Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of Donald Trump and a former Senior White House advisor with a seemingly unlimited portfolio, has joined the money-grabbing rush of disgraced Trump administration officials penning books to cash in on their proximity to the dumpster fire (or perhaps, better put, the dumbster fire) that was the tenure of his wife’s father.
The 492-page tome — entitled Breaking History: A White House Memoir — will be officially released on August 23rd, but The New York Times received an advance copy for review purposes, publishing their estimation of Kushner’s literary endeavor in today’s edition.
One look at the title of the review quickly indicates that Jared will not be pleased with the review from the newspaper — one that his father-in-law constantly refers to as “failing,” but that somehow remains the paper of record for its news coverage and the arbiter of success in the publishing industry with its book reviews and top 10 bestseller lists.
Under the heading “Jared Kushner’s ‘Breaking History’ Is a Soulless and Very Selective Memoir,” reviewer
The New York Times‘ criticism of the book begins with its title which Garner says “in its thoroughgoing lack of self-awareness, matches this book’s contents.”
He describes that lack of self-awareness with a brutally frank analysis of Kushner’s roles in the White House.
“Kushner writes as if he believes foreign dignitaries (and less-than dignitaries) prized him in the White House because he was the fresh ideas guy, the starting point guard, the dimpled go-getter,” The New York Times reviewer writes.
“He betrays little cognizance that he was in demand because, as a landslide of other reporting has demonstrated, he was in over his head, unable to curb his avarice, a cocky young real estate heir who happened to unwrap a lot of Big Macs beside his father-in-law, the erratic and misinformed and similarly mercenary leader of the free world. Jared was a soft touch,” Garner states.
The review gets even more scathing from there. For instance:
“‘Breaking History‘ is an earnest and soulless — Kushner looks like a mannequin, and he writes like one — and peculiarly selective appraisal of Donald J. Trump’s term in office. Kushner almost entirely ignores the chaos, the alienation of allies, the breaking of laws and norms, the flirtations with dictators, the comprehensive loss of America’s moral leadership, and so on, ad infinitum, to speak about his boyish tinkering (the “mechanic”) with issues he was interested in.”
And then there’s this line:
“Reading this book reminded me of watching a cat lick a dog’s eye goo.”
Garner attacks Kushner’s tone in his prose as that of a “college admissions essay,” where “every political cliché gets a fresh shampooing.”
He says that Kushner “repeatedly beats his own drum,” and of the multiple self-aggrandizing passages, he wryly indicates that “a therapist might call these cries for help.”
The New York Times reviewer goes on to recount several key anecdotes in the book where Kushner repeatedly names drops — the lunch at Bono’s French Riviera home with Rupert Murdoch, Billy Joel, and Bob Geldof is one to look out for — before revealing Kushner’s take on the January 6th insurrection.
“This book ends with Kushner suggesting he was unaware of the events of Jan. 6 until late in the day. He mostly sidesteps talking about spurious claims of election fraud. He seems to have no beliefs beyond carefully managed appearances and the art of the deal. He wants to stay on top of things, this manager, but doesn’t want to get to the bottom of anything,” Garner writes.
Garner ends his review of Breaking History with a pertinent question.
“You finish ‘Breaking History’ wondering: Who is this book for? There’s not enough red meat for the MAGA crowd, and Kushner has never appealed to them anyway. Political wonks will be interested — maybe, to a limited degree — but this material is more thoroughly and reliably covered elsewhere. He’s a pair of dimples without a demographic.”
“What a queasy-making book to have in your hands. Once someone has happily worked alongside one of the most flagrant and systematic and powerful liars in this country’s history, how can anyone be expected to believe a word they say?”
“It makes a kind of sense that Kushner is likely to remain exiled in Florida. ‘The whole peninsula of Florida was weighted down with regret,’ as Cynthia Ozick put it in ‘The Shawl. ‘Everyone had left behind a real life,’” the review concludes.
While Trump supporters may attribute the devastating review of Kushner’s work to the left-wing political bent of The New York Times, Garner’s astute critique of the book’s — and the author’s — failures transcends politics and addresses both craftsmanship and character, two things that Jared Kushner has much to learn about.
Breaking History: A White House Memoir will be available from all major booksellers as of August 23rd, if you’re still interested in reading after that review
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