Traitor: A History of American Betrayal from Benedict Arnold to Donald Trump

David Rothkopf. St. Martin’s/Dunne, $27.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-250-22883-3

In this scathing history, Deep State Radio host Rothkopf (The Great Questions of Tomorrow) contends that Donald Trump belongs “among the many Americans in our history who have, for money or ambition, misjudgment or spite, turned their backs on our flag and people.” Rothkopf’s history of American betrayal includes such well-known figures as Revolutionary War turncoat Benedict Arnold and Soviet spy Julius Rosenberg, as well as more obscure traitors such as James Wilkinson, a U.S. military officer and diplomat who sold secrets to Spain in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Rothkopf reveals that disputes over deep state cabals and “fake news” have been part of American politics since the country’s founding, and laments that this history has not motivated lawmakers and voters to be more vigilant against threats to democracy. His indictment of the Trump administration largely relies on information already in the public record, including the Mueller Report and congressional testimony on the withholding of military aid from Ukraine. Trump’s violations may not yield any immediate legal consequences, Rothkopf writes, but the verdict of history will deem him a traitor. Though unlikely to change minds, Rothkopf’s well-informed study draws interesting parallels between the past and the present. Liberals will have their worst suspicions about the Trump presidency confirmed. (Oct.)