The insatiable appetite for tales of President Trump’s outsize ignorance, crassness and braggadocio has found a generous and highly seasoned feast in Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury.” The instant bestseller — the fastest-selling nonfiction book in Henry Holt’s 151-year history — quickly vanished from store shelves and online retailers, but this excellently produced audio version remains immediately available.
Wolff reads his own short author’s note, explaining that the work is the product of over 200 interviews and conversations held over a period of 18 months, the first being with then-candidate Trump as he polished off a pint of Häagen-Dazs ice cream.
Holter Graham, a Baltimore native, actor and veteran audiobook narrator, delivers the rest of this truly bizarre tale of dysfunction in a composed voice. Where a less confident narrator might have allowed a smirking note to emerge, Graham maintains his poise, subtly picking up the narrative’s mood in slight modulations of tone and unobtrusively freighted pauses.
Most of what we hear in this recording has been reported elsewhere or even boasted of by the president himself. It is surely not news that the Trump White House is a den of backstabbers and incompetents or that Stephen K. Bannon was the only one there who read anything longer than a tweet, or that Trump did not believe he had a chance to be elected: that his candidacy was a move to strengthen the faltering Trump brand.
But it does come as a surprise to hear that Trump knew — and cared — so little about his pledge to eliminate Obamacare that he asked why everyone couldn’t be covered by Medicare, or that he will not allow anyone to touch his toothbrush.
This is a long recording of high-octane gossip — 12 hours of it — and though long heads may shake and pull at their chins, it is entirely appropriate for its tragicomic subject matter and for the current state of the country.
Katherine A. Powers reviews audiobooks regularly for The Washington Post.
By Michael Wolff
Macmillan Audio. 12 hours. $26.99