cover image Rage


Bob Woodward. Simon & Schuster, $30 (452p) ISBN 978-1-982131-73-9

Woodward follows Fear with another alarming and deeply reported account of turmoil, dysfunction, and recklessness within the Trump administration. This time, Woodward gets Trump on the record, and the 17 conversations they had between December 2019 and July 2020 offer the book's strongest evidence in support of the author's conclusion that Trump is the "wrong man for the job." In addition to admitting to downplaying the threat of the Covid-19 pandemic, Trump accuses Woodward of "[drinking] the Kool-Aid" for suggesting that white privilege might keep both of them from understanding the pain and anger of Black Americans, brags about how much money he made in 2018 ("Four hundred and eighty-eight million or something like that"), obsesses over photographs taken of him and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and lets slip that the U.S. military has built "a secret new weapons system." Woodward provides helpful fact-checks to Trump's distortions, big (that the Ukraine whistleblower's report "was a fraud") and small (that Kim Jong Un only smiles in pictures with him), and tries, in vain, to get Trump to articulate a coherent strategy of governing. Accounts of how Rex Tillerson, James Mattis, and Dan Coats joined and then resigned or were forced out of Trump's cabinet round out the portrait of the president and his acolytes as a danger to the country. This devastating report will leave a lasting mark. (Sept.)