A readable and maddening account of the ongoing constitutional crisis that is the Trump White House.

HIGH CRIMES

THE CORRUPTION, IMPUNITY, AND IMPEACHMENT OF DONALD TRUMP

A swiftly paced history of the events surrounding the Mueller report and its aftermath.

Donald Trump likes nothing better than to double down: First, he solicited Russian help in gaining office, then tried to extort Ukraine to assist his second run by withholding military aid. The result was impeachment. Write award-winning journalists and longtime Trump watchers D’Antonio and Eisner, given “Trump’s extraordinary need to create a fantasy self who occupies the center of a fantastical story that he demands that others accept” and seeming belief that he is above the law, impeachment was the only option. The authors provide a comprehensive account of the process of impeachment, support for it steadily growing as more evidence was revealed—and that accelerated with such events as Trump’s sacking of the ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, who was dedicated to the cause of battling corruption. “Take her out,” Trump ordered, which “sounded like something a movie mob boss might say.” In this account, like in countless others, Trump emerges as an inveterate liar and bush-league gangster, if one ever quick with a lame excuse: Mueller had it in for him, Trump complained, “because of a long-ago dispute over a charge at a Trump golf course”; of course, the charges against him were all witch hunt and hoax. His incompetence, they add, would be underscored by his handling of the pandemic. That the impeachment charges were narrow and specific meant that many impeachable offenses did not enter into discussion, such as committing perjury under oath and illegally diverting funds to build the border wall; omission of these “high crimes and misdemeanors” may well have been a strategic error that doomed the enterprise. The end of their account deems the impeachment, though seemingly forgotten a year later, “the inevitable product of the dangerous experiment begun when a demagogue who had made corruption and impunity part of his public identity gained the presidency.”

A readable and maddening account of the ongoing constitutional crisis that is the Trump White House.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-76667-0

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2020

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A lively and thoughtful memoir that, one hopes, will inspire readers to pursue activism in every realm of society.

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PERSIST

The Massachusetts senator and financial reformer recounts several of her good fights over the years.

Famous for being chided for “persisting” on the Senate floor, Warren is nearly a byword for the application of an unbending, if usually polite, feminism to the corridors of power. Though she has a schoolmarm-ish air—and indeed taught school for much of her life—she gladly owns up to liking a beer or two and enjoying a good brawl, and she’s a scrapper with a long memory. In 2008, when she shopped a proposal to found a federal agency that “could act as a watchdog to make sure that consumers weren’t getting cheated by financial institutions,” she encountered a congressman who “laughed in my face.” She doesn’t reveal his name, but you can bet he crosses the hall when she’s coming the other way. Warren does name other names, especially Donald Trump, who, with Republicans on the Hill, accomplished only one thing, namely “a $2 trillion tax cut that mostly benefited rich people.” Now that the Democrats are in power, the author reckons that the time is ripe to shake off the Trump debacle and build “a nation that works, not just for the rich and powerful but for everyone.” She identifies numerous areas that need immediate attention, from financial reform to bringing more women into the workplace and mandating equal pay for equal work. Warren premises some of these changes on increased taxes on the rich, happily citing a billionaire well known for insider trading, who complained of her, “This is the fucking American dream she is shitting on.” The author reverts to form: “Oh dear. Did I hit a nerve?” Warren’s common-sensical proposals on housing, infrastructure development, and civil rights merit attention, and her book makes for a sometimes-funny, sometimes–sharp-tongued pleasure.

A lively and thoughtful memoir that, one hopes, will inspire readers to pursue activism in every realm of society.

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-79924-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Metropolitan/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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A top-notch political memoir and serious exercise in practical politics for every reader.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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A PROMISED LAND

In the first volume of his presidential memoir, Obama recounts the hard path to the White House.

In this long, often surprisingly candid narrative, Obama depicts a callow youth spent playing basketball and “getting loaded,” his early reading of difficult authors serving as a way to impress coed classmates. (“As a strategy for picking up girls, my pseudo-intellectualism proved mostly worthless,” he admits.) Yet seriousness did come to him in time and, with it, the conviction that America could live up to its stated aspirations. His early political role as an Illinois state senator, itself an unlikely victory, was not big enough to contain Obama’s early ambition, nor was his term as U.S. Senator. Only the presidency would do, a path he painstakingly carved out, vote by vote and speech by careful speech. As he writes, “By nature I’m a deliberate speaker, which, by the standards of presidential candidates, helped keep my gaffe quotient relatively low.” The author speaks freely about the many obstacles of the race—not just the question of race and racism itself, but also the rise, with “potent disruptor” Sarah Palin, of a know-nothingism that would manifest itself in an obdurate, ideologically driven Republican legislature. Not to mention the meddlings of Donald Trump, who turns up in this volume for his idiotic “birther” campaign while simultaneously fishing for a contract to build “a beautiful ballroom” on the White House lawn. A born moderate, Obama allows that he might not have been ideological enough in the face of Mitch McConnell, whose primary concern was then “clawing [his] way back to power.” Indeed, one of the most compelling aspects of the book, as smoothly written as his previous books, is Obama’s cleareyed scene-setting for how the political landscape would become so fractured—surely a topic he’ll expand on in the next volume.

A top-notch political memoir and serious exercise in practical politics for every reader.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6316-9

Page Count: 768

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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