cover image Hiding in Plain Sight: The Invention of Donald Trump and the Erosion of America

Hiding in Plain Sight: The Invention of Donald Trump and the Erosion of America

Sarah Kendzior. Flatiron, $27.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-250-21071-5

Journalist Kendzior (The View from Flyover Country) charts nearly five decades of impropriety, shady business practices, and alleged crimes perpetuated by Donald Trump in this impeccably researched chronicle. Arguing that Trump is a “media-savvy con man” bent on dictatorship, Kendzior explores his protégé relationship with disgraced attorney Roy Cohn and his early dealings with the Soviet Union. She tracks Trump’s friendship with convicted underage sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, noting that in 2016 one of Epstein’s victims accused Trump of rape (her lawsuit has since been dropped), and contends that Trump Tower has “effectively functioned as a dorm for the Russian mafia” since Soviet Army veteran and mob figure David Bogatin attempted to launder $6 million by buying five luxury condos in the building in 1984. Kendzior weaves autobiographical sketches and broad overviews of American culture and geopolitical events into her narrative; in many cases, these digressions create a more comprehensive picture, while others, including an extended thread on tabloid “voyeurism,” feel like tangents. Political junkies will be familiar with much of Kendzior’s claims, but she offers a few surprises and many valuable insights into the president’s psychological motivations and methods of manipulation. This comprehensive, page-turning account presents a stark and uncompromising indictment of the Trump presidency as the culmination of a “decades-long erosion of American stability, integrity, and democracy.” (Apr.)