... a book which provides food for thought.
MixedThe GuardianIn The World As It Is, Rhodes tells his side of the story. As to be expected, he gives a full-throated defense...and seeks to extricate himself from the Benghazi debacle. What makes the book truly illuminating, however, are its quotes, barbs and reflexive disdain for flyover country ... Rhodes stands on firmer ground when he examines the contradictions within American foreign policy ... As one example, Rhodes observes how the anti-communist Afghan freedom fighters of the 1980s morphed into 21st-century jihadists.
To Rhodes’ credit, he also acknowledges that Obama’s \'reset\' with Russia did not work ... Like a doctor taught to do no harm, Rhodes repeats Obama’s aphorism, \'don’t do stupid shit\'. That is easier said than done.
John McCain and Mark Salter
PositiveThe GuardianIn describing the country, his tone is almost reverential ... History matters to McCain, and for him America is and was about its promise. The book is his farewell address, a mixture of the personal and the political ... a fitting valedictory for a man who seldom backed down.
RaveThe Guardian\"The book strives to be a Baedeker on how we arrived at our present inflection point. McFaul succeeds, shedding needed light on the most geopolitically competitive relationship of the last 75 years and attempting to explain the \'why and what\' of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election ... While McFaul is confident in the strength of democracy in the US, it is worth remembering that even here democracy is only as strong as the trust it elicits from the governed. Let’s hope McFaul is right.\
James B Comey
PositiveThe Guardian\"A Higher Loyalty contains little by way of stunning revelation, but offers additional details ... Candidly, Comey acknowledges that the perceived likelihood of Clinton’s victory may have made reopening the email investigation in late October 2016 that much easier...A Higher Loyalty is less sparing of attorney general Loretta Lynch and her attempts to steer Comey’s investigation from the shadows while refusing to recuse herself ... Comey emerges as a moralist, shaped by religious conviction. A former Sunday school teacher, he sprinkles into the text quotes from Martin Luther and theologian Reinhold Niebuhr ... Comey may have left the building, but his ghost and Trump’s nightmares remain.\
RaveThe GuardianMounk convincingly argues that democracy and liberalism are not synonymous and that in the face of uneven growth and a multicultural world, friction (or worse) between the two concepts is now almost predictable. The People vs Democracy delivers a clear-eyed take on how liberal democracy fell out of favor in swaths of the Anglosphere and elsewhere. Not surprisingly, Mounk is alarmed by the rise of populism and what he diagnoses as liberal democracy’s fragility.
PositiveThe GuardianDavid Frum’s Trumpocracy is an attempt by the former speechwriter for George W Bush – author of the term 'axis of evil' – and never-Trump Republican to come to grips with this [Trump's chaotic executive power]. He laments what he views as 'the corruption of the American Republic' and painstakingly catalogs the threats he sees posed by Trump to America, liberal democracy and Europe ... Frum is not sanguine about a return to old norms in a post-Trump America ... At the same time, Frum confronts the disconnect between white working class voters and America’s elites... Yet it is over the very issues of class and the country’s red-blue divide that Frum appears to miss part of the picture ... The author is on stronger ground when he examines Russia’s role on the global stage, the 2016 election and the intellectual moorings of Trumpism.
PositiveThe GuardianLilla rightly blames academia for converting universities into snowflaked sanctuaries, where deviation from political correctness constitutes sin punishable by banishment ... Ultimately, Lilla’s prescriptions are not a surefire remedy for a Democratic restoration. The party’s woes with white voters without a college degree go beyond just identity liberalism ... The Once and Future Liberal is a dead-on diagnosis of what ails the Democrats. The open question, however, is who will ultimately be listening to Lilla.