Fire and Fury

Inside the Trump White House

by Michael Wolff

Number of pages: 336

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.

BBB Library: Politics and Public Affairs

ISBN: 978-1250158062

About the Author

Miachael Wolff (born August 27, 1953) is an American author, essayist, and journalist, and a regular columnist and contributor to USA Today, The Hollywood Reporter, and the UK edition of GQ. He has received two National Magazine Awards, a Mirror Award, and has authored seven books. He co-founded the news aggregation website Newser and is a former editor of Adweek.


Editorial Review

With extraordinary access to the Trump White House, Michael Wolff tells the inside story of the most controversial presidency of our time. The first nine months of Donald Trump’s term were stormy, outrageous—and absolutely mesmerizing. Now Wolff tells the riveting story of how Trump launched a tenure as volatile and fiery as the man himself.

Book Reviews

"The insatiable appetite for tales of President Trump’s outsize ignorance, crassness and braggadocio has found a generous and highly seasoned feast in Michael Wolff’s ‘Fire and Fury.’ The instant bestseller — the fastest-selling nonfiction book in Henry Holt’s 151-year history” - The Washington Post

"If someone is interested in American politics, or even just wants to try to make sense of the administration of President Donald J. Trump in office for nearly a year now, it is absolutely necessary to read “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” by Michael Wolff” - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"Wolff’s lasting achievement here is not his headline-grabbing revelations but the skillful, enthralling, and utterly terrifying way he depicts the unqualified, unprepared, and downright unusual characters to be found wandering the halls of the White House in the first half of 2017 as well as their near bloodsport-level conflicts.” - Entertainment Weekly

"The President and his allies perhaps would be right to express outrage over how Wolff and his sources -- Bannon chief among them -- treat his family. However, the impression conveyed by "Fire and Fury" is true to both the man and what we have experienced, together, since he campaigned and then took office. It sketches the outline that will no doubt be filled in by future events and accounts, and is thus essential reading.” - CNN

"Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House confirms the worst characterizations of the US president and reports of chaos, with gory details supporting one senator’s observation that the White House had transformed into an adult day care center.” Rappler

"This book helps you at last to understand what until now has seemed strictly incomprehensible: just how so inept, confused and hopeless a presidency could happen.” Evening Standard

"Fire and Fury is horrifying, hilarious and hugely readable – and yet, if you’ve followed the travails of the Trump administration at all closely, it is rarely surprising. It portrays a presidency that is both worst-case scenario and cosmic joke, and a President who is neither capable of, nor interested in, fulfilling the job description of the world’s most powerful office. If anyone finds its conclusions unexpected, they haven’t been paying enough attention.” - iNews

"Make no mistake, Wolff’s latest is a must-read. It pulls away whatever curtain still cloaks the Trump White House, leaving those who know Trump best to do the talking.” - The Guardian

"Despite Trump's claims that the book is not factually accurate, Wolff stands by his work. With extensive access to the White House and Trump himself during the last year, he has stated that he has audio recordings of interviews and defends the book's reporting.” - Forbes

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Wisdom to Share

In early August, less than a month after Ailes had been ousted from Fox News, Trump asked his old friend to take over the management of his calamitous campaign. Ailes, knowing Trump’s disinclination to take advice, or even listen to it, turned him down.

In politics somebody has to lose, but invariably everybody thinks they can win. And you probably can’t win unless you believe that you will win—except in the Trump campaign.

The leitmotif for Trump about his own campaign was how crappy it was and how everybody involved in it was a loser. He was equally convinced that the Clinton people were brilliant winners—“They’ve got the best and we’ve got the worst,” he frequently said.

Winning presidential candidates—driven by hubris or narcissism or a preternatural sense of destiny—have, more than likely, spent a substantial part of their careers, if not their lives from adolescence, preparing for the role. They rise up the ladder of elected offices. They perfect a public face. They manically network, since success in politics is largely about who your allies are. The Trump calculation, quite a conscious one, was different.

Shortly after eight o’clock on November 8, 2016, when the unexpected trend—Trump might actually win—seemed confirmed, Don Jr. told a friend that his father looked as if he had seen a ghost.

Unlike other president select—all of whom invariably suffered from their own management defects—Trump did not have a career’s worth of political and government contacts to call on. He hardly even had his own political organization.

Trump lived as a real-life fictional character. To the amusement of his friends, and unease of many of the people now preparing to work for him at the highest levels of the federal government, Trump often spoke of himself in the third person.

Trump did not enjoy his own inauguration. He had hoped for a big blowout. But despite his disappointment at Washington’s failure to properly greet and celebrate him, he was, like a good salesman, an optimist.

Salesmen, whose primary characteristic and main asset is their ability to keep selling, constantly recast the world in positive terms. Discouragement for everyone else is merely the need to improve reality for them.

Trump, in Bannon’s view, was a chapter, or even a detour, in the Trump revolution, which had always been about weaknesses in the two major parties. The Trump presidency—however long it lasted—had created the opening that would provide the true outsiders their opportunity. Trump was just the beginning.

Here was another peculiar Trump attribute: an inability to see his actions the way most others saw them, or to fully appreciate how people expected him to behave. The notion of the presidency as an institutional and political concept, with an emphasis on ritual and propriety and semiotic messaging—statesmanship—was quite beyond him.

Trump believed that firing Comey would make him a hero. Over the next forty-eight hours he spun his side to various friends. It was simple: he had stood up to the FBI. He proved that he was willing to take on the state power—the outsider against the insiders. After all, that’s why he was elected.

One reason presidents don’t fire the director of the FBI is that they fear the consequences. It’s the Hoover syndrome: any president can be hostage to what the FBI knows, and a president who treats the FBI with something less than deference does so at his own peril.

If the Trump White House was as unsettling as any in American history, the president’s views of foreign policy and the world at large were among its most random, uninformed, and seemingly capricious aspects. His advisers didn’t know whether he was an isolationist or a militarist, or whether he could distinguish between the two.

Good management reduces ego. But in the Trump White House, it could often seem that nothing happened, that reality simply did not exist, if it did not happen in Trump’s presence. This made an upside-down kind of sense: if something happened and he wasn’t present, he didn’t care about it and barely recognized it. His response then was often just a blank stare.