Friday, September 15, 2017

Trump's Biographer: Who Will Answer the Call?

This article (below), which actually provoked some sympathy from me for Jeff Sessions (no mean feat), also provoked a larger reflection. Who will be Trump's biographer? Who will provide an account of this incoherent man and our times? 

Two names jump to mind, but I have to assume they're not available: Robert Caro and Garry Wills. Caro wrote highly acclaimed The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York about Trump's fellow New Yorker, and of course he's written the magnificent multi-volume work The Years of Lyndon Johnson. But he's still working on the final volume (go, Robert, go!), and he's not so young. Wills is the author of terrific books about Nixon, the Kennedys, and Reagan, as well as John Wayne, Washington, Lincoln, Madison, Henry Adams, and St. Augustine. His work always provides deep insights. His classics background and (presumably) a knowledge of Suetonius (The Lives of the Twelve Caesars) could prove a useful referent. But, Wills, too, is not so young and he's now got a book about the Koran due out this fall. Clearly, Trump, told well, would prove a HUGE undertaking. We need someone who can take up this mantle. 

So who? This is a call for nominees: who has the insight into contemporary politics, the ability to doggedly pursue the story of a man that won't provide a pleasant journey and almost certainly won't have a happy ending. This biographer will also need mastery of psychology without psychobabble and exceptional literary skill.

Nominations, please.

President Trump’s dressing down of his attorney general at a meeting in May was the beginning of a tumultuous summer for the two men.

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