Gideon Haigh reviews 'Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House' by Michael Wolff

Gideon Haigh reviews 'Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House' by Michael Wolff

Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House

by Michael Wolff

Hachette, $32.99 pb, 333 pp, 9781408711392

In his new account of Donald Trump’s presidency, Fire and Fury, Michael Wolff describes how Trump’s ‘adviser’ Steve Bannon counselled fellow White House newbies to read The Best and The Brightest as preparation for their administration’s tasks. Rarely for the mordant Bannon, his enthusiasm for David Halberstam’s 1972 classic of the West Wing mandarinate who mangled the Vietnam War seems have been unfeigned and unironic. ‘A very moving experience reading this book,’ Wolff quotes Bannon as saying, ‘It makes the world clear, amazing characters and all true.’

Is anyone likely to say the same of Wolff’s rapid-fire reportage of the Trump White House? Not in forty-five years, that’s for sure; maybe, at a pinch, for forty-five minutes. The book has apparently already sold nearly two million copies, benefiting enormously from Trump’s reflex threats of legal action and suppression. Yet so extensively have its contents been parsed that the very little new in it already seems old, while the old lies dead on the page. Trump is a deluded solipsist surrounded by cretinous enablers and epigones. Colour me amazed.

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Published in March 2018, no. 399
Gideon Haigh

Gideon Haigh

Gideon Haigh has been a journalist for thirty-four years, and now works mainly for The Australian and The Times. His most recent book, Father & Daughter, is a collection of stories with his eight-year-old daughter Cecilia; his next book, A Scandal in Bohemia: The Life and Death of Mollie Dean, will be published by Penguin in April.

Comments (2)

  • Leave a comment

    Have to agree. If you read the excerpts in the press beforehand then you read everything interesting in the book. It's still worth a bit of effort for the verbatim speeches by Trump to the CIA and to the Boy Scouts! And there's no real conclusion...the story just grinds to a halt. Also, after a while you need a scorecard to keep track of all the players.

    Thursday, 01 February 2018 18:40 posted by  Chris Caton
  • Leave a comment

    'What about the clash of its ostensible economic populism with its beneficiation of the one per cent ..'
    Does this refer to the tax reform?
    It passed well after the book went to the printers.

    Thursday, 01 February 2018 17:35 posted by  Rudy

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