Review: A Very Stable Genius

A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump’s Testing of America by Philip Rucker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


The Trump administration is a Carousel of Chaos. Trump tweets a thing, the news orgs pick it up, his staff scrambles to control it, or spin it, or lie about it – whatever the case may be. It’s exhausting and frustrating and more than a little bit nuts. Trying to keep track of the last 3 years of this is wearying – which is why I’m glad Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig did all the hard work for us. And did it well.

The book is extremely readable, and lays everything out on the table. And they do it in true journalistic style – I was honestly surprised to find that a few times I felt sympathy that surprised me. It is obvious that they spoke to A LOT of people, because the accounts given are as complete as one could get without having actually been in the room. This is one of those books where we know the basic story, but filling in the blanks is more surprising, infuriating, and helpful than we could have guessed.

The scene at the Pentagon made me grit my teeth in anger (I’m former military, and my husband retired from the service. However, anyone who “supports the troops” should find it unacceptable.). The whole thing about the Kurds made my physically ill. But the overall theme here is the casual carelessness with which Trump runs his administration. The ignorance of why there are processes, and the disdain with which he views everyone around him. It’s not unknown, but seeing it here so starkly written, with conversations and pieces that were previously still hidden, is eye-opening and – frankly – terrifying.

This is a book that is required reading. It will be an important piece of the historical puzzle about this administration, and we should all understand where we stand as a country.



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