Lawyer, mother, avid reader. Game host extraordinaire! Partner in crime to Obsidian Black Plague! My bookish weaknesses include classics, fantasy, YA, and agreeing to read more books than is even remotely possible.
First off, the question that you might be asking at this point is "is this book worth reading?"
There are lots of ways to answer this - are you interested in the shit show that is the Trump White House at the one year mark? (Answer: Yes, read it) Do you ever use the phrase "Fake News" in an unironic manner? (No - you won't get anything out of it) Are you sufficiently emotionally stable that you can stand to read more than 300 pages about all of the ways in which the Trump presidency is dysfunctional? (Yes, but be prepared).
But ultimately, I will say that for me, the point of the book wasn't to point fingers and laugh at Trump. He's exactly what you think he is: an intellectually small, puerile man who is obsessed with himself, who has some profoundly weird quirks. But the quirks aren't really all that important. It's funny to read about his weird fetish about people picking up his clothes, or his fear of being poisoned, or his bizarre practice of staying up late and talking on the phone with his billionaire boys club buddies.
The real lesson of this book, though, in my opinion, is this:
Washington D.C. and the GOP is a personality cult full of treasonous enablers who are watching Trump destroy our Republic for short term personal gain. The stench of Trump is pervasive, and, at the end of this sad tale, they will be judged with the weight of history.
Sometimes, I use the expression "Nero fiddling while Rome burns," and I think that this is apposite here (regardless of its likely historical inaccuracy." But it is not Trump who is Nero. Nero is Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, General McMaster, Reince Preibus, John Kelly, and the rest of the men who have purported to be public servants, who have made careers out of "putting the country first," (ha, I know) who are ignoring Trumps unfitness for short term gain. They are, quite literally, fiddling while Rome burns.
"Arguably—and on many days indubitably—most members of the senior staff believed that the sole upside of being part of the Trump White House was to help prevent worse from happening. In early October, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s fate was sealed—if his obvious ambivalence toward the president had not already sealed it—by the revelation that he had called the president “a fucking moron.” This—insulting Donald Trump’s intelligence—was both the thing you could not do and the thing—drawing there-but-for-the-grace-of-God guffaws across the senior staff—that everybody was guilty of.
Everyone, in his or her own way, struggled to express the baldly obvious fact that the president did not know enough, did not know what he didn’t know, did not particularly care, and, to boot, was confident if not serene in his unquestioned certitudes. There was now a fair amount of back-of-the-classroom giggling about who had called Trump what.
For Steve Mnuchin and Reince Priebus, he was an “idiot.” For Gary Cohn, he was “dumb as shit.” For H. R. McMaster he was a “dope.” The list went on. Tillerson would merely become yet another example of a subordinate who believed that his own abilities could somehow compensate for Trump’s failings. Aligned with Tillerson were the three generals, Mattis, McMasters, and Kelly, each seeing themselves as representing maturity, stability, and restraint. And each, of course, was resented by Trump for it. The suggestion that any or all of these men might be more focused and even tempered than Trump himself was cause for sulking and tantrums on the president’s part."
But here is the thing, there comes a point - and we are well past that point - that a person cannot excuse the fact that they are profiting by chaos by claiming that they are trying prevent chaos.
They are treasonous ratfucks, every last one of them.
Trump isn't Nero - he is the infantile Dauphin, a toddler throwing a tantrum over the toy he can't have, and he is the Harvey Weinstein of government. It is an open secret that he is utterly unfit for the office of the President of the United States of America. According to Wolff, everyone knows it.
And you know what, this is believable, because WE ALREADY KNOW THAT IT IS TRUE. You know it. I know it. Even his stupidest supporter knows it, they're just so delighted that he's a finger in the eye of the liberal elite that they don't care.
So, in the end, this book makes Trump look bad. But it makes the people around him look worse. They are the capable ones. They are responsible.
And history will judge them. Harshly.