Fear:  Trump in the White House ~ by Bob Woodward

Did you ever get the feeling that watching and reading the news in the media you only get the surface material?  This is the book which fills in the big blank spots,  especially when the events and issues change almost daily.  That’s what Woodward does best,  he is an investigative reporter with many years experience.  (I remember the Nixon era.)

First off,  Trump’s inexperience and ignorance coupled with his egoism certainly stand out from the way he organized and managed his campaign to selecting his Cabinet members,  and  all the way through to .   In some ways Trump is not always quite as bad as I thought,  in other ways he’s worse than I imagined.


Fear:  Trump in the White House
by Bob Woodward
2018 / 358 pages
read by Robert Petkoff – 12h 20m
(both read and listened)

I read some of the incidents Woodward reports on in Facts and Fears by James Clapper and in James Comey’s book,   A Higher Loyalty and both are quoted. (links to my reviews on this site)  But this book is different in that it follows  Trump since his campaign days though the early White House days with all its issues and staff problems.


This is from Vox but it certainly fits:

“It’s barely a stretch to say Fear reads as Rob Porter, Gary Cohn, Steve Bannon, Reince Priebus, Lindsey Graham, and John Dowd’s account of the Trump administration. Woodward doesn’t explicitly identify any of these six people as his sources, but he provides pages and pages of their thoughts and motivations.”

Mostly this is an overview of incidents I followed as the years have gone by so it’s a good reminder and an actual putting-together of so many incidents one on top of the other.

Most of the incidents I knew and remembered but I’d somehow missed some things like the relationship between Lindsay Graham and Trump as well as most of the information/ policy ideas  about Afghanistan.  This book does not follow the issues, it follows Trump and the White House as they make decisions on these issues. –  ha!

But it’s more than a simple rehash,  much more.  It’s the background and fleshing out of many of  the events we saw and read about only briefly in the media. Woodward goes behind the headlines in reviewing and detailing the incidents or the lead-ups,  in a wider context and with many more points of view.   There is a lot of dialogue.

The other thing the book does,  and it really does this well, is it gives a wider context to many of the incidents and  details about quite a number of the things I knew a bit about including  the tax bill.  But there were other things I completely missed. The book focuses on foreign policy and the Afghanistan mess is very well covered from the perspective of the White House involvement. Trade issues are also examined with more depth than one ever reads about in the news.  This book is not about the issues themselves but rather about the personalities who were trying to deal with Trump dealing with the issues.

So Woodward’s book has comes with a slightly different perspective and a different organization for the material,  It’s more comprehensive re Trump and his presidency and the people around him  than anything I’ve read to date.  There’s really quite  a lot of behind-the-headlines information.

Woodward goes through the people and the incidents pretty quickly so I had to Google a few players,  like Andrew McCabe,  Rob Porter (what he did in the White House – I’d heard of his personal troubles),  Gary Cohn,  John Dowd, Peter Navarro, Stephen Miller and others who are apparently close to Trump but not heard about as often as others.

There is criticism of Obama (as there is in the other books I’ve read).

At times the narrative seems to jump around a lot, for instance,  in Chapter 22 it goes from Korea’s military potential to John Kelly worried about immigration.  And Bannon has a little something to say on most of the issues.   Jared is often involved but Ivanka has her finger in there, too,  along with Lindsay Graham and some others.  All the players are vying for Trump’s attention.

It ends too soon because it probably got to press about five months ago,  when John Dowd stopped representing Trump.  Much has happened since and more than that and I’m sure Trump has continued his tizzies.  I really want to find out how this ends!  (LOL)  But it’s a good way to be reminded of what all has happened,  to really catch up and to get the flavor of the circus playing out and an understanding of how seriously dangerous it is.

I think I’m going to make a page devoted to the current affairs books I’ve read in the last year or two.  I’m thinking the focus will be on politics, politicians, voters and some current foreign affairs rather than domestic issues because I’m not sure books like “Evicted” by Matthew Desmond should be included.

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9 Responses to Fear:  Trump in the White House ~ by Bob Woodward

  1. Carmen says:

    That idea you floated in the last paragraph sounds great! Looking forward to reading your political spins/updates/reviews. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m reading “Fear” now, and although it’s really interesting to read about the scenes stuff, I”m not finding the writing as compelling as I thought I would. I had read Woodward and Bernstein’s books about Nixon back in the old days, and was completely caught up in them, but this is the first of Woodward’s books that I’ve read (he’s written 18!).. A friend told me that of the two, Bernstein was thought to be the better writer. But I’m enjoying “Fear,” and I think it’s an important book. Looking forward to your page on current affairs books!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I meant the “behind the scenes stuff”!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Aymee says:

    I have this on hold at the library. Can’t wait to get into it because Bob Woodward is a reliable source. It should be interesting, to say the least. Oh, and if things get any crazier, I wouldn’t doubt he’d write a follow-up, honestly.

    Liked by 1 person

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