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review 2018-02-01 19:59
Fire and Fury: A review with feathers
Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House - Michael Wolff

Here we are, at the end of a long, challenging read. There were moments I wasn't sure I could make it, but I persisted, as is a woman's way. And what have I learned from this 300 page clusterfuck?


Our president is a bird brain.


Don't believe me? I brought the receipts. 



I want to introduce you to Snow. 



Snow is an only child, quite happy with his lot in life, and by all intents and purposes the President of the United Cage of Cockatiels. Stay with me here.


Snow, who was the runt of the clutch, was the only baby we kept out of four little cockatiels. He has been pampered, spoiled and allowed to run the show. He thinks he has all the chirps, the best chirps. He can be loud when ignored, and petulant when angry.


He literally will chew the perch out from under himself if it means it will take down one of his flock mates he's in a spat with.



He is, in short, a little shit.


But according to everything I have read, he is completely qualified to be our elustrious leader. They are so frighteningly similar it gives me pause. Is Donald Trump a bird? Nah, just a bird brain. Let's explore this further with quotes from the book. This is the first time I have ever highlighted in a book I purchased because I just didn't want to miss anything.


1. Cockatiels have notorious short attention spans.


Early in the campaign, in a "Producers"-worthy scene, Sam Nunberg was sent to explain the Constitution to the candidate: "I got as far as the Fourth Amendment before his finger is pulling down on his lip and his eyes are rolling back in his head."


This was one of numerous times Trump had no patience for anything not to do with him. More than once it was noted he would simply get up from a meeting with a world leader and leave because he was bored. This was also why he couldn't seem to hire people: they ran on numbers and he ran on drama. He would likely not hire the proper person simply because they used data.


Cockatiels are trained in 10 minute intervals, by the way. Birds just don't do well with extended periods of learning.


2. Cockatiels love to preen, strut and be the center of attention. Even if it makes no sense.


...he lied about his height to keep from having a body mass index that would label him as obese.


Some seducers are preternaturally sensitive to the signals of those they try to seduce; others indiscriminately attempt to seduce, and, by law if averages, often succed  (the latter group might be regarded as harrassers). That was Trump's approach to women- pleased when he scored, unconcerned when he didn't  (and, often, despite the evidence, believing he had). And so it was with Director Comey.


Here is another peculiar Trump attribute: an inability to see his actions the way most others saw them. Or to fully appreciate how people expected him to behave.


One of Trump's deficiencies- a constant in the campaign and, so far, in the presidency- was his uncertain grasp of cause and effect.


The virtue of Donald Trump- the virtue, anyway, of Donald Trump to Steve Bannon- was that cosmopolitan elite was never going to accept him. He was, after all, Donald Trump, however much you shined him up.


Snow spends his day trying to woo his own mom. When that fails, he sits and crows at the top of his lungs for any attention the others might lavish on him. They mostly ignore him because they have grown tired of his obnoxious squawling. He is the cleanest of the four birds in the cage, but will poop in his own food dish. He makes little sense to his cage mates. But to himself he is an amazing, vocal superstar.


3. Cockatiels aren't known for their strategy.


As for the President, it was quite clear that deciding between contradictory policy approaches was not his style of leadership. He simply hoped that difficult decisions would make themselves.


...Steve Bannon was running the Steve Bannon White House, Jared Kushner was running the Michael Bloomberg White House, and Reince Priebus was running the Paul Ryan White House. It was a 1970s video game, the white ball pinging back and forth in the black triangle.


My tiels are notorious for getting themselves into messes. Like crashing into things then laying helplessly and waiting for me to come pick them up. They are like kamikaze pilots. I see very much of the White House in their motions. At least no lives but their own hang in the balance when Snow convinces his cage mates to blow that taco stand and fly head first into the mantel.


4. And finally, as much as I love them, sometimes cockatiels just aren't all that bright.


Trump didn't read. He didn't really skim...Some believed for all practical purposes he was no more than semiliterate. 


Not only didn't he read, he didn't listen...And he trusted his own expertise- no matter how paltry or irrelevant- more than anyone else's.


Here was a key Trump White House rationale: expertse, that liberal virtue, was overrated. After all, so often people who worked hard to know what they knew made the wrong decisions. So maybe the gut was as good, or maybe better, at getting to the heart of the matter than wonkish and data-driven inability to see the forest for the trees that often seemed to plague U.S. policy making. Maybe. Hopefully.

Of course, nobody really believed that, except the President himself.


Snow literally bites the hand that feeds him. And he poops on his food. Plus, might I refer you back to the picture of the chewed rope perch? 



So, in conclusion:


The book was frightening in its honesty. Trump isn't in charge so much as he is being led around by whoever gives him to most compliments. He's easily frustrated, he hardly works, he has turned our democratic process into a oligarchy/monarchy, and he has absolutely no grasp of why people hate him. He is a narcissist who expects everyone to love him or bow to him. He has the mistaken idea that a president is a king. And he has zero idea about policy. The sad thing is he said a few things in this book that sort of showed a real human being, but then it was completely crushed by his fragile ego. 


Fire and Fury confirmed he never wanted to be president. He did this to martyr himself and raise his brand, but when he won he became power hungry. He has no business in DC.


As for the book itself, it was well written, needed some more editing and had a couple of grammatical errors. I haven't ever read a political book before so I got a crash course in realpolitik language. But man, after this, I need a stiff drink. How about...Trump vodka?


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review 2018-01-12 00:00
Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House
Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House - Michael Wolff An ok read but I feel this is a book that has been hugely hyped by the media and certainly not the explosive read it has been labelled.

This book has been described as an explosive and shocking insight into life within the White House since Donald Trump became Presisent of the United States. I wanted to read this book as Ireland has a close and important relationship with America and decisions made in the While House not only affect the United States and its citizens but the rest of the World with it being one of the most influential and powerful countries in the World.
I didn't find this a particulary explosive or shocking read, if you have been following the news or media reports on the the Trump Administratin in the White House over the past year then I think you will find that this isn't a very shocking or revealing book but just an account of the bizarre Trump Adminstration and the people surrounding the Man of the Moment.

I think the media have hyped this book into a frenzy and while its interesting and certainly describes in political detail a year of the President and his family in the White House it isn't a book I would recommend as it rambles on quite a bit (just like some of Trump's speeches )and after about 2/3 of the way through the book it becomes repetitive and slow moving and to be honest a little boring.

I listened to this on audio and have to say I wouldn't recommend the audio version as the narrator speaks way too fast and I found myself having difficulty keeping up with him.
I don't subscribe to Face book and follow very little social media but I do catch the news on a daily basis and find that Mr Trump seems to appear even on the Irish News channels almost daily and not always in a favorable light.
There is a Speech made by the President at an event early on in the book that really had me in stitches and for this alone the book was nearly worth the read. Having said that its not a fun time in America and my sympathies lie with so many Americans who didn't sign up for this.

I think this is a book if you really want to read then don't waste your hard earned money on it, support your library and borrow it or perhaps the best advice would be to avoid it altogether.
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review 2018-01-09 07:37
I read it for the First Amendment ;-)
Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House - Michael Wolff

I won't lie. This was a hoot; so long as I treated it like pure fiction.


It's hard not to fall into the trap of almost enjoying the craziness of this story and its characters, until you remember these people are real and in charge of the largest nuclear arsenal, a powerful military, not to mention our country. Then it's just terrifying, despite the juicy bits. The whole Jarvanka v Bannon subplot is delicious. Jared Kushner comes off like a little boy, with a low IQ. Trump does too of course. Most of them do. Probably because this tale is clearly Steve Bannon's tale, and as such, we should take it with a big dose of salt and probably some Valtrex.


It's a fast and easy read showing a horrendous reality -- even only 1/10th of this is true.

Once I picked it up, it was like rubbernecking a traffic accident. It was hard to look away despite the horror. I finished it over a day or so, staying awake far into the night because after reading any of this, sleep is even more impossible than it was before. There's not a ton of new important information here. It's all fairly obvious (no reading, no curiosity, no ability to listen to anyone or think or stay tuned in to anyone but the TV and his own image, defensiveness, anger and bile...)


The revealing parts are that everyone around 45 thinks the same things we do.

I'm really torn on this one because if it was fiction, I think I'd feel it was pretty low-brow, absurd yet really funny. I would think it was satire. Since it's not fiction, the whole thing is making me nuts. I wouldn't say it's a "must read" beyond the part where the President of the US is trying to have the book banned. So let's just say I read this for the First Amendment -- yeah, that's the ticket!


I do hope that some of the players in this drama will get honest with the country sooner rather than later. I very much doubt that will happen though.

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review 2018-01-08 19:48
Well, why is Orange upset?
Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House - Michael Wolff

Honesty, this really doesn't shed any new light on the shit storm that the White House.  For much of the book, you are really going like "no shit".  Wolff's writing is good, but at times you do wish he gone deeper - he's no David Simon, for instance.



Highlights of the book's claims include


- no one liked the nightly dinners with Trump, they were torture.  Wolff doesn't say why, but I'm sure it was because everyone wanted two scoops of ice cream.


 - Trump is a spoiled actor (I would've added without the good looks).


-Kushner's family is not happy with him.



"Media is personal. It is a series of blood scores. The media in its often collective mind decides who is going to rise and who is going to fall, who lives and who dies. If you stay around long enough in the media eye, your fate, like that of a banana republic despot, is often an unkind one—a law Hillary Clinton was not able to circumvent."
-The Trumps do not share a bedroom, the first couple to have seperate bedrooms since the Kennedys.
- He eats Micky D's because he is fearful of getting poisoned
-Orange thinks all women in the DOJ hate him (called Yates a cunt might have something to do with this.  Being an accused rapist might be another reason).
-The Battle Flags in the Oval Office was Orange's idea
-we have confirmation that  Trump doesn't read and apparently did  buy text books or do homework in college.  Professor is a slur to Trump.
 - Another quote "Trump’s extemporaneous moments were always existential, but more so for his aides than for him. He spoke obliviously and happily, believing himself to be a perfect pitch raconteur and public performer, while everyone with him held their breath. If a wackadoo moment occurred on the occasions—the frequent occasions—when his remarks careened in no clear direction, his staff had to go into intense method-acting response. It took absolute discipline not to acknowledge what everyone could see."
- a description of Orange man - "An overweight seventy-year-old man with various physical phobias (for instance, he lied about his height to keep from having a body mass index that would label him as obese), he personally found health care and medical treatments of all kinds a distasteful subject"
- There's this gem "Women, according to Trump, were simply more loyal and trustworthy than men. Men might be more forceful and competent, but they were also more likely to have their own agendas. Women, by their nature, or Trump’s version of their nature, were more likely to focus their purpose on a man. A man like Trump."
-How Trump remembers the guy from China - "(This required some tutoring for Trump, who referred to the Chinese leader as “Mr. X-i”; the president was told to think of him as a woman and call him “she.”)"
-Kebbler the elf (Sessions" description: "A small man with a Mr. Magoo stature and an old-fashioned Southern accent, Sessions was bitterly mocked by the president"




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review 2018-01-06 10:24
Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff
Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House - Michael Wolff

The revelations in this book aren't exactly earthshaking bombshells. They're not really bombshells either. Anyone with living brain cells, observation skills (and you're observing from the "outside"), a smidgen of logic, and no Republican political ambitions already knew of or speculated about most of it...The supposed leader of the supposed free world, who didn't even want to win the election, but thought the campaign would be great for his brand, is a crazy old sod with image issues, low self-esteem, common old-guy health problems and authoritarian ambitions, because then everybody would suck up to him. Nobody has probably told him that to be a dictator is rather hard work and you need to be quite smart to pull it off for long.

Anyway, the big problem with this book is its "inreadability". The going is slow and boring, and the "bombshell" revelations fail to outweigh the effort it takes to plod through this book. It's supposed to be a non-fiction book, but unfortunately it reads like fiction. And badly written at that. There is no anticipation of what would happen next, instead it's a chore just to get through a single chapter.
The way it's written makes it impossible to distinguish between possible fact, fiction, gossip or speculation, although most of it does ring true (if you have living brain cells, observation skills etc.).

Did he really attend all those meetings, observe all that he wrote about? If he did, kudos to Mr. Wolff and for the rest of them: "What were you thinking inviting a journalist to witness it all?!"

I'll go for middle ground in "starring" this one, since I liked the revelations (even though they weren't anything new), but I hated the way they were packaged.

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