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Books by and about 2020 presidential candidates
Crippled America,
by Donald J. Trump (2015)
United,
by Cory Booker (2016)
The Truths We Hold,
by Kamala Harris (2019)
Smart on Crime,
by Kamala Harris (2010)
Guide to Political Revolution,
by Bernie Sanders (2017)
Where We Go From Here,
by Bernie Sanders (2018)
Promise Me, Dad ,
by Joe Biden (2017)
Conscience of a Conservative,
by Jeff Flake (2017)
Two Paths,
by Gov. John Kasich (2017)
Every Other Monday,
by Rep. John Kasich (2010)
Courage is Contagious,
by John Kasich (1998)
Shortest Way Home,
by Pete Buttigieg (2019)
The Book of Joe ,
by Jeff Wilser (2019; biography of Joe Biden)
Becoming,
by Michelle Obama (2018)
Our Revolution,
by Bernie Sanders (2016)
This Fight Is Our Fight,
by Elizabeth Warren (2017)
Higher Loyalty,
by James Comey (2018)
The Making of Donald Trump,
by David Cay Johnston (2017)
Books by and about the 2016 presidential election
What Happened ,
by Hillary Clinton (2017)
Higher Loyalty ,
by James Comey (2018)
Trump vs. Hillary On The Issues ,
by Jesse Gordon (2016)
Hard Choices,
by Hillary Clinton (2014)
Becoming ,
by Michelle Obama (2018)
Outsider in the White House,
by Bernie Sanders (2015)

Book Reviews

(from Amazon.com)

(click a book cover for a review or other books by or about the presidency from Amazon.com)

Trump Revealed
An American Journey of Ambition, Ego, Money, and Power

by Michael Kranish and Marc Fisher



(Click for Amazon book review)

Click here for 40 full quotes from Donald Trump in the book Trump Revealed.
OR click on an issue category below for a subset.

BOOK REVIEW by OnTheIssues.org:

This book describes itself as "biographical journalism" (p. 349) and that self-description is the reason OnTheIssues chose it as the anti-Trump book in the run-up the 2020 election. It is not POLITICALLY anti-Trump, i.e. it doesn't say why voters should choose a candidate other than Trump and since it was published in 2016, that candidate would be Hillary Clinton, who is irrelevant for 2020. It is not JOURNALISTICALLY anti-Trump, which means it investigates Trump's background and reports that in the current political context.

Of course Trump supporters will say that's the same as "fact-checking", and just another way for the Mainstream Media to bash Trump (the authors are from The Washington Post), by pretending these are facts. But in the Trump era, determining which facts are facts, and which facts are "fake news," has become very challenging -- OnTheIssues has determined that this book DOES present facts that are facts. We rejected numerous other anti-Trump books as too politicized or too pro-Mainstream Media, or both what appears on our pages are vetted and checked, with backup from other sources.

This book understands Trump and attempts to get at what makes him appealing to his voters, as well as what makes him unappealing to his opponents. On the appealing side, the books Prologue describes that "Trump looked and sounded like the plain-speaking billionaire of the people" (p. 14). On ignoring the advice of his advisors on the campaign trail: "Some people told him he should be presidential, and yet he knew he would be what he'd always been" (p. 15). That's the essence of Trump's appeal -- he says what he thinks, regardless of consequences.

Here's an example of this book's style of analysis and biography, about Trump's choice of the University of Pennsylvania Business School, where he got his MBA: "Trump saw Wharton from the beginning as a place to pick up a patina of prestige. 'Perhaps the most important thing I learned at Wharton was not to be overly impressed by academic credentials,' Trump said. 'There was nothing particularly awesome or exceptional about my classmates; I could compete just fine. The other important thing I got from Wharton was a Wharton degree. In my opinion, that doesn't prove much, but a lot of people I do business with take it very seriously.' Yet Trump himself would come to take Wharton very seriously Wharton became a name to be dropped, another 'best' to burnish the Trump brand. For a time. Trump bragged of being a top student among his 333 Wharton classmates. But Trump is not included in the Honor Roll printed in the Daily Pennsylvanian. [In fact, according to one] classmate, 'Trump was not what you would call an intellectual. I don't think he ever studied for an exam. He did what it took to get through the program.' " (p. 47-48)

Report what Trump says; check it out with others who were there; explain it in context that's "biographical journalism." The authors consider their attitude about Trump to be positive but honest (which means negative). Reiterating Trump's inferred self-description from the Prologue in the context of the 1990s self-promotion, in a chapter entitled "Showman": "[Trump] was busy building his own celebrity, the unique persona of a billionaire who could poke fun at himself, a plutocrat with a penchant for popular appeal" (p. 261).

Trump has several books describing his dealmaker abilities -- Think Big and Art of the Deal for example -- and cited those abilities as a credential for the presidency. So how does "biographical journalism" describe Trump's dealmaker abilities in the 1980s and 1990s? "Winning the right to rebuild the Commodore Hotel [into a midtown-Manhattan modernized Hyatt] gave Trump a 1900-room hotel in a blighted neighborhood. For Donald's plan to succeed, Penn Central (the local railroad) had to sell him the hotel; NYC's bureaucracy had to give him a tax break; and the bank had to front him the money to pay for the whole thing. Trump played the city, the sellers, and the hotel chain off one another, using one to leverage a deal with the other. When a city official asked for proof of Penn Central's commitment, Trump sent what looked like an agreement with the sellers. Trump then used the city's resulting approval to push his deal with Hyatt to closure. Trump was saved by New York's first-ever tax break for a commercial property--he could buy the hotel for $1, then lease it back for 99 years--an arrangement that would save Trump's project an estimated $440 million over the next 40 years." (pp. 73-5)

That sounds accurate -- Trump played institutions against each other, legally if not ethically, and won for himself. And that's the whole book -- accurate and a decent balance between positive and negative. We recommend this as the one anti-Trump book for voters interested in 2020.

-- Jesse Gordon, jesse@OnTheIssues.org, January 2019

 OnTheIssues.org excerpts:  (click on issues for details)
Budget & Economy
    OpEd: 1990s bankruptcy due to ego-based purchases.
Civil Rights
    1973: sued for racial bias against black tenants.
    1980s: personal lawyer gay & closeted & Trump kept secret.
    Pushed town council to allow blacks & Jews into Mar-a-Lago.
    2000: extend Civil Rights Act to apply to gays and lesbians.
Corporations
    Attended Wharton but unimpressed by academic credentials.
Crime
    Racial disparities in law enforcement? Maybe or maybe not.
    Settling Central Park jogger case was "a disgrace".
Education
    Trump U: effort to educate the masses in his style.
Environment
    2008: pushed Scotland golf course despite enviro fragility.
Families & Children
    Women act feminine & needy, but inside, they are killers.
    Ex-wives sign confidentiality agreements and keep quiet.
Foreign Policy
    At AIPAC: railed against Palestinians' demonization of Jews.
    It's good that Putin says nice things about me.
    1987 thru 2013: Tried to build Trump Tower in Moscow.
Government Reform
    1980s: donated 30 times over campaign contribution limit.
Homeland Security
    South Korea and Japan should pay 100% of US military costs.
    1990: dealt with helicopter crash that killed three staff.
Immigration
    1885: grandfather Friedrich was illegal German emigrant.
    Vatican has massive walls; Pope is wrong about open borders.
Jobs
    1990: fined $65,000 for money-laundering via casino chips.
Principles & Values
    OpEd: Leveraged government and companies against each other.
    Father arrested in 1927 KKK riot, but didn't support Klan.
    Grade school mischief-maker: headstrong and determined.
    Favorite movie: Citizen Kane, about risks of accumulation.
    Played varsity baseball at military academy.
    Charitable donations of $165,000 to Wharton and U.Penn.
    1990 Marla Maples headline: "Best sex I ever had".
    After Ivana, never let wife run business again.
    Bought Plaza hotel for cultural value, not profit.
    OpEd: Apprentice turned Trump from blowhard to candidate.
    OpEd: Trump empire based on Trump brand, not Trump buildings.
    At 58, met and married Melania, age 34, at Kit Kat Klub.
    1997: Bill Clinton's vocal backer during Monicagate.
    Sued in 1,900 cases; defendant in 1,450 more cases.
    Donate to political candidates, regardless of party.
War & Peace
    I could've negotiated Reagan's nuclear arms reduction deal.
    2003: lost respect for Bush over handling of Iraq War.
Welfare & Poverty
    1970s: opposed rent control but lived in rent-controlled apt.
    1981: Rent-control tenants are "millionaires in mink coats".


The above quotations are from Trump Revealed
An American Journey of Ambition, Ego, Money, and Power

by Michael Kranish and Marc Fisher
.

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Page last edited: Mar 19, 2019