Top critical review
Clunky prose, interesting (barely) in parts.
Reviewed in India on 11 July 2020
John Bolton’s book with its descriptions of Machiavellian West Wing intrigues or the stalled strike on Iran may play out like one of the gripping episodes from Madame Secretary or House of Cards; until you realize that it’s about a real person who goes around with the Nuclear Football.
Like white noise around us, contemporary American issues and political undercurrents keep humming throughout the book and non-Americans; like me; may not comprehend all it’s nuances. But The Room Where It Happened is a familiar tale of the POTUS’s indecisiveness with a penchant for addressing optics instead of the issues at hand. This has been recounted by multiple ex-staffers and liberal media in the US; so, no surprises here.
Throughout the book, John Bolton makes no bones about his hard-line views on security, Iran, China, North Korea among others and his hatred for the “Obama people” is in plain sight. While descriptions of negotiations with the likes of Kim Jong Un, Putin and Xi Jinping border on the bizarre and make for interesting reading, some of the minutia of international Summits and travel including nap times add to the tedium of wading through the book.
John Bolton comes across as self-important and sanctimonious; unable to accomplish much only due to the faults of people around him including the man behind the Resolute Desk. The prose is clunky and wading through its almost 600-pages length calls for steely resolve. Bolton should have hired a writer instead of simply typing from his notes.