The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir

The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir

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 re-elected 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 re-election 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.

Title:The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9781982148034
Format Type:

    The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir Reviews

  • Jamie Pauline

    What has the country come to if I’m marking a book by John Fucking Bolton as “To Be Read”?...

  • Manny

    Just as a thought experiment, would you, in 1943, have read a tell-all memoir about Adolf Hitler written by a disgruntled Rudolf Hess?A. Give my hard-earned money to one of the Nazi Party's former lea...

  • Marius von Heinen

    As a Norwegian, I simply find American politics amusing. Why? Because they are not like the politics in Norway. Our "far-right" is "far far left" compared to the US. We're different from you guys. I f...

  • Maureen

    I suppose it was the fact that President Trump was so set against this book being published that sparked my initial interest - what was it that he was trying to cover up? I live in the UK, but I do li...

  • Matt

    Perhaps one of the most anticipated political books of the summer, I chose to leap on the John Bolton memoir before reviews filled Goodreads and other platforms I frequent. Written based on his time w...

  • Arthur Graham

    BOLTON: I'm willing to testify if subpoenaed.REPUBLICANS: He's just trying to sell a book!ME: Then why offer so many damn spoilers?...

  • Kristy

    2.5 stars, rounded up for nowUpdate after finishing: I don't feel like I learned a lot, aside from learning that this guy is a pompous ass. He really finds fault with just about everyone ...except him...

  • Bettie

    He wouldn't testify.I won't be opening my purse.You?...

  • Thing Two

    Where in the hell was all of this when Mueller was testifying? Where was this during the impeachment trial? Bolton had a chance to go down in history as a patriot, instead he’ll go down as a footnot...

  • Bren

    No, I am not done yet. Not even close.Rarely do I wrote a book review of a book I have not finished.But it needs to be done. This book by Bolton is gigantic. It will take me awhile to finish it. I wil...