The Economist has a very favorable review of Confidence Man by Maggie Haberman.
“How could a man who lies so transparently and exhibits such incompetence be so successful? Respectable people have been asking versions of that question since Mr Trump was in real estate, and as he moved on to entertainment and politics, or to all three at once. The answer says as much about them, or about all of us, as it does about him.”
“Ms Haberman, of the New York Times and CNN, stands out among journalists who have followed Mr Trump, and not only because she has covered him since he was a developer in New York and she was at the New York Post, a tabloid. Ms Haberman has always taken Mr Trump seriously, as someone, she writes here, who was ‘shrewd and smarter than his critics gave him credit for, possessed of a survival instinct that was likely unmatched in American political history.’”
“Ms Haberman makes a particular contribution with this book by describing how the annealing interplay of politics and commerce in the New York of the 1970s and 1980s equipped Mr Trump with the low expectations and cynical convictions that would carry him so far: that racial politics is a zero-sum contest among tribes; that allies as well as enemies must be dominated; that everything in life can be treated as a transaction; that rapidly topping one lie or controversy with the next will tie the media in knots; that celebrity confers power; that not only politicians but even prosecutors are malleable.”
Axios has this excerpt from Maggie Haberman’s new book, Confidence Man, as Donald Trump was about to be discharged from the hospital after having Covid:
“He came up with a plan he told associates was inspired by the singer James Brown, whom he loved watching toss off his cape while onstage, but it was in line with his love of professional wrestling as well.”
“He would be wheeled out of Walter Reed in a chair and, once outdoors, he would dramatically stand up, then open his button-down dress shirt to reveal a Superman logo beneath it. (Trump was so serious about it that he called the campaign headquarters to instruct an aide, Max Miller, to procure the Superman shirts; Miller was sent to a Virginia big-box store.)”