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I thought I was aware of the goings on in politics but this book brought the bigger picture to light. I had no clue how big this mess is. I pray our democracy survives
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
This offering rolls up the whole narrative against Trump end to end, and is very timely in recent details (up to the first wave of special counsel indictments). I suppose a person who religiously read New York Times, Washington Post and maybe Guardian would know everything here (and probably agree with the tilt). In case the reader-listener does not know what should be thought about all this, the author is always an inch away with suggestions, not always explicitly flagged as such. In the journalistic manner, some straw person is summoned onstage (often not identified, or not clearly) to ask the pregnant question, the inference or supposition the slower mind ought to get, to hold up the cue card and make it quite plain. But as a first draft of history, plenty of this, I think, will hold up, while some of the guesswork will not be substantiated. An awful lot of the truth rests outside our jurisdiction, and doubtless a cottage industry will flood us with books over coming years claiming essentially anything the antic human mind could cook up, as with JFK, Watergate, et cetera. Ralph Lister as narrator is superb as always.
All the global intelligence-related books I've read lately have been useful, but require swimming upstream sentence by sentence through a tide of polemic spin. One has to wade through the ads, so to speak, to get to the meat of things, and all this is not always clearly labeled (though the title gives a pretty ringing clue). It is not too hard, and is worth the effort. There are plenty of facts here, names and dates and places and conversations, plenty to be concerned about, but for me, not a full closing of the sale, so to speak. We await Mr. Mueller, perhaps, for that. The take-away for me now is that Trump and entourage were very Russian-friendly, excessively, some corruptly so, some naively, they really were played, by some seriously crooked people, from a classic USA point of view of legitimacy. But over here, the constitutional-institutional-open system strength of the USA system has held, and the bad actors with whatever motives and to whatever degree have already been largely thwarted, for now. The campaign to hook our leaders up a little too cosily with deeply questionable Russians at high levels was blunted. Many offshore actors (and onshore) are still getting away with banking crimes and money laundering and so forth to a troubling degree, but this particular campaign, clever as it was fell flat. (That doesn't mean the psy-conflict in social media and so on will end -- it is only beginning. This was the first big salvo at the retail cultural level). Trump's friendliness to that general lot of people (and defense of them, and profiting from them, and the lack of public outrage at this) disturbs me, as does their seepage into this society generally, but he is the most self-defeating player I've seen. He's no Putin. I can't think of any medium, game or setting in which Putin wouldn't beat the tar out of him, blindfolded. It's a strange cross of ludicrous-dangerous, but for now I'm sleeping OK. This book, while it brought no big smoking gun I hadn't seen, did tie the story together quite well. Around the ninth hour through the end it really picks up and pulls things together.
Fun factoid: one prominent Russian financier in this book who bought a mansion from Trump at (some would say) an inflated price, was the recent seller of the Da Vinci painting for purportedly $400 million plus. Nothing dodgy there, right? Factually, I can't say . . . .
47 of 60 people found this review helpful