24 October 2023

The Divider:
Trump in the White House, 2017–2021

The Divider

The Divider: Trump in the White House, 2017–2021, published last year, is the only book to cover the entirety of Donald Trump’s presidency in a single volume. Every day of his four-year term brought another I-can’t-believe-he-did-that moment, so it’s not surprising that The Divider is over 700 pages long.

The Divider—written by Peter Baker, chief White House correspondent for The New York Times; and Susan Glasser of The New Yorker—argues that Trump succeeded by stoking the embers of preexisting social polarisation: “He exploited the fissures in American society to gain, wield, and hold on to power.” This divide-and-conquer strategy, which gives the book its title, culminated in the insurrection at the Capitol in 2021.

Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker began their book on Trump’s final year in office by listing a dozen of his personal failings. The Divider, on the other hand, opens by identifying arguably the most pernicious aspect of his presidency—not included in Leonnig and Rucker’s litany—namely his “sustained four-year war on the institutions and traditions of American democracy.”

Most of the major Trump books—by Leonnig, Rucker, Maggie Haberman, Bob Woodward, and Robert Costa—are structured scene-by-scene, with atmospheric accounts of selected meetings recounted by the participants. The Divider is just as well-sourced—Baker and Glasser interviewed more than 300 people, including Trump—but it focuses instead on the bigger picture, giving a uniquely comprehensive overview of Trump’s presidency.

This is the twentieth, and surely the last, Trump book reviewed on Dateline Bangkok (at least until his inevitable ghostwritten memoir is published). The others are: Betrayal, Confidence Man, Fire and Fury, Too Much and Never Enough, Fear, Rage, Peril, I Alone Can Fix It, A Very Stable Genius, Inside Trump’s White House, The United States of Trump, Trump’s Enemies, The Trump White House, The Room Where It Happened, Team of Five, American Carnage, TrumpNation, The Cost, and the audiobook The Trump Tapes.

1 comment(s):

Matthew Hunt said...

Penguin Random House: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/646871/the-divider-by-peter-baker-and-susan-glasser/

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