Peril Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
The Sunday Times top 10 best seller
The New York Times number one best seller
The storming of the Capitol on 6 January 2021 revealed the transition from President Trump to President Biden to be one of the most dangerous periods in American history, with the result of the election called into question by the sitting president.
But, as internationally best-selling author Bob Woodward and acclaimed reporter Robert Costa reveal for the first time, it was far more than just a domestic political crisis. At the highest level of the US military, secret action was taken to prevent Trump from possibly starting a war.
Woodward and Costa interviewed more than 200 people at the centre of the turmoil, resulting in a spellbinding and definitive portrait of a nation on the brink. They take listeners deep inside the Trump White House, the Biden White House, the 2020 campaign, and the Pentagon and Congress, with vivid, eyewitness accounts of what really happened. Peril is supplemented throughout with never-before-seen material from secret orders, transcripts of confidential calls, diaries, emails, meeting notes and other personal and government records, making for an unparalleled history.
It is also the first inside look at Biden’s presidency, revealing the background to his controversial decision to leave Afghanistan. He took office faced with the challenges of a lifetime: dealing with the continuing deadly pandemic and its crushing economic impact, all the while navigating a bitter and disabling partisan divide, and the hovering, dark shadow of the former president. ‘We have much to do in this winter of peril,’ Biden declared at his inauguration.
Peril is the extraordinary story of the end of one presidency and the beginning of another. The culmination of Bob Woodward’s best-selling trilogy on the Trump presidency, along with Fear and Rage, it is an essential book for anyone wanting to understand this tumultuous period.
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|Listening Length||13 hours and 35 minutes|
|Author||Bob Woodward, Robert Costa|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com.au Release Date||21 September 2021|
|Publisher||Simon & Schuster Audio UK|
|Best Sellers Rank||
808 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals)
3 in 21st Century U.S. History
5 in U.S. Government
5 in Political Science (Audible Books & Originals)
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As per usual in a Bob Woodward book, the topic - Donald Trump’s final year in office - was thoroughly investigated. The authors seemed to know the right questions to ask their interviewees, and that can make all the difference in an expose. Is “Peril” an expose? Yep, and a very good one.
As an addendum, I heard an interview with Robert Costa, who said, when asked about the book’s title, that he and Woodward thought Donald Trump was not through with politics and was therefore a “peril”. I agree fully with him and only wish the people who SHOULD read this book would read it…
And “PERIL” shows how the chaos, anger and fear came together in the final year of Trump’s presidency, placing the presidency and even democracy in danger. “Peril” begins with America in danger from Trump. It ends the same way. Trump hasn’t gone and neither is the threat he poses to democracy.
Woodward is working with Washington Post’s Robert Costa, but the style of research and writing is the same. It’s a lot of interviews –over 200—and a lot of work putting them together in a way that will hold interest. Sometimes they succeed in this and create real scenes—other times, you see the problem of having so much detail that you just –have- to include it. Storytelling sometimes takes a back seat to recounting details that aren’t always that significant.
That’s one problem. A bigger one is that Woodward has always been kind to people who are his sources. Typically, they are some of the most complicit people, but are allowed to spin themselves into heroes. Here, that’s General Milley, Bill Barr, Lindsey Graham, Kellyanne Conway, among others who need to be scrutinized in a harsher light.
“PERIL” has many unnerving descriptions of Trump’s instability and apparent unwillingness to accept the reality of losing the election. Some of the above people made some efforts to save us from disaster. But most of the staffers and Republican officials around Trump do little to protect democracy. Barr’s there, and Pence, But where’s the rest of the Cabinet? The president described here is a danger to the country. Where were the Republicanns in the Cabinet to invoke the 25th amendment? Why were McCarthy and McConnell so complacent? There are no answers here.
Pence’s decision-making process made this a worthwhile read for me. He did the right thing—in the end—including staying at the Capitol during the insurrection. But he clearly wanted to cooperate with Trump if at all possible under the Constitution. It was only after everyone he consulted – including Dan Quayle, who comes across well here – that Pence agrees to do the right thing—and do it without equivocation. (For a time, he dithered about possibly expressing sympathy with those who wanted to throw out Biden votes).
About a third of the book is about Biden—his campaign, transition, and early presidency. But, as in real life, it’s Trump who takes the air out of the room. Even ten months after losing, he is still sending letters to Georgia’s secretary of state as he did last Friday, demanding that the electors be “decertified or whatever the legal remedy is.” It would be comical. If it wasn’t so delusional and dangerous. “Peril”, indeed.
The Prologue starts with the perspective of General Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his conversations with Chinese military personnel during the events of Jan 6th 2021 at the Capitol. Milley reassures China of America's stability, and makes sure the rest of his chain of command is aware of the nuclear weapons protocols, reminding them that he needs to be involved in any proposed military strike.
Over the next several chapters, the authors describe many behind-the-scenes events and conversations from dozens of political and military leaders. This includes Paul Ryan's conversations with Trump, Biden's family issues, Mitch McConnell's suggestions to Trump about the Court, Mueller's report, Anita Dunn's advice to Biden, Biden's close friend Mike Donilon and his input, James Clyburn's perspectives, thoughts from the Sanders campaign staff, Robert O'Brien's advice to Trump about Covid, and more.
The next few chapters offer more windows into the interactions between major political figures. The authors cover Bill Barr's pleas to Trump, Trump's initial response to Covid, Gen. Milley's thoughts about Trump's speech-writer Stephen Miller, and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper's thoughts about using the Insurrection Act. There is also a copy of an official unclassified document from Gen. Milley to the leaders of the branches of the military, reminding them of the military's devotion to protecting the Constitution. The authors describe Gen. Milley seeking advice from Colin Powell, Brad Parscale being demoted from his position as Trump's campaign manager, Kamala Harris being chosen as Biden's running mate, the events of election night, and Rudy Giuliani's advice to Trump,
The book continues to jump around, describing different conversations between various parties and the reactions of political figures to the events of the past few years. There is information about Mike Pompeo, FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn, Fauci, House minority leader Kevin McCarthy, attorney Sidney Powell, Linsey Graham's advice to Trump, and more. There is quite a bit of information about Mike Pence's response to the election results and the events at the Capitol, and his seeking advice from others including Dan Quayle. Overall, it is Gen. Milley and Pence that seem to be focused on more than some of the others, and the authors spend a good portion of the book describing their interactions.
This book does offer unprecedented insight into the thoughts of certain military and political leaders during this time period, but I can't help but wish that this information could be provided in a less partisan manner. Maybe it isn't possible anymore in our modern politically divisive climate, where everyone is so entrenched in their positions; but I miss the days when there was something closer to neutral reporting on events, without pandering to one side while vilifying the other. As it stands, this seems like yet another book that will be praised by half of the country and ignored or criticized by the other half.
Four page chapters about anecdotes about Joe Biden deciding to run for president- that is not what i bought this book for & not what it was advertised to be about.
Dont waste your time- the four important occurrences were reported on news programs, this not what i expect from a respected journalist.
I dont think I'm even going to bother to finish it.