Not a traitor, but an incompetent charlatan and a bully

Book review: Fear A lack of juicy gossip makes Bob Woodward's expose of Trump in the White House a credible and very damning read. 

914-reviews-fear-100

Bob WoodwardSimon and Schuster, £20(Buy at Amazon)

Journalist Bob Woodward has made a name for himself in recent years with his series of dramatised narratives examining key moments in the Clinton, Bush and Obama presidencies. His latest tells the story so far of the Trump presidency.

Trump does not come out of it well. The book portrays him as fickle, egoistical and uninterested in (and clueless about) the foreign and trade policy details. Despite demanding total loyalty, and taking any disagreement personally, Trump has no compunction about treating his subordinates like dirt. As you'd expect, such behaviour is repaid in the same vein, and the second his back is turned his advisers and staffers are quite open about their contempt for him.

None of this is news, but Woodward's page-turning book spells out all the details, and he enhances his credibility by refuting some wilder theories. Woodward thinks it unlikely Trump was involved in Russian collusion, for example, and that Robert Mueller, the special prosecutor, has behaved in bad faith and gone beyond his remit. Contrary to rumours, Trump also has a cordial if distant relationship with his wife.

Woodward's book may lack the juicy gossip of Michael Wolff's headline-grabbingFire and Fury, but this makes it a much more credible, and therefore damning, take.Trump may not have directly betrayed his country, but he stands revealed as an incompetent charlatan and bully.

Recommended

Theatre review: The Visit
Films

Theatre review: The Visit

Friedrich Dürrenmatt's Swiss classic The Visit, transported to 1950s America, poses the question: how much would you kill for?
28 Feb 2020
Six contrarian books for Christmas
Films

Six contrarian books for Christmas

Merryn Somerset Webb picks six of her favourite contrarian books to help you look clever and perhaps win a few arguments over the Christmas dinner tab…
9 Dec 2019
Four excellent books to get your teeth into while you remain holed up
Books

Four excellent books to get your teeth into while you remain holed up

Whether you’re going on a staycation (or even an actual holiday) or remaining holed up at home. Merryn Somerset Webb has four perfect books to educate…
6 Jul 2020

Most Popular

How will we repay our vast debt pile? Do we even need to?
Sponsored

How will we repay our vast debt pile? Do we even need to?

In his recent articles looking at different aspects of the fixed-income investing world, David Stevenson looked at inflation. Today he looks at a clos…
19 Oct 2020
Negative interest rates and the end of free bank accounts
Bank accounts

Negative interest rates and the end of free bank accounts

Negative interest rates are likely to mean the introduction of fees for current accounts and other banking products. But that might make the UK bankin…
19 Oct 2020
The Bank of England should create a "Bitpound" digital currency and take the world by storm
Bitcoin

The Bank of England should create a "Bitpound" digital currency and take the world by storm

The Bank of England could win the race to create a respectable digital currency if it moves quickly, says Matthew Lynn.
18 Oct 2020