I remember being told that newspapers were deliberately written at a fourth grade level. I, uh, um… I can kind of see that here.
Don’t get me wrong. I wish I had properly learned AP style, but for heaven’s sake, men, modulate your sentence structure just a little! Reading these short chapters, containing short sentences and simple language is surprisingly exhausting. I’m not saying it’s like reading Ulysses, but I never reading such basic writing could be so tiring.
Despite, the title, the book was less terrifying that I had suspected. Yes, it’s terrifying, just less so. You never get a good view of Trump (the authors might have tried engaging in just a little psychological theorizing, just to jazz things up). He’s just an angry guy with a short attention span and a potty mouth. If Woodward and Costa were inclined to psychologize, they might have suggested that childhood trauma left him an emotional child, who things ‘I won’t be your friend anymore’ is a viable threat to a grown man. But they don’t do that.
You probably won’t learn anything you didn’t already know if you read newspapers… at all. I mean, did you really not know that Trump is a petulant, foul-mouthed man-child who never grasped the realities of governing?
It’s fair to say that reading Woodward’s Trump book (I know, Costa is a co-author) is less about learning the facts than playing DC cocktail party games of identifying who the sources are. It’s an easy game, because you can clearly see his secret ‘sources’ burnishing their patriotic credentials and engaging in a drawn out process of explaining that ‘it’s not my fault’ or ‘I was the only thing standing between the Constitution and Trump’s gold plated toilet.’
The book also suffers from splitting its time between Trump and Biden. At first, my interest was perked by insights into Bidenworld, but that is just so much less compelling than Trump’s unhinged bucket of crazy. The only thing that really caught my eye was the deeply petty excuses that Senator Susan Collins fed to Woodward and Costa to justify being Lucy to the football of bipartisanship (I kid you not, one was that Ron Klain shook his head too vigorously during an Oval Office meeting; she really is a piece of work, I must say).