A veteran reporter offers an in-depth investigative report on the six most important women in Donald Trump’s life and then branches out to explain how a few dozen other women have affected his path to the presidency.
Some of the results of Burleigh’s (The Fatal Gift of Beauty: The Trials of Amanda Knox, 2011, etc.) extensive research have been revealed previously in Newsweek, where she is the national politics correspondent. Combining shoe-leather reporting in Europe as well as the United States, official documents, secondary sources, and informed speculation, the author provides separate chapters on each of the six women: Trump’s grandmother, an immigrant from Germany; his mother, an immigrant from Scotland; his two immigrant wives, from Czechoslovakia (Ivana) and Slovenia (Melania), and his American-born wife, Marla Maples; and his eldest daughter, Ivanka. Burleigh rarely employs neutral language or on-one-hand/on-the-other accounts. Rather, when the evidence warrants it, she labels Trump a liar, manipulator, cheater, and misogynist. The author acknowledges that her opinions about Trump “leak through” on some pages, but she offers no apologies for what many readers are likely to find refreshingly straightforward language. Regarding Trump’s grandmother and mother, both deceased, Burleigh summarizes their influences on Donald as hygienic (hence his germophobia) attempts at instilling propriety and—in his mother’s case especially—a drive for a royal lifestyle. The author gives credit to Trump’s grandmother for her business acumen despite Donald’s efforts to erase that legacy from official family histories. In the epilogue, Burleigh discusses the relationships between Donald and his two low-profile sisters; between Donald and his lower-profile daughter, Tiffany; among Donald and five mostly loyal, talented Trump Organization employees; and among Donald and various mostly consensual mistresses as well as 11 of the 19 women who have accused him of sexual assault.
A comprehensive exposé that will engender strong reactions from the vast majority of readers regardless of where they fall on the political spectrum.