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Book Review: Devil's Bargain

I bought a hardcover copy of Joshua Green's Devil's Bargain this summer, expecting a dull biographical read on Steve Bannon, the former White House chief strategist and the current chief of Breitbart News. The book sat on my shelf for several months, and I begrudgingly started to read it on Thursday evening after completing The Fall of the House of Dixie.

Devil's Bargain was so good that wasn't able to put it down. After carefully making sure to absorb every word that Green wrote, I finished the 286-page text on Saturday morning.

Green, who is the senior national correspondent at Bloomberg, managed to write a riveting page-turner on not just Steve Bannon, but also on the movement that swept Donald Trump into the White House.

Joshua Green

Green started the book with the Election Night scene at Trump Tower, presenting behind-the-scenes scoops from the real-estate mogul's presidential bid. Green proceeded to outline the story of how Steve Bannon went from being a Navy officer to an investment banker to a film producer before taking on a senior Breitbart role, presenting the media wizard's biography with such dramatic flourish that it reads like a novel. It is captivating and detailed when necessary, but yet not overdone.

After outlining Bannon's illustrious, kaleidoscopic career, Green explains how Bannon and Trump ended up connecting: through Rebekah Mercer, the director of the conservative Mercer Family Foundation. Mercer was worried about the direction of the Trump campaign after a series of gaffes in July 2016, and she prescribed Bannon and Kellyanne Conway as the solution. The alternative, Mercer stressed, was doom for the Trump candidacy.

Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway

Green explains how Bannon brought his smarts, his understanding of the media, and his lifetime of intel on Hillary Clinton to the Trump campaign. Green subtly makes the case that it was Bannon who allowed Trump to overcome his biggest obstacle, making a comeback after the Access Hollywood tape that was published by The Washington Post, and clinch the presidency.

In the process, Green made Devil's Bargain not just a book on Bannon, but instead the best book that I have read on the defeat of Hillary Clinton and the storming of Washington by Donald Trump.

I devoured Shattered and What Happened, both which told the story of the election from the perspective of Clinton and her campaign, How Trump Won by Joel B. Pollak and Larry Schweikart, The Making of the President by Roger Stone, and Citizens for Trump by Jack Posobiec. All of these were intriguing reads (some better -- and more fact-minded -- than others), but none transcended the genius of Devil's Bargain.

With all of that being said, I urge that anyone who is curious about why Trump won -- or the role that Steve Bannon played in the victory -- purchase Devil's Bargain immediately.

Kudos to Joshua Green!