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More reviews of “What were we thinking”: How 150 books were written about one subject. That’s not including some other important books, named below.

2020-10-27
cartoon courtesy of pixabay.com

The Los Angeles Times published a review of “What Were We Thinking” on October 6: “The meta [redacted] book you didn’t know you needed (and wanted) to read.”

The book’s author states, from the review:

“I imagine that for some people, my book will serve as a ‘He read it so I don’t have to’ rundown of these books,” said Lozada, the Pulitzer Prize-winning nonfiction book critic of the Washington Post, from his home outside Washington, D.C. “Maybe you’ll pick up one or two as a result. That’s great.” But, he adds, “I do hope that there is also a sense of an underlying critique of this moment in American intellectual life.”

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/books/story/2020-10-06/carlos-lozada-what-were-we-thinking-trump-book-q-a

The Guardian also had a review, on October 10, subtitled, “The Washington Post critic read 150 Trump books, somehow stayed sane and wrote an elegant yet lacerating response.” The reviewer states:

I am both politically liberal and horribly arachnophobic. To liberal readers [redacted] and his presidency resemble footage of a Goliath birdeater. A crawling, creeping horror, an object of terrible fascination, a shifting dark mass from which one cannot tear one’s gaze. Traffic figures to news websites say so. So do publishers’ profits.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/oct/10/what-were-we-thinking-review-carlos-lozada-trump-books

The book is available from Simon and Schuster at their web site. It is also available from Amazon.com, which gives it 4-1/2 stars on 23 reviews and says it’s the number one seller in their “political literature criticism” section.

To be fair, one reviewer mentions that Mr. Lozada left out David Bromwich, American Breakdown: The [redacted] Years and How They Befell Us (London, 2019). The reviewer thinks that is one of the most important books. He states, “Bromwich is a serious omission–one for which there is no excuse, especially since so many of the authors examined aren’t worth the time and trouble.” The reviewer dismisses books by Hugh Hewitt, Michael Wolff, Charles Sykes, and Brian Stelter, among others.

Another reviewer quotes Lozada: ‘One of the ironies of our times is that a man who rarely reads, preferring the rage of cable news and Twitter for hours each day, has propelled an onslaught of book length writing about his presidency’. The reviewer recommends, among Lozada’s 12 most memorable, ‘Know My Name’ by Chanel Miller, and ‘The Fifth Risk’.

Yet another reviewer mentions that Lozada could not include books by  Mary [redacted], Michael Cohen, Peter Strzok, Andrew Weissman, Michael Schmidt, and Bob Woodward, as they were too recent for him to read and still get his book published before the (possible re-) election. This reviewer also mentions the following missing books: Martha Nussbaum (The Monarchy of Fear: A Philosopher Looks at Our Political Crisis) and Adam Gopnik (A Thousand Small Sanities: The Moral Adventure of Liberalism) – plus: Jane Mayer (Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right) and George Packer (The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America).

The New York Times had a review that came out on the book’s official publication date as well, October 8. From that review:

In 2015, Carlos Lozada, The Washington Post’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book critic, took on a harrowing task: He read eight books “written” by [redacted]. Soon, he expanded the mandate, reading everything he could about [redacted] and the [redacted] era — 150 books in all. It was an act of transcendent masochism, but we should be grateful he did it because “What Were We Thinking” looks past the obvious and perverse — that is, past [redacted] himself — to the troublesome questions raised by the elevation of a soulless carnival barker to the nation’s highest office. 

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/06/books/review/what-were-we-thinking-carlos-lozada.html

So many books (and so many reviews of this one book), so little patience. I won’t say I don’t have enough time to read all these books, because actually I do. I just can’t stand the subject material– it’s too enraging to take a chance on. I’d rather read some ancient history.

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