cover image What Were We Thinking: A Brief Intellectual History of the Trump Era

What Were We Thinking: A Brief Intellectual History of the Trump Era

Carlos Lozada. Simon & Schuster, $28 (272p) ISBN 978-1-9821-4562-0

Washington Post book critic Lozada debuts with an incisive survey of the 150 nonfiction books he’s read “on the Trump era.” Noting the irony “that a man who rarely reads... has propelled an onslaught of book-length writing about his presidency,” Lozada breaks down the “Trump canon” into insightful categories and concludes each chapter with a list of works discussed. “Chaos chronicles” such as Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury compete for the most “explosive, chyron-ready anecdotes,” Lozada writes, yet often confirm what readers already know. Titles in the “heartlandia” genre (The Forgotten; Hillbilly Elegy) typically reveal more about the authors’ own “prisms and biases” than they do about the struggles of the white working class. And while “Never Trump” conservatives (Jeff Flake, Rick Wilson) push for a rethink of the Republican Party’s methods and priorities, they “fail to reckon with their own complicity in Trump’s rise.” Lozada concludes with a list of 12 books he’s found most helpful in “mak[ing] sense of this time,” including We’re Still Here by Jennifer Silva, America for Americans by Erika Lee, and The End of the Myth by Greg Grandin. Readers will appreciate this useful guide to a bookshelf that grows more crowded by the minute. (Oct.)