Shimer provides a subtle and evenhanded portrait of a White House in an unprecedented crisis ... With the pacing of a thriller and the insight of a superb work of history, the book paints an understandable yet dismaying picture of a missed opportunity ... To contextualize the mind-sets of Obama and Putin and their secret warriors in the fall of 2016, Shimer skillfully reconstructs the history of how both Washington and Moscow got into the business of election interference in the first place. While not breaking much new archival ground, he provides a powerful primer, at the same time avoiding the reflexive 'whataboutism' that mars so much analysis ... On the eve of our national referendum on Trump and Trumpism, this book is nothing less than essential reading.
... [an] important new history ... If Russia's attack on the 2016 election and other elections in Great Britain and Western Europe seemed like bolts from the blue, they shouldn't. Shimer's authoritative book places them in their proper context as only the latest installments in the long-running and sometimes grim practice of statecraft ... The American stories haven't been excavated as often and make for fascinating reading, as when President Harry Truman ordered the CIA to help defeat communists in Italy's 1948 election ... Shimer recounts the story in ample detail and includes the views of both those who think it was determinative and those who believe it wasn't. His section about the torturous deliberations within President Obama's administration about how to respond to Russia's active measures is comprehensive to the point of encyclopedic.
... absorbing ... here is where Shimer’s account is particularly newsworthy. Through an impressive array of on-the-record interviews with former high-level Obama officials, Shimer describes an administration that initially missed Russia’s threat to the integrity of the U.S. election and that, upon grasping the risks, blinked.