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You forget you're reading about a presidential candidate. This book reads like an engrossing biography of a business mogul in the vein of Rockefeller or Jobs. Men who embodied the American archetype of the maverick entrepreneur. Complicated men with difficult personalities and big ambitions.
But the comparison ends there.
A group of Washington Post reporters assembled this book in record time. And unlike another reviewer, I marveled at how seamlessly the pieces fit together--except where the chronology backtracks to follow some new thread of inquiry.
This book is going to polarize readers. If you like Trump, you will find the candidate's family history, business deals and branding savvy informative. But you'll flinch at the way the authors' choose to tell the stories of Trump's life, which are on the whole unflattering.
Still, those readers opposed to candidate Trump might be surprised (or not) that these reporters from a decidedly liberal-leaning newspaper have reined in their narrative. Unlike what is turning out to be the usual run of anti-Trump and anti-Hillary Clinton books, this biography doesn't call out what the authors' perceive as Trump's character flaws in ALL CAPS and exclamation points.
The reporters haven woven an absorbing biography. The preface places Trump in the months leading up to his candidacy. Chapter one offers standard biography fare, with backstories on the grandparents and parents.
Father Fred Trump's real estate dealings and allegations of racist rental policies are teased out. There are stories of Trump as a pranksterish youth and as a young man of means desperate to throw off his father's business and set off on his own terms. Trump comes off as a supremely confident and monomaniacal figure obsessed with deal making (big surprise there), real estate and himself. The Marla Maples affair gets ink. We get some insight into the real estate projects in New York, Atlantic City, Panama, Scotland, etc.
Other topics: Miss Universe pageant, the reality TV show, television cameo roles, bankruptcies, net worth, history with the Clintons, flip-flopping party affiliation, appeal to the masses, evolving political platform, the Trump brand, the 2016 Republican primaries and Republican National Convention.
The book touches on the major plot points in Trump's life and uses them to build a picture of Trump as a man, businessman--and potential candidate. Along the way, the authors try to answer why Trump the presidential candidate is so alluring to certain voters and equally horrifying to others.
36 of 42 people found this review helpful
If you like Trump, skip this book as it's a biography where his past is thoroughly delved into, complete with a story of how he, as a child, went into a neighbor's backyard only to be found throwing rocks at her toddler (Trump says he was just a "rambunctious" kid). It goes through later years at boarding school where he seemed to find his way but, when bested in scores, blasts his friend for cheating (sound familiar?).
It's an exasperating look at the many, many, MANY questionable and flat-out duplicitous dealings in business, with women, etc. I say exasperating because, no matter what, the public doesn't seem to care, seems to applaud his... "audacity."
If you've followed Trump in the past, you won't find much new here, but it is most certainly thorough and well-researched. Undoubtedly, it will be called Trump-Bashing, and may even spark a law suit by the man, as he's done with so many other stories in the past, but I don't see how that'll stick. Trump and his words on record are used as a source, and the man positively gloats about his dealings.
I wish Marc Fisher had narrated it as he does an admirable job with the foreword and epilogue. As it is, Campbell Scott, as he is apt to, turns in a rather unenthusiastic performance (I know! I know! Nonfiction is hard to narrate). He does, however, manage Trump's words/quotes well, choosing not to turn the man into a caricature. Most appreciated!
Truly an extraordinary look at an extraordinary man who knows how to, "give the people what they want." And it's frightening what they want.
Kinda makes me wanna go take a shower right now...
60 of 72 people found this review helpful
I'm guessing that many of the people who worked on this book were pretty hostile to Trump. On the whole I think they did a pretty good job of putting their personal distaste to one side and giving a fair overview of Trump's eventful life.
His failures get more attention than his successes, but perhaps they are just more interesting / revealing.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Amongst a climate of chaos this book comes across as balanced and well researched. With the understanding that it is a group effort by several writers, the timeline is at times a little erratic, but the focus is upon a thematic tale. Many of Trump's current... errr... behavioural aspects become more recognisable and understandable. Anybody with an interest in American or World politics, stability or the future should read or listen to this book.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful