Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America (Hardcover)
Although I had sworn off reading another Trump book, The New York Times journalist Haberman's book attracted me for a few reasons. I read more from The Washington Post than the Times, so I didn't know Haberman's work that well. And there were so MANY excerpts from this book.( I have very mixed feelings about pre-publication excerpts from newsworthy books. For every book whose sales they help, they might depress the sales of more.) The Twitterverse has been brutal in condemning Haberman for promoting Trump with too much coverage before 2016, and then saving "her best stuff" for the book. After reading Confidence Man, my take is: much shocking stuff was not in the excerpts (I finally just took photos of anecdotes to share); early release of information would not have changed the course of justice; it's a meticulous and well written classic combining fleshed out looks at the early days of DJT business practices and the decades long influence of Roger Stone and Russian money. On resigning, General and Chief of Staff Kelly described Trump as a "fascist, uninterested in history or geography, and uniquely unfit for the job of leading a constitutional democracy." This is a story all voters need to know.
— From Carla's Picks (2021-2022)
“This is the book Trump fears most.” - Axios
“Will be a primary source about the most vexing president in American history for years to come.” - Joe Klein, The New York Times
"A uniquely illuminating portrait." - Sean Wilentz, The Washington Post
“[A] monumental look at Donald Trump and his presidency.” — David Shribman, Los Angeles Times
From the Pulitzer-Prize-winning New York Times reporter who has defined Donald J. Trump's presidency like no other journalist, Confidence Man is a magnificent and disturbing reckoning that chronicles his life and its meaning from his rise in New York City to his tortured post-presidency.
Few journalists working today have covered Donald Trump more extensively than Maggie Haberman. And few understand him and his motivations better. Now, demonstrating her majestic command of this story, Haberman reveals in full the depth of her understanding of the 45th president himself, and of what the Trump phenomenon means.
Interviews with hundreds of sources and numerous interviews over the years with Trump himself portray a complicated and often contradictory historical figure. Capable of kindness but relying on casual cruelty as it suits his purposes. Pugnacious. Insecure. Lonely. Vindictive. Menacing. Smarter than his critics contend and colder and more calculating than his allies believe. A man who embedded himself in popular culture, galvanizing support for a run for high office that he began preliminary spadework for 30 years ago, to ultimately become a president who pushed American democracy to the brink.
The through-line of Trump’s life and his presidency is the enduring question of what is in it for him or what he needs to say to survive short increments of time in the pursuit of his own interests.
Confidence Man is also, inevitably, about the world that produced such a singular character, giving rise to his career and becoming his first stage. It is also about a series of relentlessly transactional relationships. The ones that shaped him most were with girlfriends and wives, with Roy Cohn, with George Steinbrenner, with Mike Tyson and Don King and Roger Stone, with city and state politicians like Robert Morgenthau and Rudy Giuliani, with business partners, with prosecutors, with the media, and with the employees who toiled inside what they commonly called amongst themselves the “Trump Disorganization.”
That world informed the one that Trump tried to recreate while in the White House. All of Trump’s behavior as President had echoes in what came before. In this revelatory and newsmaking book, Haberman brings together the events of his life into a single mesmerizing work. It is the definitive account of one of the most norms-shattering and consequential eras in American political history.
"A uniquely illuminating portrait...Haberman’s contribution in Confidence Man [is] much larger than its arresting anecdotes. Later generations of historians will puzzle over Trump’s rise to national power. The best of them will have learned from Haberman’s book that none of it would have been possible but for a social, cultural, political, media and moral breakdown that overtook New York beginning in the 1970s, a fiasco of trusted institutions that, having allowed the Trumpian virus to grow, failed at every step to contain its spread, then profited from, aided and even cheered its devastation." — Sean Wilentz, The Washington Post
“[A] monumental look at Donald Trump and his presidency . . . it may be first among equals.” — David Shribman, Los Angeles Times
“Haberman, the New York Times’ Trump whisperer, delivers. [Confidence Man] is much more than 600 pages of context, scoop and drama. It is a political epic, tracing Donald Trump’s journey from the streets of Queens to Manhattan’s Upper East Side, from the White House to Mar-a-Lago, his Elba.” —The Guardian
“Delivers eye-popping details about the Trump presidency.” —Terry Moran, Good Morning America
“Maggie Haberman has become the chronicler-in-chief of the Donald Trump era.” —John Dickerson, CBS Sunday Morning
“Haberman deploys a deep sense of Trump's origins and career, including his relationships with New York’s mayors and powerful Democratic ward bosses such as Meade Esposito. Haberman helps us understand how his lifelong desire for stardom pushed him to bid for the presidency and how his unorthodox credentials and tactics enabled him to win. She has a witness’ eye for much that she relates.” —NPR.org
“An origin story plus an inside-the-room blow-by-blow—a book arguably only Haberman could have written. . . . It’s been called the book Trump fears the most—he’s ‘terrified,’ said one former aide—and that’s because Haberman is the reporter who knows him the best.” —Michael Kruse, POLITICO
“Chockablock with fresh anecdotes and insights.” —Frank Bruni, The New York Times
“Haberman stands out among journalists who have followed Mr. Trump . . . Haberman makes a particular contribution with [Confidence Man] by describing how the annealing interplay of politics and commerce in the New York of the 1970s and 1980s equipped Mr. Trump with the low expectations and cynical convictions that would carry him so far . . . Her devastating portrait of Mr. Trump’s failure should give his imitators pause.” —The Economist
“Maggie Haberman breaks more news than the rest of us.” —Jonathan Swan
“Maggie Haberman gets all the information” — Jimmy Kimmel
“No reporter has lived rent-free in Trump’s head longer than Haberman.” — POLITICO Playbook
“Haberman’s book is chockablock with scoops . . . but what singles it out from the competition is its perceptiveness about Trump’s character and the way his private vices became public menaces.” —Peter Conrad, The Guardian
“With a masterly command of her subject, Haberman carefully weighs her sources and composes a highly readable, believable account of Trump from childhood through his petulant Mar-a-Lago exile.” —Shepherd Express
"The most comprehensive portrait of the 45th president to date, one that correctly diagnoses him as a malignant, world-historical narcissist and that will be read long after he alights from the proverbial couch.” —Air Mail
"Deeply reported and immersively told, this is an essential contribution." —Publishers Weekly, starred review
"A damning portrait of narcissism, megalomania, and abject failure—and the price the country is paying in the bargain." —Kirkus Reviews