Fear - Trump in the White House
Bob Woodward
Contributed by Larisa Brooke

Review by Lloyd Green, September 8, 2018 (The Guardian)

Lloyd Green believes that Woodward treats his audience to a portrait of an occupant of the Oval Office who sucks the life out of his subordinates (Green para. 3). He claims that the book depicts a White House awash in dysfunction (Green para. 5). To make his point, Green first takes his readers back to the presidential campaign period. Here, he reminds the audience about Paul Manafort who was Trump’s campaign manager. Manafort failed to inform his boss that he was under investigation for pocketing more than $12 million in foreign funds (Green para. 6). In fact, Manafort began taking the necessary steps only a few moments before The New York Times ran the story. Green also notes Trump’s ignorance regarding the pre-election transition efforts (Green para. 6).

Further, Green acknowledges that Woodward’s book is big on facts and short on hyperventilation (Green para. 7). The writer also proclaims that the characters in the narrative are blasphemous. For instance, the author mentions the case of staff members lifting papers from Trump’s desk and he affirms that the behavior is not a standard operating procedure (Green para. 8). Additionally, Green covers Trump’s finances as discussed in the book and from other sources such as public records. Moreover, he claims that Trump has made the White House a school of scandal, despite promising the public that his administration will have the “best people” and that he would “clear the swamp” (Green para. 17).

I agree with Green’s review for several reasons. He covers various areas as depicted in the book, therefore, presenting a vivid image to the readers. In addition, Green supports his work with examples, figures and names effectively sourced from Fear thus making his review relevant and reliable. In short, one can clearly see that Green read and understood Woodward’s book before submitting his opinion.

Review by Dwight Garner, September 5, 2018 (The New York Times)

Dwight Garner does not seem surprised by Woodward’s work. Instead, he asserts that the White House has leaked information from Day 1 (Garner para. 1). The author goes further and discusses Trump’s tweeting behavior. He wonders about the President’s reasons for having his most popular tweets printed (Garner para. 3). Clearly, Garner seems to think that Trump has a problem. He even says that Trump is a focus group of one, thriving on the smell of his own sulfur (Garner para. 3).

Apart from that, the writer uses several quotes from the book to increase the relevance of his review. In addition, he thinks that the primary sources for Woodward’s book include Priebus, Gary D. Cohn, and Rob Porter (Garner para. 10). In addition, Garner believes that Cohn is the moral center of the book claiming that if it were a first-person novel, Cohn would be its narrator (Garner para. 14). Moreover, Garner believes that the book’s title comes from Trump’s quote “Real Power is Fear” (Garner para. 24).

Garner claims that the book has only one point to take home, that “the President of the United States is a congenital liar.” Therefore, he wishes that the book had more points, more context, more passion, a bit of irony and more history (Garner para. 25).

I agree with Garner’s review since it is from an analytical point of view. The writer is simply giving an honest opinion of how he views the book. Apart from that, he provides the reader with several direct quotes that make his work more reliable and relevant. Nonetheless, providing a list of the things he expected to see in the book indicates that he is a passionate reader who understands Woodward’s book and is not afraid of identifying the deficiencies.

Review by Ron Elving September 9, 2018 (NPR)

Ron Elving seems to believe that Woodward’s book belongs in a new category. He claims that readers will find the depiction of Trump and his presidency so devastating to adequately fit the description of ‘indictment’ (Elving para. 3). Moreover, the writer affirms that Woodward portrayed the president as uncouth, uninformed and unprepared for the demands of his office (Elving para. 4). Elving also notes the various battles in the White House concerning, among others, trade, immigrants, the wars in Afghanistan and Syria, the negotiations with China and Japan, and the endless relitigating of the 2016 election (Elving para. 7). In addition, he concludes that Trump is both irresponsible and distractible. In fact, he compares him to an adolescent who is swift to anger and struggles with self-control.

Apart from that, Elving seems to think that the primary sources for the book are Bannon and Priebus. He supports his judgment by affirming that Woodward directly quotes the two several times in the book. In addition, the writer thinks that Bannon and Priebus have scores to settle with rivals and antagonists, some of whom are still in Trump's inner circle (Elving para. 24). Elving also claims that some parts of the book are traceable to Cohn and Porter. Nonetheless, the author affirms that Woodward’s book will act as a point of reference for what is to come.

Ron Elving is thoughtful in his work. The review is compelling, and I have to agree with him. The writer skillfully designs a clear depiction of Woodward’s work in such a way that the reader will appreciate and have a desire to read the book. In addition, Elving is not short in providing direct quotes that make the review realistic and reliable. He goes further to identify the primary and supporting sources providing the content to the book. Apart from that, Elving gives an honest opinion about the work when he calls it a reference for what is to come. This shows that he believes in Woodward, increasing the relevance of the book.

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