Review: Trumpocracy, The Corruption of the American Republic, by David Frum

In my own words

When it comes to the public in general, there are four types of voters in my opinion (book reviews are exempt from my Lenten abstention of giving opinions and pardon the cliches): firstly, the educated who are fed by the silver spoon, secondly, the educated who are raised by their own bootstraps, thirdly, the ‘uneducated’ informed, and lastly, the ignorant who believe whatever their ‘daddy’ believed. Just to be clear, I am not disparaging daddy. However, most ignorant people do not bother to become educated nor informed but tend to believe whatever is told to them. I am also not suggesting that all Trump voters are ignorant because there are ignorant voters in each political party. But I think it is safe to say that whoever does not cast a vote in any election is ignorant (but that’s another story or should I say, opinion).

Trump

Now on to my review of the book, Trumpocracy, The Corruption of the American Republic, by author and senior editor at the Atlantic, David Frum, published by Harper Collins, New York, NY, Copyright 2018.

Trumpocracy

From the book jacket in part: “David Frum has been collecting the lies, obfuscations, and flagrant disregard for the traditional limits placed on the office of the presidency. During his own tenure in the White House as speechwriter for George W. Bush, from witnessing the ways the presidency was limited not by law, but by tradition, propriety, and public outcry, all now weakened.”

There were two reasons why I purchased this book. One, because it is written by someone who has intimate knowledge and experience in a Republican White House and two, the book is heavily notated with the author’s sources.

Revealing

For people who continually ask, “how did this happen” to “I don’t understand how anyone could vote for this orange bullying dolt,” I recommend you read David Frum’s book, Trumpocracy, The Corruption of the American Republic. The book reveals who the Trump voter is and why they would forsake tradition and propriety to vote for someone so unlike them from a socioeconomic standpoint, but who they believe seems to “talk like them” and personality-wise is probably one of them.

The Trump voter’s rally cry of draining the swamp namely of all Liberals, non-evangelical types and anyone who doesn’t stand for the United States national anthem would best remember that this deer in the headlights point in history culminated not solely because of the Democrat’s agenda but both political party agendas.

After reading this book, I did not come away agreeing with the Trump voter but I did come away with a better understanding of who they are and why they voted for Donald Trump as president. Unfortunately, as much as CNN bends left and Fox News bends right, we see the volleying of ‘fake news’ that feeds the ignorant voters on both sides of the aisle. (For the love of scotch! STOP watching cable news!)

Scary

Donald Trump may be a teetotaler. Yet, he sadly reminds me of my now deceased alcoholic father. (Who if he were alive today would no doubt have voted for Donald Trump.) Trumpocracy makes a convincing argument that Americans should be more afraid of Trump not only while he is president, but even more so when he leaves office. The American public need only to wake up each morning to what firestorm dear old daddy Donald has started this time. And though seemingly forgetting what he did the night before change course in the afternoon leaving all Americans wondering what ‘art of the deal’ he strikes by evening.

Hopeful

David Frum’s book, Trumpocracy doesn’t leave the reader feeling totally doomed. (Thank God!) Chapter 12 gives each American reason to remain hopeful beginning on page 219.

“These are dark days in the United States, yet they are pierced with shafts of light. A new spirit of citizen responsibility is working in the land.”

Although the Valentine 2018 massacre occurred after this book is flying off bookseller’s shelves, that sad event and its aftermath have America’s youth taking their cause to the doorsteps of politicians giving America hope that indeed a new spirit of concerned citizens, young and old not only are registering to vote but calling congressional offices.

David Frum gives the reader the best call to action in his book, Trumpocracy, The Corruption of the American Republic and I don’t want to ruin it by quoting it in this review. Instead, I urge you to read and understand the crossroads at which the United States stands at this very moment.

My only desire for this book is that I had hoped it would have taken us further in history in it’s ‘Pre-Existing Conditions’ as titled in Chapter 1, otherwise, this book would have received the maximum hoot rating.

Hoot Rating

Genre: Political & Social Sciences, Politics & Government

On a scale of 1 to 5 Hoots, Trumpocracy, The Corruption of the American Republic, written by David Frum earns a 4 and ½ Hoot Rating.

1 to 5 Hoot Scale 4 and half star

Happy Reading!

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Any Book Recommendations?

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(c) 2017-2018 All Rights Reserved

Review: Forged in Crisis, The Power of Courageous Leadership in Turbulent Times, written by Nancy Koehn

Each of us will be faced with a crisis at some point in our lives. We will either lead or be led through it. Either way, author Nancy Koehn in her first book for popular audience identifies five ordinary individuals in history who persevere through their own crisis to become the leaders we are to emulate or who we would be wise look for to lead us.

Forged in Crisis, The Power of Courageous Leadership in Turbulent Times, written by Nancy Koehn and published by Scribner, An Imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc. is a must read.

Forged in CrisisThe author, Nancy Koehn

On CBS’ Face the Nation television program on November 26, 2017, the program gathered a leadership panel of four authors, Ron Chernow, Mark Updegrove, Robert Dallek and Nancy Koehn to discuss their new books on leadership. As my husband and I sat there sipping our morning coffee, I marveled at the contrast between the Nancy Koehn and the other authors. Ms. Koehn spoke with such passion and enthusiasm (when given the chance) about not only the topic of leadership, but the historical leaders upon which her book is based.

“I must read her book!” I commented to my husband to which I thought I had given a strong enough indicator for a great Christmas gift… obviously, I was wrong. I purchased the gift myself shortly after the Christmas holiday.

As written on the back flap of the book cover, Nancy Koehn is a historian at the Harvard Business School, where she holds the James E. Robison chair of Business Administration. She earned her MA and PhD degrees at Harvard and has coached leaders from many organizations.

Although Ms. Koehn is not a first-time author, Forged in Crisis is her first book as I mentioned previously for ordinary readers like myself. This is not the usual history book filled with dense detail proving the author knows their stuff and the reader is forced to slog their way through, but one cleverly written in rich reverence that swept me off my feet into the world in which her subjects lived.

“Are you ready to hear the call to action contained in each of these stories? Ernest Shackleton, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Rachel Carson have something important to offer each of us right now, as we try to craft lives of purpose, dignity, and impact. Read these stories and get to work. The world has never needed you and other real leaders more than it does now.” Page 9, Introduction

To say that I inhaled the words on the pages is an understatement.

From the first page of the Introduction to the last page of the Acknowledgements I was captivated by Ms. Koehn’s writing prowess, imagery and historical knowledge to show me how these five individuals who came from different circumstances were made to lead through the crisis at hand.

“For all the diversity among these five individuals, the threads that connect them are considerably more important. The most obvious is that these leaders were made, not born.” P437

As she shares each of their unique life stories, Ms. Koehn weaves together these threads into a remarkable tapestry the reader should view today. Throughout each chapter and particularly near the end of the chapter she coaches the reader on the relevancy of the information she presents.

The familiar and the unfamiliar

The book began with a written portrait of polar explorer, Ernest Shackleton and the book ends with ecologist, Rachel Carson. While I may not have remembered Ernest Shackleton from history class, I do remember the impact of Rachel Carlson even though I did not recognize her name. Raised on a farm in southeast Michigan, I am all too familiar with the use and the effects of the poison, DDT in the early 1970’s. The use of DDT in the military and in farming for weed control would be the reason my stepfather believed was the culprit of his multiple myeloma in which he ultimately succumbed to in 2007.

The stories of their bravery and leadership were just as intriguing as the familiar stories as the other three leaders she includes in her book. Yet even in the familiar stories of these other three individuals, Ms. Koehn breathes new insight and a fresh perspective to the historical figures of President Abraham Lincoln, Abolitionist Frederick Douglass and Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

What makes a leader? Read Forged in Crisis and then let us have our own discussion!

Conclusion: The Power of Courageous Leadership

I find it almost prophetic on Ms. Koehn’s part to have started her work on this book project over 10 years ago and have its’ debut at such a crucial time in our history today. While I encourage readers to begin reading Forged in Crisis from page one of the Introduction to the end of the Acknowledgements, let me just say the last chapter and especially the Acknowledgements chapter give the reader an impressive glimpse into this author’s amazing research to bring what she terms her “literary child” into this world for readers to not only learn about the qualities of leadership we must all pursue but to enjoy stepping back in time to read about these fascinating historical individuals.

Judging by her impressive Harvard credentials and career, the author is no doubt a leader as a historian and leadership coach, but in this reader’s humble opinion, Nancy Koehn became an even greater leader forged from her own crisis in this ten-year writing journey. I only wish I could have been one of her students at Harvard.

Forged in crisis page markersI have page markers throughout this reference treasure, Forged in Crisis, The Power of Leadership in Turbulent Times that my husband, Vinny Sal will just have to buy his own copy (or maybe a gift for Father’s Day.)

Hoot Rating

Genre: Historical Memoirs, Business & Economics, Politics & Government

On a scale of 1 to 5 Hoots, Forged in Crisis, The Power of Courageous Leadership in Turbulent Times, written by Nancy Koehn earns an enthusiastic 5-Hoot Rating.

1 to 5 Hoot Scale

Happy Reading!

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Any Book Recommendations?

Give me a hoot here at Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com. I would love it if you would follow this blog and at The Blogging Owl on Facebook, as well as, on Twitter @TheBloggingOwl.

(c) 2017-2018 All Rights Reserved

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

I wasn’t sure I wanted to write a review on the book, Fire and Fury, Inside the Trump White House written by Michael Wolff, published by Henry Holt and Company, New York. The United States is as divisive or more so than anytime in my lifetime and I didn’t want to add any fuel to the fire. Yet, I would like to give a little context about my political views as it may relate to my book review.

Fire and fury

I was 18 years old when I voted for the Republican nominee, Ronald Reagan in 1980. Up to the minute I was in the polling booth, my intentions were to vote for the Democratic nominee, Jimmy Carter. As I stood there I realized I was making my first important, decision as an adult. I stood there what seemed longer than just a few minutes wavering on my decision. I remember it like it was yesterday. The Cold War was at its’ iciest in my teenage opinion.

And I asked myself, “Which candidate would be more likely to get us into a war?

Could a Hollywood celebrity turn California governor handled the mounting foreign crisis’ better than a peanut farmer turned Georgia governor?

I wouldn’t view myself as a political junkie, but I do take each candidate and who I cast my vote very seriously.

I was a steadfastly opposed to both the Republican and Democrat nominees of the last presidential election. I did not vote for either of them. As a conservative independent, I instead voted for a third-party candidate. And I give you all this background on myself because as a reviewer I want you to know that my review is based upon the quality of writing and how the information is presented in Michael Wolff’s book, Fire and Fury.

The author, Michael Wolff

I did not know much about Michael Wolff prior to reading this book, however, I had heard whispers of his lacking journalistic credibility. How could I not? The book was on fire even before its debut and as it was being rushed to be published.

Mr. Wolff’s credentials from the book jacket reads in part: “Michael Wolff has received numerous awards for his work, including two National Magazine Awards. He has been a regular columnist for Vanity Fair, New York, The Hollywood Reporter, British GQ, USA Today, and The Guardian.” He has also written six prior books.

“Brilliantly reported and astoundingly fresh, Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury show us why Donald Trump has become the king of discord and disunion.”

These are NOT my words, but the words written on the front of the book jacket. The information presented is NOT brilliantly reported. Did Mr. Wolff think he was still writing for the Hollywood Reporter? Because this book belongs next to the entertainment gossip rags in the grocery line checkout lane.

OOPS! Did I let the opinionated owl out of the bag already?

There is nothing ‘astoundingly fresh’ here. In fact, it’s astoundingly stale. It is obvious that Mr. Trump aligned himself with the ineptest people, so he could easily use his puffery to keep everyone guessing until his next Twitter storm.

“If Trump cared about something, he usually already had a fixed view based on limited information. Hence, the Trump budget team was also largely forced to return to Trump’s speeches when searching for the general policy themes they could fasten into a budget program.” Page 116

Nothing new there.

The book in my opinion isn’t really about Trump, but his minions, Bannon, Priebus, and Kushner and the rest of Trump’s myriad of advisors. His advisors use the media in which to effectively move President Trump to fit whatever agenda would further remove Obama’s legacy, infuriate the Democrats, and send the media dogs sniffing down another fruitless trail (and yes, these ARE my words).

What I did find surprising

“Although many saw him (Mike Pence) as a vice president who might well assume the presidency someday, he was also perceived as the weakest vice president in decades and, in organizational terms, an empty suit who was useless in the daily effort to help restrain the president and stabilize the West Wing.” Page 124

Almost everyone I have spoken to that did not vote for Donald Trump seems to be utterly afraid should the president be impeached or resign. Could it be actually worse? If how the vice president is supposedly viewed is as an empty suit, I go back to my 18-year-old self and ask, “Which one is more likely to get us into a war?”  Unfortunately, we are already at war with each other here at home.

Where there’s smoke there is fire

If the reader was hoping to find a smoking gun, the only thing this book has is smoke… and a lot of it.

If you want to read this book to find out about Donald Trump, his administration and their Russian connections and fury with the intelligence departments at the White House, my recommendation is to support your local library and don’t make the author, Mr. Wolff any richer than he is right now. Whatever tidbits of information he collected from his access to the White House have merely been vomited onto the pages of his book. There isn’t any analysis of the information gathered to give any credibility to the author’s account of his reporting or legitimacy of his findings.

Hoot Rating

Genre: History, Biographies & Memoirs

On a scale of 1 to 5 Hoots, Fire and Fury, Inside the Trump White House, written by Michael Wolff has earned a 2-Hoot Rating!

1 to 5 Hoot Scale - 2 hoots

Happy Reading!

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Any Book Recommendations?

Give me a hoot here at Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com. I would love it if you would follow this blog and at The Blogging Owl on Facebook, as well as, on Twitter @TheBloggingOwl.

(c) 2017-2018 All Rights Reserved