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Real Estate Billionaire. Reality TV star. President? Donald Trump inherited a fortune from his father. But he wanted more. Shrewd and indefatigable, he never missed an opportunity to expand his holdings. He transformed himself into an international brand. He marketed his personality into a product. He built an empire. But that wasn t enough. He wanted to be President, and Real Estate Billionaire. Reality TV star. President? Donald Trump inherited a fortune from his father. But he wanted more. Shrewd and indefatigable, he never missed an opportunity to expand his holdings. He transformed himself into an international brand. He marketed his personality into a product. He built an empire. But that wasn t enough. He wanted to be President, and he waswilling to do and say whatever it took. Donald Trump, who never held political office, pulled off his ultimate acquisition: the hostile takeover of the Republican Party.Everyone was shocked except those who knew him."


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Real Estate Billionaire. Reality TV star. President? Donald Trump inherited a fortune from his father. But he wanted more. Shrewd and indefatigable, he never missed an opportunity to expand his holdings. He transformed himself into an international brand. He marketed his personality into a product. He built an empire. But that wasn t enough. He wanted to be President, and Real Estate Billionaire. Reality TV star. President? Donald Trump inherited a fortune from his father. But he wanted more. Shrewd and indefatigable, he never missed an opportunity to expand his holdings. He transformed himself into an international brand. He marketed his personality into a product. He built an empire. But that wasn t enough. He wanted to be President, and he waswilling to do and say whatever it took. Donald Trump, who never held political office, pulled off his ultimate acquisition: the hostile takeover of the Republican Party.Everyone was shocked except those who knew him."

30 review for Trump: A Graphic Biography

  1. 4 out of 5

    David Schaafsma

    Nothing really new here, and I read it through quickly, but I’m leaving it around the house for the kids to check out. It was pretty entertainingly put together. This is an unsurprising comics biography from far leftie illustrator Rall, whose Snowden I read and liked, and whose Bernie I still have to read. It came out in the summer of 2016, when it was still somewhat preposterous to imagine Trump winning. Even he didn’t think he was going to win then. But Rall knew it was possible, as many of us Nothing really new here, and I read it through quickly, but I’m leaving it around the house for the kids to check out. It was pretty entertainingly put together. This is an unsurprising comics biography from far leftie illustrator Rall, whose Snowden I read and liked, and whose Bernie I still have to read. It came out in the summer of 2016, when it was still somewhat preposterous to imagine Trump winning. Even he didn’t think he was going to win then. But Rall knew it was possible, as many of us also feared but were still in denial about: No one knows what he'll do. He doesn't know what he'll do. Which is why he could win. It’s well-researched, citing more than 150 sources, though because it is comics it focuses on the visual and some key details he finds interesting, and some important quotations most of us are familiar with. A couple details: --Trump’s brother drank himself to death at 42, which is maybe why Trump doesn’t smoke or drink. --In second grade, Trump punched a teacher because he thought she didn't know enough about music. --He went on a date with Candice Bergen, who said he was “coordinated”: Burgundy three-piece suit, boots, and limousine. --He gets along with his exes. Ach! Who cares??! In the light of continuingly frightening fascist actions, such details seem quaint and deeply irrelevant moves by Rall to “humanize” this clown. He was handed a fortune by his Daddy and it wasn’t enough. He had to be a billionaire, and now in office will make his way to becoming a trillionaire. Ugh. Rall puts it this way: "The powers that be had long ignored and snubbed the little guy. Trump, on the other hand, spoke directly to them. And he was too loud and rich and famous to ignore." This is a by-now familiar analysis of the election, but his billionaire pro-Wall Street cabinet and his deregulations favoring big business and against the environment and the little guys who elected him make a statement like that look silly and deeply sad. His actions seem louder and less admirable than his words. Rall: "Trump's posture is, if you're stupid enough to believe his sales pitch, you deserve what you get." If you don’t want to read a long policy analysis of the whys and wherefores, this may be a good place to start. It’s lively and ooccasionally fun, even to the bitter leftie reader (like me).

  2. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    This is a good book about a terrible person. This is the fourth "graphic biography" I've read of Ted Rall's (the others were about Bernie Sanders, Edward Snowden, and Pope Francis) and this book on Trump was my least favorite of the four, only because Trump himself is such an odious man. However, Rall did a good job giving some context to the 2016 election and the economic stresses so many voters experienced. The problems of racism and xenophobia were also mentioned. This book was published in Jul This is a good book about a terrible person. This is the fourth "graphic biography" I've read of Ted Rall's (the others were about Bernie Sanders, Edward Snowden, and Pope Francis) and this book on Trump was my least favorite of the four, only because Trump himself is such an odious man. However, Rall did a good job giving some context to the 2016 election and the economic stresses so many voters experienced. The problems of racism and xenophobia were also mentioned. This book was published in July 2016, after Trump had won the Republican nomination but before he won enough electoral votes to be named president. Had Rall waited a year to write this, the book could have doubled in size due to the amount of garbage DJT has said and done since being elected. I love Ted Rall's work. I hope he keeps writing graphic biographies, and I hope he finds more admirable subjects.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jon Nakapalau

    Really important that we get ready for 2020 - not here to tell anyone how to vote - but we really need to read up on everyone who wants one of the most important jobs in the world at one of the most unstable times since WW II.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Steve Peifer

    When we look back and ask 'How did it happen?' this will be a good source. Sets up the Trump candidacy in a way that actually makes sense. It also grinds him up and spits him out. Well done.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kirsti

    The comic-book format makes this looks like a light read, but it is well researched (171 endnotes!) and thought provoking. I'll skip the analysis (which Rall does ably) and focus on the interesting trivia: * Trump's father's middle name was Christ. * His brother Fred Jr. drank himself to death at 42. Because of his brother's behavior, Trump has never been a drinker or a smoker. * In the second grade, Trump punched a teacher because he thought she didn't know enough about music. * He went on a date w The comic-book format makes this looks like a light read, but it is well researched (171 endnotes!) and thought provoking. I'll skip the analysis (which Rall does ably) and focus on the interesting trivia: * Trump's father's middle name was Christ. * His brother Fred Jr. drank himself to death at 42. Because of his brother's behavior, Trump has never been a drinker or a smoker. * In the second grade, Trump punched a teacher because he thought she didn't know enough about music. * He went on a date with Candice Bergen. She said he had a burgundy three-piece suit, burgundy boots, and a burgundy limousine. * When Ivana Trump married her fourth husband in 2008, Trump hosted the wedding at Mar-a-Lago. I also enjoyed Rall's biography of Edward Snowden. Rall is writing a biography of Pope Francis . . . I can't wait.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Carol Storm

    Nothing new here, but Ted Rall is surprisingly objective about Trump's appeal to down and out Americans. Unlike say, Ta-Nehisi Coates or Hillary Clinton, he doesn't just put it all down to racism and bad genes and stupidity. The tired and fundamentally fraudulent Hitler comparisons are here, of course, but for the most part Ted saves the shrill hysteria for the last couple of pages. One interesting footnote. As a lifelong New York City boy, Ted does a pretty good job documenting Trump's "scuzzy" Nothing new here, but Ted Rall is surprisingly objective about Trump's appeal to down and out Americans. Unlike say, Ta-Nehisi Coates or Hillary Clinton, he doesn't just put it all down to racism and bad genes and stupidity. The tired and fundamentally fraudulent Hitler comparisons are here, of course, but for the most part Ted saves the shrill hysteria for the last couple of pages. One interesting footnote. As a lifelong New York City boy, Ted does a pretty good job documenting Trump's "scuzzy" behavior as a rabble-rousing Real Estate Tycoon in the Bronx-is-Burning era of NYC, roughly 1970-1990. But he leaves out something very interesting. Back then there was a celebrated rape case where an affluent white woman was assaulted in Central Park and left for dead. Five black boys were accused of the crime, but there were no real witnesses and the case divided the whole city along racial lines. So then Trump, being Trump, took out a full-page ad in one of the New York papers, basically saying the boys were all guilty and should all get the death penalty. Now why would Ted Rall leave that out? It was a well-known NYC case. The incident certainly showcases Trump's meanness, his brutal racism, and his need to jump on any bandwagon going. Problem is, a lot of prominent white liberals denounced the Central Park Five as well. Anna Quindlen and Pete Hamill both embarrassed themselves by denouncing the boys in print, using Bull Connor language while supposedly upholding the ideals of Bobby Kennedy. Neither of them ever apologized when it was revealed that the Central Park Five were in fact all innocent. Anna Quindlen is a Barnard graduate, by the way. Ted Rall graduated -- no, wait, he got kicked out -- well, he almost graduated from Columbia. The point is, New York City liberals stick together. And after all, what's a little racism between friends? Ted Rall denounces Trump as a racist because, like his father, he never liked renting or selling to blacks. Funny thing is, if you were on the Columbia Campus when Ted Rall was there, you would have noticed that the world famous Morningside Heights campus was literally walled off from the rest of the city. There were brown-skinned janitors to mop up the filth, and brown-skinned guards to keep the filth off campus. Professors didn't mix with the help, by the way. Most of the professors were white, and the mostly white undergraduates were not exactly encouraged to venture off campus, especially not after dark. (My roommate got mugged in the first semester.) Teddy boy doesn't mention any of that stuff. I remember him quite well, (we were both incoming freshman, 5th Floor, Carman Hall, fall of 1981) and the main thing I recall is that he had some weird problem getting along with people. A couple of his roommates were Chinese and one night they chased him down the hall, and security had to come up and save his ass. Apparently he painted a swastika on their door because he didn't like their politics. Or maybe he just didn't like rooming with a couple of foreigners. To sum up, then, this is a good book, but it's not great. Even though Ted Rall and Donald Trump actually have a lot in common. More than either of them would ever admit!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Westminster Library

    This was an informative, entertaining and quick read. The best part of this little book was the clear and concise explanation as to why people support Trump. There was no judgement or snarkiness, just a statement of facts and events that have led people into the kind of emotional state that would convince them to support this candidate. What this book does best is give the reader context, which is so often lacking from our media. Find Trump: A Graphic Biography at the Westminster Public Library! This was an informative, entertaining and quick read. The best part of this little book was the clear and concise explanation as to why people support Trump. There was no judgement or snarkiness, just a statement of facts and events that have led people into the kind of emotional state that would convince them to support this candidate. What this book does best is give the reader context, which is so often lacking from our media. Find Trump: A Graphic Biography at the Westminster Public Library!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Brent

    This well-sourced biographical comics essay ends before the November 2016 election, but remains more and more relevant. Rall makes great use of internet sources, listed. This makes great reading from a fine political cartoonist, well-versed in current events. Rall published a series of these, including Edward Snowden and Bernie Sanders, in other books of same size and shape. I always like his work, and this is no exception. Recommended.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Glovasky

    In a nutshell: The title says it all Recommendation: Hilarity ensured. Need a laugh? Give it a chance. This hilarious graphic novel actually kind of explains how and WHY people support Donald Trump through hilarious drawings of Trump saying hilarious things. I should note his skin tone is coloured red throughout the book. Very Funny. This is also actually well-researched and has over 150 sources. So it’s not as if Rall doesn’t know what he’s talking about. A funny tidbit: in second grade, Trump p In a nutshell: The title says it all Recommendation: Hilarity ensured. Need a laugh? Give it a chance. This hilarious graphic novel actually kind of explains how and WHY people support Donald Trump through hilarious drawings of Trump saying hilarious things. I should note his skin tone is coloured red throughout the book. Very Funny. This is also actually well-researched and has over 150 sources. So it’s not as if Rall doesn’t know what he’s talking about. A funny tidbit: in second grade, Trump punched his teacher in the face because he thought he didn’t know anything about music. Do you want to quickly learn why Trump has support without sifting through a bunch of political documents and articles? You can quickly devour this instead and laugh in the meantime.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Samantha Nowatzke

    I really enjoy Ted Rall's graphic biographies. Quick & easy way to digest information about prominent figures. I also can appreciate that while it's evident that Rall is not a Trump fan he recognizes that Trump's rise to the presidency is an important story & that in order to *try* to understand how how he became the President of the United States, there were contributing economical & political factors that had to transpire in just such a way in just such a time & here we are... I hope Rall cont I really enjoy Ted Rall's graphic biographies. Quick & easy way to digest information about prominent figures. I also can appreciate that while it's evident that Rall is not a Trump fan he recognizes that Trump's rise to the presidency is an important story & that in order to *try* to understand how how he became the President of the United States, there were contributing economical & political factors that had to transpire in just such a way in just such a time & here we are... I hope Rall continues to tell these stories in this way.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    This graphic novel is much more than I expected. Ted Rall provides the reader with numerous facts about our president from birth to political candidate in an easy to read and understand graphic format. He concludes with a short Afterword section that asks the reader to consider some insightful questions regarding Trump. I loved this book and will be picking up some others he has written. This is definitely a book for those who do not enjoy reading traditional biographies, as many high school stu This graphic novel is much more than I expected. Ted Rall provides the reader with numerous facts about our president from birth to political candidate in an easy to read and understand graphic format. He concludes with a short Afterword section that asks the reader to consider some insightful questions regarding Trump. I loved this book and will be picking up some others he has written. This is definitely a book for those who do not enjoy reading traditional biographies, as many high school students resist.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sofia

    This was an informative, entertaining and quick read. The best part of this little book was the clear and concise explanation as to why people support Trump. There was no judgement or snarkiness, just a statement of facts and events that have led people into the kind of emotional state that would convince them to support this candidate. What this book does best is give the reader context, which is so often lacking from our media.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Chelsey

    I was really appreciating how objective this graphic biography was until the concluding chapters, which knocked a star off my rating. Still, I learned a lot about the man who became our current president, and the process was an enjoyable one. If it had been slightly less-biased, it would've been a home run.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nicola

    This surprised me with its detail - comics have been coming into their own as being seen as a valid media for telling interesting stories and this one certainly does. A quick read but it covers all of the talking points and looks at the Trump Phenomenon from several angles.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Wendy Greene

    One of the best books about Trump and the Trump phenomenon I've ever seen. This is a must-read.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Cerrig

    I thought I knew Trump but found even more reasons to dislike the guy from this book. Also gave it to my 13 year old who is finding it very easy to read and understand.

  17. 4 out of 5

    McGrouchpants, McGrouchpants.

    Get to know your latest Faceless Subgod of Folly(*): as John Shirley pointed out on his Facebook page, since only about 57.5% of the population votes, they rounded up everybody they could who've never voted in their life before(**) but have an SSN and are past age 18 and therefore a citizen and swept this Famous Guy into office — which could never be done with Mitt Romney or Bob Dole. That's why he was complaining in advance about the polls; he was being proactive. Obama's "stop whining" comment Get to know your latest Faceless Subgod of Folly(*): as John Shirley pointed out on his Facebook page, since only about 57.5% of the population votes, they rounded up everybody they could who've never voted in their life before(**) but have an SSN and are past age 18 and therefore a citizen and swept this Famous Guy into office — which could never be done with Mitt Romney or Bob Dole. That's why he was complaining in advance about the polls; he was being proactive. Obama's "stop whining" comment didn't take this into account. Roger Stone hadn't pulled this stunt before, and 5-4 Scalia-led majority coming down on a Monday the last week before the 600 of 700 votes (which were clearly for Gore) had been tallied hadn't been pulled before, then, either — it's just that everybody failed to register that that's what happened, and that "rat fucking" has an innovation-driven field since the Nixon days, and the Democrats have to play nice and be twice as formal and nonpartisan while, allegedly, these aren't the driving forces behind the scenes. If I see another newspaper columnist (some guy from Georgetown was just reprinted in the Oregonian) giving us the semiotician's take on this, I'm going to throw up. ("THE TRUMP REVOLUTION: This election means that these people spoke up ... ") This is the modern variant of the 1800s scandals with deceased people found on the rolls to bolster results for political cronies: this time, they put people who are political dead (or inert) on the map just to flood the polling booths with votes. And, yup, they're votes all right. It's a joke. Don't hold it in your head different — it's not stolen, it's not that it means something, it's just that it's possible and these people did it. Let Rall unpack this guy for you. He does a bang-up job, here. ----------------------------------------------- (*)"Watergate sure did get [Don] revved up, wrote Thomas Pynchon, who met Don through Kirk and Faith Sale. By 1972, Pynchon said, Nixon had "mutated into a desperate and impersonal force, no longer your traditional human-type President, but now some faceless subgod of folly."—from Hiding Man: A Biography of Donald Barthelme by Tracy Dougherty (2009) (**) At around 7:30 p.m., Obama heard from David Simas that there were some “surprising numbers” coming from rural counties in Florida. Trump was ahead by a much bigger margin than the models had anticipated—“and, in fact, a larger margin than Romney had beaten me in these areas, or McCain had beaten me in these areas.”—from "Obama Reckons with a Trump Presidency" by David Remnick in the Nov. 28, 2016 issue of The New Yorker

  18. 5 out of 5

    Int'l librarian

    I’ve always liked Ted Rall’s cartoons, even though I don’t like his artistic style. This biography is one more affirmation. Graphic books can be a great format for intro-level biographies. The pictures and captions help main points stick with me: Trump went to U Penn/Wharton, but not its most prestigious MBA program. He wasn’t as impressed with the school as he feels others are. Trump got a Vietnam War deferment. Trump has entered bankruptcy proceedings with four different casino projects he sup I’ve always liked Ted Rall’s cartoons, even though I don’t like his artistic style. This biography is one more affirmation. Graphic books can be a great format for intro-level biographies. The pictures and captions help main points stick with me: Trump went to U Penn/Wharton, but not its most prestigious MBA program. He wasn’t as impressed with the school as he feels others are. Trump got a Vietnam War deferment. Trump has entered bankruptcy proceedings with four different casino projects he supervised. He has been married three times, and all his ex-wives still seem OK with him. Trump had a wild fight to get rent-controlled tenants kicked out of The Barbican, a Central Park property now named Trump Parc East. But this is more than just a rehash of the past. It serves as a Mr. Yuck sticker for the US political present and future. This book was published post-primary pre-election 2016, and Rall has an eerily accurate focus on what Trump’s rise says about the US electorate. Rall’s most important observation may be Trump’s gift for exaggeration and demonizing attacks, and how this drives his support. Rall offers a very clear warning: No one knows what he’ll do. He doesn’t know what he’ll do. Which is why he could win. Rall cites his sources. The librarian in me likes that a lot. But yeah, there’s still that messy artwork, and ALL-CAPS cartoon calligraphy. The book is divided into sections: “Daddy’s Boy” “The Women” “The Art of the Deal” “The Accidental Authoritarian” are some examples. There isn’t always a clear progression from one theme to the next. It’s a choppy read, and some of the sections seem incomplete. But it all goes by so quickly that this isn’t a huge problem. And for a student who doesn’t know what all the Trump fuss is about, this book can serve as a decent place to start.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Heather Hamilton

    I didn't read this so much as a biography, but as a synopsis for how Trump got elected. It was spot-on in my view. If you've found yourself wondering what kind of person dared to vote for him, you'll find it in here (spoiler alert: it's not the neo-nazi types). And if you're wondering who is to blame for his ability to get elected, you'll also find that in here (spoiler alert: it's not the people who voted for him). And I also find that it supports my own opinion that the reason I can't quite ha I didn't read this so much as a biography, but as a synopsis for how Trump got elected. It was spot-on in my view. If you've found yourself wondering what kind of person dared to vote for him, you'll find it in here (spoiler alert: it's not the neo-nazi types). And if you're wondering who is to blame for his ability to get elected, you'll also find that in here (spoiler alert: it's not the people who voted for him). And I also find that it supports my own opinion that the reason I can't quite hate Trump is because of the turmoil that ensues from his unpredictability, especially towards those of his own party.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sean Kottke

    A solid third installment in Ted Rall's series of graphic biographies, but it deserves to be updated and expanded. The theme of the possible dawn of American fascism deserves more development, at least as much as the theme of economic inequality was developed in Bernie and the rise of the security state in Snowden. This could have been the grand unifier of the themes in the two previous books. Still, there's much food for thought, with ample citations for further investigation.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Johnny

    A short, but good introduction to the man we now call President (unfortunately) with all the disturbing details herein (author Ted Rall cites his sources) from his early days as a student to his troublesome real estate deals to the controversy that surrounded him over the years crescendoing to the 2016 Campaign/Election (which the book covers) and ultimately the Presidency (which the book doesn't cover because it was published last year).

  22. 5 out of 5

    Dreaday

    I honestly have no idea what to think of this book. There are some cool pictures and interesting facts I didn’t know, but the font just makes me want to kill myself. Also, in describing Trump’s treatment of women, the author didn’t even describe half of what could have been said, and instead described him as something like “crass,” (not a real quote because I can’t remember what he actually said, but it was a demeaning generalization).

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Franz

    I read this just thinking it would be funny, but it wasn't. It was full of facts and history I didn't know, and quotes from Trump and many of the people who have known him throughout his life. I learned quite a bit about Trump and what has led to his rise in politics. An excellent read.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Vance Mellen

    Very fun and informative. Illustrations were a bit clunky for a graphic novel, but I found the quirkiness very appropriate to the subject. Good overview of Trump's life/history. The politics in the book are pretty clear/direct. Fun, especially if you are NOT a fan of Trump.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Daisya Spencer

    This was a very interesting read and kind of shows why people voted for Trump. It also shows (at least for me) why he's more unlikeable. At least in my eyes, he is. This was very well researched and I appreciated the jabs towards him every now and then.

  26. 5 out of 5

    B

    Fairly on target analysis of the 2016 pre election times and Donald Trump's history. As this is in a graphic novel style, it doesn't go into as much detail as some other bios do. There is so much more to discuss about Trump's shady dealings and personality flaws...

  27. 4 out of 5

    Elias Ivan

    I learned more from this comic book than any shitty media reports could ever give me. Highly recommended.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    love the simple breakdown p27 "he could shock. he could offend. he could get that third of the vote." then turn the page and HITLER facts -- Rall wastes no time pulling everything together

  29. 5 out of 5

    Larry

    Really very astute, factual and well written. Enjoyable and enlightening!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Chairunnisa Rauter

    One quick read yet informative. On the last page, when Rall explained --or predicted?- why people vote for Trump makes sense to me.

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