Peril: The Final Act

It’s time to Break It Down!

One year ago in this space, I penned a post framed around, what at the time was Bob Woodward’s (of Woodward & Bernstein fame) current book, called Rage. I titled the edition, Rage: #MAGA Deflection. It was, the latest tome examining the credibility, or lack thereof, of Donald Trump. There have been numerous books, claiming to reveal all manner of insider details about Trump and his administration. In Rage, Woodward conducted 19 interviews with Trump, 18 before the book went to press, 7 initiated by calls from Mr. Trump, and at least one Oval Office appearance. According to Woodward, the interviews totaled 9 hours and 41 minutes.

Woodward’s precursor to Rage, was called Fear. Good, bad, or indifferent, the author never interviewed Mr. Trump as he was writing Fear. This was not for lack of trying, but likely was the result of John Kelly’s enthusiastic gatekeeping. By the time Woodward wrote Rage, Kelly was long gone, and both Trump and Woodward made sure there was no repeat performance. The 19 interviews over the course of 9 hours and 41 minutes underscored the distinction.

Fast forward a year, and Woodward has another book, this one entitled Peril; penned with journalist, Robert Costa, set to be released a week from today. 

The book chronicles the transition from President Donald J. Trump to President Joseph R. Biden Jr., and stands as one of the most dangerous periods in American history. That is documented by things we saw, e.g., the January 6thinsurrection and attempted coup, as well as things we never knew, but are finding out as court cases from January 6 are adjudicated, as the House Select Committee on attacks goes about its work, and as the details from Peril are released.

Between Woodward and Costa, they interviewed over 200 people at the center of the turmoil. Their efforts produced more than 6,000 pages of transcripts—and a spectacularly definitive portrait of a nation on the brink of a crisis of epic proportion.

Peril delves deep, not only inside the Trump White House, but also inside the Biden White House, inside the 2020 campaign, into the Pentagon and Congress. It provides vivid, eyewitness accounts of what really happened.

The book 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 offers a most unsettling analysis of all the things we knew, of all the things we thought we knew, and most assuredly, of all the things we hoped could never happen in America, that happened, or almost happened. 

This tome also the offers the first insider accounts of Biden’s presidency, and of the multiplicity of challenges he is facing: the continuing deadly pandemic, the millions of Americans facing soul-crushing economic pain, the bitter and disabling partisan divide, an array of global threats, and the imposing/lurking shadow of 45.

The book title was derived from a Biden Inauguration quote: “We have much to do in this winter of peril.” His perspective was clearly colored by Trump’s chaotic last days in office, including, but not limited to the January 6 debacle. 

Peril details the remarkable tale of the end of one presidency and the beginning of another. It provides the signature flourish of the culmination of Woodward’s dynamic trilogy on the Trump presidency, along with Fear and Rage. Moreover, it is the beginning of a collaboration with fellow Washington Post reporter Robert Costa; a collaboration that will hearken recollections of Woodward’s memorable coverage of the Nixon escapade, along with Carl Bernstein. That was then, this Is now. Welcome to “Peril: The Final Act!”

I’m done; holla back!

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