... we knew all this already, didn’t we? ... Rage offers some fresh details and confirmation of old assumptions, but little that is likely to surprise anyone or change any minds. These incidents have lost their power to shock. What makes the book noteworthy is Woodward’s sad and subtle documentation of the ego, cowardice and self-delusion that, over and over, lead intelligent people to remain silent in the face of Trumpian outrages ... Rage was written in a hurry, and at times it shows ... Still, Woodward’s prose offers readers that delicious, vicarious sense of being an insider, right there in the room with Bob, a witness to presidential sulks and boasts ... If Rage breaks little ground, Woodward nonetheless eventually becomes the favored recipient of the ultimate nugget of Trumpian philosophy ... ''Want to know something? Everything’s mine. You know, everything is mine.'
I mention all this simply to point out that the book’s one headline-making revelation is noteworthy only if you already believe that any terrible thing in the world is probably in some way the fault of Mr. Trump. But if that is your outlook, you don’t need a hefty book to tell you that Mr. Trump is a terrible guy. What is the point of Rage, then? ... I find it easy to ignore the author’s consensus-liberal interpretations of events and enjoy the books for what they are: aggrieved cabinet officials and senior White House staffers anonymously grousing ... There is some of this in Rage, but not enough. And the sources rarely reveal anything worth knowing ... What ruins the book—what makes it one long retelling of what everybody already knows—is the presence, on the record, of the president of the United States ... unbearably boring, like reading transcripts of White House press briefings ... Mr. Trump has turned what might have been an engaging book into a dud.
Readers who pick up Bob Woodward’s new book, Rage, and are tantalized by the promise on its dust jacket of 'an utterly vivid window into Trump’s mind,' will quickly get schooled in a lesson that apartment hunters in New York often have to learn: A window can be only so vivid if it looks out onto an air shaft ... The Trump that emerges in Rage is impetuous and self-aggrandizing—in other words, immediately recognizable to anyone paying even the minimal amount of attention ... One half of Rage reads like...a typical Woodwardian narrative of very serious men soberly doing their duty, trying their darnedest to keep the president focused and on message ... So far, so tedious. Enter Trump ... Woodward ends Rage by delivering his grave verdict ... It’s an anticlimactic declaration that could surprise no one other than maybe Bob Woodward.