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. 


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.

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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.

Dr Matthew Partridge

Matthew graduated from the University of Durham in 2004; he then gained an MSc, followed by a PhD at the London School of Economics.

He has previously written for a wide range of publications, including the Guardian and the Economist, and also helped to run a newsletter on terrorism. He has spent time at Lehman Brothers, Citigroup and the consultancy Lombard Street Research.

Matthew is the author of Superinvestors: Lessons from the greatest investors in history, published by Harriman House, which has been translated into several languages. His second book, Investing Explained: The Accessible Guide to Building an Investment Portfolio, is published by Kogan Page.

As senior writer, he writes the shares and politics & economics pages, as well as weekly Blowing It and Great Frauds in History columns He also writes a fortnightly reviews page and trading tips, as well as regular cover stories and multi-page investment focus features.

Follow Matthew on Twitter: @DrMatthewPartri