Washingtonians waited in line at midnight to be the first to plumb the pages of Fire and Fury, the new Michael Wolff book about his experiences as a fly on the wall in the Trump White House. Maybe you’ve heard of it.
After Twitter attacks from the president and cease-and-desist letters from his lawyers, the book’s publishers moved up Fire and Fury’s release date to sate the crowds hungering for a crumb of schadenfreude-laden gossip.
But for some of us, no juicy morsel will do. Fire and Fury is doomed to disappoint, because it would be much better as a bodice-ripping, historical romance novel, laden with all of the heat words (“scorching,” “blazing,” “glowing,” “sparking”) befitting the genre.
Take this passage. It’s deeply disturbing as insight into the environment of working in the White House as a woman:
Shortly after [Corey] Lewandowski, with whom [Hope] Hicks had an on-and-off romantic relationship, was fired in June 2016 for clashing with Trump family members, Hicks sat in Trump Tower with Trump and his sons, worrying about Lewandowski’s treatment in the press and wondering aloud how she might help him. [President Donald] Trump, who otherwise seemed to treat Hicks in a protective and even paternal way, looked up and said, “Why? You’ve already done enough for him. You’re the best piece of tail he’ll ever have,” sending Hicks running from the room.
But imagine instead that Hicks is our headstrong heroine, whose beauty is matched only by her gumption. And Trump? A cruel industrialist whose capricious attitudes towards his underlings leave his vast holdings in a constant state of disarray. He twirls his coiffed hair as he tries to keep Hicks from her true love, the swashbuckling Lewandowski. Now that’s a book I’d bring to the beach!
Wolff follows in a grand tradition of political memoirs that I’d be much more likely to read if they switched genres. Take Van Jones’ latest—Beyond the Messy Truth: How We Came Apart, How We Come Together.
It’s a manifesto that unites Bernie Sanders, Jeffrey Lord, and Rick Santorum … as blurb providers, anyway. Still, I couldn’t help but wish it was filled with sex and relationship advice instead.
Beyond The Messy Truth is just the latest in a slew of political non-fiction and memoirs recently published or coming down the pike that I am convinced are actually about love and getting it on, and there’s nothing you can do to persuade me otherwise:
- The Long Game: A Memoir, by Mitch McConnell
- Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton
- The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis–and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-Reliance, by Ben Sasse
- Secrets of the Secret Service, by Gary J. Byrne
- Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities, by Rebecca Solnit
- Playing With Fire, by Lawrence O’Donnell
- All In: The Education of General David Petraeus, by Paula Broadwell