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Book Review: Unbelievable - My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History by Katy Tur

Book Cover: Unbelievable by Katy Tur

I was quite looking forward to reading this book despite being on the complete opposite side of the political spectrum to Donald Trump. However, while it started out strong, it reads very much like how Trump's Presidential campaign panned out, getting less and less interesting as it gets closer to an ending that everyone knows.

Unbelievable - My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History by Katy Tur doesn't really deliver much of an insider view beyond what NBC correspondent, Katy, and others reported on the news. Sure we get an insider look at Katy's perspective and some of the politics of being an on air news reporter when you're not particularly known for political reporting, but I don't feel we really get too much more.

I didn't get the sense it was particularly any more crazy than any other campaign despite Trump's head on approach to saying exactly what he thought in front of the media, and for his supporters seemingly thinking they had a license to say anything on their mind too, no matter how antagonistic. I guess you had to be there?

You do get the impression that only Katy had any sense that Trump might win thanks to her front-row seat, with everyone else believing Hilary Clinton was basically a done deal for the next President.

From a complete outsider perspective it was never a surprise to me that Trump won. Not because he had the better campaign or he was the better candidate. Anyone else on any side of politics would've lost their conviction at some of Trump's missteps. The problem was with the Democrats not getting out of their own way. For some reason they thought Hillary Clinton was their best chance.

I have no doubt Hillary may have been a great President. I just think her timing was off. She still needed a little more distance between her and her husband's time as President. Had she not run against Trump, with his campaign focused on her private email server controversy, she may have been the better candidate over Joe Biden in the next election.

But I digress. Unbelievable skips around various time periods for no apparent reason. I guess it's to remind you that despite everything, Trump wins in the end. Like anyone needs reminding.

While there are moments I do remember, like Trump specifically calling Katy out at press conferences, and of course the very memorable 'grab them by the pussy' recording that somehow didn't kill Trump's momentum at all, there just isn't that much in the book that we didn't see play out in public.

Maybe the book is marred by Trump's complete lack of interest in the media, and always travelling on his own plane. As a result there's very little in the way of behind the scenes on his actual campaign trail. The only behind the scenes we really get is Katy and her colleagues going from hotel to hotel, working 24/7 seemingly. It seems more like a front row seat but still not anywhere close to the stage?

I don't know? Like I said, I was looking forward to this book. It does start strong but it's really treading water in the last 50 pages. I found it very hard to get through them. 

In her author's note, at the beginning of the book, Katy makes a point of saying she spoke with a lot of people to cross reference her memories in order to be as factual as possible. I just kind of wish she had included more of those voices. This book could have been a broader overview, with many more perspectives of how Trump's campaign unfolded.

In the end it's more a book about Katy Tur than it is the campaign. She called it before anyone.


Available on Amazon (Affiliate link)
Unbelievable - My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History by Katy Tur

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