An absorbing account of the palace intrigues, inter-camp rivalry, and the musical chairs game, Trump’s White House has become. The book begins with the incredulity in Trump’s team on his victory. Bannon, Kushner, Conway, Melania and Trump himself, apparently all had their plans post-elections, which got disrupted by his surprise victory. Then began a series of upheavals in the staff that continues to date. Jarvanka vs. Bannon is an engrossing running theme. But above all, the book offers a none-too-complementary window into the mind of the 47th President of United States.
These are turbulent times indeed. Ultra-nationalist, populist leaders in power in Russia, India, Turkey, US and many more places. Snyder provides a list of twenty things ordinary citizens can do, not to get sucked into the spiral of potential dictators, drawing lessons from the twentieth century. Defending institutions, being aware of the dangers of one-party rule or domination, speaking out, and believing in truth, are some of them. The book does make a compelling case for being watchful, to ensure that the twentieth century history (rise of Hitler, persecution of Jews, the Holocaust, World War II), are not repeated. Some of the parallels drawn between today’s leaders and Hitler are chilling. However, the writing, when it’s theorizing, is not engaging. It holds attention only when there are examples of twentieth century that bear an unpleasant resemblance with today’s events.
Read, if some of today’s leaders are ruining your sleep.