Trumpocracy The corruption of the American republic

David Frum, 1960-

Book - 2018

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New York, N.Y. : Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers [2018]
Main Author
David Frum, 1960- (author)
First edition
Physical Description
xvi, 301 pages ; 24 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages 239-283) and index.
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1. Pre-Existing Conditions
  • Chapter 2. Enablers
  • Chapter 3. Appeasers
  • Chapter 4. Plunder
  • Chapter 5. Betrayals
  • Chapter 6. Enemies of the People
  • Chapter 7. Rigged System
  • Chapter 8. America Alone
  • Chapter 9. Autoimmune Disorder
  • Chapter 10. Resentments
  • Chapter 11. Believers
  • Chapter 12. Hope
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes
  • Index
Review by New York Times Review

RED CLOCKS, by Leni Zumas. (Little, Brown, $26.) This highly absorbing novel imagines a near future of America in which abortion is illegal in all 50 states. Zumas has a perfectly tuned ear for the way society relies on a moralizing sentimentalism to restrict women's lives and enforce conformity. HERE IN BERLIN, by Cristina Garcia. (Counterpoint, $26.) In a series of short quasi-fictional encounters, the Cuban-American novelist uses a chorus of voices to explore the long, ghostly reach of Germany's history, in which the remembered or purposefully forgotten past seems as alive as the present. THE NEWCOMERS: Finding Refuge, Friendship, and Hope in an American Classroom, by Helen Thorpe. (Scribner, $28.) Thorpe spent a year with teenage refugees in a Denver school's "newcomer class," documenting their lives as the presidential campaign stirred up nativist resentment. Partly a story of assimilation, it also details her growing awareness of other cultures. THE LARGESSE OF THE SEA MAIDEN: Stories, by Denis Johnson. (Random House, $27.) Johnson's long preoccupation with mortality culminates in a posthumous collection. "It's plain to you that at the time I wrote this, I'm not dead," one character says. "But maybe by the time you read it." TRUMPOCRACY: The Corruption of the American Republic, by David Frum. (HarperCollins, $25.99.) Frum argues that the Trump presidency is not only about Donald Trump but also about the deeper structural problems of America in general, and conservative America in particular. He thinks that what the country faces is nothing less than a threat to the democratic order. THE YEARS, MONTHS, DAYS, by Yan Lianke. Translated by Carlos Rojas. (Black Cat, paper, $16.) A pair of novellas in which the noted Chinese novelist (and frequent target of government censorship) paints a darkly satirical portrait of stranded characters adrift in a depraved society. BIRDING WITHOUT BORDERS: An Obsession, a Quest and the Biggest Year in the World, by Noah Strycker. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27.) Follow one young birder as he spends an entire year traveling the world to see as many species of birds as he can - a number that ends up being a record-breaking 6,042. JEFFERSON'S DAUGHTERS: Three Sisters, White and Black, in a Young America, by Catherine Kerrison. (Ballantine, $28.) Kerrison follows the lives of the third president's three daughters, including Harriet Hernings, born to his slave Sally Hernings. GORILLA AND THE BIRD: A Memoir of Madness and a Mother's Love, by Zack McDermott. (Little, Brown, $27.) McDermott spent years battling bipolar disorder with the support of his Midwestern mother, who didn't quit even when he was in a psych ward. The full reviews of these and other recent books are on the web:

Copyright (c) The New York Times Company [January 6, 2019]
Review by Booklist Review

Frum, a speechwriter for George W. Bush and a Never Trumper, understands the Trump administration will be judged by history, but he finds it necessary to make an assessment of what's happened so far because, as he puts it, the crisis is upon America, here and now. With precision and even eloquence, Frum details how the Trump campaign and administration has damaged American institutions and the American psyche. In such chapters as Prexisting Conditions, Enablers, and Enemies of the People, Frum doesn't just chronicle the abnormalities and deceptions of the president, his policies, and his tweets, he puts these elements into the context of the rising authoritarianism around the world. While he fears that the U.S. may never completely recover from the way Trump has changed the presidency, he does note, in a final chapter, called Hope, that he is encouraged by an engaged citizenry willing to go high when they go low. One of the best things about this book is that Frum uses his well-honed writing skills to make his points in ways that require no wonkiness to understand. For those who oppose Trumpism, this is a clarion call.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2018 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Frum (The Right Man), an Atlantic senior editor, charts the erosion of democratic principles over the course of Donald Trump's campaign and first year in office, enumerating both the president's own improprieties and the misdeeds of his various advisers and hangers-on. Frum eloquently places the blame squarely on "the aggrandizement of one domineering man and his shamelessly grasping extended family," whom he describes as trading in conspiracy theories and "alternative facts," using their government positions to shill for real estate deals overseas, and engaging in borderline-treasonous conversations with Russian officials. He also shames those he deems complicit, including various Fox News hosts, short-lived White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci, and "brazen" political strategist Kellyanne Conway. Frum further notes that Trump has turned on the country's most trusted international allies in favor of "the planet's thugs, crooks, and dictators." Frum urges readers to "aspire to a deeper citizenship and wider loyalties," and conservatives, among whom he includes himself, to embrace a more moderate ideology. Denunciations of the current administration are ubiquitous, but Frum's incisive prose and optimism-notably, regarding the chances of returning decency and integrity to the Republican Party-set this apart. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review by Library Journal Review

Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury has captured the nation's zeitgeist, owing to its chronicling of President Donald Trump's histrionics; unfortunately, it has overshadowed this latest from Frum (senior editor, the Atlantic; Why Romney Lost) and probably shouldn't have. Frum was by no means a fan of Trump during the 2016 election cycle. But that should not take away from his criticism that the Trump administration has damaged the practices of American democracy. The author does not solely blame Trump for this abrogation, but traces it back through the prior two decades. Trump was at the right place at the right time in 2016. Once in power, as Frum carefully dissects, the president has enabled himself and his businesses but weakened the functionality of the U.S. government, which he was sworn to protect. Not all of this was deliberate, as Frum points out. But in totality, by either action or inaction, Trump has damaged American democracy, with frightening consequences in the long run. VERDICT Highly recommended for anyone who cares about the republic and its future.-Jacob Sherman, John Peace Lib., Univ. of Texas at San Antonio © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

The conservative stalwart takes measure of the current administration and finds it sadly wantingand dangerous, and immoral, and.Atlantic senior editor Frum (Comeback: Conservatism That Can Win Again, 2007, etc.) finds the Trump White House pointed evidence of declining faith in democracy. However, the thing to worry about, he writes, "is not the bold overthrow of the Constitution, but the stealthy paralysis of governance" and complete disregard for the "rules of the game" on which constitutional democracy is founded. Clearly, the author holds Trump in contempt; just as plainly, he gives Trump credit for the political cunning that enabled him to leverage such things as the birther hoax to capture a sizable segment of an embittered, angry populace. What bothers Frum is less the specter of a buffoonish bully than the acquiescence of the Republican Party. He writes, "the most radical attack on American norms of governance in his first year was attempted not by Steve Bannon, Jeff Sessions, Anthony Scaramucci, or any other late-night demon figure, but by the regular Republicans of the House and Senate." The author goes on to reckon with a host of factors that led to the current debacle, from racial tension and economic insecurity to the self-interested demands of baby boomers and the unholy wedding of the institutional GOP to a president who is, by all evidence, creating a third party. Against all this, refreshingly, Frum finds hope that the Trump administration will be remembered "as the end of something bad, and not the beginning of something worse." In support of this qualified optimism, he notes that even as Trump continues to occupy the White House, other bullies and abusers have toppled, while the left has come to have a newfound appreciation of national security and elements of the right are accepting that government can, in fact, be a force for good.Evenhanded, ideologically consistent, and guaranteed to generate a slew of angry tweets should a copy land at the White House. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.