cover image Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man

Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man

Mary L. Trump. Simon & Schuster, $28 (228p) ISBN 978-1-982141-46-2

Trump, a trained clinical psychologist and the niece of President Donald Trump, delivers a concise and damning account of her family's dysfunctions and their role in shaping her uncle's toxic blend of cruelty, incompetence, and vainglory. The fault, according to Trump, lies mainly with her grandfather, Fred Trump, a "high-functioning sociopath" whose harsh treatment of his eldest son and namesake, Freddy Trump (the author's father, who died at age 42 after years of alcohol abuse), taught Donald to bury his insecurities behind "a perpetual sneer of self-conscious superiority" and to cheat and bully his way to success on wheels greased by his father's money and political connections. Though Trump begins and ends the book with scathing assessments of Donald's presidency and offers plenty of unflattering anecdotes, he remains a somewhat distant figure throughout. The most harrowing sections deal with Freddy Trump's yearslong decline after his attempt to leave his father's real estate business failed, and the family's callous treatment of his ex-wife, children, and grandchildren after his death. Writing with the sharp eye of a perpetual outsider in her own family, Trump presents a melancholic portrait of their complicity in her uncle's worst behaviors. Readers who despair for President Trump's ability to lead the country out of its current crises will have their worst suspicions confirmed. (July)