Fire and Fury: Reactions to a Bombshell Book


Gracie Poehlman, Writer

“The reason to write this book could not be more obvious,” said Michael Wolff, in his author’s note.

The Trump White House has been, by turns, loud, prolific, bombastic, and dumb. “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” released January 5, is a book somewhere between an inside look at our latest president’s daily life and a look at the constant bickering and turmoil found therein.

As the book chronicles the insanity of the Trump campaign and White House–regardless of truth or lies, as the book wavers between entertainment value and actual journalism–the prose is wonderfully frank and entertaining. The offhand way Wolff, who writes for a number of online newspaper columns, goes from disaster to disaster makes this book the perfect record of a train wreck.

“Donald Trump and his tiny band of campaign warriors were ready to lose with fire and fury. They were not ready to win,” Wolff wrote in the first chapter, and the book just keeps going from there. “The candidate and his top lieutenants believed they could get all the benefits of almost becoming president without having to change their behavior and their fundamental worldview one whit.”

It is impossible to look away. As one Amazon reviewer put it, “Reading this book is like being forced to eat an entire 5 gallon carton of ice cream in one sitting. It is yummy and you don’t want to stop. And then you do want to stop but you can’t, because the book has you roped in. You should feel good, but in reality you feel awful, because of what you just did to yourself.”

This book is also as rude as Trump himself, with profanity and insults saturating the pages. It is helped in this by its quotes from Steve Bannon. Maybe that’s why Trump tried to ban its sale, stating it is “full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don’t exist,” which White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders backed up.

This ban attempt only made sales score, earning the book #1 overall status on Amazon’s charts. Orders from Amazon and Barnes and Noble are backlogged as stores all over the nation have sold out, one Washington, D.C. store taking only 20 minutes to sell every copy.

Others suspect that Trump tried to ban the book simply because, in the words of Michael Wolff, Trump “didn’t process information in any conventional sense. He didn’t read. He didn’t really even skim. Some believed that for all practical purposes he was no more than semi-­literate.”

One reader of the book apparently subscribed to this view and made a pop-up version just for Trump.

Thanks to the ban attempt, this book has been garnering all sorts of attention. A prominent Democrat donor, Tom Steyer, bought a copy for every member of Congress. Other readers are raving, both about the political climate surrounding the book and the book itself. Goodreads reviews give “Fire and Fury” 4 stars, and so do Barnes and Noble readers. It averages 4.6 stars on Amazon. A number of readers simply bought it as a form of protest against the current president, but they have voiced their enjoyment of its soap-opera narrative.

All in all, despite the buzz, in spite of the ban attempt, “Fire and Fury” is an interesting book with engaging, profane, and informal prose. It is amusing and worth a read, regardless of which political party the reader belongs to.

Want to order your own copy? Amazon can deliver it in about two weeks, and Barnes and Noble expects it to be back in stock by January 19.