Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Unbelievable - Katy Tur

Title: Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History
Author: Katy Tur
Publication Date: 9/12/17
Pages: 304
Genre: Memoir / Political / Nonfiction
How I Found It: I heard about it from a lot of places.
Date Completed: 5/20/18

Summary: Tur recounts her days on the campaign trail with Trump. She started reporting on his campaign shortly after the infamous announcement at Trump Tower in which then-candidate Trump referred derogatorily to Mexicans. She share the details of her life on the road up through election night 2016.

What I Thought: This book was hard to read at times. Not because it was poorly written. On the contrary, Tur did a wonderful job capturing the tumultuous emotions of the 2016 campaign season. That's exactly what made it hard to read at times. It's hard to emotionally reinsert yourself into that era, particularly knowing how it turned out. 

Tur was one of the earliest reporters to join Trump campaign and, perhaps consequentially, developed an odd relationship with the candidate. His hot-and-cold relationship with the media is exemplified perfectly in his treatment of Tur during the campaign. He would favor her and then immediately turn around and insult her and her work. Tur does a decent job of explaining the emotional effect this had on her, although I think she is still fairly guarded in what she chose to reveal about her own feelings. That reporter instinct to conceal personal feelings must be hard to kick in some aspects. 

It's a fascinating book. Reading a first hand account of life on the Trump campaign confirms so much of what we think to be true about it. Chaos and the destruction of political norms reigned supreme. Outside of the Trump specifics, though, it's just really interesting to read about what life is like for a political reporter assigned to a campaign, as Tur was. Sure, there were some pretty big abnormalities on the Trump campaign, but the general gist of things was still the same. Honestly, it sounds like a miserable life. However, I'm with Tur in my belief that we owe a debt to those reporters. They are the recorders of history and, without them, we would have little way to verify statements from a candidate or their campaign. The media is far from perfect, but we desperately need to them to help us hold accountable those with political power. 

It wasn't particularly pleasant to revisit the months of that awful campaign season, but I think this is an important read. It's one of the first books out documenting that time in our history. It's easy to forget, in the midst of ever-changing current events, some of the insanity that occurred during that time. We shouldn't forget. 

Quotes I Loved:
  • "I don’t get why protesting a broken political system also means you need to protest the very notion of objective truth."
  • "He is the polar opposite of President Obama. Where Obama’s rhetoric soars, Trump’s rhetoric slithers. While Obama eats arugula, Trump scarfs Burger King. Where Obama is controlled and calculating, Trump is petulant and loud."
  • "He is the living embodiment of the old maxim that if you say something often enough, people will believe it."
This book is part of my 2018 TBR Challenge!
Rating: ★★★★☆
Will I Re-Read: No

A Reduced Review: Tur recounts her days on the campaign trail with Trump, from his earliest events to the night he won the White House. It's a compelling and, at times, uncomfortable read.

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