A deeply reported look at how the president who promised to “drain the swamp” has been operating from the sewer.

THE FIXERS

THE BOTTOM-FEEDERS, CROOKED LAWYERS, GOSSIPMONGERS, AND PORN STARS WHO CREATED THE 45TH PRESIDENT

A report on the hush-money scandals that have threatened the presidency of Donald Trump.

Palazzolo and Rothfeld led a Wall Street Journal team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for a series of stories on Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s shady payments to Stormy Daniels. The reporters tied these efforts directly to Trump and also connected that effort to an earlier deal with Karen McDougal, a former Playboy Playmate of the Year with whom Trump had relations, and an agreement with the publisher of the National Enquirer to silence her. “The Journal had little interest,” write the authors, “in a story about Trump having had consensual affairs”—his philandering was well-known—“…but hush money was indisputably newsworthy.” The authors clearly demonstrate how the stories the reporters broke had larger ramifications and continue to reverberate, as they connect through Cohen to dealings with Russia investigated as part of the Mueller Report and show that the president’s tendencies to lie and bluff and distance himself from his enablers long predate his entry into politics. This sordid tale extends from the early influence of Roy Cohn through the more recent efforts of Rudy Giuliani as Trump’s “fixer.” Yet the heart of the book is the relationship and subsequent estrangement between Trump and Cohen, who was loyal to a fault and felt his loyalty had been betrayed. The authors detail how Cohen claimed he had never requested a pardon from Trump, though he had, repeatedly; and how Cohen’s numerous gambits to enrich himself hurt his attempts to cut his prison time. Nearly everyone in this book is some sort of double dealer or worse; the narrative doesn’t pit good guys against bad guys but rather bad guys battling worse guys.

A deeply reported look at how the president who promised to “drain the swamp” has been operating from the sewer.

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13239-5

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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