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Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Nationalist Uprising (2017)

de Joshua Green

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2891591,818 (3.78)4
Biography & Autobiography. History. Politics. Nonfiction. HTML:The instant #1 New York Times bestseller.
From the reporter who was there at the very beginning comes the revealing inside story of the partnership between Steve Bannon and Donald Trump??the key to understanding the rise of the alt-right, the fall of Hillary Clinton, and the hidden forces that drove the greatest upset in American political history.
Based on dozens of interviews conducted over six years, Green spins the master narrative of the 2016 campaign from its origins in the far fringes of right-wing politics and reality television to its culmination inside Trump??s penthouse on election night.
The shocking elevation of Bannon to head Trump??s flagging presidential campaign on August 17, 2016, hit political Washington like a thunderclap and seemed to signal the meltdown of the Republican Party. Bannon was a bomb-throwing pugilist who??d never run a campaign and was despised by Democrats and Republicans alike. 
Yet Bannon??s hard-edged ethno-nationalism and his elaborate, years-long plot to destroy Hillary Clinton paved the way for Trump??s unlikely victory. Trump became the avatar of a dark but powerful worldview that dominated the airwaves and spoke to voters whom others couldn??t see. Trump??s campaign was the final phase of a populist insurgency that had been building up in America for years, and Bannon, its inscrutable mastermind, believed it was the culmination of a hard-right global uprising that would change the world.
Any study of Trump??s rise to the presidency is unavoidably a study of Bannon. Devil??s Bargain is a tour-de-force telling of the remarkable confluence of circumstances that decided the election, many of them orchestrated by Bannon and his allies, who really did plot a vast, right-wing conspiracy to stop Clinton. To understand Trump's extraordinary rise and Clinton??s fall, you have to weave Trump??s story together with Bannon??s, or el
… (més)
  1. 00
    Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House de Michael Wolff (Cynfelyn)
  2. 00
    Mindf*ck: Cambridge Analytica and the Plot to Break America de Christopher Wylie (M_Clark)
    M_Clark: This book talks in detail about how Steve Bannon got involved with Cambridge Analytica
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​Political reporter Joshua Green examines how Candidate Donald Trump and political maverick Steve Bannon joined forces to help define Trump's political policies and win the Presidency. Trump was a long-shot to win the Republican nomination much less the Presidency itself, and Joshua Green makes the case that understanding Trump's climb to power requires an understanding of Steve Bannon's role in the campaign.
​Bannon was a media savvy operative who offered Trump a well defined coherent conservative strategy, and brought significant financial resources to the Trump campaign. In addition to his own leadership and associations with conservative Breitbart News and Cambridge Analytica, Bannan brought financial resources from individuals such as billionaire Robert Mercer and Citizens United head David Bossie. Together, these resources were able to fund anti-Clinton researchers and provide conservative news ideas throughout the campaign. These stories, in turn, were picked up by main stream media, and kept Trump's narrative's out front.
Green emphasizes that despite his shortcomings, Bannon understood the media, and with his political ideas and resources, was able to leverage his influence to keep Trump in the headlines and keep Clinton scandals prominent in the news, both of which went a long way to the making of the Trump Presidency. ( )
  rsutto22 | Jul 15, 2021 |
I guess at the time it was written it had some new information, but it really didn't age well. Focused more on Trump than on Bannon (and there are plenty of other better books about Trump), glossed over the actually interesting parts of Bannon's life/career, and was also pretty annoyingly written. Not bad in a partisan way, just bad (or really, mediocre). ( )
  octal | Jan 1, 2021 |
Caught in the Devil's Bargain
Review of the Penguin Press hardcover edition (2017)
Given the central role he had played in the greatest political upset in American history, [a] reporter suggested that it had all the makings of a Hollywood movie.
Without missing a beat, Bannon shot back a reply worthy of his favorite vintage star, Gregory Peck in Twelve O’Clock High.
"Brother," he said, "Hollywood doesn’t make movies where the bad guys win."
- excerpt from pg. 236 of Devil's Bargain

Devil's Bargain is currently (as of early December 2020) the 41st most top voted book in the Trump Tell-alls List on Goodreads, which has the somewhat shocking current total of 225 books. The list is likely going to increase by 100+ with the Trump era ending and many retrospectives and memoirs yet to be written and published.

As indicated by its ranking in the Goodreads Trump Tell-Alls (which I have found to be a reliable guide to the best books on the subject), Devil's Bargain does not actually reveal very much about Trump himself. It is more a biography and background of the Trump advisor and final 2016 campaign manager Steve Bannon and his various financial backers & outlets which helped to defeat the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Probably the most surprising revelation about Bannon was the extent of his reading in world religions and mysticism, especially the work of René Guénon, which ties into Bannon's traditionalist nationalist philosophy.
Bannon’s reading eventually led him to the work of René Guénon, an early-20th-​­century French occultist and metaphysician who was raised a Roman Catholic, practiced Freemasonry, and later became a Sufi Muslim who observed the Sharia. There are many forms of traditionalism in religion and philosophy. Guénon developed a philosophy often called “Traditionalism” (capital “T”), a form of anti-modernism with precise connotations. Guénon was a “primordial” Traditionalist, who believed that certain ancient religions, including the Hindu Vedanta, Sufism, and medieval Catholicism, were repositories of common spiritual truths, revealed to mankind in the earliest age of the world, that were being wiped out by the rise of secular modernity in the West. What Guénon hoped for, he wrote in 1924, was to “restore to the West an appropriate traditional civilization.” - excerpt from pgs. 204-205 of Devil's Bargain

Although it is more tied into the 2016 American Election, I read Devil's Bargain as background to my ongoing reading survey of various books in relation to the 2020 American Election. As a Canadian, I’ve generally ignored American politics and elections in past years, but the drama of the situation in 2020 has heightened my interest.

Trivia and Links
The hardcover edition of Devil's Bargain was published on July 18, 2017. This was one month before Steve Bannon's ouster from the White House on August 18, 2017, due to the behind the scenes machinations of Jarvanka (the Jared Kushner/Ivanka Trump contingent of advisors in the White House) according to later books such as Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House (published January 5, 2018). The paperback edition of Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Nationalist Uprising (published on February 13, 2018) adds a new Preface to detail Bannon's firing along with a subtitle change.
  alanteder | Dec 7, 2020 |
Superb book. As far as I know the only one about the 2016 campaign worth reading. The author obviously had privileged access to Bannon and limits his expressions of disgust for him and Donald Trump to the title and occasional adjectives. Fascinating character portrayals and only one typo (on p.210). ( )
  JoeHamilton | Jul 21, 2020 |
If you care about politics and the future of this country, you may find this book distressing. Green provides a behind the scenes look into the Trump campaign and the influence of Steve Bannon on it. What's scary to this reader was the gullibility to the crazy ideas from the alt right and Bannon. Trump bought into these ideas and was a willing spokesman for a wall to be built in and paid by Mexico, Muslim bans etc. This book describes all the craziness in Trump's campaign...the fake news, Breitbart's influence...

One hopes that people running the country possess a high intellect, great judgment and high moral character. Devil's Bargain makes clear that this did not happen in the 2016 campaign. ( )
  writemoves | Jun 17, 2019 |
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Biography & Autobiography. History. Politics. Nonfiction. HTML:The instant #1 New York Times bestseller.
From the reporter who was there at the very beginning comes the revealing inside story of the partnership between Steve Bannon and Donald Trump??the key to understanding the rise of the alt-right, the fall of Hillary Clinton, and the hidden forces that drove the greatest upset in American political history.
Based on dozens of interviews conducted over six years, Green spins the master narrative of the 2016 campaign from its origins in the far fringes of right-wing politics and reality television to its culmination inside Trump??s penthouse on election night.
The shocking elevation of Bannon to head Trump??s flagging presidential campaign on August 17, 2016, hit political Washington like a thunderclap and seemed to signal the meltdown of the Republican Party. Bannon was a bomb-throwing pugilist who??d never run a campaign and was despised by Democrats and Republicans alike. 
Yet Bannon??s hard-edged ethno-nationalism and his elaborate, years-long plot to destroy Hillary Clinton paved the way for Trump??s unlikely victory. Trump became the avatar of a dark but powerful worldview that dominated the airwaves and spoke to voters whom others couldn??t see. Trump??s campaign was the final phase of a populist insurgency that had been building up in America for years, and Bannon, its inscrutable mastermind, believed it was the culmination of a hard-right global uprising that would change the world.
Any study of Trump??s rise to the presidency is unavoidably a study of Bannon. Devil??s Bargain is a tour-de-force telling of the remarkable confluence of circumstances that decided the election, many of them orchestrated by Bannon and his allies, who really did plot a vast, right-wing conspiracy to stop Clinton. To understand Trump's extraordinary rise and Clinton??s fall, you have to weave Trump??s story together with Bannon??s, or el

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