The Room Where It Happened

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.

The Room Where It Happened - John Bolton Summary

The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir is a memoir by John Bolton, who served as National Security Advisor for U.S. President Donald Trump from April 2018 to September 2019. Bolton was reportedly paid an advance of $2 million.In late December 2019, one copy of the manuscript was provided to the White House for standard pre-publication review. In late January 2020, during the Senate impeachment trial, news of the book broke. Bolton's team was surprised that multiple copies of the manuscript had apparently been made and circulated. Leaked information about the book's contents increased the pressure for having Bolton testify in the Senate trial of Trump.According to Bolton's original draft manuscript, William Barr and Bolton had a conversation about concerns Trump had appeared to have undue influence over two US Justice Department investigations of companies in China and Turkey; specifically regarding China's paramount leader Xi Jinping with regard to ZTE and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan with regard to Halkbank. Bolton alleged that Trump, in an attempt to win re-election in agricultural states in the 2020 election, "[pleaded] with Xi to ensure he'd win. [Trump] stressed the importance of farmers, and increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat in the electoral outcome". (Bolton also wrote that he wanted to directly quote Trump, but could not due to "the government's pre-publication review process".) He also stated that Trump asked if Finland was a part of Russia, and was unaware the United Kingdom is a nuclear power. Bolton alleged Trump intervened in U.S. law enforcement and practiced "obstruction of justice as a way of life."On June 16, 2020, the Trump administration sought to block release of the book by Simon & Schuster, contending that Bolton had breached nondisclosure agreements he signed as a condition of his employment and that the book endangered national security. U.S. federal judge Royce Lamberth denied this request on June 20. On June 21, pirated copies of the book appeared online. The book was released on June 23. ..

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The Room Where It Happened - John Bolton Book Reviews (145)

Felicia Fables

Traitor1 star

Bolton is a traitor to our country. This book proves it 15


No surprises5 star

No one is surprised about this administration, and it’s fun to read about trumpie-poo doing idiotic things that we all already know and see him doing. 55


Excellent Read5 star

It opens your eyes to the world of reality TV has-been turned narcissist president. 55

Obunga 2.0

Cringe1 star

Bolton is a Warhawk Neocon responsible for our terrible foreign policy of the past 20 years. Now he's trying to appeal to the Left by being anti-trump. He's right-wing grifter who needs to be shunned. 15


S-L-O-W READ!3 star

Too much hype over this book. Nothing spectacular about it. Nothing we already don’t know. Don’t bother buying over priced book that is really a boring one to read. Had high expectations and was totally disappointed. 35


Something is off1 star

I just dont trust this guy... seems like he has an agenda. Seems like another nothingburger... 15


Good Book5 star

Wow is all I can say! 55

Dr Zhiivago


If you are planning on voting this November 2020; I HIGHLY RECOMMEND READING THIS BOOK and what had happened the first term of President Trump. I am NOT asking you to believe its contents; I am ONLY asking you to read it and make your own judgment and decide if you want President Trump for second term in the White House!!! I voted for Trump in 2016 & I lobbied for his presidency passionately even though my dad advised me against it; nonetheless; the idea of a business man away from your everyday genuine politicians running the White House was extremely appealing; yet; I didn’t know whole a lot about Trump Narcissism . If you care about your family you will read the book. If you care about this great nation you will read the book. I don’t think the book is full of lies and fiction like some claims.Bolton was genuine nationalist and always eager for a war but he was smart and honest. After everything happened with Trump in 2020 and after I read the book ; I WOULD NOT BE VOTING FOR TRUMP IN NOV 2020 for a second term. I no longer can explain and justify what Trump does and says to my four kids.ENOUGH IS ENOUGH...!!! 55

book reveiws

Not worth your time1 star

Terrible boring interesting 15


Fantasy1 star

Designed only to make excuses for himself and to criticize trump. Bolton has no integrity. 15

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