As a literary author and national journalist for many decades,
I have come to know many writers. Many of the books I read
and enjoy most are by these acquaintances and friends, and
this presents me with an obvious dilemma in writing about or
reviewing their books.
Book reviews are an art form in their own right, especially
those about works of fiction and poetry. Reviews of non-fiction
books can serve as a starting point or foundation for the
reviewer’s own views on a subject. And then there are those
books which are so necessary they merit a straightforward
alert to readers.
Newt Gingrich’s newest book Trump’s America is just such a
In full disclosure, Newt Gingrich has been a friend and. on
occasion, a collaborator, for more than three decades. I will
let my readers decide if what I now say about his new book
is fair and useful.
The former speaker of the U.S. house, himself a serious
presidential candidate in 2012, was among the earliest figures
to see the eventual 2016 electoral success of candidate Donald
Trump. I know that is so because of conversations with him
long before I realized it.
He unambiguously predicted Trump’s nomination and
subsequently his victory over Hillary Clinton in the November
election. Since President Trump took office, he has consistently
explained his actions and views in articles, TV appearances,
and books. Although clearly and constantly favorable to Mr.
Trump, he has always exercised his right to be critical of the
president when he disagreed with him.
Some might characterize Gingrich as a cheerleader or advocate
for Donald Trump, and I think it would be fair to do so. But that
does not diminish the value of Gingrich’s writing on the subject
because the whole phenomenon of Donald Trump’s candidacy
and subsequent presidency is so unprecedented and so often
misunderstood that lucid analysis and explanation is vitally
important for both his partisans and his opponents.
As in his previous book Understanding Trump, Newt Gingrich
continues to be the most incisive diagnostician of the Trump
phenomenon and the political environment which surrounds it.
Yes, his new Trump's America is a partisan account, but that
does not lessen its value, especially to the many Democrats,
and not a few Republicans, who dislike and/or disagree with
the president’s views and style.
For much of the Trump candidacy, and during all of his
presidency, I have been urging my readers, whether they are for
or against Mr. Trump, to put aside their stereotypes of him as
well as the biased media conventional wisdom about him, and
try to understand the underlying reality of his appeal to voters,
and what the president is saying or doing. His Democratic Party
opponents especially need to do this if they are to successfully
provide n credible alternative to him.
So Trump’s America is not only a must-read for the president’s
supporters, but also for his opponents. Mr. Gingrich has become
the most articulate diagnostician of contemporary American
politics. Unlike many of his colleagues on the right and the left,
he is open to new political and technological developments, and
bold enough to try to explain them.
You need not agree with Newt Gingrich, or with Donald Trump,
to gain much from reading Trump’s America. It is a necessary
and timely book.
Copyright (c) 2018 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.