by Joshua Green
July 2017 – Penguin Press
From the reporter who was there at the very beginning comes the revealing inside story of the partnership between Steve Bannon and Donald Trump—the key to understanding the rise of the alt-right, the fall of Hillary Clinton, and the hidden forces that drove the greatest upset in American political history.
Based on dozens of interviews conducted over six years, Green spins the master narrative of the 2016 campaign from its origins in the far fringes of right-wing politics and reality television to its culmination inside Trump’s penthouse on election night.
The shocking elevation of Bannon to head Trump’s flagging presidential campaign on August 17, 2016, hit political Washington like a thunderclap and seemed to signal the meltdown of the Republican Party. Bannon was a bomb-throwing pugilist who’d never run a campaign and was despised by Democrats and Republicans alike.
Yet Bannon’s hard-edged ethno-nationalism and his elaborate, years-long plot to destroy Hillary Clinton paved the way for Trump’s unlikely victory. Trump became the avatar of a dark but powerful worldview that dominated the airwaves and spoke to voters whom others couldn’t see. Trump’s campaign was the final phase of a populist insurgency that had been building up in America for years, and Bannon, its inscrutable mastermind, believed it was the culmination of a hard-right global uprising that would change the world.
Any study of Trump’s rise to the presidency is unavoidably a study of Bannon. Devil’s Bargain is a tour-de-force telling of the remarkable confluence of circumstances that decided the election, many of them orchestrated by Bannon and his allies, who really did plot a vast, right-wing conspiracy to stop Clinton. To understand Trump’s extraordinary rise and Clinton’s fall, you have to weave Trump’s story together with Bannon’s, or else it doesn’t make sense.
Joshua Green is a senior national correspondent for Bloomberg Businessweek, focusing on political coverage for the magazine and Bloomberg News. Previously, Green was a senior editor of the Atlantic, a weekly political columnist for the Boston Globe, and an editor at the Washington Monthly. He has also written for the New Yorker, Esquire, Rolling Stone, and other publications. Green regularly appears on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, NBC’s Meet the Press, HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, and PBS’s Washington Week.
“Deeply reported and compulsively readable…Green is consistently interesting on the subject of Trump. But the real value of DEVIL’S BARGAIN is the story it tells about Bannon, some of which has been previously reported (not least by Green himself) but never so well synthesized or explained as it is here.” —The New York Times
“Mr. Green is a talented reporter and a gifted storyteller. The anecdotes he records from the chaotic 2016 Trump campaign are both well chosen (they’re there for thematic reasons, not as gratuitous gossip) and brilliantly told.” —Wall Street Journal
“You won’t be able to put it down. I certainly couldn’t, surrendering a weekend I should have rightly spent with the kids. I spent it instead with a 63-year-old nationalist whom Time magazine all but called the shadow President of the United States . . . Addictive.” —Newsweek
“Vividly pulls back the curtain on the symbiotic relationship between two of America’s most polarizing figures. . . . Green is nothing but prescient.” —The Guardian