Fear: Trump in the White House

Book cover of Fear by Bob Woodward
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
September 11, 2018
ISBN: 9781501175510

“Real power is – I don’t even want to use the word – fear.”

– Presidential candidate Donald J. Trump in an interview with Bob Woodward and Robert Costa on March 31, 2016, at the Old Post Office Pavilion, Trump International Hotel, Washington, D.C.

Fear: Trump in the White House was both a New York Times and International #1 bestseller. It broke the 94-year first-week sales record of its publisher Simon & Schuster and sold over two million copies its first three months in the U.S. alone.

Fear is the most intimate portrait of a sitting president ever published during the president’s first years in Office. 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.

Woodward draws from hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand sources and from meeting notes, personal diaries, files and paperwork. Often with day-by-day details, dialogue and documentation, Fear track key foreign issues from North Korea, Afghanistan, Iran, the Middle East, NATO, China and Russia. It reports in depth on Trump’s key domestic issues, particularly trade and tariff disputes, immigration, tax legislation, the Paris Climate Accord and the racial violence in Charlottesville in 2017.

Fear presents vividly the negotiations between Trump’s attorneys and Robert Mueller, the special counsel in the Russia investigation, laying out for the first time the meeting-by-meeting discussions and strategies. It discloses how senior Trump White House officials joined together to steal draft orders from the president’s Oval Office desk so he would not issue directives that would jeopardize critical intelligence operations.

“It was no less than an administrative coup d’etat,” Woodward writes, “a nervous breakdown of the executive power of the most powerful country in the world.”

In early August 2018, after the book was complete but prior to publication, President Trump phoned Woodward. Transcript available here..

Listen to the call:

Nick Bryant of the BBC wrote, “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.”

George Packer wrote in The New Yorker that Fear “is a remarkable feat of reporting…There’s nothing comparable in American journalism, except maybe Woodward’s “The Final Days” co-written with Carl Bernstein about the downfall of Richard Nixon.”

Lloyd Green wrote in The Guardian that Fear “depicts a White House awash in dysfunction, where the Lord of the Flies is the closest thing to an owner’s manual.” 

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