American Carnage: On the Front Lines of the Republican Civil War and the Rise of President Trump

American Carnage: On the Front Lines of the Republican Civil War and the Rise of President Trump

Politico Magazine’s chief political correspondent provides a rollicking insider’s look at the making of the modern Republican Party—how a decade of cultural upheaval, populist outrage, and ideological warfare made the GOP vulnerable to a hostile takeover from the unlikeliest of insurgents: Donald J. Trump.The 2016 election was a watershed for the United States. But, as Tim...

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Title:American Carnage: On the Front Lines of the Republican Civil War and the Rise of President Trump
Author:Tim Alberta
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American Carnage: On the Front Lines of the Republican Civil War and the Rise of President Trump Reviews

  • Anthony Angelozzi

    Tim Alberta has written a masterful account of changes that occurred allowing Donald Trump to take control of the Republican Party. Alberta’s thesis was that the Republican Party was ripe for the taking. I buy that theory and its concomitant claim that Trump is a symptom, not the cause, of American societal and political ills.

    The biggest strength of the book is its lack of partisan agenda. The author certainly is not a fan of Trump (neither am I), but Alberta had no problem praising Republicans

    Tim Alberta has written a masterful account of changes that occurred allowing Donald Trump to take control of the Republican Party. Alberta’s thesis was that the Republican Party was ripe for the taking. I buy that theory and its concomitant claim that Trump is a symptom, not the cause, of American societal and political ills.

    The biggest strength of the book is its lack of partisan agenda. The author certainly is not a fan of Trump (neither am I), but Alberta had no problem praising Republicans such as Will Hurd and Tim Scott. Democrats were a very minor part of the story, but there were critiques of Obama’s governing style and the looming extremism and outrage culture that has emerged on the left. The viewpoint of the book was journalistic more than anything else, which was a refreshing contrast from Twitter, cable news, and click bait articles.

    I think that the reporting in this book will age extremely well. In the current moment, right wing tribalists will not want to be exposed to Trump’s flaws. When historians want to go back and analyze the Trump era, they will be hard pressed to find a better resource than American Carnage.

  • Jill Meyer

    The latest entry in books looking at Donald Trump and his presidency is "American Carnage", by Politico author Tim Alberta. He takes a slightly different tack than many books about Trump in that he examines Trump's place in the Republican Party. In fact, the book is as much an examination of the party of Trump as it is about Donald Trump, himself. The book is described as "rollicking" but I truly don't think the last two years of the Donald Trump presidency can be described with any humor.

    Tim A

    The latest entry in books looking at Donald Trump and his presidency is "American Carnage", by Politico author Tim Alberta. He takes a slightly different tack than many books about Trump in that he examines Trump's place in the Republican Party. In fact, the book is as much an examination of the party of Trump as it is about Donald Trump, himself. The book is described as "rollicking" but I truly don't think the last two years of the Donald Trump presidency can be described with any humor.

    Tim Alberta is a good writer and he gives some new info about Trump and his party. Various administration members give some good "dish", as do non-administration Republicans. I don't buy every book about Donald Trump, but this one has been interesting reading. If you're a Trump afficianado, you probably won't like the book. If you don't like Trump, you'll like this book.

  • Trey Grayson

    It’s long. But worth it.

    I forgive him for calling me MM’s hand-picked candidate instead of my actual name. :)

  • John Spiller

    Tim Alberta gives a fairly even-handed recounting of the evolution of the Republican Party from 2008 to the present, transmorgifying from the "Party of Bush" to the "Party of Trump." If you are a political junkie, Alberta's chronological review of the past 12+ years may seem like a superficial rehash of material covered in greater depth by other books. "American Carnage" does not set out to examine the "what" but rather the "why". Why did a political party whose core beliefs included laissez-fai

    Tim Alberta gives a fairly even-handed recounting of the evolution of the Republican Party from 2008 to the present, transmorgifying from the "Party of Bush" to the "Party of Trump." If you are a political junkie, Alberta's chronological review of the past 12+ years may seem like a superficial rehash of material covered in greater depth by other books. "American Carnage" does not set out to examine the "what" but rather the "why". Why did a political party whose core beliefs included laissez-faire capitalism, limited government, and robust foreign interventionism completely embrace Trump, who in word and deed repudiated these core tenets? Why do evangelicals celebrate a three-time married serial philanderer? Alberta provides fairly compelling explanations. While Alberta obviously derived much of his behind the scenes stories from folks like John Boehner and Paul Ryan, he does not shy from criticizing them.

  • John Bordeaux

    Reading far too many of these ‘as it happens’ histories for my personal health, this was nevertheless a worthwhile investment. This is the book I would pass on to my grandchildren, who hopefully will ask “what was it like” rather than “no dinner tonight Papa, our pain is not yet avenged.”

    Highly recommended to all who have the fortitude to read about what we’re experiencing, and especially recommended for my great-grandchildren. To them I say: Kids, I have no ide

    Reading far too many of these ‘as it happens’ histories for my personal health, this was nevertheless a worthwhile investment. This is the book I would pass on to my grandchildren, who hopefully will ask “what was it like” rather than “no dinner tonight Papa, our pain is not yet avenged.”

    Highly recommended to all who have the fortitude to read about what we’re experiencing, and especially recommended for my great-grandchildren. To them I say: Kids, I have no idea how you were able to get this far, but this may help explain why your history books are so damned confusing.

  • Louis

    The 2016 election was one of the most controversial elections in memory and President Trump remains a polarizing figure, yet how did American politics reach this point? Tim Alberta’s

    is the story of the realignment of the Republican Party from President George W Bush to President Donald Trump.

    The roots of this realignment lie in dissatisfaction of President George W. Bush, particularly his policies

    The 2016 election was one of the most controversial elections in memory and President Trump remains a polarizing figure, yet how did American politics reach this point? Tim Alberta’s

    is the story of the realignment of the Republican Party from President George W Bush to President Donald Trump.

    The roots of this realignment lie in dissatisfaction of President George W. Bush, particularly his policies on immigration and responding to the 2008 financial crisis, as well as the national debt. However, President Barack Obama accelerated this realignment, particularly his response to the 2008 financial crisis and healthcare. Politically savvy Republicans capitalized on the rise of the Tea Party to their advantage, remaking Congress both in composition in the norms of the legislative process. Even Republicans who disdained President Trump had a choice to make: either tow the line or be forced out.

    The history is still being written on the 2016 election and President Trump’s final legacy will not be known for a long time. Regardless, it is clear that this re-alignment was almost inevitable and a similar alignment may be order, sooner or later, for the Democratic Party as well.

  • Claudia

    This book starts at the beginning of President Obama's first term, and chronicles all the machinations by the GOP to make him a one-term president...then, it follows the bruising Republican primary season, reminding us of the words of Mr. Trump's then-opponents. It repeats all his ugly treatment of genuine, paid-their-dues GOP candidates. The general election of 2016 is covered in detail, and includes a great analysis of voting patterns, Electoral College, and numbers.

    Only then does Alberta tur

    This book starts at the beginning of President Obama's first term, and chronicles all the machinations by the GOP to make him a one-term president...then, it follows the bruising Republican primary season, reminding us of the words of Mr. Trump's then-opponents. It repeats all his ugly treatment of genuine, paid-their-dues GOP candidates. The general election of 2016 is covered in detail, and includes a great analysis of voting patterns, Electoral College, and numbers.

    Only then does Alberta turn to the current administration, and the cowardly about-face of all those early opponents. Their boot-licking is related in detail...

    The election of 2018 is discussed...and changing demographics of the electorate, and the GOP's slavish following of a man who isn't Republican, isn't Democrat...is following his own selfish goals.

    I hear Alberta is a conservative author, so his rancor toward the man in the WH and mine, originate in different places...but we share an anger for the damage this administration is doing to our country...and Alberta points out, to his party, the Grand Old Party. We both wonder if it will survive this presidency, and what will happen next.

  • Scotty

    Alberta does a great job tracking the final devolution of the modern Republican Party into the irrational, power-mad monster it is today. From the rise of the Tea Party to current the descent into Trumpism, this is a fascinating and chilling portrait of a political party in its apparent (and still dangerous) death throws. But there’s some context missing here. I understand why Alberta chose to focus on how the party changed after the election of Obama, but to truly

    Alberta does a great job tracking the final devolution of the modern Republican Party into the irrational, power-mad monster it is today. From the rise of the Tea Party to current the descent into Trumpism, this is a fascinating and chilling portrait of a political party in its apparent (and still dangerous) death throws. But there’s some context missing here. I understand why Alberta chose to focus on how the party changed after the election of Obama, but to truly understand where we’re at I think he needed to go back further, at least to Gingrich and possibly to Reagan. Even some sort of summary would have been helpful. We open with a Republican Party already in crisis, so it’s hard to see the 30,000 foot view. It’s like watching the last 20 seconds of a multi-car pileup; I would have liked to have seen more of the incremental decisions that lead to the initial collision.

    That said, for what it is this is a powerful and frightening read. I can’t say it left me with a lot of hope for the future of the GOP, but it did give me a fresh perspective on the catastrophe they’re currently faced with.

    Also, I never thought I’d have an iota of sympathy for John Boehner and Paul Ryan. Kudos to Alberta for making me understand the impossible vice they found themselves in.

  • Gary  Beauregard Bottomley

    There was absolutely nothing new in this book that a regular reader of the New York Times and reader of political blogs and twitter would not have already known. I stopped this book near the half way point where Trump was winning the Iowa caucus and ‘lying Ted’ was trying to make a comeback and ‘little Rubio’ the ‘freedom caucus’ favorite was self inflicting. For those who raved about this book, I would challenge them to find me one fact that wasn’t generally already known by most political foll

    There was absolutely nothing new in this book that a regular reader of the New York Times and reader of political blogs and twitter would not have already known. I stopped this book near the half way point where Trump was winning the Iowa caucus and ‘lying Ted’ was trying to make a comeback and ‘little Rubio’ the ‘freedom caucus’ favorite was self inflicting. For those who raved about this book, I would challenge them to find me one fact that wasn’t generally already known by most political followers except some of the self serving spin provided by the people the author had obviously interviewed.

    The author compounds his familiar story telling by shading it with the narrative from those he interviewed such as Boehner, Cantor, and Ryan. He tells their story by blaming the Democrats such as Obama for not ‘compromising’ with the Republicans and therefore creating a political mess that leads to Trump. What the author tries to unconvincingly show is the Democrats are to blame for creating Trump rather than the Republican noise machine and the Republicans themselves.

    Trump is a monster. He did not create the hate that’s in the Republican Party. Their hate enabled him. He channels their hate. The one book that everyone should read today is Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’. Hitler, the monster, was only saying out loud what the people believed in whispers just as Trump is doing today. The hate was there, Hitler only channeled it. Trump channels it too. Did you see Trumps KKK/Nuremburg rally last night? (That would be, 7/17/2019). Most Republicans saw nothing wrong when Trump tweeted ‘go back to your own country’, and the fascist KKK members in the audience led the chant ‘send her back’. There’s a reason why the New York Times referred to the KKK as America’s Fascist in 1925 and the KKK/fascist label still resonates within bigots who think it’s okay to tell Americans ‘go back to the country you came from’.

    This author doesn’t get it. Ben Carson Trump’s secretary of something or another said ‘vaccines cause autism’, Trump said ‘climate change is a Chinese hoax’. Those are ignorant statements embraceable only by fools who want to be led into chants of ‘send her back’. Fascism needs feelings as justification over logic or reason. The first lady Melania and Trump led the birther movement embraced by Republicans, a movement that is racist to its core, just as the members in Trump’s KKK/Nuremberg rally are as they shout ‘send her back’. This author tries to separate Trump from the Republican Party and the racist or fascist who attend his rallies of hate. Trump and Republicans are entwined and are one with each other’s hate. The author marginalizes Trumps birtherism, and how Republicans continue to lap up that brand of hate; because that is who they are (watch last night’s KKK/Nuremberg rally if you doubt they hate without just cause). They created Trump and the author acts as if it is Trump that created them and pretends that the Tea Party tri-color hat wearers cared about deficits and spending and weren’t really motivated by a ‘black man in the white house’.

    I got my credit back on this book. I’ve only done that two other times and I’ve purchased over 1000 books from audible. This author should never have written this book if he had nothing to add to the conversation besides what the average well informed person already knows. The country is led by a racist, makes racist tweets, holds racist rallies and is fully supported by his fellow Republicans. Hate radio emboldens Trump and the Republicans who created him, Fox News supports his alternative facts, and authors like this one add nothing to the conversation that wasn’t already known and minimizes the complicity that the Republicans have in creating a monster who is them because he is one of them.

  • BookTrib.com

    POLITICO’s Tim Alberta, author of American Carnage (Harper), asked a “blissfully retired” John Boehner over lunch whether he believed that the Republican Party “could survive Trumpism.”

    Boehner’s response? “There is no Rep—” Here he stops, hesitates, and when pressed, offers “There is [a Republican Party]. But what does that even mean? Donald Trump’s not a Republican. He’s not a Democrat. He’s a populist.”

    After nearly three years of finger-wagging “I told you sos” bandied about by pundits and com

    POLITICO’s Tim Alberta, author of American Carnage (Harper), asked a “blissfully retired” John Boehner over lunch whether he believed that the Republican Party “could survive Trumpism.”

    Boehner’s response? “There is no Rep—” Here he stops, hesitates, and when pressed, offers “There is [a Republican Party]. But what does that even mean? Donald Trump’s not a Republican. He’s not a Democrat. He’s a populist.”

    After nearly three years of finger-wagging “I told you sos” bandied about by pundits and commentators who blame Donald Trump’s surprise 2016 win on everything from millennial ambivalence to an immensely unpopular DNC pick to a couple thousand idiots who actually wrote in the name of a dead gorilla on their ballots, it’s nice to see a book that explains the rise of Trumpism as a consequence of the fractured Republican Party.

    I mean, that’s only part of it, and all the aforementioned reasons are still legitimate, and it’s at least a little bit Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s fault, but the “Republican Civil War,” as Alberta calls it, definitely helps to explain how things got so bananas.

    Trump is barely mentioned for the first third of American Carnage, but his schlubby shadow looms large over the chapters on John McCain and Paul Ryan’s failed presidential runs in addition to the chapters in between that describe Obama’s bipartisan relationship with the Republican Party and their attempts to reclaim power. While Trump is the inevitable conclusion to a party mismanaged for decades, he’s hardly one of the lead characters of this book, which manages to humanize polarizing figures from John Boehner to George W. Bush.

    The rest of the review:

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