The Room Where It Happened - John Bolton

The Room Where It Happened

By John Bolton

  • Release Date: 2020-06-23
  • Genre: Political Science
Score: 3.5
From 613 Ratings


As President Trump’s National Security Advisor, John Bolton spent many of his 453 days in the room where it happened, and the facts speak for themselves.

The result is a White House memoir that is the most comprehensive and substantial account of the Trump Administration, and one of the few to date by a top-level official. With almost daily access to the President, John Bolton has produced a precise rendering of his days in and around the Oval Office. What Bolton saw astonished him: a President for whom getting reelected was the only thing that mattered, even if it meant endangering or weakening the nation. “I am hard-pressed to identify any significant Trump decision during my tenure that wasn’t driven by reelection calculations,” he writes. In fact, he argues that the House committed impeachment malpractice by keeping their prosecution focused narrowly on Ukraine when Trump’s Ukraine-like transgressions existed across the full range of his foreign policy—and Bolton documents exactly what those were, and attempts by him and others in the Administration to raise alarms about them.

He shows a President addicted to chaos, who embraced our enemies and spurned our friends, and was deeply suspicious of his own government. In Bolton’s telling, all this helped put Trump on the bizarre road to impeachment. “The differences between this presidency and previous ones I had served were stunning,” writes Bolton, who worked for Reagan, Bush 41, and Bush 43. He discovered a President who thought foreign policy is like closing a real estate deal—about personal relationships, made-for-TV showmanship, and advancing his own interests. As a result, the US lost an opportunity to confront its deepening threats, and in cases like China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea ended up in a more vulnerable place.

Bolton’s account starts with his long march to the West Wing as Trump and others woo him for the National Security job. The minute he lands, he has to deal with Syria’s chemical attack on the city of Douma, and the crises after that never stop. As he writes in the opening pages, “If you don’t like turmoil, uncertainty, and risk—all the while being constantly overwhelmed with information, decisions to be made, and sheer amount of work—and enlivened by international and domestic personality and ego conflicts beyond description, try something else.”

The turmoil, conflicts, and egos are all there—from the upheaval in Venezuela, to the erratic and manipulative moves of North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, to the showdowns at the G7 summits, the calculated warmongering by Iran, the crazy plan to bring the Taliban to Camp David, and the placating of an authoritarian China that ultimately exposed the world to its lethal lies. But this seasoned public servant also has a great eye for the Washington inside game, and his story is full of wit and wry humor about how he saw it played.


  • Uggh

    By Belabay
    So hard to get through! I thought it was just me. Boring!
  • Bad

    By Jahir rahman
    Not worth reading
  • No Surprises

    By 12thMan4life
    All one needs to do is listen to Trump speak and read his Tweets to know this was happening behind the scenes. Truly boggles the mind why anyone thinks Trump has the capacity to have anyone’s interests in mind other than his own. It’s also telling how he buddies up with dictators and views Kim Jong-un as a best friend. I’d say it’s funny if it wasn’t so sad and scary.
  • So boring

    By dubbyaPOW
    Not sure if it’s Bolton’s writing or if he is just horribly boring. This was hard to read from the first page to the last. Snoozer.
  • Sycophant turned whistleblower?? Helpful!

    By AndiBearCo
    I’m failing to see the value of all of these sycophants who supported these people into power and stuck around to soak up whatever benefit they could from people that *we all knew* were corrupt and greedy turning around and doing these *tell all* books, as if the rest of us should be surprised that someone who acted a way for 30-60 yrs+ is still acting that way. John Bolton is apparently the only person in America who didn’t know of Trump’s 60+-year-long struggle with mental illness and the pattern of behavior that resulted. Some Advice: DONT BE A SYCOPHANT!! It’s equally as corrupt and evil as the principle actor! You guys are adults. These excuses are pathetic. You’re enablers for your own gain. You did know better. You convinced yourself otherwise. Live it, but don’t pretend your an innocent, unknowing victim just because you lied to yourself for so long.... especially after you betrayed your country by refusing to come out with this information in a timely manner.
  • Boring

    By Parkerdog1
    I love to read but this book after only reading 8% is terrible. Too much dribble and not enough substance. It doesn’t hold your attention. What a waste of money and shame on the publisher to think thus was worth printing!
  • Trump is a moron

    By Friday2165
    A little self serving how he bashes nearly all of Trumps National Security decisions but did not speak up until after anything could be done. However it was interesting to get the behind the scenes look. I enjoyed the book.
  • Well, It’s Definitely A John Bolton Book

    Mostly, about how he can do or did everything better. Would have done this. Would have done that. They fumbled around. Trump was not the person for President. Clearly anyone including my dog could have done a better job. I can see why Bolton hoarded the information & didn’t come forward during Trump’s impeachment. Bolton is clearly about himself & his politics. Not an American.
  • Government workers angst

    By fordthetexan
    It’s obvious Bolton was not debriefed when he exited government. Furthermore...Bolton and all government workers work for the American People. Bolton has allowed his own personal angst to be on display along with classified information he has thrown before the world to see. Anyone that is paid via tax payer’s funds should check their personal vindictiveness and politics at the door. Nice try mostly just showed your ass.
  • Review without reading the book huh!

    I don’t understand how someone can post a review when they haven’t even read the book, that should not be allowed. I have not read the book but I still had to say something.