Bob Woodward sheds light through new book on Trump

Photo by Eva Ou

Under Donald Trump’s presidency, there have been a number of highly publicized books going against the Republican president. But Bob Woodward’s new book Fear: Trump in the White House may be the most in-depth one yet.

Bob Woodward is an associate editor at The Washington Post and is famously known for covering the Watergate scandal with Carl Bernstein that would eventually lead to Richard Nixon resigning in 1974. 

He is a two time Pulitzer prize winner for his work on Watergate and, in 2003, for his reporting on the 9/11 attacks. He is also the author/co-author of 18 other books about various other presidents from various sides of the political spectrum.

The book itself, at 357 pages excluding acknowledgements, source notes and an index, is a very easy read. Woodward writes in a way that one can easily follow along with. 

At first, it was a little hard to follow along as he likes to jump to different points in times on whatever topic the chapter is covering, but he gets his point across very clearly and accurately. While the book has 42 chapters, they are very short and sweet. They can range from four pages to 20, averaging 10 pages per chapter.

It is possible for Woodward to use quotes and exact examples through a journalistic practice called “deep background.” This practice is used to protect the identity of sources so that they are not harmed due to the nature of the information given.

As easy a read as it is, the depth that Woodward goes into and the language and personal opinions given by sources makes it a hard book to put down. 

It is one thing to see those close to the U.S. president say one thing on TV, but it is another thing to hear the personal opinions of them in this book.

The main stream media covered some of the most shocking things like having documents taken from Trump’s desk, to him wanting world leaders assassinated, to his lawyer telling him to not testify in the Russia investigation. What really caught my eye was that his staff had to repeatedly explain to him why he couldn’t do something. 

At one point the meetings were described as “groundhog day-like” and that the same arguments had to be explained and debated over and over again. It keeps hitting home the point that Trump is not suitable for the office of president and seems to behave like a child.

There have been a lot of critics of authors who write books against Trump saying that this might be another “hit piece” against the U.S. president. Some others include Unhinged by Omarosa, Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff, and The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump by Brandy Lee. But Bob Woodward’s Fear is different.

It is noted in the beginning of the book that it is “drawn from hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand participants and witnesses to these events.” 

He even notes that he has personal and government documents, meeting notes and tape recordings of most of the interviews he did.

In terms of reliability compared to other books, Woodward’s could be seen as one of the most trustworthy. 

Excluding his record in journalism, Pulitzer prizes, and unbiased writing against other presidents like Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, there are other books that are questionable. 

Both Michael Wolff and Omarosa have creditability issues in their books Fire and Fury and Unhinged. The former having multiple spelling errors and fact-checking problems, and the latter also having some fact-checking errors and a history of being an unreliable source. 

The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump is a series of essays from highly established individuals in the field of psychology include opinions based on their experience and interpretation of his public displays.

Overall, it is worth the read. Regardless of your political views, as the midterms in the U.S. approaches it might be a good idea to see just how bad the turmoil in the White House really is without having to worry about the bias of the author.

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