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When America Stopped Being Great

A History of the Present
Narrated by: Ben Chapple
Length: 12 hrs and 37 mins
Categories: History, 21st Century
4.5 out of 5 stars (14 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The presidency of Donald Trump is commonly seen as an historical accident. In When America Stopped Being Great, Nick Bryant argues that by 2016 it had become almost historically inescapable. In this highly personal account, drawing on decades of covering Washington for the BBC, Bryant shows how the billionaire capitalised on the mistakes of his five predecessors, Ronald Reagan, George Herbert Walker Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and how also he became a beneficiary of a broken politics, an iniquitous economy, an ailing media, a facile culture, disruptive new technology and the creation of a modern-day presidency that elevated showmanship over statesmanship. 

Not only are we starting to see the emergence of a post-American world, Bryant fears we are seeing the emergence of a post-American America.

The history of Trump's rise is also a history of America's fall - not only are we witnessing America's post-millennial decline, but also the country's disintegration.

©2020 Nick Bryant (P)2020 Penguin Random House Australia

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Excellent and insightful

The final chapters are a brilliant summary of the dysfunction that is modern America under Trump and what is now the so-called "Republican Party". However the real strength of this book is the non-partisan analysis of the recent modern history, politics and culture that led to the US becoming the Disunited States. As another author said (I can't remember who) Trump is not only the problem, but a symptom of the problem with modern America. Great journalism and well-written work by Nick Bryant.

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Great and non partisan

Good unvarnished look at the more recent American presidencies. I would say it's a fair recount and none of them are let of easily for their own, very consequential, failings at their job.

Let's see where they go from here.

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Narrator detracted from the story

The Australian narrator with his noos and Noo York sounded rather forced. It also appeared at times as if he was unsure of the content he was reading.

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  • Bob
  • 24-08-2020

Great exposition of US politics

Nick Bryant demonstrates why British journalism will always endure more than US journalism. Crisp succinct language versus hyperbole and overuse of adjectives.
Interestingly, it is the reader who is the most interesting: clearly he is Australian but pronounces vowels with a US taint. Was he forced to do this?