Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency

Joshua Green. Penguin Press, $27 (288p) ISBN 978-07352-2502-2
Veteran journalist Green offers persuasive answers to questions about how Donald Trump won the presidency in this timely book that builds on the serendipitous relationship Green had developed with Trump advisor Steve Bannon since 2011. That access paid off in spades when Bannon was brought aboard a floundering Trump presidential campaign in 2016. It enabled Green to provide dramatic “you are there” scenes, as in the opening section, when, on election eve, an anonymous campaign advisor (whom Bannon guesses is Kellyanne Conway) told CNN that it would take a miracle to win. Beyond those Woodwardesque fly-on-the-wall moments, Green provides insights into Bannon, “a brilliant ideologue from the outer fringe of American politics—and an opportunistic businessman—whose unlikely path happened to intersect with Trump’s at precisely the right moment in history.” His analysis shows how the election’s outcome was shaped both by chance developments, such as Hillary Clinton’s email issue resurfacing in connection with Anthony Weiner, and strategic decisions, such as where the Trump and Clinton campaigns focused their efforts. There will be revelations even for readers who follow the news avidly, such as Trump’s onetime popularity with African-Americans and Latinos during his stint hosting Celebrity Apprentice, but the book’s primary value lies in making Trump’s surprise victory seem unsurprising, and in showing Bannon as more than a one-dimensional caricature. (July)
Reviewed on: 08/07/2017
Release date: 07/01/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-7352-2504-6
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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