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Horsemen of the Trumpocalypse: A Field Guide to the Most Dangerous People in America

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A line-up of the dirty dealers and defenders of the indefensible who are definitely not "making America great again"

Donald Trump has assembled a rogue's gallery of alt-right hatemongers, crony capitalists, immigrant bashers, and climate-change deniers to run the American government. To survive the next four years, we the people need to know whose hands are on the levers of power. And we need to know how to challenge their abuses. John Nichols, veteran political correspondent at the Nation , has been covering many of these deplorables for decades. Sticking to the hard facts and unafraid to dig deep into the histories and ideologies of the people who make up Trump's inner circle, Nichols delivers a clear-eyed and complete guide to this wrecking-crew administration.

384 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2017

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John Nichols

417 books62 followers

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5 stars
33 (25%)
4 stars
50 (38%)
3 stars
28 (21%)
2 stars
6 (4%)
1 star
12 (9%)
Displaying 1 - 26 of 26 reviews
September 3, 2017

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I applied for an ARC of this book because of the title alone. To be honest, I didn't even really look at the summary that carefully at first - the title seemed self-explanatory. This would be a book that analyzed but also condemned the people who voted for Trump as the dreaded harbingers of the Trumpocalypse... right? NOPE!

HORSEMEN OF THE TRUMPOCALYPSE is a bit more diplomatic than that. The author of this book does not blame the constituents; he blames the cabinet. One by one, Nichols goes through the ranks - from obviously key players like Mike Pence and Paul Ryan (and DeVos, who is mentioned twice) all the way down to people you may not have heard of like David Friedman (ambassador to Israel), Nikki Haley (US Ambassador to the UN), and Sonny Perdue (Secretary of Agriculture). Nobody is spared. Jared and Ivanka get a chapter, too, and that chapter is named after and makes references to the SNL skit with ScarJo, "Complicit."

The chapter introduces each public official, discusses their background in government (or just their background generally if they did not hold a government position prior to accepting or being elected to their post), their political platforms and ideologies... and then immediately takes them all to task for why the combination of those things makes them woefully unsuitable or inadequate for said position. By the end of the book, you'll think you've just endured a 300+ page political version of Alanis Morissette's "Ironic." It's that f*cking troubling.

HORSEMEN OF THE TRUMPOCALPYSE was a good book. I hesitate to say I "enjoyed it," because many of the chapters - particularly Rick Perry's and Nikki Haley's - left me feeling actively pissed off and/or terrified about the fate of the world and/or cynical about the fate of humanity. I did appreciate it for the knowledge it contained. Even though I consume about a 1-2 hours of news each day, I still learned so much, and clarified some of the things I already knew about but not in detail. Is it light reading, you might be asking? No. This is a very dry book but the author, who is a total snark and sees absolutely no need to turn it down, is constantly injecting these sarcastic asides. I recommend this book if you want to be more informed about the Orange House's cabinet members.

Thanks to Netgalley/the publisher for the review copy!

3 stars
Profile Image for Heidi.
70 reviews21 followers
September 11, 2017
Horsemen of the Trumpocalypse: The Dirty Dealers and Defenders of the Indefensible Who Are "Making America Great Again"Excellent and detailed overview of the Trump presidency and administration which has been a moving target (both of change and In unfilled positions) during the last 8 months.

I imagine updates will be needed every quarter or half year!

The author recently spoke at a Democrats Abroad event in San Jose, Costa Rica (the country where I reside), but sadly I could not attend. It was apparently extremely interesting.

This is a well researched, careful and thorough study of the cronyism and nepotism rampant in this corrupt administration that is well poised to dismantle so much of the important and needed programs and legislation the majority of Americans use and take for granted on a daily basis.

Highly recommend for your non fiction pick of the year especially if you are a US resident or citizen. It's a bit dense and could be better written as to the "flow" but it's worth a slog if you want access to a great reference if an historic administration.
463 reviews4 followers
November 16, 2017
Clearly, this book is biased against Trump's appointments. It provides a lot of background information on all of Trump's key appointments to date, primarily in his cabinet. However, doing some fact checking on what the author provides has borne out the information presented here. For example, Kellyanne Conway seemed (to me) to surface out of nowhere - this book provides her resume before she jumped on the Trump train. Obviously, many of these folks saw an opportunity for personal gain. No one is taking the moral high ground in this administration.

I recommend this book if you want this type of information.
30 reviews1 follower
November 5, 2017
I suspect the one-star reviews are posted by folks who didn't really read the book but just wanted to be troll-y. It's quite a read -- takes most of the Trump administration, as of about May 2017 -- and examines their backgrounds and qualifications for the jobs. Even though I'm a newshound, there were many bits in here that I didn't know. Nichols is a respected journalist and uses about 1/3 of the total book length to footnote and otherwise verify his statements.

The book itself is an easy read. The contents are not. It's clear that Trump (or his puppetmaster's hand) is intent on dismantling the federal government. AND a good deal of it is being done, not by Executive Order but by administrative guidelines that are being issued by the folks in this book -- without a lot of fanfare or even notice. In just one year, Trump and his administration have done irreparable harm to our federal government. The US is very close to catastrophe.
Profile Image for Theresa.
1,068 reviews18 followers
September 22, 2017
This book may depress you but you need to read it anyway. Hopefully it will sufficiently piss you off that you take up activism (if you don't already). If you were to pick the most egregious, dishonest, thieving, unempathetic humans in the world, you couldn't do a better job than Trump has with those in his cabinet and his camp. He claims to drain the swamp; they only way he drained the swamp was by sucking the entire dregs into his administration. All this you will learn from John Nichols. He is a highly respected journalist who has done a great job of researching the scum in Trump's swamp. He also gives us a history and government lesson in the process. Highly readable and quite informative.
Profile Image for Bettie.
9,989 reviews17 followers
April 25, 2019
Description: A line-up of the dirty dealers and defenders of the indefensible who are definitely not "making America great again"
Donald Trump has assembled a rogue's gallery of alt-right hatemongers, crony capitalists, immigrant bashers, and climate-change deniers to run the American government. To survive the next four years, we the people need to know whose hands are on the levers of power. And we need to know how to challenge their abuses. John Nichols, veteran political correspondent at the Nation, has been covering many of these deplorables for decades. Sticking to the hard facts and unafraid to dig deep into the histories and ideologies of the people who make up Trump's inner circle, Nichols delivers a clear-eyed and complete guide to this wrecking-crew administration.
1 review
September 4, 2017
Excellent journalism. This is a cabinet and administration that needs to be carefully monitored so they are not allowed to destroy the country we are leaving to our children for the benefit of billionaires.
Profile Image for Sims Delaney-Potthoff.
4 reviews2 followers
March 21, 2018
A must read ! Knowledge is Power . John Nichols brings history and verifiable truth and facts in an age of propaganda and deception. Trump and the whole posse are the wrong answers to the right question. Thank You John Nichols for giving us info for the much needed discussion - ongoing !
Profile Image for Mark Gowan.
Author 6 books9 followers
January 28, 2018
For those who want to get a more precise picture of the people that are currently holding positions of power in the USA, this is a good start. Each chapter represents a particular person that is holding, or has held office under Donald Trump. The book is straight forward and to the point, offering historical and documented presentations of each person's list of accomplishments, and stated purposes concerning the direction that they believe this country should go.

As stated, the book is straightforward and to the point, but it is not an easy read if you accept the reality of what Trump actually stands for (defined by his statements and his actions as well as the people he adds to his cabinet). Like so many of these sorts of books one's political leaning will bias reviews of the book. However, Nichols seems to try to avert this inevitable problem by presenting factual aspects of each person's life. However, make no mistake about it, Nichols is not impressed.

This is a necessary read for anyone wanting to get some insight into where we are, politically speaking, as a nation. This is not an easy picture to look at, but someone has to do it, and Nichols has done a respectable job.

Profile Image for Cherry.
130 reviews3 followers
January 23, 2018
OK, so there is some good information in here, and if I'd read this when it first came out I would have learned a lot, but I think the regular news media has covered most of this stuff pretty well. Yes, this book gives some extra background into some of the names that have become so familiar over the first year of the travesty that has been this administration's first year, but it's hard to get through all the rhetoric and hyperbole. This is a book that knows its base and is trying to feed it red meat and get it riled up and frothing at the mouth. I find that annoying, and I'm part of its target readership.

Oh well. I did get some new information out of it, like I said, and if I'd read/listened to it a year ago when it came out I would have learned more. But I don't think it's much worth reading now. If you haven't paid enough attention to know who these people are by now, you're not going to get through 12-13 hours of audiobook or however many pages of text.
179 reviews3 followers
January 5, 2018
John Nichols is smarter than this book, which sacrifices depth for breadth. While there are useful facts and context to be gleaned, too often it feels like a list of justifications for those already inclined to be terrified of various characters in the Trump Expanded Universe. It's not very enlightening to learn that somebody has earned a snarky nickname or been "linked" to monolithically malicious organizations like ALEC or villains like the Kochs, as many are here without the surely interesting specifics. And it's not Nichols's fault that the administration sheds major characters faster than Game of Thrones, but when whole paragraphs turn on the threat of people like Steve Bannon or Tom Price, well, one wishes the argument had been robust enough to hold up to the chaos going on while Nichols was trying to get several dozen character sketches to paper.
Profile Image for Ronda Canary.
477 reviews1 follower
December 2, 2017
"Trump and Pence were made for each other - out of spare parts of tossed-off morality and abandoned consciences."

"A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles. It is true that in the meantime we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors....". "...If the game sometimes runs against us at home we must have the patience till luck turns, and then we shall have the opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost, for this is a game where principles are at stake." Thomas Jefferson.
Profile Image for Denis Mcgrath.
148 reviews5 followers
January 25, 2018
This reads like a gallery of wanted posters in your local postoffice. It is hard-hitting, almost inflammatory until you read the source material that justifies the rhetoric and portrayal of men and women who surround President Trump. It is truly alarming to have so many ill suited to ensure that our government doesn’t stay within constitutional boundaries and can operate with impunity . The rallying cry is “Chaos”, shoot from the hip (twitter) and the art of the deal. A good but disturbing read. Some of those horsemen have already left the OK corral but it doesn’t make it any better.

I was provided with an electronic copy in return for an honest review.
50 reviews
April 10, 2018
This is a really great look at Trump’s initial cabinet and the conflicts of interest that exist within the administration. I know some will probably view this book as heavily biased, but I don’t think so. It’s obvious the author falls on the left, however every claim is made with supporting evidence and just about every conflict described is indefensible so it’s hard to argue the book as biased information, even if you can tell the author’s political leanings.

For anyone who doesn’t understand why these cabinet picks are dangerous, this book is the perfect primer for you.
120 reviews5 followers
September 24, 2017
Well-researched profiles of the schemers & scumbags that have turned the current administration into the horror show it is today. Know thine enemy!
Profile Image for Sharon.
421 reviews
April 3, 2018
Great book to make a list of Trump appointees, who is in and who is out. Definitely onlya one sided perspective, but some interesting tidbits and lots of source notes
Profile Image for Nicholas Turner.
Author 2 books
July 10, 2022
This is an interesting, well researched, and terrifying book about the initial incumbents in the Trump government.

It was written shortly after the start of Trump's presidency as a warning about what was coming, so we now know that there was plenty to be worried about (not sure if it turned out better or worse than the author expected).

Still a very interesting read even after the event...
Profile Image for Ellen.
222 reviews22 followers
March 9, 2019
One of my favourite things while reading this book was to Google the names of the key Trump players Nichols' was talking about and check if they were even still in the administration. (Spoiler alert - most were not)
Anyway, this was a great book. Alarming, but great.
Profile Image for Ruth Feathers.
1,310 reviews10 followers
June 30, 2020
Cast of characters

The Horsemen of the Trumpocalypse number vastly more than four. And the revolving door means that, like the plague, the apocalypse is spreading. Well researched, should be required reading.
Profile Image for Timothy  Hoff.
39 reviews
October 12, 2020
This is a series of essays on the various persons who have come and gone in Trump's chaotic West Wing. The prose is not elegant, but is easy to read.
Profile Image for Bevan.
184 reviews
October 22, 2017
John Nichols explains every reason why you should be worried about the Trump administration. Required reading.
11 reviews
April 11, 2018
disturbing and infuriating to know the extent of corruption among the political class in power right now. trump just unleashed the worst in all of these politicians, breaking the levee to flood the United States with stinking government corruption. imagine what else is happening and has happened since the publication of this book.... sickening....
Displaying 1 - 26 of 26 reviews

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