Thursday, September 15, 2016

Trump: A Graphic Biography

Trump is a biography of an egomaniacal, litigious real estate businessman turned reality star and unlikely politician but more importantly an examination of the social, economic, and political contexts that made it possible for him to rise as he has. It chronicles the high points in his life, including a look at his childhood and upbringing:
His many, often public, relationships with women:
As well as his often incendiary political rhetoric and actions:

As you can see from the excerpts, the text is print-heavy, and the artwork is more functional than aesthetically pleasing. Still, I found this a pretty compelling and informative book. Certainly, I expected a particular critical viewpoint from Rall, and for the most part he is damning of this "proto-fascist" candidate (comparing his rise to that of Hitler in a few places). Although he lambasts and lampoons the Donald, he portrays Trump as a threat to freedom and not merely as a clown worthy of derision. Still there were a few instances where I felt that he gave Trump more credit than some others I have read, and the adherence to facts in the face of ideology are appreciated. You may or may not share the opinions here, but there is no denying that the journalism is solid and well-referenced.

This book's creator, Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist Ted Rall has been writing and drawing political comics and journalism for decades now. He has written critically about all stripes of politicians and leaders, including George W. Bush (Generallisimo El Busho) and Barak Obama (The Book of Obama), and lately has done a series of biographies on prominent political figures like Edward Snowden and Bernie Sanders. In the past he was an imbedded journalist in Afghanistan and a political cartoonist for a number of high profile publications, including the Los Angeles Times (who seem to have unjustly fired him).

All of the reviews I have read about this book have praised it, though some in rather tepid tones. Publishers Weekly called it "a concise and decently footnoted pocket political biography." Bruce Handy called it "an able if familiar telling." Martha Cornog summed up, "Sympathetically written, readable, and accessible to a wide range of audiences, this careful effort goes heavy on evidence and light on hyperbole to lend insight about this unexpected, would-be world leader."

Trump: A Graphic Biography was published by Seven Stories Press, and they have information about the book here.

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