Business biographer Slater (The New GE, 1992, etc.) appraises bloviating billionaire Trump and finds him quite sympathetic.
Slater reviews Trump’s background, personality and work habits, and makes notes of forays in Atlantic City and Chicago. Mostly, though, the author sets forth Trump’s reputation and fame, his skills at public relations and self-promotion, and his supposed conquest of TV in terms Trump must surely like. There’s much here about “his commanding presence and his dazzle” and “the resilient, creative titan he has turned out to be.” He’s a “charismatic billionaire.” Television’s Apprentice has “the charisma and the charm and the wit of Donald Trump.” This may not be an authorized or subsidized biography but, with this easy reader, The Donald will never need one. Like Mr. Peanut, he’s become a brand. He’s a major force in New York real estate and, perforce, a powerful negotiator. There are certainly the real achievements, though it’s difficult to detect the pertinent facts in this cream puff treatment. We may applaud the omission of conjugal high jinks, but surely there’s more to be said about the East Side rail yard project or the book arrangements. Slater surveys business deals, yet there’s the distinct feeling of untold stories. The writer did check facts with his subject (who may have the power to cloud men’s minds), but Trump has it his way, asserting, for example, that the troubled casino hotels represent less than 1 percent of the Trump net worth (they’re in the throes of bankruptcy). Trump practices what he calls “truthful hyperbole,” and credibility suffers in this fawning, rushed biography. Coming soon, we learn: Donald Trump, the Fragrance. (Warning: the sure-to-be ubiquitous book jacket may bear a truly menacing close-up of the squinting hero).
A toadying portrait of a colorful figure, already larger than life, likely to sell in record numbers to fans. To impartial readers, it’ll be shallow ephemera.