Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Trump, a president like no other

I love it when really smart people write a book report on a book written by another really smart person.

Victor Davis Hanson reviews the book, Donald J. Trump: A President Like No Other, written by Conrad Black. Only two people review this book on Amazon presently, both gave it 5 stars.

Conrad Black, as you know, has an involved relationship with the U.S. criminal justice system. His Wikipedia page is written somewhat unflatteringly. The portion about the charges against him, his convictions, sentencing, appeals, fines, prison time, re-trials, new fines, time served, Supreme Court case, further review cases, later sentencing, bail requests, more appeals, incarceration, is lengthy. His trouble  was about fraud and obstruction of justice. Exacerbated by a hyped up prosecutor.

Hanson likes the book. He appreciates Black's ease with Latin philosophers, writers and historians, and Black's slipping between archaic phrases and modern colloquialisms. Black attempts to understand Trump, not convince readers one way or another. Hanson is impressed with Black's honesty and open minded acceptance of plain facts. Black does this by examining Trump within the three areas that the public knows him, Manhattan real estate and finance, the celebrity world, and politics. Black's tacit assumption is that it is more difficult to build a skyscraper in Manhattan than it is to be a career politician or a news reader.

Hanson tells us that Black provides unusual insight into how Trump or anyone could survive the rollercoaster of catastrophe and fortune, and although Trump's rivals share the same ethos, very few succeeded as Trump has.
Trump became president because he outworked and outhustled his competitors, because he saw that most seasoned politicians were split-the-difference 51 percent hedgers—and that the country by 2016 desperately wanted some sort of Samson to tear down the pillars of a complacent if not corrupt establishment, even if they and their deliverer might sometimes be injured in the rubble.
Black instinctively captures the essence of the Trump paradox: How did someone supposedly so crude, so mercantile, and so insensitive display a sensitivity to the forgotten people that was lost both on his Republican competitors and Hillary Clinton? Certainly, no one on stage at any of the debates worried much about 40 percent of the country written off as John McCain’s “crazies,” Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables” and “irredeemables,” and Barack Obama’s “clingers,” who were judged wanting for not capitalizing on the bicoastal dividends of American-led globalism. 
Hanson describes Black's final third of the book as magisterial in reciting Trump's achievement only beginning, tax reform, deregulation, ending the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act, his superb judicial appointments, curbing illegal immigration, expanding gas and oil production, restoration of deterrence abroad, all that through nonstop criticism, very real venom, and vituperation from "Resistance." Black is unsympathetic to the left's resort to dismiss the Electoral College and sue under the emoluments clause and evoking the 25th Amendment, their push for impeachment and their embracing assassination chic of threats against Trump and his family.

Hanson tells us that Black's book is different because at times he writes from firsthand experience, and because Black knows what it is like to be targeted by overzealous prosecutor and how the justice system is warped even before a formal trial. For Black, the pursuit of Trump is the logical trajectory of American criminal justice system that gives prosecutors unchecked power, especially when driven by political agenda. Lastly, Black's prose style, in the ancient world, would be called Asiatic or florid and decorative, multisyllabic sometimes nearly archaic vocabulary with ornate imagery, melodic rhythms, diverse syntax and classical tropes that are deliberately understated with juxtapositions of Latinate and Anglo-Saxon vocabulary loaded with similes and metaphors. Hanson says that in the modern world few people can write any more like Edward Gibbon or Winston Churchill, but Black does this effortlessly and precisely. He adds, Black is often a treat to read as an Isocrates or Cicero in modern English.
Most readers, like myself, have never met either Conrad Black nor Donald J. Trump. But after reading this engaging biography, those of any political persuasion would wish to do both.
Hanson's affection for this book is enough to compel one to buy it.

Comments to Hanson's review are mixed between sensible and inane. The contrast is sharp as a razor. Worth reading just for the fun of it. The detractors attack Trump with liberal axioms without responding directly to Hanson's review or to the book. They're ridiculously narrow-minded and rigidly closed. For example, "Trump is a coward." That's not even worth responding to.

American Greatness.


ricpic said...

I don't see and I've never seen what is so mysterious about Trump. He's a many souled man. I guess most people are single souled and so they can't understand how a billionaire could connect with blue collar guys or how someone who has put on green eyeshades and crunched numbers could also have an impish sense of humor and an instinct for the killing phrase when it comes to pinning and pinning down a political opponent. He's got a rhino's hide, without which he wouldn't have survived, but he's also playful. His type used to be called a Renaissance Man and celebrated, not viewed as an object of alarm by pygmies.

edutcher said...

The issue is Trump isn't "so crude, so mercantile, and so insensitive".

He's like every working stiff out there. He's been broke and he knows what it means when everything goes zeroes.

deborah said...

Sounds killer, will def. read.

XRay said...

ricpic, you're close.