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I like the Woodward trilogy titles: “FEAR” was a reminder of what Donald Trump thought was important in order to get power. “RAGE” came from Trump’s proud observation of the emotion he could create in others.
And “PERIL” shows how the chaos, anger and fear came together in the final year of Trump’s presidency, placing the presidency and even democracy in danger. “Peril” begins with America in danger from Trump. It ends the same way. Trump hasn’t gone and neither is the threat he poses to democracy.
Woodward is working with Washington Post’s Robert Costa, but the style of research and writing is the same. It’s a lot of interviews –over 200—and a lot of work putting them together in a way that will hold interest. Sometimes they succeed in this and create real scenes—other times, you see the problem of having so much detail that you just –have- to include it. Storytelling sometimes takes a back seat to recounting details that aren’t always that significant.
That’s one problem. A bigger one is that Woodward has always been kind to people who are his sources. Typically, they are some of the most complicit people, but are allowed to spin themselves into heroes. Here, that’s General Milley, Bill Barr, Lindsey Graham, Kellyanne Conway, among others who need to be scrutinized in a harsher light.
“PERIL” has many unnerving descriptions of Trump’s instability and apparent unwillingness to accept the reality of losing the election. Some of the above people made some efforts to save us from disaster. But most of the staffers and Republican officials around Trump do little to protect democracy. Barr’s there, and Pence, But where’s the rest of the Cabinet? The president described here is a danger to the country. Where were the Republicanns in the Cabinet to invoke the 25th amendment? Why were McCarthy and McConnell so complacent? There are no answers here.
Pence’s decision-making process made this a worthwhile read for me. He did the right thing—in the end—including staying at the Capitol during the insurrection. But he clearly wanted to cooperate with Trump if at all possible under the Constitution. It was only after everyone he consulted – including Dan Quayle, who comes across well here – that Pence agrees to do the right thing—and do it without equivocation. (For a time, he dithered about possibly expressing sympathy with those who wanted to throw out Biden votes).
About a third of the book is about Biden—his campaign, transition, and early presidency. But, as in real life, it’s Trump who takes the air out of the room. Even ten months after losing, he is still sending letters to Georgia’s secretary of state as he did last Friday, demanding that the electors be “decertified or whatever the legal remedy is.” It would be comical. If it wasn’t so delusional and dangerous. “Peril”, indeed.
Embarrassingly lightweight for the most part. Four page chapters about anecdotes about Joe Biden deciding to run for president- that is not what i bought this book for & not what it was advertised to be about. Dont waste your time- the four important occurrences were reported on news programs, this not what i expect from a respected journalist. I dont think I'm even going to bother to finish it.
Woodward has created another extraordinary insight into the life of the US presidency under Trump and following his election defeat. Once again, he records extracts from genuine memos, Senate reports, meetings, interviews and conversations with the most senior people in federal and state governments and the US military. “Peril” is the story of a truly frightening and scary period in modern history and will probably be studied by historians for many years to come.
He, with Costa, weaves this remarkably thorough research together, to lead the reader through some of the most dangerous and uncertain times in recent American history. The result is the best blow-by-blow description of the events of the storming of the Capital that I have read. It includes eye-witness accounts of Trump’s behaviour and attitude whilst watching the storming from the Oval Office balcony and on television. Interviews with Senators, their staff and the police show in terrifying detail just how frightening this was.
Woodward explains in intricate detail why General Milley and all the Chiefs of Staff of the military became so concerned about Trump’s increasingly unstable behaviour. They and others in the government were deeply worried that the President would use his executive powers to authorise military (probably nuclear) action against another country, or against fellow Americans in direct contravention to the Constitution. And they feared he might be planning a coup, to destroy the US democracy and create a Trump dictatorship.
If you think this is far-fetched read this book and take note of the high-ranking Generals, Washington officials, and politicians from both sides of the aisle who shared these fears. And also discover so much more about the events of the transition of power, and exactly why Biden pulled out of Afghanistan the way he did.
Bob Woodward (with Robert Costa) gives readers his third and final book about the Trump Presidency. As with all of these books, there are many surprising, sometimes shocking, revelations based on interviews with DC insiders. This book begins with an eye opening flashforward, describing how General Milley (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) on Jan 8, 2021 tried to assure Chinese officials that Trump was not going to launch an attack against them. Nancy Pelosi and others had talked to Milley about their concerns that Trump was dangerously unstable mentally. The first third of the book, however, focuses on the last year of Trump's Presidency, as well as Joe Biden's campaign for the Democratic nomination and later his race against Trump. I found this part of the book rather superficial, but Woodward does at times provide yet more disturbing evidence of Trump's erratic behavior. For example, Trump tries to bully the FDA Director to rush approval of a COVID vaccine regardless of the safety risks. The second part of the book I found the most interesting, as Woodward describes in detail Trump's relentless and insidious efforts to overturn the election results. Perhaps this was predictable, but it is shocking to read about the numerous Republicans who supported Trump's attempt to undermine the Constitution. Even more shocking is how close they came, much closer than I suspect most Americans realize. The last part of the book covers Biden's initial six months of his Presidency, especially his efforts to combat COVID, pass a relief funding bill through Congress, and withdraw from Afghanistan. Overall, I found this book to be often fascinating reading, even though I think that the authors tried to cover too much ground. It is unfortunate that some readers (and reviewers) see this book as a partisan attack on Trump. The primary message of this book for me concerns the dangerous future US society faces when those in power create a cascade of lies in order to undermine elections, the cornerstone of democracy.
I am actually quite shocked on how poorly written this Woodward book is. It's like the book was rushed out the door without a final draft. There are a lot of sentences that are disjointed, misplaced and out of place.
It is all very distracting as you try to read through the book. There are numerous examples and it's more than simply an author who can't write very well. It's more about a book that hasn't been edited fully.
There are also some very easily identifiable factual errors like on page 57 where they say Trump fell 10 votes short of being removed by the Senate I'm his first impeachment which is incorrect. He was 10 votes shy of removal in the second impeachment.
How could half of the US population even begin to trust this person? The inside story of a man who is manifestly unfit to hold this most important office in world affairs if this account is to be believed; and the evidence presented against him is overwhelming.
At the time of writing, I’m about two thirds of the way through the book. It is a fascinating insight to the last twelve months or so of the Trump administration. I’ve read both of Woodward’s previous books on the Trump presidency, this one is written in a different way but is well worth reading (as were the other two).
I love reading Woodward's books. This one with Costa another great expose of the Trump White House and lawless lawmakers. Highly re4commended for all Americans to read as a great help to understanding the threat to our democracy by Trump and his sycophants