The Best People: Trump's Cabinet and the Siege on Washington

The Best People: Trump's Cabinet and the Siege on Washington

An engrossing look at the Trump cabinet: the scandals, the incompetence, the assault on the federal government, the bungled attempts to impose order on an administration lost in a chaos of its own making. Donald Trump promised a return to national greatness, but each day of his presidency seems to bring a new crisis, a deepening sense of national unease. Why, and how, has he faimaking....

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Title:The Best People: Trump's Cabinet and the Siege on Washington
Author:Alexander Nazaryan
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The Best People: Trump's Cabinet and the Siege on Washington Reviews

  • Elaine

    This was hilarious and filled with little tidbits that you and I seemed to have forgotten took place in real life that (but for the fact that Donald J. Trump was shockingly voted president of the most powerful country on earth) would be simply unbelievable and horrifying. I found this to be very entertaining and read it more than once.

  • Dindy

    The author makes no pretense of this being an objective, detached evaluation of Trump and his cabinet. Of course, many would say that it is an objective account, but one that properly communicates the disgust and condemnation that having such people in powerful positions SHOULD evoke.

    This attitude is plain from the beginning, as when in the Introduction he recounts the first Cabinet meeting, referring to the dubious retinue Trump had assembled. This book is not an objective journalistic report

    The author makes no pretense of this being an objective, detached evaluation of Trump and his cabinet. Of course, many would say that it is an objective account, but one that properly communicates the disgust and condemnation that having such people in powerful positions SHOULD evoke.

    This attitude is plain from the beginning, as when in the Introduction he recounts the first Cabinet meeting, referring to the dubious retinue Trump had assembled. This book is not an objective journalistic report but rather a running commentary. It is well-written, flows smoothly and is easy to read.

    I read an advanced review copy. I hope the final release includes a cast of characters since it discussed many people at a fast pace.

    The author, Alexander Nazaryan, is a Yahoo News national correspondent based in Washington, D.C., primarily covering domestic policy. He was previously a senior writer for Newsweek and, before that, a member of the New York Daily News editorial board. Much of the information in this book came from his own reporting.

    Nazaryan spends a lot of time discussing Trump’s style of governance, which is to pit people against each other. This is a fine technique for dealing with enemies but doesn't do much for a team environment. Trump's belief is that if his subordinates are fighting with each other, they are not conspiring against him. Pitting members of his staff against each other happens throughout the entire book and is detailed by going over infighting and conflicts.

    Much of this has already been put out by many other books and news reports, which begs the question: Do we really need yet another book analyzing the incompetence of Trump as president? This book, however, focuses on the rotating members of Trump’s team and provides a great deal of information about them and about the conflicting agendas by the different members of Trump’s staff.

    This is not to say that the book is all commentary. There is some very good information to go along with the commentary. For example, the comparisons of how the Presidents from Eisenhower to Trump set up and ran their cabinets is very interesting. It was also fascinating to read about the process in which the Presidential staff would try to get their nominees through the Senate confirmation hearings, something especially challenging for this administration and most of the nominees it provided.

    Overall, a good book.

    Thank you to Hachette Books for providing an Advanced Review copy to me in exchange for an honest review.

  • Sue

    I enjoyed learning more about each of the ridiculous cabinet members that Trump has appointed. It is like a collections of fools, evil-doers, and just plain greedy bastards. Well researched book. Enjoyable.

  • Abra Smith

    Well written book primarily centered on the Trump appointees to the Cabinet and their first 1-2 years, depending on how long they lasted. This book is researched and documented with historical comparisons to cabinet members from past presidents, both Republican and Democratic. A fast read. It presents a horrifying picture of greed and power and frankly so many people who are willing to cheat and steal essentially just to put themselves ahead. It is particularly scary that these people were put i

    Well written book primarily centered on the Trump appointees to the Cabinet and their first 1-2 years, depending on how long they lasted. This book is researched and documented with historical comparisons to cabinet members from past presidents, both Republican and Democratic. A fast read. It presents a horrifying picture of greed and power and frankly so many people who are willing to cheat and steal essentially just to put themselves ahead. It is particularly scary that these people were put in positions of great power.

  • Dan

    I'm no fan of Donald Trump. I have grown to almost pathologically distrust almost all politicians, regardless of party, and I was born and raised in New York City, so I grew up knowing that he was a con-man. I spent years seeing Trump pop up on the local news every night, on Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous, Howard Stern, inside WWE wrestling rings....To me, he was really nothing more than a harmless egomaniac who liked to be on TV and hear himself talk. Flash forward a few decades, and now

    I'm no fan of Donald Trump. I have grown to almost pathologically distrust almost all politicians, regardless of party, and I was born and raised in New York City, so I grew up knowing that he was a con-man. I spent years seeing Trump pop up on the local news every night, on Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous, Howard Stern, inside WWE wrestling rings....To me, he was really nothing more than a harmless egomaniac who liked to be on TV and hear himself talk. Flash forward a few decades, and now he is the leader of the free world, a man who seems to spend most of his time vacationing, playing golf, and watching Fox News. And in the absence of leadership, he has given control of the country to men and women of similar background and desires: Millionaire and billionaire kleptocrats who have wasted no time in taking a sledgehammer to the institutions that we all assumed were carved in stone.

    Alexander Nazaryan's THE BEST PEOPLE: TRUMP'S CABINET AND THE SIEGE OF WASHINGTON, oddly enough, offers a relatively fair look at Trump's Royal tenure thus far. Nazaryan makes little or nothing of the Russia ties, conspiracy or collusion, the Mueller report, and all of the other scandals of the past few years, focusing instead on "The best people", the men and women that Trump staffed his Cabinet with. You can see them all right there on the front cover, wearing their "Let them eat cake!" grins: Ben Carson and his $31,000.00 dining room set that we bought for him; Steve "Creature from the Black Lagoon" Mnuchin, a man whose classmates said "..put the douche in fiduciary"; Ryan Zinke, an idiot who rode a horse to his first day at work as Secretary of the Interior, and spent the bulk of his short tenure gleefully auctioning off drilling rights to National Parks; Betsy DeVos, whose best argument for arming school employees was that there might be lurking grizzlies nearby.

    Nazaryan lays all of this graft and corruption out less like a book and more like an in-depth catalog of malfeasance, often glossing over bits of news that he seems to assume that you will know about already. Seeing as all of this is very recent, that's not an unfair assumption, but it will harm the readability of this book if you aren't already a die-hard follower of each day's events in Washington, and will definitely cause some head-scratching moments for readers in the years to come, assuming that we survive that long. I am reviewing an advance copy, so perhaps the book will be tightened up and those blanks will be filled in by the time it actually goes to press.

    Overall, this is hardly an entertaining book, but it is an alarming one, and one worth reading. No matter what side you're on politically, everyone should be able to agree that it is not OK to use the cover of 'Serving the American people" as an opportunity to enrich yourself and your friends on the backs of hundreds of millions of struggling taxpayers. I would love it if facts, cold hard FACTS, such as the ones presented in this book, were able to unify our fractured country against the TRUE "enemy of the people": The crooks, on both sides of the aisle, who are in charge.

    I won't hold my breath.

  • Brian

    The Best People sets out to explore the cabinet of Donald Trump and the myriad of scandals that have engulfed the members to a portion not seen since the Teapot Dome scandal of the 1920’s. This book follows each cabinet position and their tenure looking at what they did right and what they did wrong. It is not a book that is necessary out the to slander the Trump administration and does at times go back and look at comparably cases from Reagan to Obama in the way transitions were handled and whe

    The Best People sets out to explore the cabinet of Donald Trump and the myriad of scandals that have engulfed the members to a portion not seen since the Teapot Dome scandal of the 1920’s. This book follows each cabinet position and their tenure looking at what they did right and what they did wrong. It is not a book that is necessary out the to slander the Trump administration and does at times go back and look at comparably cases from Reagan to Obama in the way transitions were handled and where missteps occurred and compares the chaotic nature of the white house to the first two years of the Clinton presidency when similar missteps were taken in terms of political organization. What this book does show clearly is a failure to atract the “best people” as the president so often stated when on the campaign trail and instead wound up with an administration of people who were ill equipped for public service and prone to flagrant spending that led to huge government waste and corruption. While some were woefully under qualified for their job or put in charge of entities that they did not understand or had wanted to abolish; there was clearly conflict from the start with the career vs the political appointees. There was a blatant disregard for institutional and organizational knowledge and a bias towards going with ones gut that has characterized many of the appointees. Overall if you have been following this administration there is little knew here but it does serve as a useful categorization of what has happened to the cabinet members in this administration.

  • Csparrenberger

    At first, I liked this book a lot. I enjoyed reading about people I have seen on the national stage. But then about midway in the book it turned to a trump bashing book. The author even went so far as to attempt to bash Ronald Reagan. Therefore, only three stars and no recommendation. There are dozens and dozens of Trump bashing books on the market today.

  • Louise

    If you follow the news, there will not be much new to you here. There are some behind the scenes observations, more on top staff than cabinet members, but these can be found in more detail in other accounts.

    There are observations that should be pointed out more often. For instance how the media made a scandal of Bill Clinton's $300 hair cut and blandly covers the travel and entertainment bills racked up by Donald Trumps' appointees. Another is that these the people who rail most agai

    If you follow the news, there will not be much new to you here. There are some behind the scenes observations, more on top staff than cabinet members, but these can be found in more detail in other accounts.

    There are observations that should be pointed out more often. For instance how the media made a scandal of Bill Clinton's $300 hair cut and blandly covers the travel and entertainment bills racked up by Donald Trumps' appointees. Another is that these the people who rail most against "unelected bureaucrats" spending your money are billionaires who have (and are) charged/charging the taxpayer for first class travel, entertainment and office furniture.

    One issue that should, also, have been given more attention in the national press is how "beachhead teams" (transition teams) were instructed not to interact with the outgoing cabinet members and their staffs. This was discovered in a memo carelessly left in a copier tray.

    Trump's staff (Bannon, Preiebus, Miller etc.) were very critical of Chris Christie's transition plan. Because of the Kushner prosecution Christie was an easy mark, so it was safe for this team to pile on. It could have been good or bad (how would I know?) but had to be far better than the cabinet and the transition process we witnessed.

    There is (surprising) background on Rob Porter and color on Don McGhan (a fund raising consultant who mainly kept his head down), Ryan Zinke (very colorful) and Reince Priebus (no color at all) added, but not enough to make this worthwhile for me.

    If you don't know much about these people. this may be a good place to start. The problem is that those who don't know or don't care will not be reading this book.

  • Doug

    Washington DC is seen as controlled by special interest and insular. This has led to politicians who promote themselves as being outsiders who are not a part of DC culture. Experience in governing is not appreciated as necessary for government to be effective. Donald Trump was elected to the most powerful office in the nation despite having never been elected to public office. He pledged to "drain the swamp" and claimed his wealth made him free from interest group influences. His lack of experie

    Washington DC is seen as controlled by special interest and insular. This has led to politicians who promote themselves as being outsiders who are not a part of DC culture. Experience in governing is not appreciated as necessary for government to be effective. Donald Trump was elected to the most powerful office in the nation despite having never been elected to public office. He pledged to "drain the swamp" and claimed his wealth made him free from interest group influences. His lack of experience resulted in appointing cabinet positions going to supporters of his campaign. This means corporate special interest took control of these positions. Rather than "draining the swamp" this added to the problem. This is the situation the author lays out.

    The reason for two stars is the way it is written. The book jumps around between the different cabinet members and lacks focus. Nazaryan has a bit of a pundit's tone over that of an objective journalist. Also I learned nothing new about these current events from reading this book.

  • Kaitlin Marie-Brown Salter

    The Best People has to be one of the worst books I've read in a while... guess that just makes me a looser...

    As a part of my reading challenge for this summer, I had to read something by or about something that came from a different belief system than my own. I wanted to read this book with an open mind. I was hoping that I could find some good things that the Trump administration has done. Instead I got this drivel that was more concerned with kissing up to the president than statin

    The Best People has to be one of the worst books I've read in a while... guess that just makes me a looser...

    As a part of my reading challenge for this summer, I had to read something by or about something that came from a different belief system than my own. I wanted to read this book with an open mind. I was hoping that I could find some good things that the Trump administration has done. Instead I got this drivel that was more concerned with kissing up to the president than stating the facts. Which is weird because I honestly couldn't even tell if Nazaryan genuinely likes Trump. It was more about vilifying Democrats and "Crooked Hillary" as much as possible. It's things like this that make me concerned that things are going to get worse in the US before the get any better. This is not what we need right now, Nazaryan.

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