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Publisher's Summary

A multigenerational saga of two families who rose from immigrant roots to the pinnacle of US power that tracks the unraveling of American democracy.

In American Oligarchs, award-winning investigative journalist Andrea Bernstein creates a vivid portrait of two emblematic American families. Their journey to the White House is a story of survival and loss, crime and betrayal, which stretches from the Gilded Age through Nazi-occupied Poland to the rising nationalism and inequality of the 21st century. 

Drawing on hundreds of interviews and over 100,000 pages of documents, many previously unseen or long forgotten, Bernstein traces how the families grew rich on federal programs that bolstered the middle class, and then sheltered their wealth from tax collectors. Wielding half-truths, secrecy, and media manipulation, they blurred the lines between public and private interests, then leveraged political, prosecutorial, and judicial power to avoid legal consequences. At once intimate and sweeping, American Oligarchs reveals how these dynasties encouraged and profited from a system of political dark money that has pushed America to the precipice of oligarchy.

©2020 Andrea Bernstein (P)2020 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Anyone concerned about American democracy should read Andrea Bernstein’s devastating exposé of the Trump and Kushner families. With meticulous precision, she documents the pernicious effects of dynastic wealth and power, now threatening to turn the highest rungs of the US government into a corrupt oligarchy." (Jane Mayer, The New Yorker staff writer and New York Times best-selling author of Dark Money)

"A rich and highly readable compendium...Bernstein is an intrepid reporter." (William Cohan, New York Times Book Review)

"By building American Oligarchs around the Kushner and Trump family narratives, Bernstein offers readers a fresh perspective.... Readers who follow the news more casually will also find the epic family tales a compelling way to understand the myriad deals and ambitions that define the Kushners and Trumps." (David Kocieniewski, Bloomberg.com)

What listeners say about American Oligarchs

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Informative, Interesting and Illuminating

Well researched, organized and thoughtful. Balanced and documented.

But authors who think they can read well enough for an audio book need better advisors and would best listen to the advice. Pleasant enough voice but painfully plodding. “Much. Of. The. Money...” Slow word by word punctuated with lengthy, breathy pauses.

7 people found this helpful

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Required Reading for All Americans

Bernstein manages to weave decades of stories, endless sources, and an earnest interest in truth and justice. One day, this will be an essential historical document; for now, it is a riveting and brilliantly-wrought accounting of the state of our union. Thank you, Andrea

5 people found this helpful

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Socialist Cretins

The audacity to not only bilk the government, banks, family, and business associates out of HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS by two families who were given every advantage afforded by government agencies at all levels within their chosen locales of the United States is a soul crushing revelation within this in depth investigation of the Trumps and the Kushners. That Trump magnifies his abuse of governmental amenities can be compounded by his bald faced accusations of socialist candidates and socialist proposals by potential political opposition candidates.

I would love to get a PowerPoint presentation of every underhanded deed over the decades described in this wonderful book to help offset social media claims by the cult followers of the luckiest cretins on earth.

5 people found this helpful

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The most thorough

Book on all that is Trump. If you only read one book this should be it.

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Brilliant journalism!

As thorough as this book is, it never becomes too dense to follow. And it is exhaustively thorough! I listened to all of the Trump, Inc. podcast (to date) before embarking on the book—this helped me follow the details. And there are a ton of details.

The history and degree of corruption that has led to our current political state is documented in stunning detail. Many of the “fun facts” go back to Nixon and Ford administrations.

I look forward to any future work by Andrea Bernstein. She is a brilliant journalist.

2 people found this helpful

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Brilliant, Terrifying, and Inspirational

Chronicles with astonishing detail and journalistic integrity the rise of the Kusher and Trump dynasties.

The epilogue contains one of the most inspirational passages about hope that I've heard in a long time.

Andrea Bernstein deserves a Pulitzer for this!!

2 people found this helpful

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Excellent content, sing song presentation.

I thank the author for her diligent research. The more information made public, the better for the country. I would recommend a professional reader for your next effort. I almost quit listening several times because of the annoying sing song cadence.

I’m glad I didn’t.

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It’s a hit job!

As someone who read many books critical of Trump, I must say this is the one that I find the most negatively biased. This is an author who basically believes all businessmen are evil from reading many of her analogies and representations of what she believes is morally correct. Also when the author is unable to find a single good thing to say about either Jared Kushner, his father Charlie, Donald Trump or the Trump children, you begin to wonder about where it’s going. I stopped half way as I really didn’t enjoy the non stop criticism. I don’t like Donald either but at some point the readers would like to know more about how these families became successful in every area of their lives! The author basically assumes that everyone who voted for Donald was an idiot and that he made his billions by cheating and that he basically too is an idiot. At the same time she claims that Donald, Charlie, Jared and the Trump kids are terrible at business and terrible human beings! Yet they are billionaires and Donald is POTUS! Also the author again gives credence to the discredited ‘dossier’ and uses it also to hit at the President. So I can’t really call this book anything but a hit job. I found books like Born Trump and Mar-a-lago much better than this book. They were also very critical of Trump but could atleast point to some positives and gave insight into his eventual success. Every person has both sides good and bad. This author tries to paint everyone she dislikes with the same brush and that makes the book unreadable.

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A one sided bashfest against the Trump family.

I’m not disputing the information I’ve heard in the first 4 chapters. However, the one sided attitude of this author and her very whiny voice as also the narrator makes this a very difficult listen unless you’re a Trump hater. The bold faced title is misleading. It’s actually about the sub title. I was hoping it would talk about ALL of the claimed Oligarchy this author claims the a Trump and Kushners are and tied together with the marriage into the Kushner family by Ivanka Trump. I lost all respect I had for her just in the first four chapters. She HAD to know exactly who she was marrying and the family she was pairing with her family. This woman should have written about all those families and all the corrupt activities they participated in to keep it balanced. A much more balanced book is Profiles in Corruption by Peter Schweizer. It will be returned and I’ll try to find better books on this topic that isn’t biased.

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Journalism at its best... giving us hope

Thank you Andrea (and team). I anxiously await your Trump Inc podcasts and applaud your efforts to inform me and your audience.

1 person found this helpful