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What Were We Thinking: A Brief Intellectual…

What Were We Thinking: A Brief Intellectual History of the Trump Era (edição: 2020)

de Carlos Lozada (Autor)

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Título:What Were We Thinking: A Brief Intellectual History of the Trump Era
Autores:Carlos Lozada (Autor)
Informação:Simon & Schuster (2020), Edition: 1st, 272 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
Etiquetas:Trump, American culture, American politics, presidency, intellectual history, history, American history, 100

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What Were We Thinking: A Brief Intellectual History of the Trump Era de Carlos Lozada


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"Many books have been written about me, some good, some bad. Both happily and sadly, there will be more to come." Donald J. Trump 7-17-20

The author is a book reviewer at the Washington Post, and over the years, he read 150 (so far) books on the Trump era which were published between 2016 and 2020. In this book he categorizes and analyzes his Trump readings. Each chapter discusses his thoughts on a particular category of Trump Book.

In the first chapter, entitled Heartlandia, he discusses the 15 or so books he read that were intended to help explain the Trump voter (i.e. is it economic grievance or racism?), books such as Hillbilly Elegy, White Trash, and Strangers in their Own Land.

Chapter 2 is entitled Resistable. These are the books seeking not to understand Trump and his voters, but to plan for resistance. This group of books includes No Is Not Enough, The Man Who Sold America, and On Tyranny. In Lozada's words, these books "prioritize the purity of resistance over its expansion." Most of these books also recognize that the greatest danger to be resisted is not simply a change of policy, but an erosion of our system of government.

The third chapter, entitled The Conservative Pivot, discusses books written by conservatives. Lozada divides these into three categories: The Sycophants, The Never-Trumpers, and the Pro-Trump "Intellectuals." Jeanine Pirro, Newt Gingrich, and Hugh Hewitt have written books in the Sycophant catgory. Lozada doesn't hold the Never-Trumpers in high regard, noting that in general they hold everyone responsible for the rise of Trumpism, except themselves, despite years of ignoring racism, conspiracy theorists, etc. until it was too late. This category includes books like How the Right Lost Its Mind, Everything Trump Touches Dies, and Conscience of a Conservative. The "Intellectuals" are pro-Trump conservatives who seek to "retrofit an ideological framework onto the whims of a man whose positions show few organizing principles beyond self-interest and self-regard." Here, he includes books by Rich Lowry, Peter Wehner, Yuval Levin, and others.

Chapter 4, Beyond the Wall, discusses books dealing with immigration issues, and Chapter 5, True Enough deals with the cheapening of truth in the Trump era and the power of Trump's lies. This chapter includes a subcategory of books relating to Trump's war on the press, with books like The Enemy of the People and Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth.

Chapter 6, See Some ID, includes books relating to identity politics, and Chapter 7, Him Too, is about books with a feminist slant, in particular the "me, too" movement. Hillary Clinton's What Happened is included in this chapter.

Most of the books I read are those in the final three categories Lozada sets forth. Chapter 8, The Chaos Chronicles, includes the books Lozada describes as books full of explosive anecdotes about chaos. Here you will find Fire and Fury, A Very Stable Genius, A Higher Loyalty, and many others. The Mueller Report itself finds a place in this category. Lozada has particular praise for Michael Lewis's The Fifth Risk ("For all the president's blather about a nefarious deep state, it is his contempt for the deep-seated expertise of the federal government that could prove the most damaging.") and Unmaking the Presidency (In Trump's vision, "the presidency emphatically is not about the successful management of bureaucracies or the implementation of policy objectives. It is about the showmanship and flamboyance of the person and about entertaining and captivating audiences.")

Chapter 9, Russian Lit, discusses books exploring links between Trump world and Russia. Included are Collusion, Russian Roulette, The Apprentice, as well as Timothy Snyder's The Road To Unfreedom. The final chapter, In Plain View, includes books that ask Is Democracy Dead? Here we find How Democracies Die, Surviving Autocracy, and Trumpocracy.

And just in case you thought I've referred to enough books in this review, Lozada includes an epilogue of the books he thinks are the most valuable to read if you seek an understanding of the Trump era. I will list them all in case you have an interest:

We're Still Here by Jennifer Silva
On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder
A Time to Build by Yuval Levin
America for Americans by Erika Lee
The End of Myth by Greg Grandin
A Lot of People Are Saying by Russell Muirhead
When They Call You a Terrorist by Patrisse Kahn-Cullors
The Mueller Report
Know My Name by Chanel Miller
The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis
Unmaking the Presidency by Susan Hennessey and Benjamin Wittes
One Person No Vote by Carol Anderson

Of these, I've only read On Tyranny, The Mueller Report, The Fifth Risk and Unmaking the Presidency.

3 1/2 stars ( )
  arubabookwoman | Dec 30, 2020 |
I’ve said before that I do not allow Trump into my sacred reading life. But this book felt like an appropriate bookend to his administration.

Book critic at the Washington Post, Pulitzer Prize-winner Carlos Lozada analyzes, reviews, and compares the slew of Trump-adjacent books that flooded the literary scene over the last five years. In each chapter (Trump tell-alls, Heartlandia memoirs, #MeToo manifestos, democracy dossiers, etc), Lozada tells us which books are worth reading and why, thankfully doing the dirty work for those of us with tall TBRs.

I hope Lozada hunkers down for another volume of this project in a couple of years: “A Brief Intellectual History of the Post-Trump Era.” ( )
  sjanke | Dec 9, 2020 |
Criticizing and sorting thematically 150 books about the Trump presidency
I don't usually read books on current political debates, but this appealed to me as it involves literary criticism, and summarizes many books I thought about buying. Each chapter considers books on similar topics involved in the political debates. Understanding the white working class includes Hillbilly Elegy but recommends Jennifer Silva's We're Still Here. In writing about the hysterical fears of the resistance, he recommends Timothy Snyder On Tyranny, and Yuval Levin A Time to Build. There are chapters on the conservative reaction to Trump, from syncophants to Never Trumpers, on immigration as a theme of the presidency, on racism, feminism, chaos in the White House, the Russian gambit, and the theme of Trump the democracy killer.
Lozada remains a calm voice, and tries not to side with the various critics, but to be fair, if trenchant, about all the viewpoints. His last chapter contains recommend reading culled from his project. I don't know if I will go on to read anything more about this topic, however, since the 2020 election was yesterday, votes are still being counted, to decide a choice between Trump chaos and Biden socialism ( )
  neurodrew | Nov 4, 2020 |
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