The author of Fire and Fury returns with a new book recounting the last hurrah of the Trump administration, following the President's and his cronies' downward spiral into COVID-19 denialism, outrage about the Black Lives Matter uprising and conspiracy theories and resentment about the outcome of the 2020 election that led to the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol building.
Wolff tells a broad, jumpy, event-laden story about Trump’s shambolic final year ... a smart, vivid and intrepid book. [Wolff] has great instincts. I read it in two or three sittings ... It’s the book that this era and this subject probably deserve ... Wolff has an eye for status details.
Wolff’s method is essentially the same as...many other inside stories about highest-level politics: He uses lots of detailed off-the-record interviews with aides to produce a tale told in a third-person omniscient voice, without conventional journalistic attribution ... Books like this usually burst out of the gate with a few newsmaking anecdotes, and Wolff does provide some of these ... But the strength of Landslide comes less from these stories and more from a coherent argument that Wolff, in partnership with his sources, makes about how we should understand the period between Nov. 3 and Jan. 20. Most quickly produced books about political events don’t do that ... Wolff raises a...fundamental and frightening possibility: that the lesson of Trump is that in a democratic society, a malign and dangerous 'crazy person,' especially one with a deep instinctive understanding of public opinion and the media, can become genuinely popular. Millions of Americans love Trump. As Wolff points out, after Jan. 6, his standing in the polls went up. This is not an abstract or theoretical concern. Wolff doesn’t make a direct prediction. But he leaves us with the strong impression that Trump will be running for president again in 2024.
... a very entertaining book. It is sordid and foul-mouthed, darkly funny, appropriately excoriating of its main subject, and entirely addictive, and in that sense, it is a very good book ... What Wolff doesn’t want to grasp...is how this kind of isn’t-it-hilarious politics-as-entertainment media coverage of Trump is what led to Trump’s shocking rise in the first place; it’s what keeps him powerful and relevant and may enable his comeback. In that sense, this is a troubling, lackadaisical book written by a man who breezily shirks his most basic professional and moral obligations ... [Trumpism is] a sad and dark story, and even though we’re still in the middle of it, lots of people have gotten bored or simply exhausted. The Wolff version, with its cast of imbeciles and incompetents and adult babies who could have been pulled from an HBO writer’s room, is a far sunnier read, insofar as its big takeaway is: It was an even crazier ride than you thought, but the wheels of democracy stayed on. One worries, though, that Wolff has turned his back to the road and doesn’t see that we’re still hurtling toward a cliff.