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As President Trump’s National Security Advisor, John Bolton spent many of his 453 days in the room where it happened, and the facts speak for themselves. The result is a White House memoir that is the most comprehensive and substantial account of the Trump Administration, and one of the few to date by a top-level official. With almost daily access to the President, John Bol As President Trump’s National Security Advisor, John Bolton spent many of his 453 days in the room where it happened, and the facts speak for themselves. The result is a White House memoir that is the most comprehensive and substantial account of the Trump Administration, and one of the few to date by a top-level official. With almost daily access to the President, John Bolton has produced a precise rendering of his days in and around the Oval Office. What Bolton saw astonished him: a President for whom getting re-elected was the only thing that mattered, even if it meant endangering or weakening the nation. “I am hard-pressed to identify any significant Trump decision during my tenure that wasn’t driven by re-election calculations,” he writes. In fact, he argues that the House committed impeachment malpractice by keeping their prosecution focused narrowly on Ukraine when Trump’s Ukraine-like transgressions existed across the full range of his foreign policy - and Bolton documents exactly what those were, and attempts by him and others in the Administration to raise alarms about them. He shows a President addicted to chaos, who embraced our enemies and spurned our friends, and was deeply suspicious of his own government. In Bolton’s telling, all this helped put Trump on the bizarre road to impeachment. “The differences between this presidency and previous ones I had served were stunning,” writes Bolton, who worked for Reagan, Bush 41, and Bush 43. He discovered a President who thought foreign policy is like closing a real estate deal - about personal relationships, made-for-TV showmanship, and advancing his own interests. As a result, the US lost an opportunity to confront its deepening threats, and in cases like China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea ended up in a more vulnerable place. Bolton’s account starts with his long march to the West Wing as Trump and others woo him for the National Security job. The minute he lands, he has to deal with Syria’s chemical attack on the city of Douma, and the crises after that never stop. As he writes in the opening pages, “If you don’t like turmoil, uncertainty, and risk - all the while being constantly overwhelmed with information, decisions to be made, and sheer amount of work - and enlivened by international and domestic personality and ego conflicts beyond description, try something else.” The turmoil, conflicts, and egos are all there - from the upheaval in Venezuela, to the erratic and manipulative moves of North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, to the showdowns at the G7 summits, the calculated warmongering by Iran, the crazy plan to bring the Taliban to Camp David, and the placating of an authoritarian China that ultimately exposed the world to its lethal lies. But this seasoned public servant also has a great eye for the Washington inside game, and his story is full of wit and wry humor about how he saw it played.


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As President Trump’s National Security Advisor, John Bolton spent many of his 453 days in the room where it happened, and the facts speak for themselves. The result is a White House memoir that is the most comprehensive and substantial account of the Trump Administration, and one of the few to date by a top-level official. With almost daily access to the President, John Bol As President Trump’s National Security Advisor, John Bolton spent many of his 453 days in the room where it happened, and the facts speak for themselves. The result is a White House memoir that is the most comprehensive and substantial account of the Trump Administration, and one of the few to date by a top-level official. With almost daily access to the President, John Bolton has produced a precise rendering of his days in and around the Oval Office. What Bolton saw astonished him: a President for whom getting re-elected was the only thing that mattered, even if it meant endangering or weakening the nation. “I am hard-pressed to identify any significant Trump decision during my tenure that wasn’t driven by re-election calculations,” he writes. In fact, he argues that the House committed impeachment malpractice by keeping their prosecution focused narrowly on Ukraine when Trump’s Ukraine-like transgressions existed across the full range of his foreign policy - and Bolton documents exactly what those were, and attempts by him and others in the Administration to raise alarms about them. He shows a President addicted to chaos, who embraced our enemies and spurned our friends, and was deeply suspicious of his own government. In Bolton’s telling, all this helped put Trump on the bizarre road to impeachment. “The differences between this presidency and previous ones I had served were stunning,” writes Bolton, who worked for Reagan, Bush 41, and Bush 43. He discovered a President who thought foreign policy is like closing a real estate deal - about personal relationships, made-for-TV showmanship, and advancing his own interests. As a result, the US lost an opportunity to confront its deepening threats, and in cases like China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea ended up in a more vulnerable place. Bolton’s account starts with his long march to the West Wing as Trump and others woo him for the National Security job. The minute he lands, he has to deal with Syria’s chemical attack on the city of Douma, and the crises after that never stop. As he writes in the opening pages, “If you don’t like turmoil, uncertainty, and risk - all the while being constantly overwhelmed with information, decisions to be made, and sheer amount of work - and enlivened by international and domestic personality and ego conflicts beyond description, try something else.” The turmoil, conflicts, and egos are all there - from the upheaval in Venezuela, to the erratic and manipulative moves of North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, to the showdowns at the G7 summits, the calculated warmongering by Iran, the crazy plan to bring the Taliban to Camp David, and the placating of an authoritarian China that ultimately exposed the world to its lethal lies. But this seasoned public servant also has a great eye for the Washington inside game, and his story is full of wit and wry humor about how he saw it played.

30 review for The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Pauline

    What has the country come to if I’m marking a book by John Fucking Bolton as “To Be Read”?

  2. 4 out of 5

    Manny

    Just as a thought experiment, would you, in 1943, have read a tell-all memoir about Adolf Hitler written by a disgruntled Rudolf Hess? A. Give my hard-earned money to one of the Nazi Party's former leaders? Are you crazy? B. Not read the latest dirt on Hitler? How could I resist? C. I would have to read it of course, but it would be a stolen copy. D. I'd wait for the Goebbels book, it would be better written and have juicier stories. E. With Alan Turing's capable help, I would invent the internet and Just as a thought experiment, would you, in 1943, have read a tell-all memoir about Adolf Hitler written by a disgruntled Rudolf Hess? A. Give my hard-earned money to one of the Nazi Party's former leaders? Are you crazy? B. Not read the latest dirt on Hitler? How could I resist? C. I would have to read it of course, but it would be a stolen copy. D. I'd wait for the Goebbels book, it would be better written and have juicier stories. E. With Alan Turing's capable help, I would invent the internet and Goodreads, then review the book without having read it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kristy

    Update 6/30: Downrated to 3 stars and I don't expect that rating to go up. I'm not liking the author at all. And nothing else really surprises me. Hoping to finish by the end of the week (I just finished chapter 11, so not too far to go). Update 6/25: Finally reading this and these are my early impressions: Book is boring AF so far. Author is a self-important douchebag. Nevertheless, I will persist. Pre-release thoughts: What is the world coming to where I find myself reading books written by Republic Update 6/30: Downrated to 3 stars and I don't expect that rating to go up. I'm not liking the author at all. And nothing else really surprises me. Hoping to finish by the end of the week (I just finished chapter 11, so not too far to go). Update 6/25: Finally reading this and these are my early impressions: Book is boring AF so far. Author is a self-important douchebag. Nevertheless, I will persist. Pre-release thoughts: What is the world coming to where I find myself reading books written by Republicans??????? But, hey, if Trump wants the book suppressed, I definitely plan to read it. Will I pay my hard-earned money for it? Absolutely not. I'll borrow a copy. And I'll adjust my rating accordingly after I read it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Arthur Graham

    BOLTON: I'm willing to testify if subpoenaed. REPUBLICANS: He's just trying to sell a book! ME: Then why offer so many damn spoilers?

  5. 5 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    Audiobook...Biography/memoir ...narrated by Robert Petkoff. ...John Bolton reads his epilogue. ...There are professional reviews.... ...There is the publishers summary.... and ...Other readers who are much more qualified to review this book, than me. ...Seriously scholars, political geeks, history buffs... don’t need my unqualified review. That said... ....I listened to 20 hours and 52 minutes- ‘knowing’ I wasn’t understanding half of it. But.... ...Half of it I did! I figure my half-ass-effort of Audiobook...Biography/memoir ...narrated by Robert Petkoff. ...John Bolton reads his epilogue. ...There are professional reviews.... ...There is the publishers summary.... and ...Other readers who are much more qualified to review this book, than me. ...Seriously scholars, political geeks, history buffs... don’t need my unqualified review. That said... ....I listened to 20 hours and 52 minutes- ‘knowing’ I wasn’t understanding half of it. But.... ...Half of it I did! I figure my half-ass-effort of listening/ understanding this book still counts or something. Some of it went right over my head. But..... ITS A FRICKEN DISASTER inside the White House... A FRICKEN FRIGHTENING NIGHTMARE!!! I felt it took ‘forever’ for John Bolton ( in chapter 1), to explain his process of getting hired by Trump as the national security advisor. Bolton worked for Fox news. Trump kept telling Bolton that they shared the same views. Trump wanted Bolton inside the White House so -in part - he could control - dictate - what he wanted said on Fox News. Why else is all other news FAKE? Trump can’t control other networks. Now that I’ve finished this book - it makes more sense to me now ‘why’ Bolton took extra time in having us see how ‘grueling’ ( felt grueling to me), it was before he had an official job [ with an inbox], in the White House. Basically... nothing seemed easy... But it never looked liked Bolton was begging for a job from Trump. ... not from what he wrote. It was Trump who was constantly going after Bolton. Since this book has come out - Trump ‘tweeted’ “For a guy who couldn’t get approved for the Ambassador to the U.N. years ago, couldn’t get approved for anything since, ‘begged’ me for a non Senate approved job, which I gave him despite many saying “don’t do it, sir”” NOT TRUE! Red flags were going up ABOUT TAKING THE JOB - ‘before’ Bolton took it- spending 453 days on the payroll. How he lasted 453 days -is beyond me. When Bolton tried to advise Trump on National security issues...they didn’t agree...( especially over a deal with Afghanistan) and other foreign affairs. Trump wanted to allow leaders of the Taliban to visit Camp David in just days before the anniversary of the 911 terrorist attacks to finalize peace talks. The idea was strongly opposed by Bolton. Bolton and Trump also disagreed about striking in Iran. Trump ‘strongly’ didn’t agree with Bolton > so....... Trump fired him. That’s 3 national security advisors fired by Trump! Guess Trump wants a puppet for an advisor. I don’t think Bolton is a peach-of-a-man - squeaky clean himself - but even though I had to slog through his book- I thought parts were revealing and interesting ( in a juicy gossip type of way). Reading about Bolton’s very first day on the job was like a horror-comedy act from Saturday Night Live. Things were chaotic- ‘really’ chaotic. The crisis in Syria was horrific; overpowering all other government business in the White House Bolton survived his first day... His first 4 days sounded like a nightmare. My guess - very few days were easy-breezing. Mostly ... this book was too ‘detailed’ for the average reader .... I understand the importance, but it was too tedious to read. Dates, time of day, and number of minutes for every meeting, every conversation, page after page, just gets tedious to read! Like I said... I understand the reasoning of documentation... But it was TOO MUCH!!! The New York Times said, “the memoir was ‘bloated’ with self-importance, even though what it mostly recounts is Bolton not being able to accomplish very much”. I AGREE... Guess that’s it for my review! The end!!! ( haha) The elephant in the room - ( the guy hidden behind the wizards curtain).... Yep..., no surprise... is Trump!! Trump is arrogant- is not stable - and he definitely rigged the last election.... WE NEED TO BE VERY CAREFUL THAT HE DOESN’T succeed again!!! Bottom line: VOTE IN NOVEMBER.... But NOT for Trump!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jessaka

    A Dictator with Small Hands he came down the elevator A man with a purpose to Take over America with his racism and bigotry And what some claim to bem his charm I sat eating popcorn Choking on its kernels. He was not a Dapper Dan but became Teflon Don Not classy but crassy Yet some people loved him The children hid under cover The grownups could not believe I knew the man was a sociopath, a liar and a narcissist. I knew he wanted to create concentration camps and murder all journalists And I never took it back A Dictator with Small Hands he came down the elevator A man with a purpose to Take over America with his racism and bigotry And what some claim to bem his charm I sat eating popcorn Choking on its kernels. He was not a Dapper Dan but became Teflon Don Not classy but crassy Yet some people loved him The children hid under cover The grownups could not believe I knew the man was a sociopath, a liar and a narcissist. I knew he wanted to create concentration camps and murder all journalists And I never took it back even when people called me paranoid. While I was peeved that Bolton Would not testify At least he left us this, But I will not read it because I have had enough. But Trump has done his job well, People don’t believe in anything unless it comes from his own lips It is racism that pushes them on And they would love a Civil War But he has lost his health And is losing his mind He can barely walk and barely talk He could even have Alzheimer’s like his pappy had and basically, he is just not happy. but if we can keep his finger off the button or prevent another Civil War Maybe we can all get through this until November’s election. But I will tell you this: He wants to be a dictator above all else.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Bettie

    He wouldn't testify. I won't be opening my purse. You?

  8. 4 out of 5

    Bren

    No, I am not done yet. Not even close. Rarely do I wrote a book review of a book I have not finished. But it needs to be done. This book by Bolton is gigantic. It will take me awhile to finish it. I will read it at my leisure. But as anyone who knows me knows..I do not like Trump. Originally I was not going to buy this because I think Bolton is a coward who cares more about profit then doing the right thing. But..he's still way better than Trump. And I am curious. And Trump does not want people to buy No, I am not done yet. Not even close. Rarely do I wrote a book review of a book I have not finished. But it needs to be done. This book by Bolton is gigantic. It will take me awhile to finish it. I will read it at my leisure. But as anyone who knows me knows..I do not like Trump. Originally I was not going to buy this because I think Bolton is a coward who cares more about profit then doing the right thing. But..he's still way better than Trump. And I am curious. And Trump does not want people to buy the book. Says it may have classified information. So, I want it. The book I mean. And I want to rate it a perfect five even if it is not. That's how childish I am! Anyone who screws Trump over..well..they can't be all that bad. Besides, the book could be pulled any day and I want to read all the Classified stuff and all the writings Trump does not want us to see. The book I just reviewed before this one is all about the power of the mind..let's all of the Never Trumpers try to see in our minds Trump losing the election in November. And I want Biden to win Mississippi. Will do a proper review when who le book is finished. But it's pretty good so far!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Marius von Heinen

    As a Norwegian, I simply find American politics amusing. Why? Because they are not like the politics in Norway. Our "far-right" is "far far left" compared to the US. We're different from you guys. I find French, Spanish, Italian, Greek, Swedish, and British politics just as amusing because they are different (more similar than the US though). As Trump would probably tell people that this book is made up of lies and recommend everyone to not read it, I just had to get it and read it. And I did. Lik As a Norwegian, I simply find American politics amusing. Why? Because they are not like the politics in Norway. Our "far-right" is "far far left" compared to the US. We're different from you guys. I find French, Spanish, Italian, Greek, Swedish, and British politics just as amusing because they are different (more similar than the US though). As Trump would probably tell people that this book is made up of lies and recommend everyone to not read it, I just had to get it and read it. And I did. Like all political books, it's a tough, slow and rather boring read to be honest, but it's still an important enough book for Trump to tweet about it. The book is somewhat, as expected, revealing. If it's true or not is not up to me to tell, but most of it does fit the description of Trump that we're already used to "across the pond". Personally, I do not see why anyone would spend their time writing this, if it is all lies. It's not exactly a page turner, but some of the situations described are well worth the read. Would recommend this to people who want a nuanced view on the "Trump vs. former employees". For all the people just making "reviews" to complain about Bolton, the Mueller-rapport and Trump and shit or trying to give this book shitty reviews just to stop people from buying it, please ... I beg you .... Fuck off. This is not the place for your shit. Go somewhere else. Any social media or whatever, just not here. This is a "sacred" place to some, so please respect it. I wrote my first review because you guys pissed me off.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Thing Two

    Where in the hell was all of this when Mueller was testifying? Where was this during the impeachment trial? Bolton had a chance to go down in history as a patriot, instead he’ll go down as a footnote. DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ben Haskett

    I don't really read comics, but a quick Google search confirmed that in the Batman comics, Penguin and Joker have been known to team up from time to time. In one instance, they escaped from an asylum or prison or something together, only for Joker to, later, intentionally sabotage the plan of taking Commissioner Gordon hostage. This resulted in a standoff that threw the whole plan into chaos and left Penguin passed out on the floor. If you can imagine Penguin later writing a memoir about that fi I don't really read comics, but a quick Google search confirmed that in the Batman comics, Penguin and Joker have been known to team up from time to time. In one instance, they escaped from an asylum or prison or something together, only for Joker to, later, intentionally sabotage the plan of taking Commissioner Gordon hostage. This resulted in a standoff that threw the whole plan into chaos and left Penguin passed out on the floor. If you can imagine Penguin later writing a memoir about that fiasco, then you can probably imagine the tone of The Room Where It Happened by John Bolton. I'm not a fan of many of Trump's policies, so it's eye-roll-inducing to read about Bolton cheering when something goes “right” in this administration, and lamenting when one of their (in my opinion) awful goals fizzles because of Trump's unpredictability. It's probably not fair to compare Bolton to a supervillain (or Trump, or anyone else in his administration) and, in fact, the mainstream media has a habit of endearing former Trump administration officials. Everyone hates them when they're in office, and everyone seems to love them the moment they leave. I'm always reminded of that scene near the end of that movie Red Dragon, where Edward Norton confuses Ralph Fiennes into embracing the child he's taken hostage through insults. Bolton seems to have missed that fire department safety net, thanks in large part to his unwillingness to testify in the impeachment hearings without a subpoena. And now, it seems that nobody likes poor John Bolton -- the left dislikes him because he didn't testify, and the right dislikes him because he wrote this book. For what it's worth, though, I don't think Bolton minds or ever expected anyone to like him. In fact, speaking of John Kelly in this book, Bolton said, "I asked him to keep me posted, and he said simply, 'Okay, pal,' which told me he didn’t have a lot of friends left at the White House." Yikes. While I can't deny I developed a little bit of respect for Bolton's I-don't-give-a-f***-if-you-like-me attitude, this book was still a thoroughly unenjoyable read. I thought I might go crazy from all the times me mentioned enduring "eight years of Obama mistakes;" and no treaty, executive order, or deal went unprefaced by his distaste for it, regardless of which administration authored it. Bolton dislikes EVERYBODY. He insults literally anyone and everyone else in the administration, current and former. Everyone's an idiot, everyone's inexperienced, misguided, and wrong-headed. He calls Mnuchin a panda hugger, for crying out loud. Further, I was expecting a tell-all book, and The Room Where It Happened was far more interested in National Security. That can be interesting, too, but if someone invites you to a party, you'll be pretty disappointed if you show up and discover they meant Tupperware party. And sure, you might still buy something, but it's not the beer and pretzels you were expecting. But since I’m at the Tupperware party, I might as well try to get some enjoyment out of it, and Bolton’s approach to foreign policy in the Middle East, China, Russia, etc., were at the very least sort of fascinating. Anyway, when Bolton does talk about Trump, the book is similar to any of the other tell-all books out there, which is a little interesting if for no other reason than the fact that Bolton backs up a lot of the most salacious claims of the last three and a half years, albeit in a dryer choice of words. His biggest issue was how fickle Trump is. They'd get 90% into a process, and Trump would change his mind. Sometimes 100%. He'd "work" on something, see negative media coverage, and do a 180 on a dime. Or, also common is that Trump's decisions would be based on how he assumed the media would cover it. Everything was always about reelection, even from day 1. He never had a plan with North Korea, just thought the images of him and Kim Jong-un would play well in the media. Same with any other conversation with any other world leader. One particularly interesting passage was about Trump’s first meeting with Kim Jong-un: “I could tell from both Pence and Ayers that they were somewhat in shock, and Ayers said Trump wanted ‘to keep the meeting small’; it would just be Trump, Pompeo, and the interpreter on the US side, and Kim and his interpreter on theirs. There would be the absolute minimum number of people present to hear what Trump said. By this time, Trump was in a near frenzy, piling up standard-issue White House gifts (such as cuff links) to give away. One box was slightly creased, and Trump told Madeleine Westerhout harshly, ‘You’ve ruined this one, get another one.’ He then berated the White House official photographer, whom he wanted to stay only briefly while Kim Yong Chol was there. I had never seen Trump so wrought up.” Here’s another quote that, I feel, displays Trump’s priorities: "The next morning, February 20th, was the big day. Having stayed up well into the night watching Cohen testify, Trump cancelled the preparatory briefings [the following morning]. I worried that his every instinct would be to do something to drown out Cohen's hearings in the media, which he could only do with something dramatic and unexpected. Walking out [of trade negotiations] would certainly achieve that objective. So too, however, would making a deal he could characterize as a huge success, even if it was badly flawed. The flaws wouldn't catch up until later." And here’s one that displays Trump’s approach to Russia: "We held a second NSC meeting on July 27th to take another look at our efforts, with all the operating agencies reporting they were substantially better prepared than they had been at this stage of the 2016 campaign and much more aware of the kinds of threats they would face in their respective areas. We followed up this NSC meeting with a briefing in the White House press room on August 2nd, featuring [several people] and myself. Each official told the story of what their agency was doing, which we should have done earlier, and the briefing was well received, if grudgingly, by the press. One story called the briefing an administration show of force to show we were actually doing something on election meddling. Unable to criticize the adequacy of the effort, media therefore turned to saying Trump was following one policy and we were following another. Unfortunately, there was something to that, as Trump repeatedly objected to criticizing Russia, and pressed us to not be so critical of Russia publicly.” The bottom line is the same as any other negative book about Trump’s presidency: That doofus stinks, and we should vote him the heck out of there come November. Whereas Fire & Fury painted him like an endearing dimwit, and Fear and A Warning painted him like a villain, The Room Where It Happened paints him as an unlikable celebrity, who keeps taking bad roles in movies and then berating his various agents and managers for not getting him better work. In other words, he doesn’t really want to be a good president, he just wants to play one on TV. (The short version: I do not recommend this book unless you’re really interested in reading about national security from the point of view of a hawkish republican. There are some startling moments, but most have already been reported on again and again in the press, while others only reinforce earlier reports of Trump acting stupid. If you still really want to check it out, I recommend you stick to the final chapter and epilogue, since that covers the whole Ukraine thing and touches on why he didn’t want to testify. The rest of the gooshy stuff has already appeared in better books.)

  12. 4 out of 5

    Owlseyes

    https://www.politico.com/amp/news/202... https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nyti... If he really wrote what follows, it's more and more likely that HE WAS FIRED https://www.businessinsider.com/john-... https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2020/06/17/po... This is really 'embarasskin'.... Sounds like he's "part of the resistance",...is he? https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nyti... (view spoiler)["I work for the president but like-minded colleagues and I have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations https://www.politico.com/amp/news/202... https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nyti... If he really wrote what follows, it's more and more likely that HE WAS FIRED https://www.businessinsider.com/john-... https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2020/06/17/po... This is really 'embarasskin'.... Sounds like he's "part of the resistance",...is he? https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nyti... (view spoiler)["I work for the president but like-minded colleagues and I have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations" (hide spoiler)] “[Bolton] had a separate agenda and often arrived and departed on a different plane because he didn’t want to travel on Air Force One with the rest of us.” Sarah Sanders "Bolton was a classic case of a senior White House official drunk on power, who had forgotten that nobody elected him to anything.” Sarah Sanders --- "In politics there are no immaculate conceptions". Nevada's Senator Paul Laxalt, Bolton's mentor. "Instead the new administration resembled much more closely the Eagles song "Hotel California":"you can check out anytime you like/ but you can never leave". John Bolton https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/06/24/... --- "A lot of people don't like you. They say you're a leaker and not a team player". (...) "That was my last conversation with Trump" (...) "...,I was a free man again". In chapter 14, of the book https://www.foxnews.com/media/chris-w...

  13. 5 out of 5

    Chris A

    While I'll never forgive Mr. Bolton for staying quiet when it mattered, I'm quite confident that everything in the book is accurate and at least it is in time to help Trump lose the election. Those who refuse to believe it are simply continuing to lie to themselves about the huge mistake they made in 2016. It's not too late to wake up and snap out of it. Or, if you're fully aware and STILL support this traitorous president, it's never too late to re-grasp your lost conscience and turn your life a While I'll never forgive Mr. Bolton for staying quiet when it mattered, I'm quite confident that everything in the book is accurate and at least it is in time to help Trump lose the election. Those who refuse to believe it are simply continuing to lie to themselves about the huge mistake they made in 2016. It's not too late to wake up and snap out of it. Or, if you're fully aware and STILL support this traitorous president, it's never too late to re-grasp your lost conscience and turn your life around. Just. Do. It.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    Yeah, he's a piece of shit for not testifying. And he's a coward. But you bet your ass I'm gonna read this book cuz I hates me some Trump. (Going to borrow it, of course... enough of my hard-earned money goes to rich old white men so this can be my tiny little punk rock protest).

  15. 5 out of 5

    Martina

    I will be reading this in memory of my friend Pat who worked much of her adult life in DC think tanks. She met most of the 'players' at one point or another (and often their dogs) and had decided views of each. There are some fascinating memoirs and memories coming out of this administration.

  16. 4 out of 5

    David

    What a fascinating inside scoop. I was impressed by the sheer detail and clear accuracy of this book. I'm more disapointed in anything, that the country has been run this way for this long. As a Republican, I am aboslutely not voting for Trump, between all the trusted accounts like Mattis or Bolton, his refusal to take racism seriously, and his denial of Coronavirus' threat. People will disagree, but it's so obvious now that he conned us. I'm sick and tired of defending every moronic or selfish thin What a fascinating inside scoop. I was impressed by the sheer detail and clear accuracy of this book. I'm more disapointed in anything, that the country has been run this way for this long. As a Republican, I am aboslutely not voting for Trump, between all the trusted accounts like Mattis or Bolton, his refusal to take racism seriously, and his denial of Coronavirus' threat. People will disagree, but it's so obvious now that he conned us. I'm sick and tired of defending every moronic or selfish thing he does, and seeing him act like an authoritarian on a daily basis is making a mockery out of the US.

  17. 5 out of 5

    George Bradford

    I received a free copy of this book. And after reading it I can say I paid a fair price. The author is a pompous blowhard. And that makes reading this poorly written book very difficult. He cannot string more than three sentences together without bragging about himself in an unrelated matter. His arrogance is titanic. I use that metaphor on purpose. This is a guy who thought going to work for this president would turn out well. History speaks for itself on that. And no one with common sense would I received a free copy of this book. And after reading it I can say I paid a fair price. The author is a pompous blowhard. And that makes reading this poorly written book very difficult. He cannot string more than three sentences together without bragging about himself in an unrelated matter. His arrogance is titanic. I use that metaphor on purpose. This is a guy who thought going to work for this president would turn out well. History speaks for itself on that. And no one with common sense would have predicted otherwise. Oh, but he did get a book deal for his service. Here is that book. And it’s jammed full of things everyone already knew before reading this book. To wit: (NO SPOILER ALERT BECAUSE YOU ALREADY KNOW ALL OF THIS) - Jared has too much power - Trump doesn't read, doesn’t get stuff - Trump really really doesn’t get foreign policy - Foreign leaders manipulate Trump - Trump is hot for Putin - Trump blessed Xi's concentration camps Okay, maybe the blessing of the PRC’s Human Rights Criminality is a new piece of information. But it is in no way surprising. This is not a good read. It is not educational. It adds nothing new. It is poorly written. And author — like most of the characters in the story — is a coward out to profit from his cowardice. I would have given this minus (negative) stars if it were possible.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Budd Margolis

    Trump loyalist will now hate John Bolton, traditional conservative Republicans, as well as some independents, will admire his staunch views on foreign policies however hard line. For anyone else, this is a tale that is as much soap opera as reality TV. Bolton was in the thick of it and by his own admission, accomplished little to improve the nation or make it, and the world secure. Probably the opposite but that's up to your own world view and political slant. It is unfair to say John Bolton is a Trump loyalist will now hate John Bolton, traditional conservative Republicans, as well as some independents, will admire his staunch views on foreign policies however hard line. For anyone else, this is a tale that is as much soap opera as reality TV. Bolton was in the thick of it and by his own admission, accomplished little to improve the nation or make it, and the world secure. Probably the opposite but that's up to your own world view and political slant. It is unfair to say John Bolton is a warmonger or patriot. He is a smart warmonger who accepts no responsibilities for his previous and current policies failures would risk our security for. As far as an American patriot? Many are furious he did not testify during the Trump Impeachment hearings and this book does not bring any resolution for that error. His excuses, not apologies display his true inner soul which is vacant of compassion. His world is power over people, not for the people. This is a diary of months of frustration working in the White House for a corrupt narcissistic megalomaniac with racist and dementia tendencies. His effort was not devotion to Country and resulted in very little. Bolton carries a big stick, talks a giant game and then runs away from any consequences or responsibility. Just look up Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea, Taiwan, China, Russia, Turkey, Iran, Kurds... zero progress over many years. No treaty is perfect but trade wars are self-inflicted damage, not progress. Another arch-conservative who will not vote for Trump and refuses to vote for Biden means he betrays the value of our American system. There are moments of clarity and at items Bolton is right but this does not square with how he betrayed his country by not standing up and testifying when he could have brought unique detail to the machinations that is Trumps thinking process. But one theme keeps emerging, time after time, that what the media does or says seems to matter highly to this administration. The weakness of those who occupy important positions and who try to advise them are all so weak, they lack confidence, conviction, vision, experience, wisdom and statecraft. Bolton reflects this state of media obsession as well and he, the scribbler of this tome, should have known better what image of himself he has now etched in our minds. The descriptions by Bolton of Trump's instability and need to create personal relationships with leaders, usually, dictators is sad for those he believes are friends are playing him. The multiple diplomatic errors with China to achieve the biggest deal ever, in the history of mankind, and everyone's disdain for Steve Munchin provides more understanding of what a poor and weak negotiator Trump actually is. The Chinese and Putin play him like a fiddle and Bolton could alter little of this. “At the opening dinner of the Osaka G20 meeting, with only interpreters present, Xi explained to Trump why he was basically building concentration camps in Xinjiang. According to our interpreter, Trump said that Xi should go ahead with building the camps, which he thought was exactly the right thing to do. Pottinger told me Trump said something very similar during the 2017 trip to China, which meant we could cross repression of the Uighurs off our list of possible ” Trump-backed away from defending religious freedom as well as American citizens held hostage by China. All because of a trade war for a trade deal he was outwitted on? A lot of focus is given to Venezuela which (spoiler alert?) was a ginormous failure with huge human suffering consequences, but yet again, Bolton can always find fault with President Obama? Bolton tries to succinctly explain his views: “The argument I pressed again and again, regarding all the “endless wars,” was that we hadn’t started the wars and couldn’t end them just by our own say-so. Across the Islamic world, the radical philosophies that had caused so much death and destruction were ideological, political as well as religious. Just as religious fervour had driven human conflicts for millennia, so it was driving this one, against America and the West more broadly. It wasn’t going away because we were tired of it, or because we found it inconvenient to balancing our budget. Most important of all, this wasn’t a war about making Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, or any other country nicer, safer places to live. I am not a nation builder. I do not believe what is, after all, an essentially Marxist analysis that a better economic way of life will divert people from terrorism. This was about keeping America safe from another 9/11, or even worse, a 9/11 where the terrorists had nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons. As long as the threat existed, no place was too far away to worry about. The terrorists weren’t coming to America on wooden sailing ships.” Boltons view of the world is distorted towards regime change and American exceptionalism and would increase the risk to the USA, not lower it. But you can't teach an old dog anything if they already have a closed calcitrant mind. If you invade countries and cultures, take but deliver little which has been the case over and over again, then you pose a threat and people across the world will hate you. Certainly attack terrorist & criminals but deliver benefits and respect others would be a useful start. Bolton worked with President Bush and compares the schedule of these two Presidents. Bish had a routine and daily briefings starting at 8 AM: “Trump generally had only two intelligence briefings per week, and in most of those, he spoke at greater length than the briefers, often on matters completely unrelated to the subjects at hand. Trump’s schedule was the easiest anomaly to deal with. One of the hardest was his vindictiveness, as demonstrated by the constant eruptions against John McCain, even after McCain died and could do Trump no more harm. Another example of his vindictiveness was Trump’s August 15 decision to revoke former CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance. Now, Brennan was no prize, and during his tenure, the CIA became more politicized than at any other time in its history. He denied any improper behaviour, but Trump was convinced Brennan was deeply implicated in abusing the FISA surveillance process to spy on his 2016 campaign, all of which was exacerbated by his constant presence in the media criticizing Trump after he took office.” Maybe just one opportunity to besmirch Mnuchin exists but I cant recall it? “As Wilbur Ross said in the context of Venezuela, Mnuchin often seemed more protective of US firms that were sleeping with the enemy than of accomplishing the mission we were trying to achieve. It is rare indeed in the hard, chaotic world of international affairs when the threat of action is actually more powerful than the action itself. If America’s economic swords had been sharper during the Trump Administration, we would have accomplished much more.” To Bolton, Mnuchin is a frightened, scared, timid eunuch but a staunch defender of the corrupt companies blah, blah, blahhh But Bolton is Machoman John taking down dictators and... well not much really. The resident in the White House who ran on making the country great and more secure hardly even listens to intelligence briefings? This is what one gets for electing President Obama? Are you kidding me? Bolton lays the blame for the COVID 19 Pandemic at China and the utterly disastrous USA handing by the incompetence of Trump. There are many Trump insights and this is a real WH admin insider take with many global affairs gems throughout this book which reflects the view from Bolton's life during this time. But it is heavily slanted and overly gratuitous to himself. Some scattering of micro humility would have provided a more useful historic and academic perspective. No one stands up to Trump, not even Bolton who knew what was happening, the severe damage it was causing and decided to write a book. The question we should be asking is whether this book provides enough evidence to pursue further or is it just too late? Lessons to be learned have to be corrected in the next term or America will continue to lapse into anarchy. We know our system is not perfect but did anyone imagine it could so easily be manipulated by someone who is regarded as the biggest financial loser and liar in history?

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dan Graser

    Instead of a comprehensive review, I think it best just to give a bit of throat-clearing about this book since it seems to be the only book that anyone has talked about all year, at least in the news-media and social-media worlds. 1) I bought this thinking it was the Michael Bolton account of the Trump presidency, and thus, was very disappointed that it was John Bolton. 2) I do not agree with John Bolton on much of foreign-policy as his position tends to be that international agreements and peac Instead of a comprehensive review, I think it best just to give a bit of throat-clearing about this book since it seems to be the only book that anyone has talked about all year, at least in the news-media and social-media worlds. 1) I bought this thinking it was the Michael Bolton account of the Trump presidency, and thus, was very disappointed that it was John Bolton. 2) I do not agree with John Bolton on much of foreign-policy as his position tends to be that international agreements and peacekeeping organizations are meaningless and that nation-building and permanent placement of US troops on foreign soil is warranted in nearly every scenario. 3) He took this job not blind as a baby but as an experienced foreign policy wonk who knew the chaotic situation into which he was inserting himself. 4) He has all the warmth and is about as sympathetic a figure as a Predator Drone, and also writes as elegantly as I imagine it would as well. 5) This is NOT a tell-all book by a journalist and here I think is the most important point. This is a policy book of 500 pages that is written in chronological format detailing foreign policy work in an administration. If you are hoping for investigative journalism style then you will be incredibly bored. His focus is on foreign policy and foreign policy blunders, along the way, he makes the case that Trump is singularly inept in this area, but it takes 500 pages of reading to hear that case. So, if you are interested in foreign policy, even from someone with whom you would disagree, then read on. If not, this book is not for you and you will be much happier reading the snarky soundbites that various people have extracted from it. 6) You are likely at this point immune to hearing how inept Trump is. I get it, I am too. The aforementioned investigative journalism books have demonstrated this. However the notion that this is the most damning indictment of him yet has some merit since Bolton goes incredibly in-depth as to how this singular ineptitude and misguided notion of constant "deal-making" based on personality and likeability among world leaders has manifested itself especially in decisions around WH personnel, meetings with North Korea, the Ukraine scandals, reelection and election conspiracy theorizing, and Trump's bizarre relationship with China and President Xi Jinping. 7) The most interesting and unique features of the book amongst the sea of literature on this president are first: The day-to-day chronicles of relationships between Bolton and John Kelly, Mike Pompeo, James Mattis, and Nikki Haley; And second: A thorough account of US interaction with Venezuela, a country and relationship that was not discussed at length in the national media. Bolton's chapter here presents the most genuinely new information. In summary, I understand not wanting to give money to someone like Bolton for a book, even if it accomplishes something you would want, and that we are all sick of everyone apparently having the guts to write a tell-all afterward but apparently never having the guts to do anything about the dire situations they write about at the time. Thus, I would stick with my 5th point and merely say that if you have a primary interest in foreign policy, and a distant secondary interest in hearing a tell-all chronicle of executive ineptitude, then perhaps you should read this. If that does not interest you, you have gotten what you need from this from the interviews you have likely seen with the author on CNN, FOX, Bill Maher, and elsewhere and you should save yourself the likely boring experience of reading 500 pages of hawkish foreign policy philosophy.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Zora

    Duty! To! Inform! Too little too late Please take your book, Mr. Bolton, bend over, and shove it up your ass repeatedly. In hardcover.

  21. 5 out of 5

    David Scott

    Unfortunately, this is a very accurate depiction of our lowlife self-obsessed president. Anyone who chooses to believe otherwise is a brainwashed braindead lowlife piece of useless garbage.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Karen Adkins

    I got my hands on an advance copy and read it. Anyone who's bothering to read Goodreads reviews surely has already seen the leaked substance, so I won't repeat that here. What I will say is that Bolton comes across incredibly poorly in this tome (and I have no love lost for anyone in this administration): 1) His ego is endless. He has seemingly written down every piece of shameless/shameful flattery any person has ever uttered to him, and recounts all of them here, clearly tickled at all of them I got my hands on an advance copy and read it. Anyone who's bothering to read Goodreads reviews surely has already seen the leaked substance, so I won't repeat that here. What I will say is that Bolton comes across incredibly poorly in this tome (and I have no love lost for anyone in this administration): 1) His ego is endless. He has seemingly written down every piece of shameless/shameful flattery any person has ever uttered to him, and recounts all of them here, clearly tickled at all of them and taking them seriously. (Meanwhile, he endlessly talks about his clever stratagems of getting in people's heads with provocative tweets or speeches; it seemingly doesn't occur to him that some of this flattery might be less than gospel.) 2) He is incredibly petty. There is no slight so small that he's not willing to square it here; very early in his NatSec tenure, Mike Pence acts as chair/convenor of a meeting; Bolton makes sure we all know what a grievous etiquette failure that is and that Bolton made sure that didn't happen again. Good to know you're focused on the big picture, John. 3) His pettiness seems actively misogynistic when it comes to women. While he clearly thinks he's smarter than pretty much everybody else he encounters in his work life, his descriptions of women who work in the White House (Nikki Haley, Kristjen Njielsen) are particularly venomous, and gratuitously cruel. What exactly is the point of repeating a sexist slur Trump tells him Tillerson used to describe Haley to her face, particularly if Bolton doesn't know that it happened, other than to humiliate Haley in print? And Haley and Njielsen are relentlessly derided for their lack of intellectual firepower and strength of will, in ways and words that are stronger than say, his criticisms of Jared Kushner or Steve Mnuchin. His description of the FLOTUS staff as sorority mean girls seems tellingly trivializing. 4) He's even more of a chickenhawk than I realized (and I remember being appalled by UN Ambassador Bolton during the GWB years). The number of treaties he salivates getting out of, or fantasizes getting out of because of their sheer pointlessness, had me looking for a treaty he would actually defend (either in history or now) I could not find one in this 500 page book. 5) He lacks all self-awareness. At one point, he recounts himself describing James Mattis (who he seems particularly to resent, along with the other generals who serve in the administration. I suspect it has to do with the chicken side of his chickenhawkery) as "having a high opinion of his own opinion," and being good at not doing what the President wants him to. Both of those things clearly apply to Bolton himself, as *his own book* amply demonstrates, but I see no evidence that he recognizes this (or any other meaningful character weakness). And the fact that Bolton describes a White House where pretty much *everybody* is good at not doing what the President wants them to do, or manipulating the President for their own ends, that ultimately makes this book such a sour read. I've long thought that this Presidency reminded me of the late years of Henry VIII's reign, but that still gives the President too much credit. While Henry was whimsical, vengeful and consumed by rivalries and intrigues, he could still remember what he thought from day to day, and track when advisors hadn't done as he'd asked.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Onceinabluemoon

    It's taken me two days to listen and read this book and frankly I wanted to scream and scrub myself clean so often I am just thrilled to be able to walk away from this book, but sadly just glance at the news any given hour and this nightmare won't go away. I am no fan of Bolton either, the two have enough similar characteristics to make my skin crawl. Would I recommend this book, frankly no, but it felt like a necessary read, but it's all truly soul crushing... All I can do is pray/vote a change It's taken me two days to listen and read this book and frankly I wanted to scream and scrub myself clean so often I am just thrilled to be able to walk away from this book, but sadly just glance at the news any given hour and this nightmare won't go away. I am no fan of Bolton either, the two have enough similar characteristics to make my skin crawl. Would I recommend this book, frankly no, but it felt like a necessary read, but it's all truly soul crushing... All I can do is pray/vote a change for the better is coming, it's truly depressing the state of our affairs are in on so many levels. We need intelligence, forsight, wisdom, kindness, leadership, respect, compassion, calming, unity after the polarizing, disastrous, mentally challenged, egotistical, petty, vindictive, deflective blowhard that has rattled every cage from the dark corners to the forefront.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Deborah

    If the controversial administration of a one of the most influential countries in the world is trying to make this book disappear, it is going to be a book that I want to support with my $.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Authentikate

    2.5 stars rounded up. Some new information (some bombshells) in this self-serving memoir written in a tedious style. (Seriously...I found his writing style grating). It was detailed—obvious to me, Bolton took copious notes. However, while it adds an important place on one’s Trump presidency library shelf, I am not recommending it. (Newsflash: 1) No, Bolton is no hero. The books biggest revelations would have been CRUCIAL during the impeachment hearing—where they rightly belonged. 2) No, he isn’t 2.5 stars rounded up. Some new information (some bombshells) in this self-serving memoir written in a tedious style. (Seriously...I found his writing style grating). It was detailed—obvious to me, Bolton took copious notes. However, while it adds an important place on one’s Trump presidency library shelf, I am not recommending it. (Newsflash: 1) No, Bolton is no hero. The books biggest revelations would have been CRUCIAL during the impeachment hearing—where they rightly belonged. 2) No, he isn’t a patriot—his observations, if disclosed in a timely and appropriate way, could have helped put country over profit and save our republic some heartache. 3) Yes, he’s rewriting his legacy to save face—he’s no patriot and yet, he’s casting himself in his self-serving book as a “knight” on horseback, galloping in to share the news to save an oncoming invasion. He’s not. See points one and two. 4) Yes, Trump is as terrible as we have come to believe—you know, for those of us that read a little, open our eyes some, visit places outside our bubbles that is. Want to read the book? Don’t. Save your money and read news reporting about the book or borrow a copy (like I did) if possible. You’ll get the “new” tidbits and save your eyes and won’t be contributing to this man’s greed over country play

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mia Tryst

    I want to read this book but I already feel like I can't be objective. Why release it now? A little too late isn't it? I will give it my best effort, but seriously, not expecting it to elevate my opinion much of this administration. Sucks to be the one carrying the water and spilling all the gory details only after the bucket has been discarded. The subject of the book I'm sure will be as spineless as the paperback on which it is written.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    I would like to read this book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tucker

    Of course you can get this without paying for it. As many people have pointed out, Bolton had the opportunity to tell the truth and testify against Trump at the impeachment trial, and he chose not to, instead saving the information to try to profit off it later. Therefore, as many people see it, the information in this book may be fairly understood as the rightful property of the American people. I got through the first quarter of the book. [My Goodreads shelf: "handled"] It's told chronologicall Of course you can get this without paying for it. As many people have pointed out, Bolton had the opportunity to tell the truth and testify against Trump at the impeachment trial, and he chose not to, instead saving the information to try to profit off it later. Therefore, as many people see it, the information in this book may be fairly understood as the rightful property of the American people. I got through the first quarter of the book. [My Goodreads shelf: "handled"] It's told chronologically, which means I didn't get up to the parts relevant to the impeachment trial. Bolton assumes you know who he is and also that you know the overall story of Trump, and he simply launches into the story of his career in the Trump administration. It's a BYOC ("bring your own context") story. That is a somewhat strange craft decision, but OK. He had 570 pages of other things to say — mostly a straight blow-by-blow recollection of conversations, and not so much telling us what we should take away from that information. On the first page, Bolton suggests that the Trump White House had not merely one “adult in the room”(an impression conveyed by the famous NYT op-ed) but rather an “axis of adults.” Bolton says they “caused enduring problems” because “they didn’t do nearly enough to establish order, and what they did was so transparently self-serving and so publicly dismissive of many of Trump’s very clear goals” that they made Trump distrust everyone, such that Trump began imagining “conspiracies behind rocks, and remained stunningly uninformed on how to run the White House, let alone the huge federal government.” Later in the book, Bolton says that, by mid-2018, this “axis of adults” had “largely departed.” It seems that Bolton does not see himself as one of these problematic do-gooders; it is unclear what he believes he was instead. Regarding the decision to break the nuclear deal with Iran, Bolton says that Bannon once texted him, “We talk about it/u everyday.” (I, personally, cannot imagine a creepier text message I would less like to receive from a person like Bannon, so, better Bolton than I.) Later, he says he told Trump in a private meeting that there were “reports of North Korea’s selling chemical-weapons equipment and precursor chemicals to Syria, likely financed by Iran,” and that Trump could use this to justify hardline approaches toward both North Korea and Iran. Bolton was shocked, though, when Trump accepted a meeting invitation with Kim Jong Un. Kim had given “no sign whatever” that he might denuclearize, so Trump’s concession of the prestige and validation of a meeting, while getting nothing in return, amounted to “a propaganda gift beyond measure” for Kim. Of Kim’s empty promises during the Singapore summit, he said, “I had heard all this before, but Trump had not,” and said that Pompeo passed him a handwritten note saying that Kim was “‘so full of shit.’ I agreed.” Trump then tried to claim that the “little rocket man” insult he’d previously lobbed had actually been a compliment because it came from an Elton John song. “Kim kept laughing,” Bolton says. Later, Trump asked “if Pompeo had handed over the Trump-autographed copy of Elton John’s ‘Rocket Man’ CD, which Pompeo had not. Getting this CD to Kim remained a high priority for several months.” He mentions that Trump made alarming tweets on Sunday, April 8, 2018 about an unfolding situation in Syria, and that there was nothing Bolton could do to help control the U.S. response until the next day, because his predecessor McMaster had left the position of national security advisor on Friday and “I would not officially become a government employee until Monday.” He points out that when Trump said “he would reduce the US ‘contribution’ [to NATO] to Germany’s level,” this meant — to be logical about it — that he would slash the U.S. defense budget to one-quarter of its present level, “which I don’t think he meant.” He also said that Trump invented another figure about NATO funding (or, as Bolton phrased it less directly, Trump gave “a number the source of which none of us ever knew”). This will go on for another 400 pages and, especially as I do not know where it's going, I shall not make the time for it right now. I shall let experts dissect it.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Scott Martin

    (Audiobook) (2.5 stars) The latest in the ever-increasing library of books from insiders-now-outsiders in the Trump administration, this one generated significant headlines due to the revelations of Trump all but begging the Chinese to aid him in his reelection efforts as well as Bolton confirming the quid-pro-quo call between Trump and Ukraine. However, setting aside that work, there is much more discussed that didn't make the front page of the major news outlets. Bolton went scorched-earth on (Audiobook) (2.5 stars) The latest in the ever-increasing library of books from insiders-now-outsiders in the Trump administration, this one generated significant headlines due to the revelations of Trump all but begging the Chinese to aid him in his reelection efforts as well as Bolton confirming the quid-pro-quo call between Trump and Ukraine. However, setting aside that work, there is much more discussed that didn't make the front page of the major news outlets. Bolton went scorched-earth on just about everyone he worked with, especially once they were no longer in a position to help him, or if they didn't agree with his exact world viewpoint. In addition to Trump, he trashes (in no particular order) Mattis, Haley, Kushner, Mnuchin, Obama, Gates, Tillerson, Ivanka, most of the Department of Defense, most of career folks at the State Department, the EU, the UN...basically, just about anyone who wasn't John F*****G Bolton (JFB). Admittedly, he is somewhat respectful of Kelly and Pompeo (although, as Pompeo is still in his current job working for Trump, he has disowned Bolton publicly). Interestingly enough, he was friendly with Barr, but after the publication of this book, that ain't gonna last. The old chickenhawk is at it again, as it seems he will never be happy unless Iran is thoroughly smashed by US forces. He is no different from his previous experiences, always seeking to take an aggressive US stance, usually without any international assistance. He is quite effective in passing blame (see above), but as for acknowledgement of mistakes...nope, he has never been wrong. Yet, even JFB was bewildered by the actions of Trump, who is always stuck in his own worldview, no matter what anyone could tell him. Bolton, like so many others, figured they could handle the man, but like everyone else, they failed. Overall, this was a self-serving, self-righteous manifesto extolling the greatness that is JFB. If only American leadership would just listen to exactly everything he says, this country, nay, the world, nay the whole UNIVERSE, would be in a better place. The epilogue, where Bolton justifies why he didn't testify to Congress during the impeachment hearings might be the height of hubris. Of course, the man is trying to publicize his work and get back into the political supporting game. However, a scorched earth work like this all but assures that he will not be any sort of factor for some time. The left already despises him, and now, most of the right (those who are full-on MAGA believers or who tied their fortunes to Trump) see him as the arch-traitor. Wonder what his financial assets look like, because that nice advance and book profits are a prime target for the government to collect by a vindictive Trump and his (well, supposedly the US) Justice Department (at least Omorosa will end up keeping her book profits). There were a few non self-serving moments, but otherwise, it was just another tabloid-style political memoir that will change absolutely no one's mind, and move JFB further up the list of loathed political douche-bags. For an audiobook, the reader is fine, but JFB could only be bothered to read his self-justifying conclusion. No bonus points there. Take it for what it is worth. The big revelations are already out there, but if you want to see someone go full nuclear against his political co-workers, this one is an option. Buy it, or wait for library checkout, but more than likely, he ain't seeing a dime.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Cheri

    While I’m not exactly a fan of Bolton’s, I do appreciate how thorough his ‘tell-all’ is - despite coming short of telling all. My guess after reading this, that telling all would require an entire set of encyclopedias, several bottles of aspirin and excessive quantities of alcohol. I cannot offer a comprehensive theory of the Trump Administration’s transformation because none is possible. Washington’s conventional wisdom on Trump’s trajectory, however, is wrong… Trump was always bizarre, but While I’m not exactly a fan of Bolton’s, I do appreciate how thorough his ‘tell-all’ is - despite coming short of telling all. My guess after reading this, that telling all would require an entire set of encyclopedias, several bottles of aspirin and excessive quantities of alcohol. I cannot offer a comprehensive theory of the Trump Administration’s transformation because none is possible. Washington’s conventional wisdom on Trump’s trajectory, however, is wrong… Trump was always bizarre, but in his first fifteen months, uncertain in his new place, and held in check by an ‘axis of adults’ he hesitated to act. As time passed, however, Trump became more certain of himself, the axis of adults departed, things fell apart, and Trump was surrounded only by “yes men.” ‘Yes men’ who never read the government’s “operator’s manual,” leaving things to go ‘to Hell in a handbasket’ as my grandmother would have said. What happened on one day on a particular issue often had little resemblance to what happened the next day, or the day after. Few seemed to realize it, care about it, or have any interest in fixing it. And it wasn’t going to get much better, which depressing but inescapable conclusion I reached only after I had joined the Administration. Caught by surprise by his ‘victory’ at the polls, Trump’s team was not prepared, and Trump ’didn’t understand much of what the huge federal behemoth did before he won, and he didn’t acquire much, if any, greater awareness during the transition, which did not bode well for his performance in office.’ There’s another quote, also within the first 1% of this book, that offers another opinion of Trump. Charles Krauthammer, a sharp critic of his, told me he had been wrong earlier to characterize Trump’s behavior as that of an eleven-year-old boy. “I was off by ten years,” Krauthammer remarked. “He’s like a one-year-old. Everything is seen through the prism of whether it benefits Donald Trump.” Trump often comes off in this, unsurprisingly, more like a whiny toddler threatening a major temper tantrum than presidential. Not exactly shocking news, but there are plenty of other comments from others that support this opinion, as well as note his dangerous incompetence. Shocking, I know… This is a very dry account, with zero entertainment value, or mesmerizingly beautiful writing, it’s, as Joe Friday would say, “Just the facts, ma’am.” It’s politics, and it’s written by John Bolton, so don’t expect more, but if you’re interested in what the future could hold based on the past almost four years, politically speaking, it’s worth reading, if for no other reason than it is, indeed, worse than you could ever imagine. Vote.

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