Let's start with the book that's been dominating this week's headlines, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff.
The first nine months of Donald Trump's term were stormy, outrageous - and absolutely mesmerising. Now, thanks to his deep access to the West Wing, bestselling author Michael Wolff tells the riveting story of how Trump launched a tenure as volatile and fiery as the man himself. Including revelations about what Trump's staff really think of him, why FBI director James Comey was really fired, who is really directing the Trump administrations strategy in the wake of Bannon's firing and more - Fire and Fury shows us how and why Donald Trump has become the king of discord and disunion.
Sometimes satire can reveal deeper truths. Actor Alec Baldwin regularly portrays Donald Trump on US comedy program Saturday Night Live, and continues his spot-on impression in this satirical memoir You Can't Spell America Without Me: The Really Tremendous Inside Story of My Fantastic First Year as President.
Until Donald Trump publishes his account of his entire four or eight or one-and-a-half years in the White House, the definitive chronicle will be You Can't Spell America Without Me.
"I have the best words, beautiful words, as everybody has been talking and talking about for a long time. Also? The best sentences and, what do you call them, paragraphs. My previous books were great and sold extremely, unbelievably well--even the ones by dishonest, disgusting so-called journalists. But those writers didn't understand Trump, because quite frankly they were major losers. People say if you want it done right you have to do it yourself, even when it is a memoir. So every word of this book was written by me, using a special advanced word processing system during the many, many nights I've been forced to stay alone in the White House--only me, just me, trust me, nobody helped. And it's all 100% true, so true--people are already saying it may be the truest book ever published. Enjoy."
Looking a little closer to home, the most talked about political tell-all of 2016 was The Road to Ruin by prominent political commentator, author, and columnist for The Australian Niki Savva which revealed the ruinous behaviour of former prime minister Tony Abbott and his chief of staff, Peta Credlin.
Based on her unrivalled access to their colleagues, and devastating first-person accounts of what went on behind the scenes, Savva paints an unforgettable, award-winning picture of a unique duo who wielded power ruthlessly but not well. The updated edition contains a new, 9,000-word final chapter, in which Savva reveals the inner state of the Turnbull government - and the jockeying of friends and foes alike. It is, as usual, a vivid, impeccably sourced account.
Any study of Trump’s rise to the presidency is unavoidably a study of Steve Bannon. Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency by Joshua Green is a tour-de-force about the remarkable confluence of circumstances that decided the US election, many of them orchestrated by Bannon and his allies, who really did plot a vast, right-wing conspiracy to stop Clinton. To understand Trump's extraordinary rise and Clinton’s fall, you have to weave Trump’s story together with Bannon’s, or else it doesn't make sense.
Based on dozens of interviews conducted over six years, Green spins the master narrative of the 2016 campaign from its origins in the far fringes of right-wing politics and reality television to its culmination inside Trump’s penthouse on election night.
It is easy to forget that at the heart of politics lies real people whose fears and aspirations drive the change we see in the world. No book has conveyed this message as powerfully as Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D Vance.
Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis: that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of the United States that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of the country.
'You will not read a more important book about America this year' - The Economist
Moving from the perspective of the everyman to the reflections of a presidential candidate, What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton is the story of her 2016 presidential campaign and its aftermath. It is both a deeply intimate account and a cautionary tale.
For the first time, Hillary Rodham Clinton reveals what she was thinking and feeling during one of the most controversial and unpredictable presidential elections in history. Now free from the constraints of running, Hillary takes you inside the intense personal experience of becoming the first woman nominated for president by a major party in an election marked by rage, sexism, exhilarating highs and infuriating lows, stranger-than-fiction twists, Russian interference, and an opponent who broke all the rules.
An important and confronting work of Australian journalism, Louise Milligan's award-winning Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of George Pell uncovers uncomfortable truths about a culture of sexual entitlement and abuse of trust in the Catholic church.
George Pell is the most recognisable face of the Australian Catholic Church. He was the Ballarat boy with the film-star looks who studied at Oxford and rose through the ranks to become the Vatican's indispensable 'Treasurer'. As an outspoken defender of church orthodoxy, 'Big George's' ascendancy within the clergy was remarkable and seemingly unstoppable.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse has brought to light horrific stories about sexual abuse of the most vulnerable and provoked public anger at the extent of the cover-up. George Pell has always portrayed himself as the first man in the Church to tackle the problem. But questions about what the Cardinal knew, and when, have persisted.
Do you ever listen to the ramblings of certain political figures and wonder '...are they alright?' Well, in The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, 27 mental health experts argue that, in Trump's case, their moral and civic "duty to warn" America of their leader's unsuitability for office supersedes professional neutrality.
Since the start of Trump's presidential run, one question has permeated the observations of concerned citizens: What is wrong with him? Constrained by the APA's "Goldwater rule," which inhibits mental health professionals from diagnosing public figures they have not personally examined, many of those qualified to answer this question have shied away from discussing the issue at all - until now.
Are you fascinated by theories about a pro-Trump/anti-Hillary Russian conspiracy? Look no further than Collusion by Luke Harding.
Luke Harding, the Guardian reporter and former Moscow bureau chief, draws on new material and his expert understanding of Moscow and its players, to take the reader through every bizarre and disquieting detail of the “Trump-Russia” story—an event so huge it involves international espionage, off-shore banks, sketchy real estate deals, the Miss Universe pageant, mobsters, money laundering, poisoned dissidents, computer hacking, and the most shocking election in American history.
Australia's first female prime minister, Julia Gillard, was the subject of intense media coverage during her tenure. But it was not until her memoir My Story was released that the true extent of her resiliance, aspirations, successes and failures could truly be understood.
"I was prime minister for three years and three days. Three years and three days of resilience. Three years and three days of changing the nation. Three years and three days for you to judge."
This is Julia Gillard's chronicle of that turbulent time, a strikingly candid self-portrait of a political leader seeking to realize her ideals. It is her story of what it was like in the face of government in-fighting and often hostile media to manage a hung parliament, build a diverse and robust economy, create an equitable and world-class education system, ensure a dignified future for Australians with disabilities, all while attending to our international obligations and building strategic alliances for our future.
Refreshingly honest, peppered with a wry humor and personal insights, Julia Gillard does not shy away from her mistakes, admitting freely to errors, misjudgements, and policy failures as well as detailing her political successes. Here is an account of what was hidden behind the resilience and dignified courage Gillard showed as prime minister, her view of the vicious hate campaigns directed against her, and a reflection on what it means and what it takes to be a woman leader in contemporary politics.
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