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Set to be released in Australia just days before the anniversary of the 2020 US election, this is best enjoyed as a companion read with Michael Wolff’s Landslide. Two books. One subject. Together, a sobering portrayal of the final chapter of the 45th US President. That the great American democracy survived this last period is testament to its resilience. From election day, through the counts and recounts, the challenges, the futile court endeavours, the dysfunctional White House with a petulant and delusional man in charge (was he actually mad?), the constantly changing courtiers vying to be seen as the saviour, the fools and the vagabonds, January 6 and the inauguration of the 46th President, nothing changed Donald J Trump’s inherent belief – “I was robbed”.

A pollster advised 66 million votes meant he couldn’t lose. He got 75 million. Problem was his opponent polled over 81 million. That was irrelevant to Trump. He’d got the biggest ever vote for an incumbent and he’d been robbed. That’s what he told the assembled masses on January 6, those who believed, unquestioningly, what he told them to believe.

These books are written by authoritative and respected authors. This is the final of Wolff’s trilogy on the Trump presidency, while Leonnig and Rucker come as senior journalists from The Washington Post. Both books are captivating and well sourced. The absurd and paranoid scenarios that raged in the Oval Office. The concerns of the military. The origins of the demonisation of AstraZeneca when the US secured 300 million doses of AZ from the original one million dose production. Trump realised it was British, not a US product, and he might be upstaged by Boris Johnson. AZ was canned with no approvals sought, leading many to think it was a second-rate vaccination. Stop testing to reduce number, he ordered. But still COVID-19 raged.  What you read in these pages is true. That it is, is both frightening and compelling. •