The man who sold America Trump and the unraveling of the American story

Joy-Ann Lomena Reid

Book - 2019

Joy-Ann Reid, the host of MSNBC's AM Joy, assesses the Trump presidency in this urgent and deeply reported analysis of our national crisis.

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2nd Floor 973.933/Reid Checked In
New York, NY : William Morrow & Co., an imprint of HarperCollins [2019]
Main Author
Joy-Ann Lomena Reid (author)
First edition
Physical Description
294 pages ; 24 cm
Includes bibliographic references (pages [275]-294).
  • Introduction: Welcome to Gotham
  • 1. How Trump Happened
  • 2. Two Nations, Under Trump
  • 3. The Trump Republican Party
  • 4. A New American Civil War
  • 5. The Man Who Sold the World
  • 6. American Strongman
  • 7. What America Can Learn from South Africa
  • 8. The Media in the Trump Age
  • 9. "Mr. Barr Goes to Town"
  • 10. Un-Democratic America?
  • Epilogue: After Trump, Who Are We?
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes
Review by Booklist Review

As real estate developer and reality TV host, Trump's business was selling something, most notably, himself. As candidate and now president, Trump is still in that business, but the selling of Trump as president has more dire consequences. Equally, the caveat, Let the buyer beware, has never been more relevant. From his bottom-of-the-escalator speech announcing his candidacy to his carnage-themed inaugural address, Trump has been selling America his dark vision of the country's problems and his delusional view that he alone holds the solution to those challenges. Like most sales pitches, this one came with a bill of goods: rhetoric that didn't match reality, a cabinet murkier than the swamp it was supposed to drain, policies more punitive than positive. As an MSNBC journalist and host, Reid is well-positioned to ponder Trump's performance and to wonder if his presidency will do long-term harm to our democracy. A shrewd analyst of current political trends, Reid offers fierce scrutiny of Trump's controversial performance and fresh insights into his potential legacy.--Carol Haggas Copyright 2019 Booklist

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

President Trump and his supporters come across as nearly cartoonish villains in this vehement screed. Likening Trump to Batman nemesis the Joker, Reid (Fracture), host of MSNBC's AM Joy, flays the president as a corrupt liar, a monstrous xenophobe ("there was no cruelty he wouldn't visit on the teeming masses of brown and non-Christian aliens"), a puppet of Fox News, "a potential threat to national security, acting on behalf of a foreign power," and an "autocrat" whose "appetite for destruction and revenge was only growing" and who wants "to bond the U. S. to Russia North Korea." She dismisses Trump administration initiatives as merely efforts toward pandering to the bigotry of insecure white reactionaries. Reid takes further swipes at Trump's voters, who "bonded around the ritualized pain inflicted on the brown, the foreign and the poor" and "enjoyed seeing them suffer"; at Trump adviser Stephen Miller (she repeats comments by an anonymous White House staffer likening Miller to members of Hitler's SS); and at Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, "a favorite of Russian state media." Reid's indictment of Trump's misdeeds, from sleazy business deals to Russia collusion allegations, is a sketchy rehash. There's plenty of red meat for Trump haters here, but not much substantive or nuanced analysis. Agent: Suzanne Gluck, William Morris Endeavor. (June)

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Review by Kirkus Book Review

Another heated examination of the current president, who "seems ripped right out of [a] comic book supervillain universe."MSNBC political analyst Reid (Fracture: Barack Obama, the Clintons, and the Racial Divide, 2015, etc.), the host of AM Joy, serves up an impassioned expos of Donald Trump, from his early adult years as an ethically challenged businessman through his first two years as president. As part of the big picture, the author also skewers the corruption of the Republican Party. In fiery prose, Reid delivers a well-researched narrative about how Trump methodically overcame establishment Republican opponents to dominate a political party he had shunned for most of his life. The author terms the new partisan reality the "Trump Republican Party." She explains how Trump managed to divide the country into factions that constantly battle over both politics and culture. She scrutinizes Trump's dealings with nations both friendly and hostile, delineating the president's ugly attraction to "strongmen" in other nations. Russia's Vladimir Putin is the most prominent example, but others include the dictators of the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, Hungary, and Poland. The chapter in the book containing the least amount of rehashed material is titled "What America Can Learn From South Africa." Reid's father is Congolese but spent much of his life working in South Africa, and she explains how Nelson Mandela instituted racial reconciliation as a national imperative, despite the persecution he faced for decades. The "frankness about race, from black and white South Africans, felt refreshing and surprisingly healthy," she writes. Reid contrasts the selflessness she saw in South Africa with Trump's self-centered approach of dividing and conquering, especially along racial and cultural faults. Another chapter that moves beyond relating oft-repeated allegations about Trump highlights the author's frustration at the news media for more or less normalizing his unique cruelty as president.A searing indictment and a good choice for readers who have never delved into Trump's pre-presidential background. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.