Review of Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff

It’s worse than you can imagine. An idiot surrounded by clowns. Trump won’t read anything—not one-page memos, not the brief policy papers; nothing. He gets up halfway through meetings with world leaders because he is bored. And his staff is no better. Kushner is an entitled baby who knows nothing. Bannon is an arrogant prick who thinks he’s smarter than he is. Trump is less a person than a collection of terrible traits.

What is the book about?

Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House is written by Michael Wolff – long time journalist and biographer.

Michael Wolff covers the first 6 months of the Trump Administration in Fire and Fury. There are interviews ranging up to 18 months prior to the formation of the administration to give us the background and context needed to understand events that take place during this time period. All the major controversies that started during this time like the immigration ban, the firing of various key people like James Comey and Steve Bannon and the Russia investigation, are covered.

Michael Wolff has claimed to have had almost unlimited access to all the key principals including Trump and this seems to be justified based on corroboration by witnesses and details. Trump’s semi-literate state, his imbecile-like inability to learn, his megalomania and insecurities, the infighting in the White House and outside have all been detailed and at times, seem incredible. Like Sean Spicer said –

You can’t make this shit up.
As you read the book, you will realize how true this sentiment is.

This review will not get into the salacious details except where needed to make a point. There are enough sites that have already listed them down in case you want the juicy stuff alone.

What does this book cover?

Fire and Fury is a relatively voluminous book weighing at more than 300 pages and 22 chapters with an epilogue.

Michael Wolff covers events in details, gives the needed context as well as quotes where needed. He details the personalities and motivations of all the key players including Trump, Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump and Steve Bannon. He also brings into the light shadow players like the Mercers, Murdoch and Roger Ailes.

As mentioned before, this book covers the first 200 days of the Trump administration. Wolff’s original intent was to cover the first 100 days but the chaos in this administration made him expand the scope to Bannon’s firing. Some of the key highlights of the book are

  • The election day reactions
  • The inaugural address
  • The start of the Russia investigation
  • The wiretap tweet by Trump
  • Obamacare
  • Comey’s firing
  • The Middle East angle
  • Scaramucchi
  • Charlottesville
  • Bannon’s firing

What did I like?

Fire and Fury is what we get if we were to mix Ludlum, Forsyth, Black Adder & House of Cards together. But, it is all too true and it is happening now.

Michael Wolff has an excellent fast paced writing style that draws one in. Even though I knew most of the events that have happened, I still found their retelling fascinating and compelling enough to finish the book in one sitting. Beyond the writing, I am sure there will be questions on the veracity of what has been described. While I cannot answer it factually, my gut says that most of what is there is true since a lot of observers have commented the same on these happenings.

I loved the blow by blow recounting of these 200 days. The details plus the back office wheeler dealing adds a context that was missing earlier. Also, knowing the personalities involved makes it understandable how this train wreck came to be.

What did I not like?

This book tries to cover a lot of ground but some things are missing. I would have liked to hear more about Melania Trump and the rest of Trump’s family. Another big miss is the absence of details around Trump’s interactions with foreign leaders like Merkel, Makron, etc. I feel that these could have given us a lot more insight that just being internally focused.

My Recommendation

I strongly recommend this book.  It shows us what happens when democracy fails and a rank imbecile gets into a position of power which neither he nor his hangers on wanted. This should be taken as a warning for the rest of the world.


Also published on Medium.

%d bloggers like this: