Behind-the-scenes look at interactions between political and military leaders
Reviewed in the United States on 21 September 2021
The Notes indicate that this book is the result of hundreds of hours of interviews with over 200 firsthand witnesses. The book is divided into 72 chapters, and a total of about 418 pages, not including the Notes section. There are 29 pictures of various political and military figures at the end of the book, with captions describing certain events that they were each involved in.
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.
375 people found this helpful