The Big Cheat: How Donald Trump Fleeced America and Enriched Himself and His Family

David Cay Johnston. Simon & Schuster, $28 (288p) ISBN 978-1-9821-7803-1

Pulitzer winner Johnston (It’s Even Worse Than You Think) delivers a damning portrait of how “Donald Trump, his extended family, and his cronies... used his presidency to get richer, to set up lucrative future opportunities, and to escape their own financial quagmires.” Alleging that Trump’s modus operandi is to “promise the moon, the sky, and the stars, and then deliver rocks and sand, if that,” Johnston documents the stiffing of contractors and business partners; the suspicious awarding of tax breaks, building permits, and other “goodies” to Trump Organization development projects in the Dominican Republic and India; and the surreptitious overcharging of supporters who thought they were making one-time contributions to Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Most of the details are well-known to followers of the news, but Johnston weaves them into a cogent account of endemic corruption within the Trump Organization and the Trump administration, and he unearths a handful of new and telling episodes, including the story of how Trump got thrown out of New York City mayor Abe Beame’s office in 1977 for physically threatening Beame over the Commodore Hotel project. The result is a devastating roundup of malfeasance. Agent: Alice Martell, the Martell Agency. (Oct.)