Rage

Narrated by: Robert Petkoff
Length: 13 hrs and 10 mins
5 out of 5 stars (944 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

An unprecedented and intimate tour de force of original reporting on the Trump presidency from Bob Woodward.

Rage goes behind the scenes like never before, with stunning new details about early national security decisions and operations and Trump’s moves as he faces a global pandemic, economic disaster, and racial unrest. Woodward, the number one internationally best-selling author of 13 number-one best sellers, including Fear: Trump in the White House, shows Trump up close in his entirety before the 2020 presidential election. 

President Trump has said publicly that Woodward has interviewed him. What is not known is that Trump provided Woodward a window into his mind through a series of exclusive interviews. At key decision points, Rage shows how Trump’s responses to the crises of 2020 were rooted in the instincts, habits, and style he developed during his first three years as president. Rage draws from hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand witnesses, as well as participants’ notes, emails, diaries, calendars, and confidential documents. 

Woodward obtained 25 personal letters exchanged between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that have not been public before. Kim describes the bond between the two leaders as out of a “fantasy film”, as the two leaders engage in an extraordinary diplomatic minuet. Rage will be the foundational account of the Trump presidency, its turmoil, contradictions, and risks. It is an essential document for any voter seeking an accurate inside view of the Trump years - volatile and vivid. 

©2020 Bob Woodward. All rights reserved. (P)2020 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Really grabbed me

The narration was excellent as if Woodward were present and speaking informally to me. I think everything about this book including the editing is first rate. It's remarkable how Woodward got the president to trust him enough to do 17 interviews, and I bet Trump feels betrayed. But after Woodward's book, Fear, Trump should have sensed what was coming.

It's not the banter of the Trump interviews that does it for me. What other officials said along with respective context and analysis is the dynamite, although not each bit of Rage's content is meant to support Woodward's conclusion that Trump is a dangerous threat to the country. There are criticisms about Obama and even the democratic party, serious ones, although nothing on the order of what's leveled at Trump.

Many of the characters in the book were political appointees under Trump who've come out publicly against him. No other president was denounced by so many of his own. James Mattis, Rex Tillerson, Dan Coats, John Bolton, John Kelly and so on. They're all in the book and we get to hear their impressions of Trump. It comes down to they don't feel Trump is disciplined, organized or trusting of his advisors. He changes the focus of discussions and repeats himself until time runs out. They don't agree with Trump's most impulsive decisions and warned him repeatedly on various issues to no avail.

My favorite character was Lindsey Graham who would golf with the president and try to promote action on criminal justice reform, race relations and national infrastructure projects. Of course, Graham wasn't able to break through; it seemed he was most likely to ingratiate himself.

The biggest topic in the book is the Covid response, a response which could have been more appropriate but serves to inform us where our nation came up short. Woodward believes this to be the defining issue of the Trump presidency. We certainly as a country have to use this as a lesson, and that will make 'Rage' required reading all over the place, in my view.

Woodward puts forward the idea that presidential power keeps expanding over time and is now at its peak. I keep thinking about it and what may happen if presidential power continues to expand. I think this book is stimulating and enjoyable no matter one's political loyalties, if any.

91 people found this helpful

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Illuminating

Woodward does in this book what no one else could have done. He penetrates the consciousness of Donald Trump with deft questioning. He manages to remain tethered to reality and resists the urge to either turn away from Trump in disgust, or fall under his spell.

As a reader I felt myself empathizing with Mattis, Coats, Tillerson, and others who tried desperately to manage the impulsive and erratic president and the fallout from his disastrous decisions. More surprisingly, I felt empathy and even a very conflicted gratitude to Kushner and Graham who have managed to maintain trust with Trump while trying in vain to help him grow into the office.

Donald Trump is a skilled manipulator and entertainer. He can be charming and seductive, but he is tragically self absorbed. Even when an action is clearly in his self-interest, he is simply incapable of doing it. As a mother of young children, I know when something is simply beyond my child’s developmental capacity.

Donald Trump would like voters to see him as a victim. He is, but not a victim of the deep state or the liberal media. He is a victim of his own hubris. He believes he is a great leader and has nothing to learn from others. He is not a leader and making him president was a mistake. Some people may have been able to grow into the office, but he has shown himself unable to do that. This book highlights as no other book I have read that Donald Trump cannot lead. He cannot inspire anything but rage. He is the dynamite behind the door.

13 people found this helpful

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Excellent Non-partisan reporting

This book Highlights from firsthand interviews, the the divisive, self-serving, unhinged, and out of touch reality of Trumps presidency!

11 people found this helpful

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Nothing New Except....

The many people who back up these accounts and the deep reporting that is done to understand how Trump operates. It’s actually scary. Woodward does a great job providing an understanding of Trump’s methodology & psychology of his decision making process. I feel like I better understand that I keep thinking Trump is insane when he actually is very calculating which again is very disturbing. I would recommend this book.

8 people found this helpful

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Bob Woodward is a great writer

Bob Woodward has written many books and honesty is his best quality. When trump complains and whines like no president has ever done it’s because truth is his enemy. Great book and insight into this corrupt administration.

7 people found this helpful

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An honest perspective

This book based on the sincerity of the house reveals the true character of our president. Just to observe or hear his inability to stay on topic says a lot about who Trump is and why he is mentally and personally not a great candidate to serve as the leader of any country. i would recommend this to my friends.

7 people found this helpful

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Why is he the president?

When you think about it he said everything that was in the book you wonder why did he run? The man is lost in his own ego! When you can only be right and everything that turns out wrong is someone’s else’s fault you are down the rabbit hole for good! His inability to reach out to all Americans was his biggest problem and that’s always in the background. The book allows you to see him as he really is and that is scary!

7 people found this helpful

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a must read

loved it... The author is straight.
He presence the facts and leaves the decision to the reader.

5 people found this helpful

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A Worthwhile Listen

Considering that the President day for seventeen interviews, I think this is as fair and balanced as one could expect. Both sides of the aisle will find things to gripe about but if they’re honest, they’ll also find things to -perhaps begrudgingly- admire. It’s a great book by an author who still sets the standard for journalism.

5 people found this helpful

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Leading the witness

This book told me nothing more than I already knew, but what I found fascinating was how much Woodward tried to lead Trump to do and say the right thing. How many times did he beg him to understand about the people in the country who are hurting. How many times did Woodward say it’s about the heart you need to understand their heart and all Trump could respond with was see what I’ve done.

4 people found this helpful