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Review of Unpresidented: A Biography of Donald Trump

Unpresidented: A Biography of Donald Trump
by Martha Brockenbrough
Middle School, High School    Feiwel    416 pp.
11/18    978-1-250-30803-0    $19.99
e-book ed.  978-1-250-30804-7    $9.99

Brockenbrough opens her critical biography of Donald Trump with a sampling of events leading up to the surprising (to most) results of the 2016 presidential election. She then takes readers back to the beginning, providing an overview of Trump’s grandfather’s emigration from Germany; his father’s shady real estate empire in Queens, New York; and formative events in his childhood, his own career in real estate, his personal and family life, and his rise as a television personality. But more than half of the book is dedicated to his presidential campaign and the first year and a half of his presidency, culminating with his July 2018 Twitter tirade to Iran: “NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES…” Brockenbrough provides enough context from Trump’s earlier life to help set the scene for his present-day behavior; and while the book’s details may not be new to many readers, there is a striking difference between assimilating them day-by-day via the news and having them all strung together in a cohesive narrative. It is not a flattering portrait of the forty-fifth president, but it is a factually accurate one, scrupulously documented and well-reasoned, with photographs and primary-source documents included throughout. The back matter is extensive; timelines, a cast of characters, source notes, a bibliography, and an index are appended. The odd design choice of blue type throughout can make the text difficult to read.

From the March/April 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

About Jonathan Hunt

Jonathan Hunt is the coordinator of library media services at the San Diego County Office of Education.

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