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Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency Hardcover – July 13, 2021
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An instant New York Times bestseller.
Critics agree: Michael Wolff’s Landslide is THE book on Trump.
“Landslide . . . is the one to leap upon. Smart, vivid and intrepid . . .” ―The New York Times
“I inhaled Landslide, gobbled it up.” ―Slate
“Wow. Just wow . . .” ―Evening Standard
“Cruel, unforgiving, muckraking, scandalous. I couldn’t stop reading it.”―The Telegraph
We all witnessed some of the most shocking and confounding political events of our lifetime: the careening last stage of Donald J. Trump’s reelection campaign, the president’s audacious election challenge, the harrowing mayhem of January 6, the buffoonery of the second impeachment trial. But what was really going on in the inner sanctum of the White House during these calamitous events? What did the president and his dwindling cadre of loyalists actually believe? And what were they planning?
Michael Wolff pulled back the curtain on the Trump presidency with his #1 bestselling blockbuster Fire and Fury. Now, in Landslide, he closes the door on the presidency with a final, astonishingly candid account.
Wolff embedded himself in the White House in 2017 and gave us a vivid picture of the chaos that had descended on Washington. Almost four years later, Wolff finds the Oval Office even more chaotic and bizarre, a kind of Star Wars bar scene. At all times of the day, Trump, behind the Resolute desk, is surrounded by schemers and unqualified sycophants who spoon-feed him the “alternative facts” he hungers to hear―about COVID-19, Black Lives Matter protests, and, most of all, his chance of winning reelection. Once again, Wolff has gotten top-level access and takes us front row as Trump’s circle of plotters whittles down to the most enabling and the president reaches beyond the bounds of democracy as he entertains the idea of martial law and balks at calling off the insurrectionist mob that threatens the institution of democracy itself.
As the Trump presidency’s hold over the country spiraled out of control, an untold and human account of desperation, duplicity, and delusion was unfolding within the West Wing. Landslide is that story as only Michael Wolff can tell it.
NPR's Books We Love 2021
“Two new books about the final year of Donald J. Trump’s presidency are entering the cultural bloodstream. The first, Landslide, by the gadfly journalist Michael Wolff, is the one to leap upon. . . . Landslide is a smart, vivid and intrepid book. He has great instincts. I read it in two or three sittings. It’s the book that this era and this subject probably deserve.”
―Dwight Garner, The New York Times
“The strength of Landslide comes less from these stories and more from a coherent argument that Wolff, in partnership with his sources, makes about how we should understand the period between Nov. 3 and Jan. 20. Most quickly produced books about political events don’t do that.”
―Nicholas Lemann, The New York Times
“First there was Fire and Fury, then there was Siege, now there is Landslide. The third is the best of the three, and that is saying plenty.”
“[Wolff's] narrative tends to be more entertaining, sailing swiftly ahead where others tend to grind. . . . All good stories are rich in colorful characters, whether seen as good guys or bad, and Wolff gives us a gallery that does not disappoint.”
―Ron Elving, NPR
“I inhaled Landslide, gobbled it up.”
“The world was waiting for a new Hunter Thompson. And in Michael Wolff it has found him. . . . He provides a seamless, cinematic narrative of unfolding events in the White House, as if he was quietly sitting in the corner, unnoticed, taking notes, with some preternatural insight into the innermost thoughts of all the protagonists. Cruel, unforgiving, muckraking, scandalous. I couldn’t stop reading it.”
“Wolff’s previous books on this president ― Fire and Fury and Siege ― titillated us with inside tales from a dysfunctional White House; terrified us a bit with gut-wrenching episodes of Diet Pepsi-fuelled craziness. They were warm-up acts. Low energy in comparison. Now we get the real deal. Landslide cuts deeper than any previous book about this president, indeed about any president.”
―The Times of London
“Wow. Just wow. . . . If Donald Trump seems like a distant, bad dream, Michael Wolff’s pacily readable account of his last months as president warns that we shouldn’t write him off yet. It’s a vivid portrait of a regime governed by chaos and venal favouritism, where trusted staffers could become bitter enemies in a moment, and you could gain the President’s ear if he saw and liked you on TV.”
About the Author
- Publisher : Henry Holt and Co. (July 13, 2021)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 336 pages
- ISBN-10 : 125083001X
- ISBN-13 : 978-1250830012
- Item Weight : 1.1 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.33 x 1.15 x 9.57 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #82,239 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United States on August 4, 2021
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Top reviews from the United States
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o “How can you be so stupid? Answer me!”… Everyone in the room had seen this story before. In a way, it was a Trump set piece, a venting that seemed not to exhaust him but to create more fuel as it went on. Everyone endured… appreciating the lesson… that the president always needed someone else to blame; that nothing bad happened to him that was not directly caused by the failure or active malice of someone else. (page 14)
o An impatient Fabrizio [Trump’s pollster] was trying to talk him through it. But Trump was resisting, a combination of his not wanting to hear what he was being told, not being able to understand what he was being told, and not being interested enough to want to understand it. (22)
o Trump had a problem with numbers, or perhaps an alternative view of them. Where numbers were, for most people, the thing most fixed, for him they were surprisingly, even magically elastic… Numbers were what you needed them to add up to. (68)
o Again, here was the information loop—if its intention was not to mislead, it was certainly determined to put off bad news as long as possible and, indeed, to find every possible avenue to good news. And it was a closed loop. Trump, incapable of, or uninterested in, looking at the data himself, relied on what people told him; and to the extent possible, they told him what he wanted to hear. And often, the people he was speaking to, which was why he spoke to them…gave him ecstatic news. (69)
o Trump had two conversations going: what people were saying to him, which he may or may not have been listening to, and what he wanted to hear, which he sought out if it was not forthcoming on its own… one participant offered the view that Trump was like flowing water: he would go where he wanted to go, around whatever obstacle was in his way. (80)
o …it became logically necessary to accord him a kind of Martian status. He was simply not like anyone else… he was compared to billionaires, men who… absolutely and capriciously controlled their own environment and how the world was allowed to interact with them. There was a running commentary about who might be more difficult, Trump or Sheldon Adelson, the casino billionaire and leading Trump contributor who, even in Republican circles, had achieved a fabled monster status. (146)
o There is no brain trust around him, if there ever was one. There are no real advisors, if there ever were any—not, anyway, in the sense of people he might turn to who might know better than he. There are no white papers being prepared. There are no studies in progress. [He is a team of one.] (297)
Here are three quick final points from Wolff:
o Trump’s entire world was construed from what he saw on television. Accordingly, most of his perceptions about Joe Biden were based on Biden’s inability to dominate the screen… (29)
o But his postmodern orientation went further still: he saw television as the real battleground and an end in itself. So, not policy debate or legislative maneuvering, but television performance and the impression it left were what mattered. (110)
o It is not just a sense of grievance, or arguing a political flip side, but of stepping into a fully built alternate world. This is perhaps its appeal. He isn’t really arguing issues; you don’t have to parse the facts. You can walk through the door of an entirely realized albeit parallel universe. (301)
If you’re short on time, just read the epilogue of LANDSLIDE. It’s scary…
Don't get me wrong - this is not a trashy or poorly written book. Wolff is a very good writer and he fashioned his narrative into a can't put it down page-turner. It is said that real life is stranger than fiction and Wolffs book bears this out. You literally cannot make this stuff up. Wolff makes good his unusually open access to administration officials, close Trump insiders and family, and Trump himself (who, serially unable to turn down publicity of any sort, agreed to be interviewed) to produce a true to life tale of dysfunction and deceit that would put the Borgias to shame. Trumps habit of pitting members of his administration and inner circle against each other, mainly for sport, created tension and resentments that resulted in the leaks and loose lips that Wolff exploits expertly.
And despite the variety of interesting characters and situations this book focuses squarely on two people whose odd personalities and life stories drive events: Donald J Trump and Rudy Giuliani. These two men, although from differing backgrounds, have certain similarities which explain the bizarre goings on around them: Both are loud New Yorkers with outsized personalities prone to attention seeking, personal grievances, grandiosity, casual cruelty, loose with facts, and creating fantasy worlds with themselves at the center of events. When Rudy was down, Trump found a way to bring him back into the spotlight. Rudy in turn would buck up Trump with the kind of wacky ideas and missions that suited Trumps view of the world. In fact it was Rudy, with his endless retinue of conspiracy theories, that got a faltering Trump to buy into and amplify the "stolen election" narrative, according to Wolff. In fact Wolffs description of this Trump-Giuliani dynamic is a main strength of the book.
So if you seek a detailed and complete reporting on Trump s final year in office, this is not the book for you. The other two books do that well. But if you want to jump right into the weeds of that crazy time with a quick but telling read then "Landslide" is perfect for you. It being fairly short compared to the other books is its strength but also as o it's weakness - it was a quick read but it's habit of quickly glossing over some areas caused me to drop it from five stars to four.
Top reviews from other countries
Try this p167 (just to prove I have read that far.) 'But curiously,the very fact that the Trump gambit was not going to succeed, that the election challenge had failed to advance and that all the checks against it had become only more formidable - and now, with the second-most-important person in the Republican partry and the most powerful Republican on the Hill standing against it - only made it easier to support.'
Woolff's style is so in need of a good editor. The above sentence is typical of the book, and grates. There are insights but it could have been so much more readable. Reads as though when a sentence wasn't coming together he stuck in some punctuation, rather than revise. This book was about making money for author and publisher - not about enlightenment. Rushed to get in the market early, and it shows.
...that exemplifies the sort of style this book is written in....irritating.