THE SUNDAY TIMES NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER
THE OBSERVER BOOK OF THE YEAR
THE INSIDE STORY ON PRESIDENT TRUMP, AS ONLY BOB WOODWARD CAN TELL IT.
‘Fear is a meticulously researched account of a White House and a president in financial, legal and personal disorder…essential reading…’ Daily Mail
'I think you’ve always been fair.' — President Donald J. Trump, in a call to Bob Woodward, August 14, 2018
'The sheer weight of anecdotes depicts a man with no empathy and a pathological capacity for lying.' - The Financial Times
'Fuelling his narrative is an astonishing cast of rogues, ideologues, self-made millionaires and men in uniform who have spent the past two years in and out of Trump's administration.' - The Sunday Times
'Woodward’s meticulous account of office intrigues, the president’s men don’t seem to be trembling with fright. What they mostly feel is contempt for Trump or pity for his ignorance and the “teenage logic” of his obsessively vented grievances.' - The Observer
'Horribly fascinating. Strongly recommended. If you can bear it.' Richard Dawkins
'To me the standout message from the book...is that the president is a bit clueless, a bit vain, a bit dangerous even; but his people are utterly at sea…’ - Justin Webb, The Times
'He is the master and I'd trust him over politicians of either party any day of the week.' —Peter Baker, New York Times
'His work has been factually unassailable . . . In an age of ‘alternative facts’ and corrosive tweets about ‘fake news,’ Woodward is truth’s gold standard.' - Jill Abramson, The Washington Post
'Fear depicts a White House awash in dysfunction, where the Lord of the Flies is the closest thing to an owner's manual.' The Guardian
'I wonder how many journalists have arrived in Washington over the years dreaming of becoming the next Bob Woodward . . . Though his books are often sensational, he is the opposite of sensationalist. He’s diligent, rigorous, fastidious about the facts, and studiously ethical. There’s something almost monastic about his method . . . He’s Washington's chronicler in chief.' — Nick Bryant, BBC
'I’ve been on the receiving end of a Bob Woodward book. There were quotes in it I didn’t like. But never once—never—did I think Woodward made it up. Anonymous sources have looser lips and may take liberties. But Woodward always plays is straight. Someone told it to him.' — Ari Fleisher, White House Press Secretary for George W. Bush
With authoritative reporting honed through eight presidencies from Nixon to Obama, author Bob Woodward reveals in unprecedented detail the harrowing life inside President Donald Trump’s White House and precisely how he makes decisions on major foreign and domestic policies. Woodward draws from hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand sources, meeting notes, personal diaries, files and documents. The focus is on the explosive debates and the decision-making in the Oval Office, the Situation Room, Air Force One and the White House residence.
Fear is the most intimate portrait of a sitting president ever published during the president’s first years in office.
In a compulsively readable narrative "drawn from hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand participants and witnesses," Washington Post associate editor Woodward contends that members of the Trump administration took steps to "intentionally block some of what they believed were the president's most dangerous impulses." Woodward deems those actions "no less than an administrative coup d'etat." In the most dramatic example, Gary Cohn, Trump's top economic advisor, removed a draft letter from the Oval Office that terminated a free trade agreement with South Korea, which constituted, in Cohn's view, "a potential trigger to a national security catastrophe." As Cohn had hoped, Trump "never noticed the missing letter." Woodward also offers other sensational anecdotes unrelated to his administrative coup theme such as an argument between chief of staff John Kelly and the head of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement union that was so heated that Trump later said he thought the two were going to get into a fistfight as well as the occasional positive comment, such as those about the First Couple's affection for each other, and Trump's newspaper-reading habits. He ends with another sensational claim: that John Dowd, Trump's lawyer for the special counsel Russia investigation, told Trump that he would end up behind bars if he agreed to be interviewed by the special counsel, and considered Trump "a fucking liar." Woodward's reporting, with its heavy reliance on "multiple deep background interviews with firsthand sources" who remain anonymous, will be problematic for some, especially those not already inclined to believe the worst about the president. But readers who trust the reporting will find this to be both entertaining and disturbing reading.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Although an avid news reader, this is my first political book
So why haven’t I read other high-profile books, by people “on the inside”? Precisely for that reason: they’re too close to the action; too likely to have biases, either for or against the subject.
Bob Woodward is different. He’s not on the inside - but has so many inside contacts that you know he knows who to talk to. And he has decades of integrity, so you know that he won’t write something unless he firmly believes it is true - and verified.
And this book proves it. It presents the facts, from all sides, without making judgements. Through a series of vignettes, covering at least ten years of history in various significant people’s lives, he provides minute details that must have come from those same people. Their conversations, their thoughts, their beliefs: it is a fascinating look behind the usually superficial stories that hit the headlines and our screens with little background.
As well as the events, Woodward also reveals the personalities of many of the key players. Most are driven, with definite unswayable beliefs and huge energy to influence others to their views - counterpointed by Trump, who seems to have only one belief: money. Where money isn’t involved, he seems to have no resolute motivations, and can easily be convinced to a point of view - and then vacillate when the next advisor offers a different one.
Yet Woodward portrays Trump to be a more complex personality than I suspected. More human: “That’s pretty cold,” he said, referring to a horrific proposal made by Senator Lindsay Graham. More open to discussion: as long as it isn’t one of his “third rails” (immigration or the press). And much more conniving...
But the main thesis of this book, already made clear before its release, is that we as outsiders need to be worried about what is happening inside the White House. Whether you believe the problem is Trump’s volatility, or that his “support” staff are undemocratic, the problem truly exists. Bob Woodward has brought it out into the open. Now: what are we going to do about it?
Spoiler: Turns out, Trump is innocent. It’s the staff who are all crooks.
Fear by Bob Woodward
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