A quick glance at any bestseller list will show that the market is currently a glut of anti AND pro 45 books. Some are more even handed than others, but even the most rabid reader on either side is, at this point, getting a little fatigued by the diametric furor. With such a quickly revolving news cycle and such a fire hose of new information, it is daunting for writer and reader alike to organize, make sense of and communicate the facts in a clear and unbiased way. Part of the problem, I think most would agree, is the utterly splintered views on what the facts actually ARE. Each citizen must decide on their own, where to pull information from and what to believe. While Malcolm Nance is quite passionate in his presentation, he also has a thick section of footnotes for any reader to peruse, which support his statements and conclusions. To take Nance to task for fiery or even borderline hyperbolic language is amusing, considering the tone and tenor of pro 45 books, articles and screeds available to the public. The current resident of the White House, and the vast majority of those who support him are nothing if not bombastic, pugnacious and myopic in their attitude towards anyone they disagree with. Malcolm Nance has a strong opinion, which he backs up with a litany of facts, not to mention a hefty resume in intelligence and foreign policy analysis. Citizens having the freedom to agree or disagree publicly with our leaders and point out where we think they have erred is why America has been great since its inception. Huzzah, U.S.A. Now, what is this book about?
I kind of feel bad for ANY author attempting to write a book about the current administration. As mentioned, so much happens, so quickly, it's difficult to coherently report on one day of happenings, let alone an entire year. Nance's book is about the period of time beginning with 2015/2016, up until very early 2019, ending with the release of the Mueller report. It focuses on the minutiae and micro-details of the current administration's campaign, first years of the current term and specifically about each individual involved in significant known and less well known events.
Some of this information has been covered in Nance's previous two books, but if you are looking for ONE book that covers the entire administration from the start up until early 2019, this is the one to get. It's a top down look at how Russia worked with the current administration to subvert our system of democracy to help one candidate get elected, no matter the cost - as well as a look at the spying, double dealing, large scale grifting and other assorted shenanigans that have gone on since 2015.
When I pre-ordered this book I was half expecting it to go into Ukraine-gate and detail some of the more recent revelations, but I can see why Nance didn't even bother to go there. He was submitting this book to the publisher when the Mueller report was released, and it makes more sense to just do an entire new book about Ukraine and the ongoing impeachment process. That's a whopper in itself.
All in all, this is an impeccably researched, written and edited book. If you are interested in this subject you should buy this book now. If, however, you are suffering from 45 fatigue, you can probably just follow along with the current news cycle and hold on for dear life. If you do decide to read The Plot to Betray America, you might want to read Nance's other related books first. You don't have to, to enjoy this one - and some of the material is rehashed, but they read as a trilogy. Together they present a through line on the political landscape of the past half decade and beyond. For armchair political wonks or those who just like to dig down into the nuance and detail of political scandals, Nance's reporting is hard to beat.
This is not a fun book to read, but it is an important book that lays bare the oftentimes complicated, obfuscated, through-the-looking-glass inner workings of one of the most bizarre and terrifying political campaigns and office holders in the history of the United States. Not everybody wants to see how the sausage is made... but if the sausage smells funky and doesn't look right - it might be time to start asking questions.