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Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History Hardcover – September 12, 2017
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“A cross between The Boys on the Bus and Miss Lonelyhearts” (New York Review of Books)
“By the end of ‘Unbelievable’ it’s clear how wrong they all were in thinking they could run over “little Katy” (Trump’s snide name for Tur.) This book couldn’t be more timely, appearing as President Trump ratchets up his attacks on the news media….The more personal story Tur tells in “Unbelievable” is also compelling….One more subject that Tur richly examines is the outrageous sexism of Trump and many of his supporters.” (Jill Abramson, New York Times Book Review)
“A quick and enjoyable read. . . . The chapters switch between key points in the campaign and Election Day, enhancing the feel of chaos that must have been a big part of covering the Trump campaign.” (Associated Press)
“A must-ride roller coaster of a memoir. . . Unbelievable is best read as a reminder that it really did happen that way, we aren’t all crazy, it was that crazy.” (Hugh Hewitt, Washington Post)
“A real page-tuner” (Morning Joe)
“Tur’s brisk behind-the-scenes account humanizes the press corps, illuminates life on the campaign trail, and delivers on its promise: “I won’t pretend to explain it,” Tur writes, but “I will tell you what I saw.” (Publishers Weekly)
“A great behind-the-scenes look about what it takes to have been a campaign correspondent. All presidents, all presidential candidates have had hostile relationships with the press from time to time. This current president has a totally different reaction to the press and a totally different take on press freedom than any president that has ever gone before him. And the person who most personifies his hostility, condescension and aggression toward the press is NBC correspondent Katy Tur.” (Rachel Maddow, The Rachel Maddow Show)
“Outstanding” (Jon Favreau, Pod Save America )
“One of the most insightful books I’ve ever read.” (Trevor Noah, The Daily Show )
“A fascinating play-by-play of what it was like to cover a campaign that was far from ordinary.” (New York Post)
From the Back Cover
Called “Disgraceful,” “third-rate,” and “not nice” by Donald Trump, NBC News correspondent Katy Tur reported on—and took flak from—the most captivating and volatile presidential candidate in American history. Tur lived out of a suitcase for a year and a half, following Trump around the country, powered by packets of peanut butter and kept clean with dry shampoo. She visited forty states with the candidate, made more than 3,800 live television reports, and tried to endure a gazillion loops of Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer”—a Trump rally playlist staple.
From day 1 to day 500, Tur documented Trump’s inconsistencies, fact-checked his falsities, and called him out on his lies. In return, Trump repeatedly singled Tur out. He tried to charm her, intimidate her, and shame her. At one point, he got a crowd so riled up against Tur, Secret Service agents had to walk her to her car.
None of it worked. Facts are stubborn. So was Tur. She was part of the first women-led politics team in the history of network news. The Boys on the Bus became the Girls on the Plane. But the circus remained. Through all the long nights, wild scoops, naked chauvinism, dodgy staffers, and fevered debates, no one had a better view than Tur.
Unbelievable is her darkly comic, fascinatingly bizarre, and often scary story of how America sent a former reality show host to the White House. It’s also the story of what it was like for Tur to be there as it happened, inside a no-rules world where reporters were spat on, demeaned, and discredited. Tur was a foreign correspondent who came home to her most foreign story of all. Unbelievable is a must-read for anyone who still wakes up and wonders, Is this real life?
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Trump’s protestors are just as bad, calling her a c—t, and going after her family and threatening her. One man actually spits in her face. She finally gets private security for all the rallies as they get rowdier.
Mr. Tur, however, in her book UNBELIEVABLE gets the last word but certainly not the last laugh. She also says in her Prologue that she hired a fact-checker, went through volumes of documents, e-mails, and videos and checked her memory with other reporters to insure that her book is accurate. The result is a well-developed and unbiased-as-possible account of what she saw throughout the Trump candidacy and ultimate victory party on election night.
This writer, who by the way, has a great sense of humor, also includes information about her parents, a lost boyfriend, a potential new boyfriend and her own feelings and fears as she zig-zags across the U. S. following Trump.
I was not aware that Ms. Tur predicted that Trump would win the presidency a few days before the election. She arrived at this conclusion in part from seeing the people who attended the Trump rallies and how he inflamed them. (A day before the election at a rally a man yells out something that Ms. Tur will not forget: “’Assassinate the b-t-h.’”)
Finally here is her quotation about Trump’s winning: “To actually watch Trump’s miracle come in is a shock like missing the last stair or sugaring your coffee with what proves to be salt. It’s not just an intellectual experience. The whole body responds.”
For me and most of the people I hold dear, Trump's victory was a full-body slam.
But disappointingly, I found it so-so. It's 286 pages, and is a small book physically as hardbacks go, so it's a rather quick read. "Unbelievable" is a bit of a gloss-over collection of interesting moments, most of which were covered and covered and covered during the 2016 campaign - there is very little that was new to me, and at the moment I can't cite one example.
I expected excitement, and what I got was routine. Her profession comes across as a job, a well paying job but not one I felt Katy is terribly passionate about. She did an excellent job of covering Trump throughout the campaign and my sense, prior to reading "Unbelievable", was that she significantly enhanced her skills over that 1 1/i2 year period, becoming a valuable asset to her network (but then so did several other MSNBCers).
Her story is told somewhat chronologically, but the chapters are interspersed with brief cutaways to election night, hour by hour. A bit of a gimmick to be different, perhaps to create some tension, but it didn't work for me. I never felt the emotional peaks and valleys of that night. Incidents are highlighted, not much depth nor analysis. I wonder if this an unintended consequence for those forced to communicate 140 characters at a time, people who check their phone in the morning and find 180 new emails.
I did gain an appreciation for Tur's abilities to go on air with very little allotted prep time, and give a quickie analysis timed to seconds. She does that so well and without ahs and ems nor repetition. But what next? Though she very much fights for her share of air time, and values recognition, I didn't sense a great ambition to advance in her career. She closes with an expression of hope to marry by the spring of 2018....
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