For those laying odds on 2024, Drucker delivers an opinionated, well-reasoned, and often depressing score card.

IN TRUMP'S SHADOW

THE BATTLE FOR 2024 AND THE FUTURE OF THE GOP

The GOP is Trump’s plaything. But is he the only presence on the playground?

Washington Examiner senior correspondent Drucker doesn’t mean to read the tea leaves—so he suggests, anyway—as much as he wants to lay out possible scenarios to game the next electoral cycle and beyond. Trump has been making dark noises about running again, seeking revenge for his humiliating defeat. (The author allows that there are far too many people who don’t acknowledge that defeat, though, reading between the lines of a Mar-a-Lago conversation with him, Trump himself seems to have accepted the fact.) But then, Drucker writes, every other person positioning for a race “will be running as the next Trump,” so much so that his presence is hardly required. One of them is the Arkansas junior senator, Tom Cotton, groomed by Mitch McConnell to take a leading role in the Republican Congress and a person who amounts to what “a sophisticated version of Donald Trump [might] have looked like.” Cotton is definitively on track for a presidential run—if not in 2024, then in the years beyond. Never mind that he has absolutely no charisma. As Drucker writes, “he just doesn’t give a shit,” a quality that too many voters admire. The author also looks at Nikki Haley, the South Carolina governor who dared resist Trump even while working for him; Chris Christie, the sometime Trump confidant; Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who “is already running for president, if you ask most Republicans,” waging a ceaseless culture war on the non–QAnon contingent; and of course Ted Cruz, who just won’t go away. Drucker even includes the Trump family among the contenders, though he reckons that it’s Don Jr., who has been busily building networks among the Republican establishment that his father scorned, who is most likely to enter the field.

For those laying odds on 2024, Drucker delivers an opinionated, well-reasoned, and often depressing score card.

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5387-5404-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Twelve

Review Posted Online: Aug. 23, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

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A lovely, sometimes challenging testament to the universality of human nature.

HUMANS

The creator of the hit internet series Humans of New York takes it global, chasing down a panoply of interesting stories.

In 1955, Edward Steichen staged a show called “The Family of Man,” a gathering of photographs that emphasized the commonality of humankind. Stanton’s project seemingly has much the same ambition. “You’ve created this magic little corner of the Web where people feel safe sharing their stories—without being ridiculed, or bullied, or judged,” he writes. “These stories are only honestly shared because they have a long history of being warmly received.” The ask is the hard part: approaching a total stranger and asking him or her to tell their stories. And what stories they are. A young Frenchwoman, tearful, recounts being able to see things from the spirit world that no one else can see. “And it’s been a very lonely existence since then,” she says. A sensible teenager in St. Petersburg, Russia, relates that her friends are trying to be grown-up, smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol, whereas she wants to remain a child close to her parents: “I’d like these times to last as long as possible.” A few stories are obnoxious, as with a Dutch incel who has converted himself into a pickup artist and outright cad: “Of course it’s manipulation, but why should I care? I’ve been manipulated so many times in my life.” A great many stories, some going for several pages but most taking up just a paragraph or two, are regretful, speaking to dashed dreams and roads not taken. A surprising number recount mental illness, depression, and addiction; “I’d give anything to have a tribe,” says a beleaguered mother in Barcelona. Some are hopeful, though, such as that of an Iranian woman: “I’ve fallen in love with literature. I try to read for one or two hours every day. I only have one life to live. But in books I can live one thousand lives.”

A lovely, sometimes challenging testament to the universality of human nature.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-11429-7

Page Count: 448

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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A solid work of investigation that, while treading well-covered ground, offers plenty of surprises.

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PERIL

An account of the last gasps of the Trump administration, completing a trilogy begun with Fear (2018) and Rage (2020).

One of Woodward and fellow Washington Post reporter Costa’s most memorable revelations comes right away: Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, calling his counterpart in Beijing to assure him that even after Jan. 6 and what Milley saw as an unmistakable attempt at a coup d’état, he would keep Trump from picking a war with China. This depiction has earned much attention on the talking-heads news channels, but more significant is its follow-up: Milley did so because he was concerned that Trump “might still be looking for what Milley called a ‘Reichstag moment.’ ” Milley emerges as a stalwart protector of the Constitution who constantly courted Trump’s ire and yet somehow survived without being fired. No less concerned about Trump’s erratic behavior was Paul Ryan, the former Speaker of the House, who studied the psychiatric literature for a big takeaway: “Do not humiliate Trump in public. Humiliating a narcissist risked real danger, a frantic lashing out if he felt threatened or criticized.” Losing the 2020 election was one such humiliation, and Woodward and Costa closely track the trajectory of Trump’s reaction, from depression to howling rage to the stubborn belief that the election was rigged. There are a few other modest revelations in the book, including the fact that Trump loyalist William Barr warned him that the electorate didn’t like him. “They just think you’re a fucking asshole,” Barr told his boss. That was true enough, and the civil war that the authors recount among various offices in the White House and government reveals that Trump’s people were only ever tentatively his. All the same, the authors note, having drawn on scores of “deep background” interviews, Trump still has his base, still intends vengeance by way of a comeback, and still constitutes the peril of their title.

A solid work of investigation that, while treading well-covered ground, offers plenty of surprises.

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982182-91-5

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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