Marcus Rashford scores well in book charts with You Are a Champion

Public support for the England striker has seen sales of his children’s book soar

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England footballer Marcus Rashford’s children’s book ‘You Are a Champion’ has just shot to the top of the charts following England’s defeat to Italy in the Euro 2020 final.

The book is a guide for young people in which the footballer shares stories from his own life and discusses how to “find your team”, and to “dream big”. You Are a Champion was published back in May and was co-written with Carl Anka. After it’s release it topped the charts for four weeks before being knocked off by David Walliams’ new book Megamonster.

In the wake of last weekend’s defeat however – and the support that has surrounded Rashford after his missed penalty and the racist abuse that followed – You Are A Champion has shot to the top of Amazon’s book chart, putting it ahead of bestsellers by Walliams, Matt Haig and Richard Osman.

Richard Osman tweeted out his congratulations…

A number of UK bookshops have launched crowdfunding campaigns this week to get as many copies of Rashford’s book as possible into children’s hands. A welsh bookstore called Book-ish has raised more than £8,000 to buy copies for a local secondary school.

“I am overwhelmed by the generosity of people who have donated over £1,000 to get his book to local children,” said Vivian Archer at Newham Bookshop. “One person who bid for a signed copy said he will donate that to a child who could be inspired to go on to great things. Thank you Marcus.”

The books published Pan Macmillian has also pledged to donated 20,000 copies to a number of these campaigns. “It is wonderful to see how our industry has pulled together to take positive action to support Marcus Rashford and his message of hope, and we are delighted to be adding support to the campaigns,” said Macmillan Children’s Books’ Belinda Ioni Rasmussen. “Marcus is an inspirational young man and his book speaks directly to children and young people, reinforcing the message that you can be whatever and whoever you want to be, regardless of your background.”

Shortly after publishing his book Rashford worked with Macmillan to launch the Marcus Rashford Book Club, an organisation that aims to encourage reading and improve literacy in children between the ages of 8 and 12.

Trump believes Hitler did a lot of good according to new book

Remark shocked Chief of Staff John Kelly according to author MIchael Bender

During a visit to Europe to mark 100 years since the end of the first world war it is reported that Donald Trump turned to his then chief of staff, John Kelly and uttered the inexplicable words; “Well, Hitler did a lot of good things.”

This remark is said to have stunned Kelly, a retired US Marine Corps General, and is being reported in a new book by Michael Bender of the Wall Street Journal.

The book, “Frankly, We Did Win This Election” is being heavily advertised ahead of its publication next week.

According to Bender the then president Trump made the remark during a quick history lesson during which Kelly had to “[remind] the president which countries were on which side during the conflict” and had to “connect the dots from the first world war to the second world war and all of Hitler’s atrocities”.

Bender is one of a number of authors who has been able to interview Trump since he lost his second election to Joe Biden.

In a statement issued in response to this allegation a Trump spokesperson said: “This is totally false. President Trump never said this. It is made-up fake news, probably by a general who was incompetent and was fired.” This sounds a little familiar if truth be told.

Bender however claims that unnamed sources have reported that Kelly; “told the president that he was wrong, but Trump was undeterred”, apparently the president continued to emphasize the German economic recovery that occured under Hitler during the 1930s.

“Kelly pushed back again,” Bender writes, “and argued that the German people would have been better off poor than subjected to the Nazi genocide.”

Bender adds that Kelly had to tell Trump that even if that economic claim was true; “you cannot ever say anything supportive of Adolf Hitler. You just can’t.” I feel this is just common knowledge to most people.

This international trip saw Trump run into more trouble than normal. He controversially cancelled a trip to an American cemetery and is reported to have called US soldier who died in the war “suckers” and “losers”.

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Kelly, who lost his own son in Afghanistan in 2010, left the White House team in 2019 and has spoken critically of the former president ever since, even calling him; “the most flawed person I have ever met in my life”.

Bender reports that Kelly tried his best to educate Trump and overcome his “stunning disregard for history”.

“Senior officials described his understanding of slavery, Jim Crow, or the Black experience in general post-civil war as vague to non-existent,” he writes. “But Trump’s indifference to Black history was similar to his disregard for the history of any race, religion or creed.”

During Trump’s presidency concern over the countries far right movement grew drastically. This concern continues as even in defeat Trump maintains a tight grip over the Republican party. He continues to make positive remarks about far-right and white-supremacist groups.

Michael Wolff’s new book details Trump’s confusion during Capital attack

According to Wolff’s new book Trump saw only Democrats attacking the US Capitol

On the 6th of January 2021 Donald Trump told his supporters that he would march on the US Capitol with them in an attempt to overturn the election results. He promptly abandoned them after a terse exchange with his chief of staff, this is according to the first excerpt from Michael Wolff’s third Trump White House book, entitled Landslide.

The extract has been exclusively published by New York magazine.

The journalists first book on Trump, Fire and Fury, exploded onto bookshelves in January 2018 and created a new genre of scandalous political books. While his first book did very well however his sequel, Siege, did not meet expectations.

On January 6th this year, while Congress met to confirm Biden’s election win, Trump spoke to his supporters and told them: “We’re going to walk down [to the Capitol to protest] – and I’ll be there with you.”

According to the excerpt Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, was approached by concerned secret service agents but said: “No. There’s no way we are going to the Capitol.”

Wolff writes that when the president was approached by Meadows he seemed unsure of what his chief of staff was talking about.

“You said you were going to march with them to the Capitol,” Meadows reportedly said. “How would we do that? We can’t organize that. We can’t.”

“I didn’t mean it literally,” Trump then replied.

The former president is also reported to have been puzzled when his supports began a riot that led to five people losing their lives.

Wolff also claims that Trump was confused and disappointed by: “who these people were with their low-rent ‘trailer camp’ bearing and their ‘get-ups’, once joking that he should have invested in a chain of tattoo parlors and shaking his head about ‘the great unwashed’.”

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Trump and his close family would watch the attack unfold on TV at the White House.

According to Wolff the exchange between the president and his chief of staff shed’s light on how Trump abandoned his most fervent supporters.

As Wolff reports the White House quickly came to the realisation that Mike Pence had “concluded that he was not able to reject votes unilaterally or, in effect, to do anything else, beyond playing his ceremonial role, that the president might want him to do”.

Trump’s aid Jason Miller is then reported as saying, “oh shit” before turning to the president’s lawyer and election fraud cheerleader, Rudy Giuliani.

The writer reports that the former New York mayor was: “drinking heavily and in a constant state of excitation, often almost incoherent in his agitation and mania”.

Image via AP News

As the attempted insurrection escalated Trump posted a tweet attacking his vice-president and continued to ignore the numerous aids who were pleading with him to ask his supporters to stand down.

Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and advisor is reported to have seen the attack as nothing more than an optics issue. Wolff states that it took an hour for Trump to make the: “transition from seeing the mob as people protesting the election – defending him so he would defend them – to seeing them as ‘not our people’”.

Trump the reportedly asked Meadows: “How bad is this? This looks terrible. This is really bad. Who are these people? These aren’t our people, these idiots with these outfits. They look like Democrats.”

He then added: “We didn’t tell people to do something like this. We told people to be peaceful. I even said ‘peaceful’ and ‘patriotic’ in my speech!”

Landslide is slated for release on July 27th.

Michael Wolff will publish a third exposé of Donald Trump, covering his last days in office

Michael Wolff’s final book on Trump, Landslide, will cover his ‘tumultuous’ last months in the White House

Cover of Landslide

The American journalist Michael Wolff has announced that he will be publishing a third book about Donald Trump, this time focusing on his final days as US president. The book is set to be released in July and has the wonderfully provocative title: Landslide.

Trump lost the 202 election to his Democrat rival Joe Biden by more than 7m votes and by 306 – 232 in the electoral college, a result he himself called a landslide when it was in his favour against Hillary Clinton back in 2016.

Trump, never the one to admit defeat, has continued to spout the lie that Biden’s victory was the result of electoral fraud, a speech on this topic helped fuel the deadly attack on the US Capitol on 6th of January.

Wolff published his first book on trump’s presidency in 2018, rocking the White House and Trump’s administration.

We think you’ll enjoy…

Trump attempted to block publication of the book, titled Fire and Fury, calling Wolff “a total loser who made up stories in order to sell this really boring and untruthful book”. The public however ignored the president. The brilliantly explosive exposé went on to sell some 1.7m copies in just three weeks.

Wolff found himself marginalised and stripped of privileges by the White House press team, but that didn’t stop him publishing his next book, Siege, in 2019 which looked at a “presidency under fire”. The book tackled topics like Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference and possible ties between Trump and Moscow. He even managed to produce another bombshell by exposing the fact that Mueller and his team had shelved an indictment against the president on three counts of obstruction of justice.

While Wolff said that he has obtained documents relating to this revelation from “sources close to the Office of the Special Counsel”. The special counsel itself rejected his claim, saying: “The documents that you’ve described do not exist.”

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Due to this controversy, and a number of competiting Trump focused books, Siege did not sell as well as Fire and Fury.

According to his latest books publisher Wolff managed to interview the former president for an inside looks at what have been described as Trump’s “tumultuous last months at the helm of the country”.

Trump himself recently claimed to be writing “the book of all books” and according to the former president he has already “turned down two book deals, from the most unlikely of publishers”, adding: “I do not want a deal right now. I’m writing like crazy anyway, however.”

After major figures in the publishing world said they would not touch a Trump memoir he insisted “two of the biggest and most prestigious publishing houses have made very substantial offers which I have rejected”.

“That doesn’t mean I won’t accept them sometime in the future,” he said. “… If my book will be the biggest of them all … does anybody really believe that they are above making a lot of money?”

Mike Pence, Trump’s vice-president, has himself landed a seven-figure two book deal with Simon & Schuster, despite a staff rebellion at the publishing house.

Jared Kushner, the former presidents son in law, has already bagged himself a publishing contract with his book slated for release sometime in 2022, the details of this deal are not known.

Clearly there is still an insatiable appetite for books about the divisive Trump administration.

UK museums and libraries join forces to save ‘astonishing’ lost library from private buyers

Friends of the National Libraries aims to raise £15m to save “once in a generation” library from falling into private hands

The Brontë family copy of Thomas Bewick’s “A History of British Birds. Photograph: Sotheby’s

A huge consortium of libraries and museums across the UK have come together in an “unprecedented” attempt to raise £15m to save an “astonishingly important” collection of literary manuscripts for the nation.

This consortium includes the likes of the British Library and the library of Scotland Museum and was announced last month after the lost Honresfield library was put up for auction at Sotheby’s. This library was put together by industrialists William and Alfred Law in the early 1900’s and has been inaccessible since 1939. When it was announced that this literary jewel would be going on sale experts warned that action needed to be taken to prevent it being sold off piece by piece to private individuals.

The initiative to purchase these manuscripts on behalf of the nation is being led by the charity Friends of the National Libraries (FNL), which includes institutes such at the British Library, the Bodleian, the National Library of Scotland, the Brontë Parsonage Museum and many other smaller libraries and museums.

The FNL is currently in discussions with both private philanthropists and public funders as it desperatly seeks to raise the £15m it believes would be necessary to secure the entirety of the Honresfield library. It will also be launching a crowdfunding appeal.

The Honresfield library contains a veritable treasure trove of rare items, including a handwritten manuscript of Emily Brontë’s poems, once thought by experts to have been lost to time. It was also revealed on Thursday that the collection includes two “hugely significant” letters written by Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra, one of which deals with the reception to her novels Pride and Prejudice, and Sense and Sensibility. The other letter meanwhile was written on the eve of a ball as Austen humorously anticipates the end of a love affair: “At length the day is come on which I am to flirt my last with Tom Lefroy, and when you receive this it will be over. My tears flow at the melancholy idea.”

The complete manuscript for Rob Roy. Photograph: Sotheby’s

All in all the collection contains more than 500 manuscripts, first edition novels and letters, including the working manuscript of Sir Walter Scott’s famous novel Rob Roy.

While the FNL attempts to raise the funds the vendors and Sotheby’s have graciously agreed to postpone the auction for the first part of the library which had been due to take place in July. The FNL has stated that once the library is purchased individual items will be passed to the appropriate institute across the UK.

“Once in a generation, a collection of books and manuscripts appears from almost nowhere that is met with a mixture of awe and stunned silence, followed by concerted action to bring it into public ownership,” said John Scally, chief executive of the National Library of Scotland. “The UK-wide consortium is determined to raise the funds to ensure we can save the Honresfield library for everyone to share and enjoy.”

Charles Sebag-Montefiore, trustee and treasurer of FNL, described the charity’s plans as “a crucial national endeavour to raise enough funds to keep this unique treasure trove in Britain”.

The alliance of libraries and museums was first formed after the Brontë Society raised a call to action about the upcoming sale, describing the auction as a “calculated act of heritage dispersal”. As more institutions got involved, the FNL was approached to spearhead the campaign.

Gabriel Heaton, Sotheby’s historical manuscripts specialist, said the auction house was “pleased to play our part in this potential outcome for this great library”.

“This proposed acquisition is a fitting tribute to the Law brothers’ voracious literary interests and their family’s excellent care of this material for over a century. The unprecedented initiative is testament to the continued power of literature to inspire the public so many years after these writers first put pen to paper,” he added.

Trump says he’s writing ‘book of all books’ but it’s unlikely to find a big publisher

Figures at major publishing houses say it would be ‘too hard to get a book that was factually accurate’

Donald Trump has revealed he is writing “the book of all books”, this despite major figures within the US publishing industry saying it was unlikely that any big publishing house would touch the memoir of the 45th president as it may cause a “a staff uprising”, and that it would be difficult “to get a book that was factually accurate”.

To be fair that fear is not without merit. When Trump exited the White House for the final time in January the Washington Post reported that he had made 30,573 false or misleading claims while President.

It is common practice for former presidents to write their own memoirs when they leave office, Barack Obama’s “A Promised Land” was a roaring success. Trump’s announcement therefore is not unexpected.

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In a statement last week the 75 year old former president said he had already “turned down two book deals, from the most unlikely of publishers”, which he of course did not name. “I do not want a deal right now,” he said. “I’m writing like crazy anyway, however, and when the time comes, you’ll see the book of all books.”

The New York Times recently reported that a two-book deal Mike Pence landed with Simon & Schuster was “grating” on Trump, this was denied by a Trump spokesman. The Pence deal however caused problems for the publishing company, with many of its staff saying the company should not promote bigotry. Other rightwingers have run into publishing problems since the attempted coup on the 6th of January.

Simon & Schuster itself dropped a planned book on antitrust written by the Missouri senator Josh Hawley, a man who encouraged the rioters and objected to the electoral college results. His book was eventually picked up by rightwing publisher Regnery and will still be distributed by Simon & Schuster.

Any Trump memoir looks likely to be published in a similar manner, outside of the mainstream. Politico has reported that senior figures at Harper Collins, Penguin Random House, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster have said they would not touch a Trump penned memoir. “It would be too hard to get a book that was factually accurate, actually,” one was quoted as saying. “That would be the problem. If he can’t even admit that he lost the election, then how do you publish that?”

Another senior figure said he was “skeptical” about Trump’s claim to have had two offers, saying: “He’s screwed over so many publishers before he ran for president none of the big five would work with [him] any more.”

Keith Urbahn of Javelin, an agent who has represented numerous Trump books told Politico: “It doesn’t matter what the upside on a Trump book deal is, the headaches the project would bring would far outweigh the potential in the eyes of a major publisher.

“Any editor bold enough to acquire the Trump memoir is looking at a factchecking nightmare, an exodus of other authors and a staff uprising in the unlikely event they strike a deal with the former president.”

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Trump hit back by once again insisting that “two of the biggest and most prestigious publishing houses have made very substantial offers which I have rejected”. Once again he wouldn’t name them.

“That doesn’t mean I won’t accept them sometime in the future, as I have started writing the book,” he added. “If my book will be the biggest of them all, and with 39 books written or being written about me, does anybody really believe that they are above making a lot of money?

“Some of the biggest sleezebags [sic] on earth run these companies.”

Trump’s personal worth has plummeted since his first year in office, and now he faces extensive legal proceedings. The fact that memoirs written by his predecessor sold for $65m may have given him some idea on how to raise some more funds.

Author Spotlight: Jon Hartless discusses who can tell stories in a pluralistic society

Author Spotlight is our new series that aims to give a platform for writers to discuss the art form we all love so much. This time we are joined by Jon Hartless as he takes a look at “The right to write – who can tell stories in a pluralistic society?”

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below…

Jon Hartless

Recently, voices have been raised concerning who has the right to tell certain stories. Jordan Marie Green announced the debut of a romantic novel set in Tahiti before a backlash against cultural appropriation and stereotyping prompted the book’s withdrawal. Becky Albertalli had to out herself as bisexual under pressure from several Internet commentators who felt she had no right to write about gay teenagers as she was (presenting as) a straight woman, and finally a disabled gameplayer unwittingly unleashed a wave of ableist anger at her inclusion of a combat wheelchair in the DnD universe.

It is the last two which intersect with my own work, for I recently started publishing a Steampunk series featuring a bisexual, disabled protagonist – and now I’m wondering if I was right to do so, given I’m heterosexual and able-bodied. (Steampunk, in case you don’t know, is set in an alternative timeline and features advanced technology. Mechanical prosthetics are popular tropes within the genre, along with airships and goggles).

When I started writing the series, I wanted to examine the gulf between the rich and the poor, as well as the associated chasm between the socially acceptable (i.e. white, male, hetero, posh) and everyone else. Hence the creation of Poppy Orpington; a woman in a man’s world. A bisexual within heteronormative culture. Disabled in an ableist society. And poor within a capitalist hierarchy which works exclusively for the benefit of the wealthy elite.

Furthermore, I was determined to use the tropes of Steampunk in a “believable” way, and in a manner which served the plot, rather than just gratuitously inserting them without any real thought. For this reason, Poppy is born with a missing arm, (for birth defects are common in her society, at least for those who live in poverty), and she only acquires a fully functioning prosthetic after a turnaround in her family’s fortune.

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This, then, is Poppy’s world. She must hide her sexuality for the sake of her personal welfare, while her disabilities bring her into conflict with the dominant ableist beliefs of the era. So, how would Poppy feel if she suddenly had opportunities hitherto denied to her? The opportunities of relative wealth, of limited social acceptance, and of having a fully integrated prosthetic which would allow her to live a “normal” life – though it must be noted that the concept of “normal” is constructed by the discriminatory attitudes of able-bodied society.

These were the subjects I wanted to examine, and I did my best to be as sensitive as possible, but did I have the right to even try in the first place? Even as I’m penning this article, the issue of Becky Albertalli’s sexuality is still rumbling on, with one Twitter commentator asserting that non-queer creators shouldn’t be making money from the queer audience – though this is by no means a universal opinion.

Full Throttle Cover

I honestly don’t know what the answer is to this, or even if there is an answer. But I am now keenly aware that I’m merely an outsider looking in, and if I were writing the Poppy series today, I doubt I would include anything about sexuality or disability at all.

That would have created some difficulties with regard to the plot, given Poppy’s character is (like all of us) created by the society she is raised in, (not to mention the vital role her prosthetic plays in the later stages of book 1), but it would probably have been a lot safer, and more considerate, to restructure the book rather than to risk offending innumerable people through a lack of knowledge and understanding.

Jon Hartless is the author of Full Throttle and Rise of the Petrol Queen, books 1 & 2 in the Poppy Orpington series. Book 3, Fall of the Petrol Queen, should be released in October 2020 via Tenebrous Texts.

French book I Hate Men sees sales boom after government minister calls for ban

A French government official’s futile attempt to ban an essay entitled I Hate Men because of its “incitement to hatred on the grounds of gender” have since  backfired and has sent sales of the feminist pamphlet into the stratosphere.

Pauline Harmange’s Moi les hommes, je les déteste is an essay that explores whether women “have good reason to hate men”, and whether “anger towards men is actually a joyful and emancipatory path, if it is allowed to be expressed”.

The small French publisher, Monstrograph, called it a “feminist and iconoclastic book” that “defends misandry as a way of making room for sisterhood”.

Ralph Zurmély is a special adviser to France’s ministry for gender equality and he called it an “ode to misandry”. Zurmély emailed Monstrograph and called the work “incitement to hatred on the grounds of gender is a criminal offence”, and asked the publisher to pull the book from publication “on pain of criminal prosecution”.

The ministry subsequently distanced themselves from the remarks and said that the threat of prosecution was “a personal initiative and completely independent of the ministry”, yet Zurmély went on to say that if Monstrograph continued to sell the book, the publisher would be “directly complicit in the offence and I would then be obliged to send it to the prosecution for legal proceedings”.

Monstrograph stressed to French media that the book was not an incitement to hatred. “The title is provocative but the purpose measured. It is an invitation not to force oneself to associate with men or to deal with them. At no time does the author incite violence,” said its editor.

Harmange is a 25-year-old activist from Lille and said that the book is simply an invitation to women “to imagine a new way of being, to take less account of the often unsupported opinions of men, to consider the adage ‘it is better to be alone than in bad company’ seriously, and to rediscover the strength of female relationships full of reciprocity, gentleness and strength”.

She went on to criticise Zurmély’s response to her work. “A state official who has a power crisis facing an 80-page book released in 400 copies, I find that very problematic,” she said.

It is interesting to note that Monstrograph set out to initially set out to print just 400 copies when the essay was first published in August but after these attacks almost 2500 copies have sold and now a major publisher is set to take over the title.

Harmange wrote on her blog that her head was “spinning” at the response to her work. “As a gigantic snub to this man who wanted to ban my words, this book which should have been printed only at 500, maybe 700 copies max, has been ordered more than 2,000 times … We have withdrawn the book from sale, not because we are afraid but because we can no longer keep pace [with demand]. (And not forever, I promise),” she wrote. “In all of this, I admit, there is still a little voice that gives me hope that all of you who have bought my book – just as one gives a middle finger to a cop – will find it interesting in spite of everything.”

UK Woman sets up free black history books project for those unable to afford them

A woman from Watford recently set up a charity whose sole aim is to provide free books for people who want to learn about black history and racism but are unable to afford them themselves.

Maja Antoine-Onikoyi, 20, says she had the idea after a number of people had told her they could not afford to buy books on the topic.

Since Maja set up the project in June she has provided books worth more than £4000.

“It just feels like I’m actually making some sort of change which is really cool,” she said.

“If you don’t know what black people are going through you don’t know how to help.”

Ms Antoine-Onikoyi said that after the death of George Floyd in May she had “quite a few people coming to me saying they couldn’t afford resources, so I thought let me just send out three or four books”.

“When I suggested doing that, people were responding to me asking if they could send me money to help me fund that and within three or four hours I had £800 of donations.”

At the moment the project is focused on giving books to individuals but Maja eventually hopes to extend the work to schools and prisons.

She said it “just feels like I’m doing what’s supposed to be done”.

“It doesn’t feel like a huge gain on my part, it feels like what our curriculum and our institutions should have been doing,” she said.

Antoine-Onikoyi said that having a book meant “being able to make notes and highlight things that stuck with you… that you apply to your daily life”.

“If you don’t know what black people have been through, our history, how much we’ve struggled and are struggling you’ll find it really difficult to help.

“To do that you need to be educated on all these things and our experiences.”

The Room Where It Happened By John Bolton Review

The fallout between president and national security adviser makes for an interesting but grandiose ego stoking read

Most Washington insiders knew it wouldn’t work, it was a bad idea, but did Trump listen? No of course he didn’t, listening to others is not really something narcissists do well. When Trump first hired John Bolton as national security adviser they had a sort of good cop, bad cop recipe in mind. For that to work though one of them actually has to have some qualities of a good cop.

After just 18 months this at best rocky relationship fell apart spectacularly. Bolton claims he quit while Trump claims he fired him, shock horror.

Now Bolton is openly declaring Trump unfit for the office of President, and is also accusing him of using foreign dictators and tyrants for an electoral leg-up in Novembers elections. According to Bolton Trump is quite happy to ignore Chinese concentration camps for Muslims if they can somehow help him.

Trump provides no defence for himself from these claims and has instead fallen back on his favourite tactic of name-calling, specifically he has called Bolton both a “wacko” and a “sick puppy.” I’m not sure calling somebody disgusting and in need of being put down is all that presidential. This is political warfare at its most loathsome, its most based and perverse, but that seems to be the only level within which Trump can feel at home.

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Bolton of course is no better.

Bolton is a cold warrior, or as Roger Ailes once referred to him, a “bomb thrower.” In just this vein of cold heartlessness Bolton’s book is a sneering attack on the diplomatic peace process of “international governance,” he even goes on to attack and blindly label Europeans as weak-kneed ninnies.

Like Trump, Bolton seems to enjoying showcasing himself as a fighter, going so far as to say that juggling phone calls at a G7 event made him feel like he was “[part] of the Light Brigade,” or that his “scar tissue had scars.” These powerful metaphors are just that though, Bolton may love sending men and bombs at the enemy but when it came time for him to serve he dodged the draft and joined the non-combatant guard instead, citing that he did not want to join a losing war.

John Bolton pictured here with Donald Trump at a G7 meeting.

Like Bolton himself the Trump outlined in this tell-all book seems eager for conflict. “Hit ’em, finish ’em,” he yells during a dispute with the Turkish president, “Kick their ass,” he orders an envoy to China during the well publicised trade dispute.

Yet Trump is all bark and no bite, he could never bring himself to actually follow through on any threat made. This is no different according to Bolton from the way Obama “graced the world with his views, doing nothing to see them carried out.” Like the president Bolton also hated Obama, and just like Trump Bolton never quite explains why, presumably they hated his ability to maintain graceful and keep his class even when under pressure.

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To give Trump a little bit of praise though he resisted Bolton’s continued attempts at what he called a “kinetic response.” First Trump called off joint exercises in an attempt to ease tensions with North Korea, then he called off a strike on Iran because 150 civilian casualties were predicted.

Apparently even changing his mind about invading Venezuela gives Bolton cause for frustration. Bolton’s Trump is a coward in his eyes, eyes that appear to love the thought of American soldiers standing on hostile foreign soil the world over.

Easing tensions with North Korea led to the first meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un.

There was one topic of conversation though that Bolton admits he was too afraid to broach, the topic of Putin. Bolton states he was “afraid of what I might hear.” Bolton sells this book as “The Room Where It Happened” referencing a meeting between Putin and Trump, a meeting Bolton was not present for and neither does he ever explain what “It” refers to.

If we ignore all the bravado and false impressions Bolton gives us this book really is nothing more than a catalogue of his failings to incite American showdowns with the EU, Nato, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Venezuela and more. Bolton gave up his greatest shot at changing American history when he refused to stand up and testify during Trump’s impeachment hearing. In the books epilogue Bolton gives us a rather familiar excuse for his absence from the trial, why bother when impeachment was a lost cause. Clearly Bolton’s moral compass is not just broken, I think it’s fucking missing.

The Room Where It Happened is a book of two halves, on one hand it’s a book attacking Donald Trump, and on the other it’s a monument to Bolton and his own ego. For Bolton Trump is akin to Julius Caesar, a tyrant looking to change the political landscape for his own gain while Bolton is a true Republican standing up for the values his country was built upon. It’s a lofty standard and one that Bolton falls far short of. Bolton colluded with a vicious and morally corrupt man and only now that he has fallen from favour does he paint himself in this manner.

No matter how much Bolton may try and blindfold the reader to the truth it is quite clear that he and Trump, the man he so vehemently attacks, are one and the same. They are cut from the same cloth and rather than vindicating himself with this book all he has done is make it clear that he should be nothing more than a footnote in American history.

Rating

Rating: 7 out of 10.

You can grab copy for yourself at Amazon.

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