How did the party of Lincoln become the party of Trump? Jeremy Peters' narrative of the fracture and collapse of the Republican Party chronicles the once-in-a-lifetime self-destruction of a major political party through the dark and powerful forces that it wrought.
Peters chronicles how the party of Lincoln and Reagan morphed into Trump’s own fiefdom. He writes with a keen eye and sharp pen. Beyond that, he listens ... He captures the grievance of the Republican base ... He repeatedly delivers quotable quotes, painstakingly sourced. This is highly readable reporting ... Peters sees the dark clouds. His book is chilling.
Insurgency is persuasive in suggesting that the long-term transformation of the Republican Party is one in which a style of politics has overpowered, and then suffocated, any remnant of its substance ... Peters highlights earlier episodes that, put together, leave Trump looking like an inevitable outcome rather than an unlikely outlier ... The journey from Dennis Miller Republicans to Infowars Republicans is, to a significant degree, the story of Peters’s book ... Peters obsesses over the impact of right-wing media to the point that it almost reads like a separate book within a book. It is an understandable impulse, yet at times it gives Insurgency a disjointed feel.
[A] spirited new history ... The outlines of the Republicans’ hard-right turn are by now largely familiar. What distinguishes Insurgency is its blend of political acuity and behind-the-scenes intrigue. Much of the book’s opening material revolves around the first national figure to channel the base’s anger: the former Alaska governor Sarah Palin ... Peters is a fluid and engaging writer, and as the narrative of Insurgency unfolds and Trump inevitably, irresistibly, assumes center stage, you almost can’t help admiring — as Bannon did — the candidate’s raw, demagogic genius ... Luridly fascinating ... Anecdotes like these make Insurgency worth reading, though it’s harder to say who would want to. The book contains too many examples of Trump’s manifest flaws to appeal to MAGA true believers, but not enough revelations of outright criminality to satisfy veterans of the #resistance.