Book review: Read it with a massive grain of salt

“The Room Where It Happened: a White House Memoir” by John Bolton

This is a God-awful book. For a start, there’s a lot of gibberish to take in, in a writing style that is not well structured, and not to mention the flow of the book that keep following where the author’s rants want to wonder within the chapters, which is messy.

The book is written by the infamous John Bolton, a grade A a-hole that is never trustworthy to begin with. It is the warmongering defense advisor who got fired by the megalomaniac Donald Trump because he’s too aggressive. And this book looks more like a justification of his decision makings during his time as Trump’s advisor rather than a reflective memoir, which is ironic because by “telling it all” Bolton actually shows that he’s indeed one of the main problems in Trump administration.

For example, Bolton actually advised Trump to attack Iran after the country downed an unmanned American surveillance drone (that Iran caught spying in their own backyard). Had Trump jump into the idea, the US would have started multiple conflicts with thousands of casualties. Furthermore, that decision by the US to walk out from the Iran nuclear deal? That’s Bolton’s idea. Also the decision to seek regime change in Venezuela, and, again, the provocations to go to war with them (which Trump didn’t follow). And Bolton even remarks that the US “endured eight years of Obama mistakes” regarding the US’ diplomacy approach towards North Korea and Iran.

Perhaps what makes it even worse, Bolton wrote this book with the smugness, the insulting biases, and the strong believe that his views are the right one and everyone else are wrong and stupid, and that he’s not at fault for every atrocities America have done following his advice.

Don’t get me wrong, I can still enjoy one or two parts of the book, especially the behind closed door conversations between the world leaders, such as the conversations in the meeting between Trump and Kim Jong-un (and their entourages, including Bolton) in Singapore. Or the behind the scene mayhem in White House to issue a response over Jamal Khashoggi’s murder. Also intriguing is the book’s revelation about the concern by Erdogan on the conviction of senior official of Turkish bank Halkbank, Mehmet Atilla, where the ongoing investigation for financial fraud could actually implicate Erdogan and his family.

Ultimately, though, if we can take only few things from this book it’s this: one, Donald Trump is more appalling than we thought he is (he thought Finland is part of Russia, didn’t know that their strongest ally UK has a nuclear weapon, but never bothered to read the daily briefings to be less clueless). And two, John Bolton makes Donald Trump looks like the calm and collected one on foreign policy.

With that in mind, in the end of the day it’s certainly not worth anyone’s time to read the book, even if you got it for free via the PDF version that have been widely circulating. The cost may not be your money, but it’s your time.

Skim read the book if you must, as have I, but don’t waste your precious time diving deep into a trash that may not even be true (some of his claims are denied by others who were in the same room). And even if it’s true, at this point it won’t change our opinion on Trump, it will only add to his already long laundry list of shenanigans that act above the law, in which nobody seems to be able to stop (that thing Trump said about Muslim concentration camp in Uighur, as claimed in the book, are you really shocked?)

So instead, just read the many great coverage of the book in the media, because it’s still an interesting angle and insight into the Trump World. That is, if you can trust John Bolton.