American Nero
Richard Painter and Peter Golenbock present a clear description of rule of law - arguably the single most important principle underlying our civilization. They also describe the abuses of power that have occurred throughout our nation's history. Beginning in Puritan New England with the infamous Salem Witch Trials, 'AMERICAN NERO' makes vivid stops at The Red Scare of the 1920s, Japanese-American internment, the McCarthy Era, and, much more recently, President Trump's attempt to violate the First Amendment by banning Muslims from entering the US.While Trump is not the first offender, he is arguably the most blatant, and this unflinchingly honest and insightful work presents in devastating detail the ways in which our current president has trampled the rule of law with his attacks on the freedom of the press, the independence of the judiciary, and the autonomy of the justice department.This not a book about right vs. left - instead, it is about the rule of law, a principle that transcends partisan politics, and how vital it is to the survival of our country. This book serves as a call to action, looking ahead to a brighter future for our country, one where citizens and officials alike protect our rights and honor their responsibilities. READING LENGTH ➜ 400 PagesAUDIBLE RUNNING TIME ➜ 16hrs. and 12mins.©2020 Richard Painter and Peter Golenbock (P)2020 Tantor

American Nero Details

TitleAmerican Nero
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMar 24th, 2020
PublisherBenBella Books
ISBN-139781948836012
Rating
GenreHistory, Politics, Biography, Nonfiction, Social Science

American Nero Review

  • Ietrio
    January 1, 1970
    Somehow the Law is the established political clans. And their rule is upset by a newcomer. So the author squirms and tries hard to convince the readers that they have to love their leaders and never question their bureaucratic authority.
  • Peter A
    January 1, 1970
    One of the challenges for writers of a book like this, a real-time assessment of a polarizing, sitting President, is deciding the goal and audience of the book. I say this because the book is unlikely to change the minds of the public, either who already agree with the authors basic premise, i.e., Trump poses an existential threat to our democracy, or who disagree with the authors, e.g., Trump can do no wrong.What is the purpose of the book? For me, the authors lay out a model of how the United One of the challenges for writers of a book like this, a real-time assessment of a polarizing, sitting President, is deciding the goal and audience of the book. I say this because the book is unlikely to change the minds of the public, either who already agree with the authors basic premise, i.e., Trump poses an existential threat to our democracy, or who disagree with the authors, e.g., Trump can do no wrong.What is the purpose of the book? For me, the authors lay out a model of how the United States’ rule of law can be undermined by one of the following types of actions:• Religious intolerance• Violations of due process• Myths and alternative facts• Attacks on the free press• CorruptionThe authors provide historical examples of previous administrations and other countries’ governments undermining the rule of law using one of the actions above, and then they document the Trump administration’s activities and efforts to do exactly that.What is the value of such a book (if it is not going to change opinions)? I can suggest several:1. It is a documentation of issues raised by Trump’s presidency (at least through 2019). The book provides ample examples.2. In the near term, it is raising an awareness of the challenges the United States citizens face before November 2020 and January 2021, that the citizens can recognize the issues sooner to deter future deterioration of our society.3. With such a set of issues one could envision making changes to laws governing expectations on a President (more detailed financial disclosure of the president, vice president and all members of Congress).4. Future historians will be better able to judge the lasting impact of his Presidency on the country.Why is this book titled “America Nero”? The authors address this on the first line of the book: Emperor Nero (December 15, 37 to June 9, 68 AD), “like Donald Trump, was a notorious narcissist who put himself above everyone else, causing chaos and confusion with every irrational decision. … Nero was a man of low self-esteem who would cheat the system and declare himself a winner whenever he could. He rigged the Olympic Games in 67 AD to win the chariot race, even though he had been thrown out of the chariot while making a turn. ... Nero was obsessed with popularity and loyalty … Nero, like all narcissists, wouldn’t abide criticism, … and in one of the worst fake news events of world history, when Rome burned down, he blamed the Christians for its destruction….” See below for a definition of Narcissistic Personality Disorder and its ramifications during the time of the coronavirus pandemic. Let me share some specifics of the book.The first part of the book (Chapters 1- 15) is giving examples, primarily although not exclusively from US history to the present how our country has gone through periods where one or more of these actions have taken hold. Specifically, there are sections on the US Civil War and the reconstruction period where there was a huge attempt to undermine the rule of law for many black voters; Nazi Germany; McCarthyism; dirty tricks of Richard Nixon; and the Iran Contra affair, among others.The second half of the book (Chapters 16 – 31) is about Donald Trump and his presidency. Please note that the book was written before the COVID-19 pandemic, and before the final vote by the Senate to acquit Trump of the charges of impeachment.Specifically, the book does give some background on Trump’s prior experiences in finance, and chapter by chapter steps through a range of issues around his presidency. For example, Chapter 17, A Man of Many Assets or a Foreign Asset? the authors indicate that because of Trumps financial failures and harm done by his investments in the US, he stopped investing in the US and started investing in other countries, e.g., Russia, China, India. South Korea and Turkey. Since he is not required to relinquish ownership of businesses in those countries, nor even to disclose the sources of revenue going into those businesses, we, the US population, are left to wonder how Trump makes decisions and what priorities does he set. Given he has demonstrated multiple times prioritization of his own interests over others, how can we be sure this is not influencing his decisions, supposedly made on our behalf.In Chapters 19, 20 and 21 the authors talk much more of how Trump’s election could have been influenced by the Russians, and why Russia wants Trump in the white house. In addition to perhaps easing of restrictions, Trump’s policy that lead to a weakening of Democracy in the US and of our partnership with Europe help Russia’s (Putin’s) goal of returning the world to independent nation-states which it can better control/manage. And there are chapters on the series of lies Trump has used to great effect, his ability to corrupt those around him, and his racists views.There are information rich chapter on Robert Mueller (26) and the history of his investigation (27) along with the counter (obstructive) moves by Trump and his administration. There are additional chapters about stacking the supreme court with justices that being in almost unlimited presidential powers (“unitary executive theory”), indicating the extent Trump and supports would go in the case of Brett Cavanaugh (28), the role of William Barr (29), and ultimately the Mueller Report (30). Reading these chapters together help tie together a tighter narrative than watching the events unfold over the two year of the investigation.For people who already distrust Trump, this book will give them ample ammunition to help cogently argue that he should be voted out of office in November 2020, a way for the US population to say “You’re fired!”And for the Trump lovers, the authors ask: Do you really want to have Russia or any other country involved in our elections, or for that matter interfering with out society in any way? And does it not make sense to ask in which countries Trump has his investments – to understand if there are pressures on him that may have him prioritize self over country, thus putting him in conflict with the oath of office? These financial concerns could be put to rest by a full disclosure, which has not happened. From a reading perspective, the prose is strong, and the book is very well annotated, with many references. However, the examples are so numerous (based on nearly three years of Trump), I feel the reader is being overwhelmed. Furthermore, the theme of “Nero” or “narcissism” are only indirectly referred to after the first section, making me wonder if this really is the right title for the book. Finally, as one of the other reviewers mentioned, there are no new revelations in this book, rather it is the placing them all together that we can see the strain of this Presidency on our nation.Definition of Narcissistic Personality Disorder: see https://www.helpguide.org/articles/me...Implications of this disorder during the time of crisis: See New York Times editorial “This is What Happens When a Narcissist Runs a Crisis” by Jennifer Senior on April 5, 2020 https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/05/op... …
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  • Julie
    January 1, 1970
    Well researched. Well written. Very few new revelations if you watch the news and understand how the three branches of government are supposed to act. Regardless of your political affiliations, the precedents set by the Trump administration are sure to make governing a free for all in the coming years. This was written before the current pandemic, and the federal governments late, inadequate response.I hope there will be an addendum in future releases of this book. Well researched. Well written. Very few new revelations if you watch the news and understand how the three branches of government are supposed to act. Regardless of your political affiliations, the precedents set by the Trump administration are sure to make governing a free for all in the coming years. This was written before the current pandemic, and the federal government’s late, inadequate response.I hope there will be an addendum in future releases of this book.
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  • Sophiescott
    January 1, 1970
    American Nero: The History of the Destruction of the Rule of Law, and Why Trump Is the Worst Offender can be the best in the field.
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