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Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History

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7 hours, 46 minutes Called "disgraceful," "third-rate," and "not nice" by Donald Trump, NBC News correspondent Katy Tur reported on—and took flak from—the most captivating and volatile presidential candidate in American history. Tur lived out of a suitcase for a year and a half, following Trump around the country, powered by packets of peanut butter and kept clean with dry 7 hours, 46 minutes Called "disgraceful," "third-rate," and "not nice" by Donald Trump, NBC News correspondent Katy Tur reported on—and took flak from—the most captivating and volatile presidential candidate in American history. Tur lived out of a suitcase for a year and a half, following Trump around the country, powered by packets of peanut butter and kept clean with dry shampoo. She visited forty states with the candidate, made more than 3,800 live television reports, listened to endless loops of Elton John’s "Tiny Dancer"—a Trump rally playlist staple. From day 1 to day 500, Tur documented Trump’s inconsistencies, fact-checked his falsities, and called him out on his lies. In return, Trump repeatedly singled out Tur. He tried to charm her, intimidate her, and shame her. At one point, he got a crowd so riled up against her, Secret Service agents had to walk her to her car. None of it worked. Facts are stubborn. So was Tur. She was part of the first women-led politics team in the history of network news. The Boys on the Bus became the Girls on the Plane--but the circus remained. Through all the long nights, wild scoops, naked chauvinism, dodgy staffers, and fevered debates, no one had a better view than Tur. Unbelievable is her darkly comic, fascinatingly bizarre, and often scary story of how America sent a former reality show host to the White House. It’s also the story of what it was like for Tur to be there as it happened, inside a no-rules world where reporters were spat on, demeaned, and discredited. Tur was a foreign correspondent who came home to her most foreign story of all. FROM THE RECIPIENT OF THE  2017 Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism


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7 hours, 46 minutes Called "disgraceful," "third-rate," and "not nice" by Donald Trump, NBC News correspondent Katy Tur reported on—and took flak from—the most captivating and volatile presidential candidate in American history. Tur lived out of a suitcase for a year and a half, following Trump around the country, powered by packets of peanut butter and kept clean with dry 7 hours, 46 minutes Called "disgraceful," "third-rate," and "not nice" by Donald Trump, NBC News correspondent Katy Tur reported on—and took flak from—the most captivating and volatile presidential candidate in American history. Tur lived out of a suitcase for a year and a half, following Trump around the country, powered by packets of peanut butter and kept clean with dry shampoo. She visited forty states with the candidate, made more than 3,800 live television reports, listened to endless loops of Elton John’s "Tiny Dancer"—a Trump rally playlist staple. From day 1 to day 500, Tur documented Trump’s inconsistencies, fact-checked his falsities, and called him out on his lies. In return, Trump repeatedly singled out Tur. He tried to charm her, intimidate her, and shame her. At one point, he got a crowd so riled up against her, Secret Service agents had to walk her to her car. None of it worked. Facts are stubborn. So was Tur. She was part of the first women-led politics team in the history of network news. The Boys on the Bus became the Girls on the Plane--but the circus remained. Through all the long nights, wild scoops, naked chauvinism, dodgy staffers, and fevered debates, no one had a better view than Tur. Unbelievable is her darkly comic, fascinatingly bizarre, and often scary story of how America sent a former reality show host to the White House. It’s also the story of what it was like for Tur to be there as it happened, inside a no-rules world where reporters were spat on, demeaned, and discredited. Tur was a foreign correspondent who came home to her most foreign story of all. FROM THE RECIPIENT OF THE  2017 Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism

30 review for Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History

  1. 4 out of 5

    Will Byrnes

    Prologue: Trump Victory Party New York Hilton Midtown 10:59 P.M. Election Day I’m about to throw up. I so wish she had said “I think I’m gonna barf,” but we can’t have everything. NBC reporter Katherine Bear “Katy” Tur was not alone in feeling that way. In fact, a wave of nausea has been crisscrossing the nation ever since November 8, 2016, a date that will live in infamy, trapped in a seemingly endless back and forth sloshing. Tur had more reason for gastrointestinal distress than most. She ha Prologue: Trump Victory Party New York Hilton Midtown 10:59 P.M. Election Day I’m about to throw up. I so wish she had said “I think I’m gonna barf,” but we can’t have everything. NBC reporter Katherine Bear “Katy” Tur was not alone in feeling that way. In fact, a wave of nausea has been crisscrossing the nation ever since November 8, 2016, a date that will live in infamy, trapped in a seemingly endless back and forth sloshing. Tur had more reason for gastrointestinal distress than most. She had been assigned to the Trump campaign for the duration of the seemingly endless electioneering season. Seeing this guy elected president of the United States would turn your stomach too if you had been seeing what he was really like for over 500 days. Image by Sasha Arutyunova for the NY Times We want our campaign-book reportage to show us something we have not seen before. Of course, it was not always the case that every microsecond of a campaign was undertaken under klieg lights. So, really, what’s left, but the reporter’s experience, things that are not told in her thousands (more than 3800 through the campaign) of on-air reports. What can we learn from Tur’s book that we did not know before? What can we learn about campaigning that did not make the broadcast? What can we learn about the personalities involved, the candidate, the candidate’s team, the candidate’s followers that occur off camera? Tur interviewing you-know-who in July 2015 – image from MSNBC What stands out most, chillingly, is the atmosphere of intolerance and menace promoted by candidate Swamp Thing, toward foreigners, democrats, minorities, but perhaps most importantly, toward the press. Politicians have often, even usually, taken umbrage at the reporters writing about or broadcasting stories about their less-than-perfect aspects. What is unusual is having a candidate who encourages his people to go after them. What is unusual is having a candidate who lies so relentlessly that he attempts to deny reality entirely, a candidate who, by proclaiming every day that reporters are nothing but merchants of fake news, is attempting to delegitimize the major media of our nation from their role as the fourth estate, that entity charged with holding public feet to the fire of revelation. If there is no one left to tell the truth about him, and fewer and fewer consumers of news who accept what the media reports as truth, Trump can go about his vast array of crimes with no fear of being held accountable. Campaign reporters were held in pens at Trump rallies. Trump went out of his way to point them out to his followers, calling them names, accusing them of lying about him, tacitly encouraging his followers to scream at, intimidate, and threaten them. “Look back there! ‘Little Katy,’ she’s back there. She’s such a liar, what a little liar she is!” She was often singled out as the focus of his rage against the media. It was not out of character. Tur notes the growing aura of menace at his rallies, as Trump repeatedly encouraged his followers to brutalize protesters. Katy knew she would have to endure. “I don’t know why he did it,” she said, shrugging. “But I will say this: I know that had I exhibited any sign that I was intimidated or scared of him, he would have rolled over me.” It seems likely that Trump focusing so much on Tur may have been a manifestation of his epic misogyny. KT at NH rally on election eve – Getty Image Tur contends that the rally attendees who screamed “Cunt” at her would never think of doing that anywhere else. She made an effort to talk with Trump supporters. She thinks they are probably decent people who are frustrated at the excesses of political correctness on the one hand and their economic immobility, or even descent on the other. It is not a view I share. What is not really surprising is that there are so many in our country who care so little for facts, and so much for their biases, that they are perfectly fine with Swamp Thing’s relentless lies and bigotry. While frustrations are real, unfairness rampant, and maybe getting worse, what has been let loose is not a rally-sparked mob mentality. I expect the mob is real and more permanent than Kur believes. It was on display in full force in Charlottesville. This IS the dark undercurrent in American society, the undercurrent that thought slavery was fine and dandy, the undercurrent that was cool with Jim Crow, the undercurrent that thought the guys in white sheets were doing the right thing, and that certain people should know their place, the undercurrent that thought Tail-Gunner Joe was the cat’s meow, and that a woman’s place was in the kitchen, the undercurrent that listen to the know-nothing, paranoid demagoguery spewed by the likes of Alex Jones, Rush Limbaugh, and Fox News as if it is revealed wisdom. Not all Trump supporters are climate deniers, but all climate deniers are Trump supporters. Not all Trump supporters are nativists, but all nativists are Trump supporters. Not all Trump supporters are white supremacists, but all white supremacists are Trump supporters. Not all Trump supporters are fascists, but all fascists are Trump supporters. And it is these darker portions of Trump’s supporters who seem to have been heavily represented at Trump rallies. Having so public an approving mouthpiece as Swamp Thing crying havoc gave them a feeling of license to let slip the dogs of hatred, and now they roam in rabid packs. In the field – image from peanutchuck.com If you want to know what it might have been like on the campaign trail with Mussolini, Hitler, or any of the many other demagogues who have fouled and others who continue to pollute our planet, Tur give you a pretty good taste. She offers first hand, up close and personal witness to mass hatred, stoked by a master demagogue, as monumentally skilled in the arts of theater as he is amazingly incapable in the business of governing. image from MarieClaire.com – shot by Rebecca Greenfield Tur portrays a Bizarro world, in which a rope line of Trump lackeys works to ramp up reporters’ stress by accusing them pre-emptively of bias in order to gain the best possible coverage. This appears to be SOP for Trump, always pressuring the ump to try to gain a sympathetic call some time later in the game. She also lets us in on how disorganized the Trumpzis were, constantly being off message when talking with the press. And it would have been tough to remain on message in any case as Swamp Thing had a habit of contradicting himself only constantly. Another continuing point in the book is the numbing endurance of day after day, hell, minute after minute non-stop, sociopathic dishonesty. It has got to be tough to keep on message, though, with having to remember the lies du jour. We get a very clear sense that Swamp Thing was not really in it to win it. This was the presumption of most of the world at the beginning of his campaign, that he was in the race as a publicity stunt on steroids. That would go a long way toward explaining why he continued trying to make real estate deals in Russia all the way through the campaign. Like Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom in The Producers, he figured he could get away with dirty dealings, in this case playing footsie with the primary enemy of the United States, because he did not expect to win. He intended to produce a flop. Image from The New York Daily News The tweeting was a whole other thing. Never before had there been a candidate whose favorite means of communication was the tweet. He was, and remains, compulsive about his tweeting, often tweeting dramatic pronouncements, accusations, and lies at all hours of the day. This impacted campaign reporters, who used to be able to get a break from campaign events. Not anymore. Tur gives you a real sense of what it means to be a campaign reporter, the late nights, early mornings, constant interruptions, competition from other news pros, demands from the bosses, more demands from the bosses, even more demands from the bosses, the challenge of getting to a plane in the middle of a snow hazard to get to a campaign stop half a country away, with single-digit minutes so spare, the need to find clothing and coiffure presentable on air when you are a mess, the need to function at peak efficiency and presentation when you have had next to no sleep for what feels like a lifetime. She also talks about the toll this assignment had on her personal life. Illuminating stuff for those of us on the other side of the TV screen. December 2015 – image from Peanutchuck.com And then there are the personal dealings with Swamp Thing and his minions. She reports on the schizoid way Trump treated her, publicly saying she was a great reporter one day and the next calling her out to his brownshirts at a rally, by name, as unfair, third rate, and worse, to the point that NBC had to provide her with a security detail. It is a good thing that she has, as she calls it, the hide of a rhinoceros. But she also tells of her one-on-one interactions with him, offering passing charm one minute, but angling, always, always angling for favorable coverage. You really get a sense of how creepy a guy he is in person. Tur stays mostly away from Trump’s staff, focusing her recollections on those she had with the candidate himself. Although she does report on a senior, married, Trump campaign staffer who asked her where he could meet single 30-something women. Sadly, no name is revealed. She is too much of a pro to come right out and say that Donald Trump is a world-class asshole, maybe one of the biggest assholes who has ever lived, an amoral monster who puts not only all the people around him but the very planet at risk in service of his tiny mind and incredibly inflated ego, but we get the picture. She is a master of showing without telling. It comes across pretty clearly here that Swamp Thing is not exactly presidential material. image from Marie Claire – shot by Anthony Terrell The book alternates between election night at Trump’s victory party and Tur’s tale of covering the campaign, from being assigned in May 2015. In addition to telling of her reporting experiences, she offers autobiographical details that include some pretty lively material. Mom and Dad were news people, had the first private helicopter covering breaking news in Los Angeles, making a living and a name for themselves breaking new reportorial ground. If you are thinking OJ, yep, they were right on that. The Rodney King riots? Yep again. That was them shooting the beating of Reginald Denny. It is fascinating material. And certainly argues that having a nose for news may have a genetic element. If you are looking for a kiss and tell, dirt-driven spill-all, with juicy scandals aplenty and dark secrets revealed, you will have to try another network. Unbelievable does not offer the sort of anarchic LOL reportage of Hunter Thompson’s Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ‘72. It is not one of those reportorial coups d’etat that will revolutionize how we perceive campaigns, like Theodore White’s The Making of the President. But it certainly does offer us insight into what it means to be a reporter in this new 24/7/365 age of campaign coverage. It gives us a you-are-there feel for what may be the most important campaign of the twenty-first century, an eyewitness account of a particularly dark turn taken in American politics, a sea change in what is considered decent in public discourse and behavior, and a close, alarming look at the man now twitching in the oval office. Hopefully we can learn from what has been going on, and what Tur has seen, and find ways to stem the rise of know-nothing absolutism. But the coming years should be good ones for bucket makers because there are millions of us who, faced with the horrors of a Donald Trump presidency, will find ourselves keeping one near at hand for those all too frequent moments when we announce to the world, “I think I’m gonna barf.” Election night. …don’t misunderstand me. The Hilton is nice. It’s been host to many grand events. But it can’t hold the kind of ten-thousand-person rallies that Trump has built his campaign around…There isn’t even free booze. The bar is charging seven dollars for sodas, eleven dollars for beers, and thirteen dollars or mixed drinks. Trumps advisers claim that Trump is just superstitious. He doesn’t want to jinx himself with a big show event. Cynics—or, as Trump calls them, “haters”—say he’s just cheap. About that cash bar: Red State calls it an “abomination.” GQ rates it pure Trump. “Let history show that up until the moment his fate became official, Donald Trump remained true to himself, a serial grafter and shameless carnival barker who let nothing come between him and the opportunity to get his grubby hands on a few more dollars.” Publication -----Hardcover - September 12, 2017 -----Trade Paperback - August 28, 2018 Review – September 14, 2017 (view spoiler)[I felt this needed to be tucked safely under a spoiler tag, because I have an uncontrollable need. There are some sentences that I feel compelled to write, but which I am ashamed to own. So here goes, the ending to the review my inner child really, really wanted to use. I am very much looking forward to future such reporting from this outstanding journalist, because, of course, one good Tur deserves another.Ok, there. I’ve done it. Don’t judge me. I have a problem and I accept that. (hide spoiler)] =============================EXTRA STUFF Tur’s Twitter feed Trump’s response to the release of Unbelievable was boilerplate.Fascinating to watch people writing books and major articles about me and yet they know nothing about me & have zero access. #FAKE NEWS!Typical September 9, 2017 - A thoughtful, if frightening, opinion piece by Tur - The Trump Fever Never Breaks Articles worth checking out -----Boston Globe - 7 Books on Presidential Campaigns – by Katharine Whittemore -----GQ - Hack: Confessions of a Presidential Campaign Reporter - by Michael Hastings -----Rollingstone - Matt Taibbi’s New Book: ‘Insane Clown President’ - an excerpt -----NY Times - Old Page Turners for a New Presidential Campaign – by John Williams -----Politico - The Book that Changed Campaigns Forever – by Scott Porch Excerpts -----MSNBC -----MarieClaire - My Crazy Year With Trump Interviews -----Wonderful interview with Rachel Maddow -----Brian Williams talks with Tur on November 2, 2016 about Trump taunting her by name at a rally Other items of interest -----Madeline Albright’s book, Fascism, is definitely worth a look -----March 14, 2019 - NY Times - Donald Trump’s Bikers Want to Kick Protester Ass - building a brownshirt militia - this is really bad -----But Lawrence O'Brien Lawrence O'Brien thinks it's just gas. Sure hope he's right. November 9, 2017 - Unbelievable is among the nominees for Amazon's book of the year - History PS - In the book, Tur tells of a Trump rally at the Mohegan Sun arena in Wilkes Barre, PA. It was the usual rabid event. Following which, Tur and her crew went to the mall across the road, stopping at a Panera for a quick bite. The vibe from the rally followed them into the restaurant. They felt so uncomfortable there that they left in a hurry. One might even say they fled, concerned about physical harm. That location was one of the casualties when an EF2 tornado touched down here on June 14, 2018.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bill Kerwin

    If you paid attention to the 2016 campaign, you had to notice Katy Tur. She was a veteran—but virtually unknown—NBC correspondent assigned to the Trump campaign in its early days when his presidential run was considered to be little more than a joke. Tur’s fame grew as Trump gained momentum, and the Donald’s angry yet weirdly flirtatious treatment of her—as she sat in the centrally located “pen” which housed the press at every rally—soon turned her into the embodiment of “fake news” itself and a If you paid attention to the 2016 campaign, you had to notice Katy Tur. She was a veteran—but virtually unknown—NBC correspondent assigned to the Trump campaign in its early days when his presidential run was considered to be little more than a joke. Tur’s fame grew as Trump gained momentum, and the Donald’s angry yet weirdly flirtatious treatment of her—as she sat in the centrally located “pen” which housed the press at every rally—soon turned her into the embodiment of “fake news” itself and a focus for the attention of Trump’s increasingly hostile crowd. I followed her closely from the first, pleased with her luck in drawing the “Trump” card, impressed by her pluck and tenacity, and at times—when the boos of at a rally grew in intensity—genuinely afraid for her physical safety. This was the 2016 campaign memoir I wanted most to read, and I was in no way disappointed. Tur is a savvy, perceptive observer, shrewd enough to know her limitations. She doesn’t reflect at length on the significance of the campaign, but instead uses an unadorned informal style to tell us the “Hollywood” version of the story: how a plucky thirty-something bachelor girl reporter found fame and fortune covering the dark horse—and eventual winner--of a volatile presidential campaign. Tur never loses sight of this basic story, but she finds opportunities along the way to make scores of shrewd observations. Her writing is sharp, filled with just the right details, whether she is describing her break-up with her Paris boyfriend Benoit (“I told him I was too old to fight on the street”), her wardrobe (“I bought the same J. Crew sweater in fifteen different colors...along with a rainbow collection of scarves"), or the deterioration of her early sartorial habits under the pressures of the campaign (“We’ve all started dressing like the Saturdays we rarely get off anymore.”) The structure of the book alternates between a chronological account of the Trump campaign as she experienced it and close-up vignettes of election day events and reflections. This structures allow Tur to give her book depth and perspective without ever abandoning her casual, colloquial style. I’ll end with two examples of that style. First, her meeting with Trump before her first sit-down interview: Certain people have a presence that’s bigger than their physical size, an ability to ripple the air. They fill the room with significance, or at least with a perfect imitation of it. Trump has that kind of presence. And he’s orange. There’s no other way to describe him. He’s the color of orange marmalade, perhaps a shade darker, like marmalade on toast… He also doesn’t say hello, exactly, but sort of sings it. He smiles and squints, and the sound seems to slip out the side of his face. And her reflection at a campaign event in the Mar-a-lago ballroom: It’s actually kind of impressive...But as I watch all this money walk around, as I survey a room of people nipped, tucked, and sucked to their ideal of perfection, I can’t help thinking of Trump’s rally crowds. The people in this room are decidedly not the people at his rallies. The rally people arrive in denim, flannel, and thick-soled boots. They wait for hours, eat whole pizzas in the security line, tattoo Trump’s face on their forearms. The people in this ballroom are not the subject of Trump’s speeches either. Their industries aren’t dead. Their jobs didn’t disappear overseas. More likely, these are the people shipping the jobs overseas. These are the people slashing budgets and enhancing their own bottom line while the bottom falls out of everyone else’s lives. What would the people at Trump’s rallies say about the people at his victory parties? What would the folks who are fanning Trump's political flames think of all these gilded types trying to warm themselves by Trump’s new fire?

  3. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Is there a "not sure I really want to read" category? Maybe I'll just buy it to support her and then read it in ten years when we have started to heal the damage.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ij

    I listened to an audio version, that was narrated by the author. Katy's book is very funny. She took advantage of a great opportunity to cover a presidential candidate, who many thought had no chance to win. Not a great assignment. I am glad I chose the audio version. Great listen.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    Last week I was driving to work when a woman in an SUV ran a red light and plowed into the side of my car. (I suffered minor injuries, but my car was totaled.) While I was recuperating from the crash, I read James Comey's book, "A Higher Loyalty." And then, because apparently I hadn't suffered enough trauma that week, I read Katy Tur's book, which recounts her experiences as a reporter following Donald Trump on the presidential campaign trail from 2015 to 2016. Tur attended dozens of Trump rallie Last week I was driving to work when a woman in an SUV ran a red light and plowed into the side of my car. (I suffered minor injuries, but my car was totaled.) While I was recuperating from the crash, I read James Comey's book, "A Higher Loyalty." And then, because apparently I hadn't suffered enough trauma that week, I read Katy Tur's book, which recounts her experiences as a reporter following Donald Trump on the presidential campaign trail from 2015 to 2016. Tur attended dozens of Trump rallies, suffered harassment from him, and repeatedly felt threatened by Trump supporters. Reading the Comey and Tur books back to back was like getting hit by a car all over again -- feelings of shock, nausea, and pain, followed by depression and anxiety. The Trump-related books and the crash also stirred up similar existential questions, such as WHAT IS OUR PURPOSE IN LIFE? and HOW THE FUCK DID THIS HAPPEN? Reading Katy Tur's book won't fully answer the How Did This Happen question (I don't think any one book or author can ever do that) but I've now read about a half-dozen books about America's 2016 election, and Tur's was the first one written by someone who spent a significant amount of time in the Trump rallies and talking with Trump supporters. For that reason, I thought it was worth a read. Tur's personal story is also interesting, how she went from being a reporter in London to getting caught up in the Trump tornado, and all the stress involved in covering that campaign for broadcast news. Recommended for fans of political or journalism memoirs. Meaningful Passage I've learned that Trump insists that he has "the world's greatest memory," but his vision of the future got him this far. I've learned that Trump has his own version of reality, which is a polite way of saying he can't always be trusted. He also brings his own sense of political decorum. I've heard him insult a war hero, brag about grabbing women by the pussy, denigrate the judicial system, demonize immigrants, fight with the pope, doubt the democratic process, advocate torture and war crimes, tout the size of his junk in a presidential debate, trash the media, and indirectly endanger my life. I've learned that none of this matters to an Electoral College majority of American voters. They've decided that this menacing, indecent, post-truth landscape is where they want to live for the next four years. Look, I get it. You can't tell a joke without worrying you'll lose your job. Your twenty-something can't find work. Your town is boarded up. Patriotism gets called racism. Your food is full of chemicals. Your body is full of pills. You call tech support and reach someone in India. Bills are spiking but your paycheck is not. And you can't send your kid to school with peanut butter. On top of it all, no one seems to care. You feel like you're screaming at the top of your lungs in a room full of people wearing earplugs. I get it. What I don't get are the little old ladies in powder-pink MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN hats calling me a liar. I don't get the men in HILLARY SUCKS -- BUT NOT LIKE MONICA T-shirts. I don't get why protesting a broken political system also means you need to protest the very notion of objective truth.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    I expected to like this more than I did. The book needed a better editor. It seemed scattered. At times, there was more about Katy, her background and her career than about the Trump campaign. I didn’t really need to know about her parents and their careers in broadcasting. I think this book probably had a much bigger wow factor when it first came out. But now, we’ve all been living the horror of Trump as president for almost 2 years. Nothing surprises me anymore. We know the stories. There’s not I expected to like this more than I did. The book needed a better editor. It seemed scattered. At times, there was more about Katy, her background and her career than about the Trump campaign. I didn’t really need to know about her parents and their careers in broadcasting. I think this book probably had a much bigger wow factor when it first came out. But now, we’ve all been living the horror of Trump as president for almost 2 years. Nothing surprises me anymore. We know the stories. There’s not anything new about Trump’s candidacy. In fact, every day there continue to be new revelations. What was interesting is when she talked to the followers and was discerning what they found appealing about him. But even that has lost its novelty. I’ve been dealing with my Facebook “friends” that are Trump supporters and no longer have any sense of decency. The ones who post things even nastier than “Hillary sucks but not like Monica” on a regular basis. Katy does a good job of narrating her own book. Overall, this is a decent story but it just seems very dated.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Malia

    Even though I zipped through this book,I didn't tremendously warm to Katy Tur as a person. She is tough, even a little ruthless and doesn't mind pushing aside personal relationships to pursue her career goals. That being said, if she were a man, I think she would have received a clap on the back for her bare-faced ambition, so I don't want to be critical of her on that front. She does offer a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at covering Donald Trump during the 2016 election. As someone who is Even though I zipped through this book,I didn't tremendously warm to Katy Tur as a person. She is tough, even a little ruthless and doesn't mind pushing aside personal relationships to pursue her career goals. That being said, if she were a man, I think she would have received a clap on the back for her bare-faced ambition, so I don't want to be critical of her on that front. She does offer a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at covering Donald Trump during the 2016 election. As someone who is still stunned almost on a daily basis that he actually won, I wasn't sure I could stomach reading about the build-up to his victory. Though I am glad I did read it, I come away from this book with no much greater sense of clarity. Tur's jokey style irritated me at times, because this is not a joke for me or millions of others, but maybe she herself does not quite comprehend what happened last year despite having spent so much time following Trumps every move and tweet. I suppose Trump's opponents underestimates the dissatisfaction in many parts of the country and I can understand frustration with the system, but I will never be able to understand why people struggling could believe a man with no experience and countless failed businesses as out of touch with the every-man as they come, could be their savior. I wish I were wrong and could be positively surprised, but it's been a year and so far I see only growing divisiveness and my yearning for Obama to return to the White House has not dissipated in the least. Find more reviews and bookish fun at http://www.princessandpen.com

  8. 5 out of 5

    Maxwell

    For people who followed the 2016 election closely—which was probably most of the U.S. and probably the world—much of the material in this book will not be new. However, the perspective from which it is told brought to light things I'd never even considered while following the presidential campaigns. That journalistic perspective, the life of an on-the-ground reporter, was really fascinating and my favorite part of reading this. The rest of it was a bit infuriating because the reality of the 2016 For people who followed the 2016 election closely—which was probably most of the U.S. and probably the world—much of the material in this book will not be new. However, the perspective from which it is told brought to light things I'd never even considered while following the presidential campaigns. That journalistic perspective, the life of an on-the-ground reporter, was really fascinating and my favorite part of reading this. The rest of it was a bit infuriating because the reality of the 2016 election was quite infuriating. Reliving that wasn't super fun but it was interesting to reflect on the major events of the election from the perspective of 1 year post-inauguration. All in all a very engaging read and one that will be even more interesting to look back on decades from now. 3.5 stars

  9. 5 out of 5

    Elliot Ratzman

    Katy Tur was a philosophy major in college, but you don’t find out about this in the book. About her love life, drinking habits, food at campaign rallies, and the strange story of her reporter parents…we get this. While it’s a charming book centered around the travails of this spunky, ace reporter, this wasn’t the behind the scenes bombshell I was expecting. I learned very little about the inside workings of the Trump campaign or off-the-record shenanigans. I did learn about the gonzo chaos of r Katy Tur was a philosophy major in college, but you don’t find out about this in the book. About her love life, drinking habits, food at campaign rallies, and the strange story of her reporter parents…we get this. While it’s a charming book centered around the travails of this spunky, ace reporter, this wasn’t the behind the scenes bombshell I was expecting. I learned very little about the inside workings of the Trump campaign or off-the-record shenanigans. I did learn about the gonzo chaos of reporting, the bootcamp stress of following a petulant, vulgar candidate who made “The Media” a caged-in villain at his rallies (scary!). I fear that this will confirm for Trump voters that reporters like Tur are indeed Whole Foods shopping, merlot-and-yoga consuming, unchurched members of the coastal-cosmopolitan elite who’d rather live in London UK than London, Ohio. I don’t know Tur-the-correspondent but I wished Tur-the-philosophy-major had showed up and given this account some more gravitas.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    There is a man at my job who voted for the Trump, henceforth known as Cheeto Dust or Orange. After Cheeto Dust's victory, said man put up and keeps putting up pictures of the Orange on the boards in the break room. Normally, this wouldn't bother me that much - free speech. But this man also takes down any picture that is anti-Orange. This anger me. It should be equal or not at all. Needless, the women in the break room (and quite a few men) are mad about this. We haven't filed a formal grievence There is a man at my job who voted for the Trump, henceforth known as Cheeto Dust or Orange. After Cheeto Dust's victory, said man put up and keeps putting up pictures of the Orange on the boards in the break room. Normally, this wouldn't bother me that much - free speech. But this man also takes down any picture that is anti-Orange. This anger me. It should be equal or not at all. Needless, the women in the break room (and quite a few men) are mad about this. We haven't filed a formal grievence yet because the man in question isn't all bad, and we all are rooting for his grandkid. So, what does this book have to do with that story? Everything and nothing. Katy Tur was covering Orange when Cheeto Dust decided to make her a focal point of something. Who knows what, Tur doesn't know. But the book is a strong reminder that people voted for a man who views women as things and unimportant. It is a book about when the man who has it in for you, is the one who you must report on. It is a very crazy thing. Quite frankly. The book is a quick read, and Tur is actually quite sympathic Trump voters - less so to Orange himself, but she comes across as fair.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Melki

    She's talking about Trump. Not that he might win. But that he might not concede gracefully Ah, yes. Remember when that was the thing we worried about most of all . . . Trump NOT conceding? It's possible that no one fretted more about that than NBC News correspondent Katy Tur, whose "brief assignment" covering what was anticipated to be the brief presidential campaign of Donald Trump, turned into 510 days of madness when his candidacy caught fire, and he became the Republican nominee for president She's talking about Trump. Not that he might win. But that he might not concede gracefully Ah, yes. Remember when that was the thing we worried about most of all . . . Trump NOT conceding? It's possible that no one fretted more about that than NBC News correspondent Katy Tur, whose "brief assignment" covering what was anticipated to be the brief presidential campaign of Donald Trump, turned into 510 days of madness when his candidacy caught fire, and he became the Republican nominee for president. I first noticed Tur when Trump told her to be quiet, then accused her of being on Hillary's side. Tur also did not escape the notice of angry Trump supporters. She received death threats, and had to be escorted from rallies by the Secret Service. Ironic, perhaps, as Tur, like many reporters who put forth an effort to maintain impartiality, does not vote. This hardly mattered to a crowd egged on to violence by a man who has long both courted and denigrated the news media. Tur's book is a gritty account of what it's like spending so much time on the road, covering a historically charged and heated presidential campaign. Her tale is enjoyable, and quite fun. It's also a surprisingly compelling read considering that we all know the outcome: SPOILER ALERT - he wins! Perhaps most fascinating is the glimpse Tur provides inside the Trump Victory Party in NYC as the tide slowly turns, and it becomes evident that Trump will become the next president of the United States. Tur mentions one incident that occurred in the wee small hours following the announcement that made me chuckle. Seems there was a man on the ballroom floor repeating "Says who?" - lines that he had uttered previously in an interview with CNN a few months earlier. When told that Trump was down in all the polls, his response had been to repeat that phrase. Now, with his client on the way to the White House, he was happy, and vindicated. That man? Trump's business lawyer, Michael Cohen, who's now under criminal investigation. Ah, sweet, sweet vindication . . .

  12. 5 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    We can tell the truth all day, but it’s pointless if no one believes us. Katy Tur, p199 * Trump is pointing a finger back to me on the press riser. “There’s something happening. They’re not reporting it.” (p272) At this point in the book a bell sounded in my head. Bob Dylan 1965: Well something is happening here but you don’t know what it is Do you, Mr Jones? Dylan was jeering at the straight world’s total incomprehension of the counterculture about to inundate it. Their sons and their daughters were We can tell the truth all day, but it’s pointless if no one believes us. Katy Tur, p199 * Trump is pointing a finger back to me on the press riser. “There’s something happening. They’re not reporting it.” (p272) At this point in the book a bell sounded in my head. Bob Dylan 1965: Well something is happening here but you don’t know what it is Do you, Mr Jones? Dylan was jeering at the straight world’s total incomprehension of the counterculture about to inundate it. Their sons and their daughters were beyond their command. Fifty years later, almost exactly, Trump, the 70 year old billionaire, is telling the straight world the same thing. You don’t get it, you straights. But something is happening here. And it did. How could this buffoon whose campaign consisted of non-sequiturs, crude insults, implications of violence and unfounded assertions that everything would be tremendous and a message if there ever was one that changed with the Donald’s every whim lurch, blunder and collapse his way into the White House? In 1965 and again in 2015 the straight world in each case had absolutely no idea how they were seen by those outside their world. Trump opened the portal. He showed the straight world that when he said degrading belittling stuff about women they didn’t bat an eyelid. When he attacked the media they loved it. His fans didn’t think the reporters and the free press were one of the essential pillars of democracy, not at all; they’d have jailed every damn reporter right after they jailed Hillary if they could. Except Fox news, the only channel that dares to report the truth, according to the Trumpanistas. “He talks just like us”, supporters say over and over again. He’s the rich guy they would be if they were rich. – p80 WHAT JUST HAPPENED? Everyone’s always looking for clarity. Trump never provides it. P184 Everyone here means everyone like Katy Tur, every reporter, everyone in the straight world, sensible types. But Trump supporters threw all of that out. They didn’t care about logic, or campaign promises. They were just high on making as much trouble and wearing as many offensive t shirts as possible. Too many questions, almost no answers. Trump was the logic-denying kisser of the American flag who was quite brilliant at pushing everybody’s buttons. At one of a million rallies Trump looks into the camera : “Russia,” he says, “if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the thirty thousand emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let’s see if that happens. That’ll be next." A feeling of disbelief fills the room. Here is a presidential nominee appearing to ask a foreign government to illegally pry into the email server of a private citizen. p188 Back in Watergate days, that would get you impeached pretty much. But now? We’re already onto the next ridiculous thing. Since his convention in Cleveland in July, Trump has crashed through the guardrails of traditional politics. He has feuded with the family of a soldier killed in Iraq, invited Russian hackers to meddle in American politics, declined to endorse House speaker Paul Ryan, appeared to joke about gun lovers assassinating Hillary Clinton and called President Obama “the founder of ISIS”. P202 He is still picking up whatever grenade Hillary throws at him and tossing it back, no matter how nonsensical. No, you’re the bigot! No, you’re the one who founded the “birther” movement! No, you’re the liar! No, you’re the one with the bad temperament! No, you’re the one who is bad for women and minorities! P213 It’s not that Trump’s language is not consistent with the Republican brand; it’s not consistent with the brand of a twenty-first century human being. P221 MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN This slogan gets me thinking. Trump and his gang think America hasn’t been great for some time and being patriots they want to improve things. Anti-Trump people think Trump is the problem not the solution. There are different points of view here. In fact as we see there’s a vast unbridgeable chasm between these two Americas. And the USA is not alone, there are wars being fought over who should be in control and get to define what this or that country should be. Trump & his supporters are much more patriotic than anyone else, they want you to know. They love America. No one can argue with that. What it actually means, though, to love America, that is never examined. So I was thinking : what does it mean to love your own country? What is patriotism? I remember back in 2003 my country’s government made the decision to join Bush’s coalition to invade Iraq. I never supported that. I don’t support the continual sales of arms to Saudi Arabia by the British government either. I can’t influence these decisions by my vote. What was loyalty in Germany in the 1930s? Was greater patriotism shown by those who tried to kill Hitler? I think most people would agree – real patriotism in Germany in the Nazi period was to try to get rid of the Nazis. But the “real” patriotism is not so easy to see most of the time. For instance, is there a “deep state” which does stuff like organise the assassination of JFK and whatever else deep states do? (I guess we might blame the “deep state” for not “allowing” Obama to close Guantanamo if we were so inclined.) If there is such a thing, when we are being loyal to our country are we just haplessly acquiescing to anything these hidden deep state movers and manipulators care to do? What exactly are we being loyal to? THE WORLD IS MY CHINA SHOP Trump seems to be a bull in the china shop of the world – but if blundering about and breaking stuff gets him to be able to seal a deal with North Korea then that’s gotta be a good thing. Building walls and banning Muslims, maybe not such a good thig, except for his supporters – for them he hasn’t put a foot wrong yet. I’ll be they love those Stormy Daniels revelations. This fast ‘n’ furious race through the Trump campaign by Katy Tur was wince-inducing, freaky, stultifying, nervewracking and coughs up so many profound political conundrums. In some ways this wasn’t the book I wanted to read about the Trump campaign. It’s stuffed with too much detail about the harried reporter on the road & how much sleep she doesn’t get & what she grabs for breakfast & what the other hacks have just said & how the one single time she shuts off her phone in two years to go to the yoga class, that’s when Hillary does her fainting thing. When Katy slows down and asks some of the painful questions thrown up by Trump she’s great, as you can see from the above quotations. I wanted more about that stuff and less about how many airports and hotel rooms and early morning Twitterstorms and all of that stuff. Never mind. It was wild and crazy and very disturbing.

  13. 4 out of 5

    David Molloy

    Awful Self centered. The book isn't about Trump's campaign as a whole, it is limited just to Katy's role in covering Trump's campaign, and her personal interactions with Trump, and his Tweets about her, and how little sleep she got covering the campaign,. Katy also ate a lot of bad food. She goes on about how difficult it was for her to deal with the secret service, And how brutal it was having to sometimes do hourly on air updates. In short, she talks about herself as the central character in the Awful Self centered. The book isn't about Trump's campaign as a whole, it is limited just to Katy's role in covering Trump's campaign, and her personal interactions with Trump, and his Tweets about her, and how little sleep she got covering the campaign,. Katy also ate a lot of bad food. She goes on about how difficult it was for her to deal with the secret service, And how brutal it was having to sometimes do hourly on air updates. In short, she talks about herself as the central character in the book, and complains incessantly while doing it. Learned nothing new about Trump He's a jerk. Agreed! And Katy, it's not about you. You have a job that thousands of people would kill for. Suck it up buttercup!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea

    In an election where our electorate was not just divided between political parties, but between fact and fiction, journalists like Katy Tur fought against a candidate who ran against the media reporting the campaign as they saw it. Pulling back the curtain of MSNBC's Road Warriors to show the real people in front of (and behind, hi Anthony Terrell!) the cameras, in front of the candidates and their supporters. An insightful look at the culture that elected President Trump and how, from the insid In an election where our electorate was not just divided between political parties, but between fact and fiction, journalists like Katy Tur fought against a candidate who ran against the media reporting the campaign as they saw it. Pulling back the curtain of MSNBC's Road Warriors to show the real people in front of (and behind, hi Anthony Terrell!) the cameras, in front of the candidates and their supporters. An insightful look at the culture that elected President Trump and how, from the inside, the 2016 election's end wasn't that surprising.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Betsy Nelson

    A good reminder of why to resist Katy's start to finish recalling of the two year American travesty that was the Trump presidential campaign highlights (I literally highlighted as I read) two contemporaneous realities: the frightening power of mob mentalities to bring out the worst in otherwise decent individuals to our nation's peril and the absolutely essential role of a free press to bear witness to the actual facts traditionally considered to be called truth.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Allison

    Politics aside (if anyone is able to do that these days), I thought these was a really interesting view into political reporting, and how Tur and her peers survived on the endless and exhausting 2016 election campaign. I listened to the audio version, and Tur did an excellent job straddling the line between her news anchor voice and imbuing it with personality and inflection. Were parts of this personally difficult for me to listen to? Yep. But I still enjoyed the hell out of it, in that can't-s Politics aside (if anyone is able to do that these days), I thought these was a really interesting view into political reporting, and how Tur and her peers survived on the endless and exhausting 2016 election campaign. I listened to the audio version, and Tur did an excellent job straddling the line between her news anchor voice and imbuing it with personality and inflection. Were parts of this personally difficult for me to listen to? Yep. But I still enjoyed the hell out of it, in that can't-stop-listening way that engaging books have. Her writing was strong, and even when I knew the outcome of the final chapter, she had me along for the ride the entire time.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Cody

    "That's why I'm sitting in an office in 30 Rock, thinking about the old RCA building and waiting for Donald Trump to call me. Apparently tweeting that I should be fired, calling me a liar in front of millions of people on national television, and receiving death threats from his followers shortly thereafter was not enough punishment. He wants penance. He wants groveling. He wants to hear those two precious words. And until he gets them, he says, no NBC News. No Meet the Press. No Today Show. No "That's why I'm sitting in an office in 30 Rock, thinking about the old RCA building and waiting for Donald Trump to call me. Apparently tweeting that I should be fired, calling me a liar in front of millions of people on national television, and receiving death threats from his followers shortly thereafter was not enough punishment. He wants penance. He wants groveling. He wants to hear those two precious words. And until he gets them, he says, no NBC News. No Meet the Press. No Today Show. No Nightly News. The phone rings. "Katy, it's Donald." Unbelievable by Katy Tur is a book that really takes the meaning of 'truth being stranger than fiction' to new heights. Her story covering the dizzying highs and lows (mostly lows) surrounding the coverage of the 2016 presidential campaign of Donald Trump is a summation of the quagmire of contemporary American political thought. Here we witness the perverse political tribalism, the name-calling, the feverous infection of it all, and frankly is it quite unbelievable to witness. I decided to read this book for several reasons. MSNBC is the network I generally watch to get my political fix, mostly for Brian Williams' show, but occasionally I have free time to watch the hour Tur hosts, and I have general respect for her as a journalist and person. This book provides an excellence chance to hear her personal feelings during those moments with the ongoing hostile relationship Trump infringed on her during the campaign. Chapters alternate between moments leading up to election day and the events of election day themselves. Reading those critical moments brought me back to when I was witnessing them for myself, jaw-dropped and perplexed beyond all meaning. Her interactions with Trump supporters is one of the foundations of the book, and the insights Tur notices were, for the most part, objectively correct, even among a lot of animalistic behaviour on their part. "Hillary Clinton recently called Trump's supporters a basket of deplorables, and while some might be easy to single out like that, most aren't. They're your taxi driver, your fireman, and your supermarket cashier....You would never know that they're Trump supporters, quote unquote deplorables." Tur's book, while important in highlighting the dangerous Joseph Stalin-like position Trump has taken with the mainstream media also showcases something else: just how modern 24 hour news cycles can be described as sociologically and psychologically poisonous to the psyche of their viewers. It's hard to be continuously blasted with information minute by minute that offers no true resolutions to the conflicts being covered. The infamous tweets coming from Trump are a grand example of this, and Tur (along with us all) feel instantly overwhelmed with how to process all this information. This study would make for an interesting sociology thesis. Any supporters of Trump will find this book undesirable in content. Some might be turned off by her insights into the difficulty of female corespondents with wardrobes, or her cliche dreams to be living back in London and seeing her then French boyfriend. However the content here speaks for itself, and in writing, Tur's story comes off as uniquely all-American in struggle and purpose. Rating 4.5/5

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    It was like reading your girlfriends diary about the election so it's fine if that's what you're into, but there's a lot more in there about Katie than there is about Trump. I think In this genre, Matt Taibbi's insane clown car president is better

  19. 4 out of 5

    ☮Karen

    If I had a special shelf on Goodreads for horror books, this would be on it. NBC news correspondent Katy Tur followed Trump's campaign for 18 months or so and was asked to turn her notes into a book. She takes the last day, election day 2016, and slowly reveals the shock and horror of it piecemeal, mixed in with the chronology of events leading up to it. I did enjoy hearing her narrate the book herself, revealing ways Trump called her out sometimes, things I may have missed first time around, an If I had a special shelf on Goodreads for horror books, this would be on it. NBC news correspondent Katy Tur followed Trump's campaign for 18 months or so and was asked to turn her notes into a book. She takes the last day, election day 2016, and slowly reveals the shock and horror of it piecemeal, mixed in with the chronology of events leading up to it. I did enjoy hearing her narrate the book herself, revealing ways Trump called her out sometimes, things I may have missed first time around, and how her personal life was affected. But most of it, unfortunately, I lived through with the rest of the world and the memories are still too raw. From his lack of apology for the birther movement to his (ahem) grabbing comment, oh please don't remind me any more, just someone quickly figure out a way to remove him from office. Katy does a great job here, and actually every time I see her. Not her fault I found the book a downer, in spite of her cheerful and perky voice-over. Just call me depressed.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Karla

    I guess I made the mistake of opting for the audiobook version. Usually I'd rather an author read their own stuff since they know the material better than a contracted microphone drone, but in this case...yikes. If you love vocal fry - and I mean, intense vocal fry that in spots would make a Kardashian cringe - then the 8 hours of Tur's whiny nasal crackle will fly by. However, I want a damn medal for getting through it. Holy hell, shouldn't elocution be a thing for national news personalities? I guess I made the mistake of opting for the audiobook version. Usually I'd rather an author read their own stuff since they know the material better than a contracted microphone drone, but in this case...yikes. If you love vocal fry - and I mean, intense vocal fry that in spots would make a Kardashian cringe - then the 8 hours of Tur's whiny nasal crackle will fly by. However, I want a damn medal for getting through it. Holy hell, shouldn't elocution be a thing for national news personalities? So, needless to say, the presentation was lacking & probably in no small part affected my experience of the content. Still, the content itself wasn't all that great. The writing was rather sophomoric, and the tone (again, not helped by the vocal fry!) made it seem like "chick lit meets journalism." Tur's revelations that campaign trail reporters are quite the drunken, slutty bunch also kept the flow firmly in the shallow stream. She just doesn't come across as that interesting a person or able to tell a story interestingly. 2.5 stars.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mary Ann

    I cannot write a full review of this book-too political and, for me, too painful. To get the basics out of the way, it's very well-written (Katy knows her grammar), fast-paced, and engaging. Voters who supported Donald Trump, regardless of party, will probably not read it, or, if they do, will not believe a word. Voters who did not support Donald Trump, regardless of party, may not read it, and if they do, already know the facts. Tur did not ask for or desire the grueling assignment to the Trump I cannot write a full review of this book-too political and, for me, too painful. To get the basics out of the way, it's very well-written (Katy knows her grammar), fast-paced, and engaging. Voters who supported Donald Trump, regardless of party, will probably not read it, or, if they do, will not believe a word. Voters who did not support Donald Trump, regardless of party, may not read it, and if they do, already know the facts. Tur did not ask for or desire the grueling assignment to the Trump campaign, but, attending virtually every event for nearly two years, she not only predicts his victory, but also exposes the ugly nativist underbelly of America in which people do not like and will not tolerate those who are not white, Christian, or born in the USA. I'm glad she wrote it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jess | thegreeneyedreader

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Katy Tur is very smart and funny. This book was an easy read, and the only reason I am giving it a 4/5 instead of a 5/5 rating is because I didn’t love the jumping timeline. I would have preferred more of a linear timeline. I listened to this as an audiobook and the jumping timeline is the only thing that made it hard to follow in some ways. This is a #mustread #JPBookreview

  23. 5 out of 5

    Gina

    This is one of the best non-fiction political books I have ever read. Yes, I will admit my bias; I am not a fan of Trump in any way shape or form. I will also add that I listened to the Audible version while reading. The author, and now anchor woman, Katy Tur, narrates the book and hearing her very personal (at times) story in her voice made the book so much more interesting. During the campaign, I saw the news clips everyone else saw, but this was such an inside story to some really amazing thi This is one of the best non-fiction political books I have ever read. Yes, I will admit my bias; I am not a fan of Trump in any way shape or form. I will also add that I listened to the Audible version while reading. The author, and now anchor woman, Katy Tur, narrates the book and hearing her very personal (at times) story in her voice made the book so much more interesting. During the campaign, I saw the news clips everyone else saw, but this was such an inside story to some really amazing things, amazing in a bad way, that happened to Katy while she was covering Trump. Things I would never imagine a presidential nominee would say and do to a singular reporter. Well, I guess her story gives a lot of background into Trump’s true dislike? Fear? of women with power. This is such a short review and barely does it any justice nor give you all the details of why I loved this book so much. I could literally write a thesis paper based on this book and how much I got out of it, however there are so many great reviews!! Just like the review in my mind, they are long, detailed, and truly get into why this is such a relevant non-fiction political book. And it’s not a difficult read. Katy Tur makes it accessible to anyone who didn’t live under a rock in 2016. It is very interesting and gives, to me at least, a much better understanding that Trump has always been nasty to women. It shows that all these negative personality traits that Trump displays have been with him for a very long time. My advice if you are interested in this type of book from a left leaning POV, is to read it! Better yet, get the audio version because listening to it in Katy’s voice makes it all the more personal. You won’t regret it! Absolutely 5+ STARS!!!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jill Hutchinson

    There are multitudes of books being written about Donald Trump's first year as President, none of which I have read or intend to read. But this little book caught my eye as it covered the run-up to one of the greatest upsets in US political history. Written by NBC/MSN reporter, Katy Tur, it is humorous with an undercurrent of "how did this happen". Although it concentrates on the campaign, Tur also adds a little history of herself in the narrative and she comes across as a very ambitious and not There are multitudes of books being written about Donald Trump's first year as President, none of which I have read or intend to read. But this little book caught my eye as it covered the run-up to one of the greatest upsets in US political history. Written by NBC/MSN reporter, Katy Tur, it is humorous with an undercurrent of "how did this happen". Although it concentrates on the campaign, Tur also adds a little history of herself in the narrative and she comes across as a very ambitious and not particularly likeable individual.......but to get ahead in the news business one has to be a kick-ass kind of person so it is understandable. When barely into the book, I knew I made the right decision to read it when I came across her description of the first time she saw Trump up close......"He's orange. There's no other way to describe him. He is the color of orange marmalade, perhaps a shade darker, like marmalade on toast". And the rest of this short book is equally as honest and entertaining as Tur follows Trump all over the country and witnesses his effect on crowds. She posits as have many political talking heads, that he really didn't expect to win and didn't seem to have any plans if he did. As election night came to a close, the crowds went wild but Trump seemed to be stunned. She paints a rather spooky picture of the atmosphere in Trump headquarters once he had been declared the winner. This is not a dissection of Trump's policies (or lack thereof) but more a personal observation of the man himself. It is revealing and frankly, a little scary.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Gary Anderson

    No one brings the crazy quite like Donald J. Trump. Now imagine being assigned the unenviable task of objectively explaining his elliptical frothings to the vast NBC/MSNBC audience. For more than five hundred days, that was journalist Katy Tur’s job. Tur’s new book Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History sheds light on the difficulties involved in reporting from a campaign so light on policy and heavy on personality. The book’s episodes bring back the “shock- No one brings the crazy quite like Donald J. Trump. Now imagine being assigned the unenviable task of objectively explaining his elliptical frothings to the vast NBC/MSNBC audience. For more than five hundred days, that was journalist Katy Tur’s job. Tur’s new book Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History sheds light on the difficulties involved in reporting from a campaign so light on policy and heavy on personality. The book’s episodes bring back the “shock-a-day” nature of the Trump campaign that hit new low after new low. Through it all, Tur maintains her professionalism as she engages with Trump and his staff, trying to discover substance in all the blather, even as Trump stirs up his crowds against the media in general and frighteningly singles out Tur at his rallies, resulting in NBC providing a security detail for her. Unbelievable is a thoroughly engaging look at how Trump operates and the journalistic challenges involved in trying to extract anything meaningful from his communication and behavior.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Shaun

    Well, I’ve learned that Trump insists that he has “the world’s greatest memory,” but his vision of the future go him this far. I’ve learned that Trump has his own version of reality, which is a polite way of saying he can’t always be trusted. He also brings his own sense of political decorum. I’ve heard him insult a war hero, brag about grabbing women by the pussy, denigrate the judicial system, demonize immigrants, fight with the pope, doubt the democratic process, advocate torture and war cri Well, I’ve learned that Trump insists that he has “the world’s greatest memory,” but his vision of the future go him this far. I’ve learned that Trump has his own version of reality, which is a polite way of saying he can’t always be trusted. He also brings his own sense of political decorum. I’ve heard him insult a war hero, brag about grabbing women by the pussy, denigrate the judicial system, demonize immigrants, fight with the pope, doubt the democratic process, advocate torture and war crimes, tout the size of his junk in a presidential debate, trash the media, and indirectly endanger my life. I’ve learned that none of this matters to an Electoral College majority of American voters. They’ve decided that this menacing, indecent, post-truth landscape is where they want to live for the next four years. Look, I get it. You can’t tell a joke without worrying you’ll lose your job. Your twenty-something (sic) can’t find work. Your ton is boarded up. Patriotism gets called racism. Your food is full of chemicals. Your body is full of pills. You call tech support and reach someone in India. Bills are spiking but your paycheck is not. And you can’t send your kid to school with peanut butter. On top of it all, no one seems to care. You feel like you’re screaming at the top of your lungs in a room full of people wearing earplugs. I think that this is a major miscalculation on the part of the Democrats. They assumed that Trump voters would care about Pussygate. That they valued political correctness or cultural sensitivity.. In essence, they somehow believed that Republicans shared their values and/or would be outraged by things that outraged them. A man in the crowd yell out that Trump should buy NBC. Trump doesn’t disagree, and adds that he could “fix NBC.” “I know what sells.” In all the things I’ve read about Trump, I think this sums up his true strength. For all his faults, he does indeed knows what sells. Make America Great Again is such an ingenious slogan. It says and means nothing, yet can and does mean something to everyone. Every great add campaign understands that you don’t sell products by offering spreadsheets and facts. You sell your product by using emotion. You sell a feeling, an idea, a vision. Yet the left is constantly scratching their head when their fact checks or moral outrage don’t register with the loyal Trump supporter. In fact, it seems that of those people who supported Trump but who are not happy with his performance, most are not concerned about his false claims or inconsistent behaviors. Most people just don’t like his Twitter habit and his negative, punch-em in the face style. No one she (Ali Vitali) spoke to is disturbed by the Muslim ban. “It’s a wise decision,” said one man waiting in line. Another man, a soldier who had done tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, went further. To continue to allow Muslims to come in would be a “kick in the face to every veteran,” he said. The only thing better than a ban would be mass deportations, he said. “Ship them all back.” There is a lot here. Immigration is a complicated issue. The immigration of Muslims, or potentially hostile parties, is a whole other story. I’m liberal or at least liberal leaning, but the idea that because this country was built on immigrants that we should welcome anyone who wants to come is naïve. Unfortunately, immigration has been politicized and turned into a polarizing hot-button topic to sway voters. His supporters tell us they like this (referring to Muslim ban). They believe it is a wise decision. And they believe Donald Trump is going to keep them safe. Why in our latest MSNBC poll, we found that 60 percent of Republican voters say that one of their biggest concerns is being the victim of a terror attack. But it works for him (referring to Trump’s rhetoric). Everything he says falls into one of two categories. If it’s good it’s “we.” If it’s bad it’s “they.” “We” are going to have o much winning. “they” are going to hate it. His supporters feel that he is fighting for them. They identify with him. They can relate. “He talks just like us," supporters say over and over again. He’s the rich guy they would be if they were rich. And he knows it. One of Trump’s worst traits is his divisive rhetoric. He uses it as a distraction, but also as a means to strengthen the commitment of his base. It resonates with our tribal roots and tendencies. “He uses the reporters to recreate razzle dazzle: there are five stories in the morning papers leading into 11 minutes of television at night,” Breslin wrote. The financial people, who lead such dreary lives, believe what they read and see on television. Trump is larger than life. No, not Trump. Don’t use that name. It’s Donald! He cannot lose… Trump will call and announce his rise. The suckers will write about a heroic indomitable spirit. Redemption makes and even better tale. O many bankers will grab his arm the sleeve will rip. All Trump has to do is stick to the rules on which he was raised by his father in the County of Queens: Never use your own money. Steal a good idea and say it’s your own. Do anything to get publicity. Remember that everybody can be bought. I remember reading that once upon a time Trump would call magazines and plant stories about himself. The old no publicity is bad publicity. But it’s not clear what he’s talking about when he says, ‘Everybody goes against us—down the tubes.” Who would go down the tubes? Critics? The opposition party? Non-Trump voters? And who would send them down the tubes? Who is this us? Trump staggers? A legion of yes-men? What does he mean by down the tubes? Professional failure? National expulsion? Public embarrassment? Death? Trump would deny the menace in these metaphors, but there’s a calculated vagueness to them. Some supporters think he’s joking, while others feel he’s laying the foundation for a militia they’d like to join. He set the tone in his announcement speech warning that America was getting “weaker.” Now his message is all about America getting tougher and stronger and, in winks and nods, more violent and unforgiving, too. I have a patient whose daughter attended a Trump rally with a friend. She said it was terrifying. The crowds, encouraged by Trump, feel emboldened. We all know what people, even good people, are capable of when they get caught up in a group dynamic. Trump is a charismatic leader who says that we need to come together in one breath and then uses charged and divisive language in the next. All the time feigning innocence. People seem drawn to Trump’s rallies in the same way that they are drawn to a professional wrestling match and as with a professional wrestling match, they seem divided between people who believe all they see and hear, and those who know it’s partially a performance. The scariest thing about being a Trump rally is that you don’t know who believes it and who doesn’t. The people in this ballroom are not the subject of Trump’s speeches, either. Their industries aren’t dead. Their jobs didn’t disappear overseas. More likely, these are the people shipping the jobs overseas. These are the people slashing budgets and enhancing their own bottom line while the bottom falls out of everyone else’s lives. What would the people at Trump’s rallies say about people at his victory parties? Many people have suggested that part of Trump’s problem is that he is a wanna-be. More than anything he respects wealth and prestige, but despite his claims (often exaggerated) of wealth, over the years he has been snubbed by the elite. In their circle, he's a joke...or at least he was. Now, that story is probably apocryphal. But it shows the kind of love that’s out there for some politicians, and Trump is, for a good portion of America, a politician who inspires that kind of love. “Nothing short of Rump shooting my daughter in the street and my grandchildren” can dissuade me form voting for Trump, a woman told Ashley Parker of the New York Times. Jones’ followers loved him, too. Hitler didn’t perpetuate the Holocaust without the support of many. People who inspire this kind of devotion should scare us all. As I run through a mental list of questions for Trump, one comes to mind for rank-a-file Republicans. Why drop Trump now? Why is this (pussygate) the line for Republican Why not calling Mexicans rapists? Or fighting with the pope? Or racism toward a federal judge? Or the fraud lawsuits? Or the name-calling? Or the fearmongering? Or the xenophobia? Or the countless other degrading statements he’s, made about women, including his own wife? For god’s sake, why not the half decade of birtherism? One thing I’ve learned from my own observations as well as things that I’ve read is that people are capable of performing some pretty impressive mental gymnastics. Every day on the campaign trail Trump’s actions test the definition of normal. He calls for jailing his opponent. He openly admonishes sitting general. He singles out minority groups for blanket condemnation. He goes after the spouses of his rivals. He questions the integrity of the election itself. He is endlessly hostile toward the media. All of this Trump does so often that it’s a struggle to remember what’s old news, by the standard of his behavior, and that is big news, by the standard of history. The book I’m reading now further explores Trumps mental health. Will have more to thoughts on this later. I am desperate to talk about his voters. I want to do a piece explaining that they don’t care about the headlines. Either they aren’t paying attention to them or they are discounting whatever they hear. The Access Hollywood tape, the women accusing Trump of sexual assault, the dark premonitions and lingering grudges—out her, in Trump’s American, none of it is as big a deal as it is in New York or Washington. A book I read recently called Denying to the Grave addresses the problem we face when trying to change people’s minds using facts. Part of the problem is that we make arguments that appeal to us. But that’s the problem. You’re not trying to convince someone who thinks like you. You’re trying to appeal to somebody who has come to a different conclusion. We often think the problem is that these people just don’t understand the facts, but the reality is that often times they’ve simply come to a different conclusion based on their values and biases. Then he (Trump) admitted something usually left unsaid, something expressing in wrinkles, dark circles, and gray spots. “This is more work than in my previous life,” Trump said. Yes, it’s hard being president. People aren’t usually surprised by that fact. Trump was. “I thought it would be easier,” he said. Well, I think this last quote says it all. I honestly don’t think Trump has a clue. I think he is a con man who doesn’t even try to hide that he’s a con man. He doesn’t lie. He speaks his mind. He isn’t sexist or racist, he simply has the courage to say things that we’ve all said when we thought no one was listening. Overall, Tur’s book does a decent job of offering insights garnered from close to two years of covering his campaign, though I could have done without some of the personal accounting. I also feel at times she hit us with the obvious, “Can you believe he just said that.” Interestingly, like Michael Wolff and others, she is capitalizing on the media buzz around Trump. Whatever her motives, her book is giving Donald the media attention he so desperately craves, for better or for worse, but also the kind of media attention that paved his way to the White House, whether we want to admit it or not. And hey…I bought the book. I bought several books. But just imagine…what would happen if suddenly the media just stopped reporting on Trump and all his craziness? With the cameras turned off, would he stop performing and would he slip into celebrity oblivion. If all Trump really has going for him is his celebrity, isn’t the media the one feeding the monster? Trump is not Hitler in that he lacks any real philosophical conviction. He’s a media whore. A narcissist and a bully. His sole driving force is a desire to be loved and admired. He is easily swayed and manipulated and is a reality TV star who doesn’t seem to grasp the import of his position. He’s a joke, and somehow America’s immediate future is his punchline. Politics aside, he has degraded and disgraced the highest office in this nation and has set a new tone that equates crassness with honesty and patriotism with nativism. This past year for many has felt like living in a cheesy reality TV show. I don’t care how good the stock market is doing. I think Trump has taken us to a very dark place, and I look forward to the day when his show finally gets canceled.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    Quick take: perfect (accurate) title; crazy story (particularly if you like, I dunno, disaster movies); and a highly personal account (which, my guess, will polarize readers). Full disclosure: I only met the author once, and I spent less than an hour with her. I haven't regularly watched TV news for decades, so I wasn't familiar with her or her work when I met her, but she mentioned this book project, so ... I was curious to read it when it came out. Having read the book, my sense is that - for b Quick take: perfect (accurate) title; crazy story (particularly if you like, I dunno, disaster movies); and a highly personal account (which, my guess, will polarize readers). Full disclosure: I only met the author once, and I spent less than an hour with her. I haven't regularly watched TV news for decades, so I wasn't familiar with her or her work when I met her, but she mentioned this book project, so ... I was curious to read it when it came out. Having read the book, my sense is that - for better or worse - her voice is authentic. Which brings me back to my primary observation: that this is a personal account, a memoir, an unburdening, a defense ... a recollection. It's not a campaign chronicle, it's not conventional history, and it's not terribly analytical, but ... again ... to be fair, it wasn't billed as any of those things.... The big question is what one hopes to find in a book like this. I expect some readers will be far more amused by, or interested in, the author's love life, eating habits, clothing, and make-up trials. Others may be fascinated by the on-screen talent's cut-throat obsession with air time and, like many autobiographical works, how insecurity drives many successful people. And, no doubt, plenty of readers will find nuggets of interest in the history of a campaign that many were slow to take seriously. Ultimately, it's a quick and easy read, even if doesn't expand your horizons or clarify much of anything about how the nation came to find itself in its current predicament. Kudos to the author for rising to the challenge of covering the campaign, surviving, and following through on the task of (relatively quickly) getting the book to press.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Unbelievable offers an insightful first draft of history I'll preface this by saying that I honestly don't watch TV news on the reg, and so I didn't pick this up because I'm a huge Katy Tur fan - I had to Google her to see what she looks like. But her reputation for sticking with Trump and offering useful commentary night after night convinced me to give her book a whirl. I'm glad I did. Tur writes directly and, as far as I can tell, honestly about her 500+ days of tailing Trump as he went from t Unbelievable offers an insightful first draft of history I'll preface this by saying that I honestly don't watch TV news on the reg, and so I didn't pick this up because I'm a huge Katy Tur fan - I had to Google her to see what she looks like. But her reputation for sticking with Trump and offering useful commentary night after night convinced me to give her book a whirl. I'm glad I did. Tur writes directly and, as far as I can tell, honestly about her 500+ days of tailing Trump as he went from the joke nominee to leader of the United States. She sticks with verified evidence and shakes that up a little with personal interjections and thoughts. Reading through the book is like watching the 2016 election on fast forward. She manages to keep the narrative energetic and engaging, and she leaves you with your mouth hanging open in disbelief on more than one occasion. The journalistic style of this work will make it a go to book for historians as they look back years from now, and her disarming decision to share her personal life with us will satisfy her many fans (a group which now includes me). It's a winning combination!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Katy Tur, a NBC News correspondent, has a much stronger constitution than I have and a much better stomach. If I had to spend 500 days, with Donald J. Trump, I would have contemplated ending my life. Tur was handed this assignment in 2015 but never thought Trump would survive the duration but she slowly became aware of his rising, cult-like popularity and soon had the unsettling feeling he was going to win it all. This is not an easy read, as Tur describes all the distasteful horrors that unfolde Katy Tur, a NBC News correspondent, has a much stronger constitution than I have and a much better stomach. If I had to spend 500 days, with Donald J. Trump, I would have contemplated ending my life. Tur was handed this assignment in 2015 but never thought Trump would survive the duration but she slowly became aware of his rising, cult-like popularity and soon had the unsettling feeling he was going to win it all. This is not an easy read, as Tur describes all the distasteful horrors that unfolded during these baffling and horrifying months, but it is a highly entertaining narrative and I have an immense appreciation of Tur's tenacity, fearlessness, sense of humor and clever insight.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Louise

    In this short fast paced book Katy Tur takes you through her “unbelievable” journey as NBC’s correspondent in the Trump campaign. She had had varied NBC assignments and enjoyed her life abroad when she was thrust into this job.. She was unseasoned on political beats but Trump was not perceived as a serious candidate and this was not expected to be a long assignment. Tur takes us right into the maelstrom. From the start, Trump can (and does) turn crowds against the media in general, and her speci In this short fast paced book Katy Tur takes you through her “unbelievable” journey as NBC’s correspondent in the Trump campaign. She had had varied NBC assignments and enjoyed her life abroad when she was thrust into this job.. She was unseasoned on political beats but Trump was not perceived as a serious candidate and this was not expected to be a long assignment. Tur takes us right into the maelstrom. From the start, Trump can (and does) turn crowds against the media in general, and her specifically. He can (and does) boost her standing at NBC by taking her questions. Politicians (particularly Republicans) have long “worked the refs”. Trump takes this to a whole new level, bullying reporters at rallies such that tight security is needed for not just Katy, but everyone in press corps. (On Trump's bullying the press, I highly recommend the chapter "My Year of Trump" in Megyn Kelly's Settle for More) Besides the rough and tumble campaign rallies, Tur shows the campaign’s high life. She takes the reader to Trump properties in the US and Scotland where Trump shamelessly pushes his brand while seeking votes. Tur describes the clothes, jewelry and general the air of self-satisfaction on display at the victory parties which contrasts with the anti-Hillary shirts and anger of the Trump base. She shows the tenacity needed to stay on a grueling schedule. She successfully runs from her cab jammed in near LaGuardia carrying a giant suitcase through the snow/slush to make her flight to Iowa. She describes total exhaustion as she deals with volume of messages on one of her 3 phones. Towards the end of the campaign she is too tired to worry about her hair and clothes. She’s living on junk food and longs for an hour of yoga. Trump’s goal may be to win, hers is to last. There is an engrossing chapter on Tur’s parents and how Katy came to be a reporter. To my knowledge this is the first “Boys in the Bus” account by a millennial and a woman. That, and the shattering of norms by the candidate she covered make this a significant contribution to campaign literature. This is a quick read. It is not in chronological which was jarring for me. While everything here is good, the back and forth and the brevity (there has to be a lot more worthy of note) loses a star in my rating.

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