Skip to Content

Book Review: "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House", by Michael Wolff

“You can’t make this shit up.”

Sean Spicer, “on an hourly basis”

I’m definitely a few months late to this party, but what they say about it is true. I just couldn’t put this down. I finished it in two days. I guess if a sitting President of the United States threatens a publisher and an author about a book - and that president doesn’t read all that much in the first place - that books has to be good.

The most interesting angle the author takes - and holds throughout the book - is that Steve Bannon is an extremely intelligent individual. I found myself agreeing with him, or at least sympathizing with him, a lot of the time. Because so much of the book is written with his quotes, passages, and erstwhile testimony, you experience his fiery passion to remake America in his image, his indigation and confusion that somebody like Trump could really be that stupid, and finally his resignation that he will be pushed out of the White House ignomiously.

A lot of ways, it sounds like a lot of people at my old company, myself included. I guess that’s what I mean when I say I sympathize with Bannon. The sheer ludicrousness of it all. Like a “If you’re this dumb, why bother getting up in the morning?” kind of mental intrigue. I never got it. Apparently, neither did Steve Bannon (who was castigated and ostracized by Trump, then dumped by the Mercers, then dragged over the coals by Mueller, for the testimony in this book).

That’s honestly why I found this book funny. I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard at reading something in quite some time. One example of how the author made me laugh was describing Jared Kushner as “sylphlike”. I did not know what that word meant, so I Googled it. It means, “(of a woman or girl) slender and graceful”. I love it. I also loved how the author described Sean Spicer’s daily press briefings as “out-of-body experiences”. I laughed very hard at my old office. I laughed here, too. It’s the same kind of dark humor.

Right now the stock market has broken its rise (finally realizing that an insane person as president isn’t great), we’re on the verge of another war with North Korea, we’re going to rip up the Iran accords, and we’re slapping tariffs on China and Mexico. This book adequately captures our collective incredulity.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past year or so, it’s how everybody copes with unbearable situations. Mine is to laugh. Even insane, maniacal laughter is better than quietly suffering. So I set aside my paranoia for the future, leave the seriousness of the affair to the ballot box in November and Robert Mueller, and simply enjoyed this book. Very much.