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Publisher's Summary

From one of America's preeminent national security journalists, an explosive, news-breaking account of Donald Trump's collision with the American national security establishment, and with the world

It is a simple fact that no president in American history brought less foreign policy experience to the White House than Donald J. Trump. The real estate developer from Queens promised to bring his brash, zero-sum swagger to bear to cut through America's most complex national security issues, and he did. If the cost of his "America First" agenda was bulldozing the edifice of foreign alliances that had been carefully tended by every president from Truman to Obama, then so be it.

It was clear from the first that Trump's inclinations were radically more blunt force than his predecessors'. When briefed by the Pentagon on Iran and the Strait of Hormuz, he exclaimed, "The next time Iran sends its boats into the Strait: blow them out of the water! Let's get Mad Dog on this." When told that the capital of South Korea, Seoul, was so close to the North Korean border that millions of people would likely die in the first hours of any all-out war, Trump had a bold response, "They have to move." The officials in the Oval Office weren't sure if he was joking. He raised his voice. "They have to move!"

Very quickly, it became clear to a number of people at the highest levels of government that their gravest mission was to protect America from Donald Trump. Trump and His Generals is Peter Bergen's riveting account of what happened when the unstoppable force of President Trump met the immovable object of America's national security establishment - the CIA, the State Department, and, above all, the Pentagon. If there is a real "deep state" in DC, it is not the FBI so much as the national security community, with its deep-rooted culture and hierarchy. The men Trump selected for his key national security positions, Jim Mattis, John Kelly, and H. R. McMaster, were products of that culture: Trump wanted generals, and he got them. Three years later, they would be gone, and the guardrails were off. 

From Iraq and Afghanistan to Syria and Iran, from Russia and China to North Korea and Islamist terrorism, Trump and His Generals is a brilliant reckoning with an American ship of state navigating a roiling sea of threats without a well-functioning rudder. Lucid and gripping, it brings urgently needed clarity to issues that affect the fate of us all. But clarity, unfortunately, is not the same thing as reassurance.

©2019 Peter Bergen (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

 "As Bergen, the author of several books on national security, shows, Donald Trump’s relationship to the American military is fraught because he has no understanding of the martial virtues and seems to assume that soldiering is simply a matter of violence, even uncaged brutality." (The New York Times, Editor's Choice, week of Jan. 9) 

"America is on the brink of war with Iran, largely as a result of President Trump's reckless decision to assassinate Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani. An excellent way to understand how and why this happened is to read Peter Bergen's new book, Trump and His Generals: The Cost of Chaos (Penguin Press).... Now, after the killing of Soleimani, Bergen's book reads like an all-too prescient guidebook of how Trump would take America to war in the Middle East." (Rolling Stone )

"Bergen provides a deeply informed study, written with clarity and flair. Reflecting fresh research and nearly 100 interviews with some key players, his retelling of Trump's foreign policy skillfully synthesizes what's already known and adds gossipy tidbits...it is the best single account of Trump's foreign policy to date." (The Washington Post)

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What listeners say about Trump and His Generals

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Interesting but lacking depth

An interesting look inside what we already know is a chaotic White House. This book will entertain you but doesn’t give any insight that a careful reader of news wouldn’t already know.

4 people found this helpful

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Bergen Confirms the Chaos The People Voted For

What Mr. Bergen doesn’t understand is the reason the American people elected Donald J Trump the 45th president of United States is because we want the chaos. The DC political, military, corporate and media elites have led us into decades of decline. It’s the America First, not America Alone, policies that twist their undies in a bundle. Thanks for confirming it.

2 people found this helpful

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Well written, good content, BUT..

a British Accent narration? It just does not work having trump quotes in a British accent! It simply does not fit and sounds all wrong. British accents sound classy... Trump sounds like a thug- bit -player on a Soprano's episode.

9 people found this helpful

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A political must read.

Before claiming to be well informed, listen to this book. Then, judge for yourself. The facts are tangible and well supported. They are presented logically without undue prejudice.

1 person found this helpful

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Worth it

This book was overall excellent.The author occasionally slipped in his anti- Trump interpretation of events and individuals actions, especially in the Epilogue. Many of the themes about trump White House were present here but with more emphasis on military actors.

1 person found this helpful

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Not much new

As the title implies this was about the role of the military in the Trump administration. I respect Peter Bergen especially because of his deep insights and sources. This book had almost nothing new to offer. Most information in the book is readily available in the mainstream press. For the lack of wow factor, the book tried to make up with longwindedness. All in all a disappointing read.

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Bergen Wrote This Book on Autopilot: Smug and Lacking Insight

This book was nothing but a windy rehash of the Bergen and CNN’s headlines since 2015, written behind the veil of total smugness. The book lacks insight and interest, offering no knew information. It’s like Bergen took his every CNN onscreen pontification and turned it into 300+ pages of text, hoping that you don’t notice he has nothing knew to say. However, if you want to know what all the Washington insiders have to say, this book will give you the narrative you already know at great length.

2 people found this helpful

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Unbelievably Biased

Very unbalanced. The author even went so far as to speak of John Brennan as a moral, good person. There is so much about this book that I know for certain is untrue. What concerns me is these people are working in intelligence. Either they know what they are saying is a lie or the compartmentalizations of our national security has brought about the demise of our nation. This books reads like a CIA Operative wrote it.

2 people found this helpful

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Whitewash of Gen McMaster

The narration and writing is fine. However this is just a rehash of Obama, Trump and Mideast wars from McMaster's point of view It should have been called, "I'm so great", by Gen McMaster. I really regret spending money on this nothing burger of a book.

1 person found this helpful

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Book continues to believe Russia Hoax is real

The book was interesting but continues to weave the tale that the Generals status quo was best logical conclusion. Only if you are a globalist and will profit from the military industrial complex. I wanted to like this book. But it treats the intelligence agencies as truthful and that Trump should trust the IC. The IC are a den of liars since 1947. They have manipulated many presidents and started illegal actions only to tell the President years later and force his hand to accept the actions or face political problems. The author tries to keep the Russia Hoax alive and denies that the Ukraine meddled in the elections along with DNC paying for fake Steelers dossier. So long as you know the author has a bias and thinks Trump is an idiot you can get some good info from this book regarding the Generals.