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Hiding in Plain Sight

The Invention of Donald Trump and the Erosion of America
Narrated by: Sarah Kendzior
Length: 9 hrs and 31 mins
5 out of 5 stars (18 ratings)

Non-member price: $46.05

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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best-selling author Sarah Kendzior documents the truth about the calculated rise to power of Donald Trump since the 1980s and how the erosion of our liberties made an American dema­gogue possible.

This program is read by the author.

The story of Donald Trump’s rise to power is the story of a buried American history - buried because people in power liked it that way. It was visible without being seen, influential without being named, ubiquitous without being overt. 

Sarah Kendzior’s Hiding in Plain Sight pulls back the veil on a history spanning decades, a history of an American autocrat in the making. In doing so, she reveals the inherent fragility of American democracy - how our continual loss of freedom, the rise of consolidated corruption, and the secrets behind a burgeoning autocratic United States have been hiding in plain sight for decades. 

In Kendzior’s signature and celebrated style, she expertly outlines Trump’s meteoric rise from the 1980s until today, interlinking key moments of his life with the degradation of the American political system and the continual erosion of our civil liberties by foreign powers. Kendzior also offers a never-before-seen look at her lifelong tendency to be in the wrong place at the wrong time - living in New York through 9/11 and in St. Louis during the Ferguson uprising, and researching media and authoritarianism when Trump emerged using the same tactics as the post-Soviet dictatorships she had long studied. 

It is a terrible feeling to sense a threat coming, but it is worse when we let apathy, doubt, and fear prevent us from preparing ourselves. Hiding in Plain Sight confronts the injustice we have too long ignored because the truth is the only way forward. 

A Macmillan Audio production from Flatiron Books   

"Sarah Kendzior, in her brilliant new book, is one of the few journalists who grasps what is happening. Kendzior is a student of autocracy...she has been warning from the get-go that Trump is working to turn America into one." (David Cay Johnston, author of The Making of Donald Trump)

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2020 Sarah Kendzior (P)2020 Macmillan Audio

What listeners say about Hiding in Plain Sight

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Depressingly 100% accurate

This book reads like fiction but most unfortunately it’s not. So many things I didn’t know within these pages.

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Should be on the US school curriculum

Fascinating insight into American politics under Donald Trump. Riveting story and very scary, even for an Australian reader.

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Absolutely Brilliant

A great analysis of recent history without being dogmatic or partisan at all. A must read.

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  • Douglas A. Greenberg
  • 01-05-2020

Not as good as she thinks it is

Sarah Kenzdior gets a lot right regarding the rise of Trump and the failure of his political opponents to dislodge him from power. She points to his longtime ties to organized crime, the timidity of the Democrats with regard to impeachment, and the fiasco-like outcome of the Mueller probe. So far, so good. However, by the end of her narrative, anyone paying close attention to Trump’s long-term pattern of misdeeds should be wondering 1) whatever happened to all those investigations of his finances, including tax evasion and money laundering; and 2) why are the Democrats for the most part so timid in taking Trump on? Furthermore, if, in fact, Mueller and the other powers that be within the Deep State (or whatever one wishes to call it) ultimately have no stomach for going after Trump, why is this the case?
Kenzdior has no answers to these questions, and tends instead to be content to hint darkly that the people who fail to pursue Trump are just bad or stupid or corrupt, or all of the above. On the other hand, she hastens to let us know that she always has predicted correctly what was going to happen: that Trump would be elected, that the Mueller probe would come to little or nothing, and that Manafort would not be prosecuted vigorously (though he was, in fact, convicted and sent to prison).
Certain that she was that the Democrats would not impeach Trump, it turned out that they did, and they had a really solid case. The problem was not that the Democrats were completely spineless in this instance, but that the Republicans will back Trump no matter what he does, period. This aspect of the problem Kenzdior never really addresses.
Ultimately, she talks a big game, but ultimately cannot explain Trumpism except in conspiratorial terms, including her strong implication that the 2016 election was actively stolen through vote-counting fraud (no proof of this has ever emerged). Almost in passing, she takes swipes at leftists like Glenn Greenwald who were skeptics about Russiagate, but does not really analyze or explain how or why the so-called "Sputnik left" came into being. Based on her academic training analyzing totalitarian states in the former Soviet Union, she claims to have special insight into the trajectory of a regime like Trump’s, which she implies is patterned after existing authoritarian regimes such as that in Uzbekistan. But in the end, this knowledge provides limited insight into what Trump has wrought in this country, Certainly his bleating about "fake news," his flagrant nepotism, and his penchant for replacing career officials with toadies are quite familiar at this point.
Also, whereas there is nothing really wrong with her attempt to integrate the events of her own life with her macro-level narrative, it comes across not so much as humanizing but as self-promoting and sanctimonious.
These shortcomings would be more tolerable had she had the good sense to allow a professional actor to read her narrative. She reads it herself, and the result is horrible, resembling the kind of monotonous, sing-songy recitation characteristic of a high school student forced to read aloud in front of her classmates.
She does have a lot to say that is valuable, particularly for people who are not already well-versed on Trump and his pathologies. But I would recommend that people buy the book and avoid the audio version.

21 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-04-2020

Will listen again and then Flyover

I admire Sarah’s optimism and choice to have children given all she knows now and knew then about where our country has been headed for years. I’m old enough to be her mother, and her personal story could be my daughter’s. Like Sarah, we took road trips (sometimes after flying over America or an ocean) and helped our daughter witness history. I’m also from Missouri, so there’s that.

Sarah has been eloquently warning us about our dear leader for years now. Enjoyed the audio version especially—got 30 masks made and delivered listening to her story in her voice.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 14-04-2020

Mandatory reading to understand politics globally and locally

Besides listening to Sarah’s podcast “Gaslit Nation” (which you should also be doing), I simply cannot get enough of the authors worldview in general. Not once has she ever been even remotely wrong about anything that’s happened since Donald Jessica Trump’s been scamming the scene. Beyond covering politics in America, Sarah’s understanding of the world at large, the key players, who controls what, is stunning. Her intelligence and capability to read what is really going on is such a benefit to anyone who listens to her unending knowledgeable and informed opinions based on facts and history. I am so grateful for not only brilliant but full of heart and wit authors like Sarah. You need to listen to this book it will change the way you see things and make you a better, more involved citizen.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Scott
  • 10-04-2020

Likely the most important book to expose & put in context the Trump history & agenda

With her signature poetic and deeply patriotic prose, Sarah Kendzior highlights and puts in context the ongoing destruction of our democracy. Kendzior draws not simply comparisons to other autocracies (Turkey, Uzbekistan, Russia and Hungary), but details many personal and economic connections between Trump and administration officials with the people - political figures, mafia bosses & henchmen and Washington operatives - who constitute the new Kleptocratic elites. Perhaps more damning is the detailed description of how our so-called watchdogs - from elected officials and legal players to the media - have all not just turned a blind eye but often facilitated what is “an international crime syndicate masquerading as a government,” while they threaten those who dare call them out. This book is rich in detail and context. Read it while you are still able. Share the insight, act and demand action.

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  • Aunt Vee
  • 13-05-2020

Everyone needs to read this book

I have followed Sarah Kendzior on Twitter since 2016 and listened to the podcast, Gaslight Nation, that she co-produces with Andrea Chalupa. Their honest assessment based on experience with authoritarian provides a clear interpretation of our past and present and a prediction for our future. I wish every American would grapple with the content of this book.

I’m glad I chose to listen to this book. Sarah is gut-wrenchingly honest and her reading conveys deep passion, anger, fear, and joy that underscore her courageous narrative of today and how we got here. She tells this story from her own unique perspective via a completely relatable narrative. Her own history is entwined with this story in ways that make it easier to understand why her predictions have been so on the nose from her journalism job in NY, to her anthropology degree, to living in St Louis, how she sees the world through her children’s eyes, and her own character - these combine in a perfect storm for understanding current events.

I want enough people to read this book so we can use it as a way to grow the dialogue and actions that will save our country from kleptocracy. Thank you Sarah.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Macy Michtavy
  • 05-05-2020

A must read no matter your political views

This is a terrifying wake up call for any person who truly loves this country and it’s people. We’ve been duped and lied to for decades. Sarah has done an amazing job researching and pulling together all of these undeniable truths in one place for us to finally get it. Now we have to act. Our democratic government is in peril. Politicians and their 1%-er supporters have hijacked our America. Why isn’t this widely reported? Because American media has been bought too. Sarah is an independent, old school journalist who relies on impeccable research to make her well illustrated points. And the path is easy to follow. Question everything you see and hear in the media. Question everything a politician says and does. Question everyone in the top 1% and push to hold all of the criminals accountable. The people need to have their say now. With so many of us, and so few of them, if we came together to fight this corruption, we could succeed. It’s not about red or blue. It’s about red, white and blue! Thank you Sarah for this essential history education.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Devin
  • 16-05-2020

Well composed complex information

This is the best kind of investigative journalism that we all seem to lacking lately. I am an all day - every day consumer of media and news and was utterly shocked at how many details I recieved for the first time. the writing is concise and the information, though vast, is easy to follow.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Margaret Anderson
  • 27-05-2020

Sarah’s warning!

Sarah gives us her background & experiences that led to this focus. It is the most frightening warning I’ve ever read for our country. I like very much that she is the narrator.

1 person found this helpful

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  • D. Sooley
  • 26-05-2020

Eye Opening

Unless you are living under a rock, or have drank the MAGA KoolAid, you understand that we are at a critical crossroads for the US democracy.

Sarah has the experience looking at authoritarians and how they manipulate the press and the people in order to destroy a democracy. Anyone who thinks "It cannot happen here" needs to read this book. I did not give it 5 stars across the board because I am typically hard on narrators. IMJ very few people should narrate their own text (Michelle Obama is one exception).

This book is a brutally honest look at how messed up this country is right now with a manic, certifiably malignant narcissist using daily manipulation to control the masses. As I write this, Twitler is tweeting about a private citizen murdering someone and Jack Dorsey is sitting on his hands.

We live in extremely dangerous times.

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  • Allan E. Heinzeroth
  • 25-05-2020

I'm From Rockford

I grew up in the Eisenhower admin. at a time when we lived with A Bomb drills but where we were middle class at a time when those two words applied to the length and breadth of my entire scope of life, it was very good.

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  • Susan
  • 07-05-2020

Riveting and horrific in equal measure

Living in the UK I am almost daily open mouthed at the ongoing destruction of a once respected American political system. Donald Trump and his cronies have stolen American justice, American freedom and American pride!
Thank you for risking your life Sarah, I pray you and your family will be safe and your children grow up to know there is a better way!

4 people found this helpful

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  • anthony mitchell
  • 19-05-2020

A penetrating and illuminating read.

superb. very informative. it deserves a wide audience. The narration works really well. I'll be getting her previous book for sure. Having listened to her podcast " gaslit nation" I recommend it also. lastly I have to admit I worry for the author, the people she writes about are dangerous , amoral and carry a grudge. Her bravery is inspiring.

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  • Charly
  • 09-05-2020

Brilliant. Insightful. Devastating.

A fantastic book.
Kendzior's voice is strong and uncompromising.
She cuts through the nonsense brilliantly.
No spin, just raw truth rooted in objective reality.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mr Keith A Barlow
  • 22-07-2020

A Passionate Story from a Mother from the Mid-west

It was book passionately written by an author with true-grit. It was highly informative and deeply alarming about today’s USA, a country I once wanted to emigrate. I have read many books lately about the Trump administration’s corruption. But to have of this once admired country have its democracy described harrowingly as slowly being stripped down for its parts by Trump, his crime family and the GOP. Sold to the highest bidder. A country descending into the abyss of endemic corruption even by its own AG. I loved the author’s story and, if I could, would love to spend a few hours swapping stories and hearing more. A must read! Thank you for sharing.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ant
  • 15-07-2020

Uncomfortable and Essential

This book proposes an extraordinarily bleak future. Breaking free from simply being irritated by Trump’s existence from the “safety” of another country to understanding the deep institutional and moral failures of the US is a challenging journey, but one I think is important.

If you are at all interested in the bewildering Trump phenomenon or have that feeling of impending doom for everything around us right now, this book digs deep into the foundations of the miserable rise of autocracy the world is currently suffering.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 30-05-2020

Eye opening

Simply brilliant. Beautifully written and read. Highly recommended especially for all the Trump’s supporters out there.

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  • Marion F.S.
  • 03-08-2020

Well-founded warnings

Sarah Kendzior is a clear-sighted, intelligent commenter on US political developments. Her scope is wide and her warnings well-founded. Would that more people would (have) heed(ed) her warnings.

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  • Shiona
  • 01-08-2020

Great book, really learned a lot!

Loved this... very enlightening., and listened to it while gardening and running. Will seek out similar books as the US political scene unfolds