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Thread: Recommended reads

  1. #46
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    Fire and Fury. Inside the Trump White House.
    By Michael Wolff.

    First published in the United States in 2018 by Henry Holt and Company
    First published in Great Britain in 2018 by Little, Brown
    Copyright © 2018 by Michael Wolff
    The moral right of the author has been asserted.

    ---------------

    AUTHORS NOTE

    The reason to write this book could not be more obvious. With the inauguration
    of Donald Trump on January 20, 2017, the United States entered the eye of the
    most extraordinary political storm since at least Watergate. As the day
    approached, I set out to tell this story in as contemporaneous a fashion as
    possible, and to try to see life in the Trump White House through the eyes of the
    people closest to it.

    This was originally conceived as an account of the Trump administration’s
    first hundred days, that most traditional marker of a presidency. But events
    barreled on without natural pause for more than two hundred days, the curtain
    coming down on the first act of Trump’s presidency only with the appointment
    of retired general John Kelly as the chief of staff in late July and the exit of chief
    strategist Stephen K. Bannon three weeks later.

    The events I’ve described in these pages are based on conversations that took
    place over a period of eighteen months with the president, with most members of
    his senior staff—some of whom talked to me dozens of times—and with many
    people who they in turn spoke to. The first interview occurred well before I
    could have imagined a Trump White House, much less a book about it, in late
    May 2016 at Trump’s home in Beverly Hills—the then candidate polishing off a
    pint of Häagen-Dazs vanilla as he happily and idly opined about a range of
    topics while his aides, Hope Hicks, Corey Lewandowski, and Jared Kushner,
    went in and out of the room. Conversations with members of the campaign’s
    team continued through the Republican Convention in Cleveland, when it was
    still hardly possible to conceive of Trump’s election. They moved on to Trump
    Tower with a voluble Steve Bannon—before the election, when he still seemed
    like an entertaining oddity, and later, after the election, when he seemed like a
    miracle worker.

    Shortly after January 20, I took up something like a semipermanent seat on a
    couch in the West Wing. Since then I have conducted more than two hundred
    interviews.


    (...)

    For whatever reason, almost everyone I contacted—senior members of the
    White House staff as well as dedicated observers of it—shared large amounts of
    time with me and went to great effort to help shed light on the unique nature of
    life inside the Trump White House. In the end, what I witnessed, and what this
    book is about, is a group of people who have struggled, each in their own way,
    to come to terms with the meaning of working for Donald Trump.
    I owe them an enormous debt.
    Last edited by random new yorker; 10-01-2018 at 02:04 PM.

  2. #47
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    in Fire and Fury. Inside the Trump White House.
    By Michael Wolff.


    PROLOGUE: AILES AND BANNON

    The evening began at six-thirty, but Steve Bannon, suddenly among the
    world’s most powerful men and now less and less mindful of time
    constraints, was late.

    Bannon had promised to come to this small dinner arranged by mutual
    friends in a Greenwich Village town house to see Roger Ailes, the former head
    of Fox News and the most significant figure in right-wing media and Bannon’s
    sometime mentor. The next day, January 4, 2017—little more than two weeks
    before the inauguration of his friend Donald Trump as the forty-fifth president—
    Ailes would be heading to Palm Beach, into a forced, but he hoped temporary,
    retirement.

    (...)

    * * *

    (...)

    * * *

    “Does he get it?” asked Ailes suddenly, pausing and looking intently at Bannon.
    He meant did Trump get it. This seemed to be a question about the right-wing
    agenda: Did the playboy billionaire really get the workingman populist cause?
    But it was possibly a point-blank question about the nature of power itself. Did
    Trump get where history had put him?

    Bannon took a sip of water. “He gets it,” said Bannon, after hesitating for
    perhaps a beat too long. “Or he gets what he gets.”

    With a sideways look, Ailes continued to stare him down, as though waiting
    for Bannon to show more of his cards.

    “Really,” Bannon said. “He’s on the program. It’s his program.” Pivoting
    from Trump himself, Bannon plunged on with the Trump agenda. “Day one
    we’re moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. Netanyahu’s all in. Sheldon”—
    Sheldon Adelson, the casino billionaire, far-right Israel defender, and Trump
    supporter—“is all in.
    We know where we’re heading on this.”
    “Does Donald know?” asked a skeptical Ailes.
    Bannon smiled—as though almost with a wink—and continued:
    “Let Jordan take the West Bank, let Egypt take Gaza. Let them deal with it.
    Or sink trying. The Saudis are on the brink, Egyptians are on the brink, all scared
    to death of Persia . . . Yemen, Sinai, Libya . . . this thing is bad. . . . That’s why
    Russia is so key. . . . Is Russia that bad? They’re bad guys. But the world is full
    of bad guys.”


    Bannon offered all this with something like ebullience—a man remaking the
    world.

    “But it’s good to know the bad guys are the bad guys,” said Ailes, pushing
    Bannon. “Donald may not know.”

    The real enemy, said an on-point Bannon, careful not to defend Trump too
    much or to dis him at all, was China. China was the first front in a new cold war.

    And it had all been misunderstood in the Obama years—what we thought we
    understood we didn’t understand at all. That was the failure of American
    intelligence. “I think Comey is a third-rate guy. I think Brennan is a second-rate
    guy,” Bannon said, dismissing the FBI director and the CIA director.

    “The White House right now is like Johnson’s White House in 1968. Susan
    Rice”—Obama’s National Security Advisor—“is running the campaign against
    ISIS as a National Security Advisor. They’re picking the targets, she’s picking
    the drone strikes. I mean, they’re running the war with just as much
    effectiveness as Johnson in sixty-eight. The Pentagon is totally disengaged from
    the whole thing. Intel services are disengaged from the whole thing. The media
    has let Obama off the hook. Take the ideology away from it, this is complete
    amateur hour. I don’t know what Obama does. Nobody on Capitol Hill knows
    him, no business guys know him—what has he accomplished, what does he do?”
    “Where’s Donald on this?” asked Ailes, now with the clear implication that
    Bannon was far out ahead of his benefactor.
    “He’s totally on board.”
    “Focused?”
    “He buys it.”
    “I wouldn’t give Donald too much to think about,” said an amused Ailes.
    Bannon snorted. “Too much, too little—doesn’t necessarily change things.”

    * * *

    “What has he gotten himself into with the Russians?” pressed Ailes.
    “Mostly,” said Bannon, “he went to Russia and he thought he was going to
    meet Putin. But Putin couldn’t give a **** about him. So he’s kept trying.”


    “He’s Donald,” said Ailes.
    “It’s a magnificent thing,” said Bannon, who had taken to regarding Trump
    as something like a natural wonder, beyond explanation.
    Again, as though setting the issue of Trump aside—merely a large and
    peculiar presence to both be thankful for and to have to abide—Bannon, in the
    role he had conceived for himself, the auteur of the Trump presidency, charged
    forward:
    “China’s everything. Nothing else matters. We don’t get China right, we
    don’t get anything right. This whole thing is very simple. China is where Nazi
    Germany was in 1929 to 1930. The Chinese, like the Germans, are the most
    rational people in the world, until they’re not. And they’re gonna flip like
    Germany in the thirties. You’re going to have a hypernationalist state, and once
    that happens you can’t put the genie back in the bottle.”


    “Donald might not be Nixon in China,” said Ailes, deadpan, suggesting that
    for Trump to seize the mantle of global transformation might strain credulity.
    Bannon smiled. “Bannon in China,” he said, with both remarkable
    grandiosity and wry self-deprecation.

    “How’s the kid?” asked Ailes, referring to Trump’s son-in-law and
    paramount political adviser, thirty-six-year-old Jared Kushner.

    “He’s my partner,” said Bannon, his tone suggesting that if he felt otherwise,
    he was nevertheless determined to stay on message.
    “Really?” said a dubious Ailes.
    “He’s on the team.”
    “He’s had lot of lunches with Rupert.”
    “In fact,” said Bannon, “I could use your help here.” Bannon then spent
    several minutes trying to recruit Ailes to help kneecap Murdoch. Ailes, since his
    ouster from Fox, had become only more bitter towards Murdoch. Now Murdoch
    was frequently jawboning the president-elect and encouraging him toward
    establishment moderation—all a strange inversion in the ever-stranger currents
    of American conservatism. Bannon wanted Ailes to suggest to Trump, a man
    whose many neuroses included a horror of forgetfulness or senility, that
    Murdoch might be losing it.

    “I’ll call him,” said Ailes. “But Trump would jump through hoops for Rupert.
    Like for Putin. Sucks up and shits down. I just worry about who’s jerking whose
    chain.”


    The older right-wing media wizard and the younger (though not by all that
    much) continued on to the other guests’ satisfaction until twelve-thirty, the older
    trying to see through to the new national enigma that was Trump—although
    Ailes would say that in fact Trump’s behavior was ever predictable—and the
    younger seemingly determined not to spoil his own moment of destiny.
    “Donald Trump has got it. He’s Trump, but he’s got it. Trump is Trump,”
    affirmed Bannon.

    “Yeah, he’s Trump,” said Ailes, with something like incredulity.
    Last edited by random new yorker; 10-01-2018 at 02:07 PM.

  3. #48
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    1. ELECTION DAY

    In the afternoon of November 8, 2016, Kellyanne Conway—Donald
    Trump’s campaign manager and a central, indeed starring, personality of
    Trumpworld—settled into her glass office at Trump Tower. Right up until the
    last weeks of the race, the Trump campaign headquarters had remained a listless
    place. All that seemed to distinguish it from a corporate back office were a few
    posters with right-wing slogans.

    (...)

    That was the first part of Conway’s spin. The other part was that despite
    everything, the campaign had really clawed its way back from the abyss. A
    severely underresourced team with, practically speaking, the worst candidate in
    modern political history—Conway offered either an eye-rolling pantomime
    whenever Trump’s name was mentioned, or a dead stare—had actually done
    extraordinarily well. Conway, who had never been involved in a national
    campaign, and who, before Trump, ran a small-time, down-ballot polling firm,
    understood full well that, post-campaign, she would now be one of the leading
    conservative voices on cable news.

    In fact, one of the Trump campaign pollsters, John McLaughlin, had begun to
    suggest within the past week or so that some key state numbers, heretofore
    dismal, might actually be changing to Trump’s advantage. But neither Conway
    nor Trump himself nor his son-in-law Jared Kushner—the effective head of the
    campaign,
    or the designated family monitor of it—wavered in their certainty:
    their unexpected adventure would soon be over.

    Only Steve Bannon, in his odd-man view, insisted the numbers would break
    in their favor. But this being Bannon’s view—crazy Steve—it was quite the
    opposite of being a reassuring one.

    (...)

    “I can be the most famous man in the world,” Trump told his on-again, offagain
    aide Sam Nunberg at the outset of the campaign.
    “But do you want to be president?” Nunberg asked (a qualitatively different
    question than the usual existential candidate test: “Why do you want to be
    president?”). Nunberg did not get an answer.
    The point was, there didn’t need to be an answer because he wasn’t going to
    be president.

    Trump’s longtime friend Roger Ailes liked to say that if you wanted a career
    in television, first run for president. Now Trump, encouraged by Ailes, was
    floating rumors about a Trump network. It was a great future.
    He would come out of this campaign, Trump assured Ailes, with a far more
    powerful brand and untold opportunities. “This is bigger than I ever dreamed
    of,” he told Ailes in a conversation a week before the election. “I don’t think
    about losing because it isn’t losing. We’ve totally won.” What’s more, he was
    already laying down his public response to losing the election: It was stolen!
    Donald Trump and his tiny band of campaign warriors were ready to lose
    with fire and fury. They were not ready to win.

    * * *

    In politics somebody has to lose, but invariably everybody thinks they can win.
    And you probably can’t win unless you believe that you will win—except in the
    Trump campaign.

    The leitmotif for Trump about his own campaign was how crappy it was and
    how everybody involved in it was a loser. He was equally convinced that the
    Clinton people were brilliant winners—“They’ve got the best and we’ve got the
    worst,” he frequently said. Time spent with Trump on the campaign plane was
    often an epic dissing experience: everybody around him was an idiot.
    Corey Lewandowski, who served as Trump’s first more or less official
    campaign manager, was often berated by the candidate. For months Trump
    called him “the worst,” and in June 2016 he was finally fired. Ever after, Trump
    proclaimed his campaign doomed without Lewandowski. “We’re all losers,” he
    would say. “All our guys are terrible, nobody knows what they’re doing. . . .
    Wish Corey was back.” Trump quickly soured on his second campaign manager,
    Paul Manafort, as well.

    By August, trailing Clinton by 12 to 17 points and facing a daily firestorm of
    eviscerating press, Trump couldn’t conjure even a far-fetched scenario for
    achieving an electoral victory. At this dire moment, Trump in some essential
    sense sold his losing campaign. The right-wing billionaire Bob Mercer, a Ted
    Cruz backer, had shifted his support to Trump with a $5 million infusion.
    Believing the campaign was cratering, Mercer and his daughter Rebekah took a
    helicopter from their Long Island estate out to a scheduled fundraiser—with
    other potential donors bailing by the second—at New York Jets owner and
    Johnson & Johnson heir Woody Johnson’s summer house in the Hamptons.

    Trump had no real relationship with either father or daughter. He’d had only
    a few conversations with Bob Mercer, who mostly talked in monosyllables;
    Rebekah Mercer’s entire history with Trump consisted of a selfie taken with him
    at Trump Tower. But when the Mercers presented their plan to take over the
    campaign and install their lieutenants, Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway,
    Trump didn’t resist. He only expressed vast incomprehension about why anyone
    would want to do that. “This thing,” he told the Mercers, “is so fucked up.”
    By every meaningful indicator, something greater than even a sense of doom
    shadowed what Steve Bannon called “the broke-dick campaign”—a sense of
    structural impossibility.

    (...)

    Even as Trump eliminated the sixteen other Republican candidates, however
    far-fetched that might have seemed, it did not make the ultimate goal of winning
    the presidency any less preposterous.

    And if, during the fall, winning seemed slightly more plausible, that
    evaporated with the Billy Bush affair. “I’m automatically attracted to beautiful—
    I just start kissing them,” Trump told the NBC host Billy Bush on an open mic,
    amid the ongoing national debate about sexual harassment. “It’s like a magnet.
    Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can
    do anything. . . . Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”

    It was an operatic unraveling. So mortifying was this development that when
    Reince Priebus, the RNC head, was called to New York from Washington for an
    emergency meeting at Trump Tower, he couldn’t bring himself to leave Penn
    Station. It took two hours for the Trump team to coax him across town.
    “Bro,” said a desperate Bannon, cajoling Priebus on the phone, “I may never
    see you again after today, but you gotta come to this building and you gotta walk
    through the front door.”
    Last edited by random new yorker; 10-01-2018 at 02:10 PM.

  4. #49
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    1. ELECTION DAY (cont'd)

    * * *

    The silver lining of the ignominy Melania Trump had to endure after the Billy
    Bush tape was that now there was no way her husband could become president.
    Donald Trump’s marriage was perplexing to almost everybody around him—
    or it was, anyway, for those without private jets and many homes. He and
    Melania spent relatively little time together. They could go days at a time
    without contact, even when they were both in Trump Tower. Often she did not
    know where he was, or take much notice of that fact. Her husband moved
    between residences as he would move between rooms. Along with knowing little
    about his whereabouts, she knew little about his business, and took at best
    modest interest in it. An absentee father for his first four children, Trump was
    even more absent for his fifth, Barron, his son with Melania. Now on his third
    marriage, he told friends he thought he had finally perfected the art: live and let
    live—“Do your own thing.”

    He was a notorious womanizer, and during the campaign became possibly the
    world’s most famous masher. While nobody would ever say Trump was
    sensitive when it came to women, he had many views about how to get along
    with them, including a theory he discussed with friends about how the more
    years between an older man and a younger woman, the less the younger woman
    took an older man’s cheating personally.

    (...)

    Many candidates for president have made a virtue of being Washington
    outsiders; in practice, this strategy merely favors governors over senators. Every
    serious candidate, no matter how much he or she disses Washington, relies on
    Beltway insiders for counsel and support. But with Trump, hardly a person in his
    innermost circle had ever worked in politics at the national level—his closest
    advisers had not worked in politics at all. Throughout his life, Trump had few
    close friends of any kind, but when he began his campaign for president he had
    almost no friends in politics. The only two actual politicians with whom Trump
    was close were Rudy Giuliani and Chris Christie, and both men were in their
    own way peculiar and isolated. And to say that he knew nothing—nothing at all
    —about the basic intellectual foundations of the job was a comic
    understatement. Early in the campaign, in a Producers-worthy scene, Sam
    Nunberg was sent to explain the Constitution to the candidate: “I got as far as the
    Fourth Amendment before his finger is pulling down on his lip and his eyes are
    rolling back in his head.”

    (...)

    Modern politicians and their staffs perform their most consequential piece of
    opposition research on themselves. If the Trump team had vetted their candidate,
    they would have reasonably concluded that heightened ethical scrutiny could
    easily put them in jeopardy. But Trump pointedly performed no such effort.
    Roger Stone, Trump’s longtime political adviser, explained to Steve Bannon that
    Trump’s psychic makeup made it impossible for him to take such a close look at
    himself. Nor could he tolerate knowing that somebody else would then know a
    lot about him—and therefore have something over him. And anyway, why take
    such a close and potentially threatening look, because what were the chances of
    winning?

    Not only did Trump disregard the potential conflicts of his business deals and
    real estate holdings, he audaciously refused to release his tax returns. Why
    should he if he wasn’t going to win?

    What’s more, Trump refused to spend any time considering, however
    hypothetically, transition matters, saying it was “bad luck”—but really meaning
    it was a waste of time. Nor would he even remotely contemplate the issue of his
    holdings and conflicts.

    He wasn’t going to win! Or losing was winning.
    Trump would be the most famous man in the world—a martyr to crooked
    Hillary Clinton.

    His daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared would have transformed
    themselves from relatively obscure rich kids into international celebrities and
    brand ambassadors.

    Steve Bannon would become the de facto head of the Tea Party movement.
    Kellyanne Conway would be a cable news star.

    Reince Priebus and Katie Walsh would get their Republican Party back.
    Melania Trump could return to inconspicuously lunching.

    That was the trouble-free outcome they awaited on November 8, 2016.
    Losing would work out for everybody.

    Shortly after eight o’clock that evening, when the unexpected trend—Trump
    might actually win—seemed confirmed, Don Jr. told a friend that his father, or
    DJT, as he called him, looked as if he had seen a ghost. Melania, to whom
    Donald Trump had made his solemn guarantee, was in tears—and not of joy.

    There was, in the space of little more than an hour, in Steve Bannon’s not
    unamused observation, a befuddled Trump morphing into a disbelieving Trump
    and then into a quite horrified Trump. But still to come was the final
    transformation: suddenly, Donald Trump became a man who believed that he
    deserved to be and was wholly capable of being the president of the United
    States.
    Last edited by random new yorker; 10-01-2018 at 02:13 PM.

  5. #50
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    RNY please do not post any more lengthy extracts from the book as that may result in a copyright issue.

    I'm currently reading the book at the moment and have found it interesting so far... Although I find the author is quite 'imaginative' with his reconstructions of conversations.
    The United Irishman. Updated 5/2/14

  6. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saoirse go Deo View Post
    RNY please do not post any more lengthy extracts from the book as that may result in a copyright issue.

    I'm currently reading the book at the moment and have found it interesting so far... Although I find the author is quite 'imaginative' with his reconstructions of conversations.
    I dont think it will be a copyright problem cos the eBook is flying into everyone's mailboxes ... I think it is part of their marketing campaign

    so far, i have published here what i read and have not read anything yet that I did not read in other sources at the time.

    (I won't post any more of the book - that everyone should read - unless i or someone else can confirm the Copyright issue)

  7. #52
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    Chapters 2-22 of Fire and Fury have new material (not published elsewhere) so I will be careful to post only a few captions per Chapter.

    @Saoirse: let me know if you think the excerpt of Chapter 2 below is too much.
    Last edited by random new yorker; 10-01-2018 at 03:11 AM.

  8. #53
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    Chapter 2. TRUMP TOWER.

    (excerpt from 20 pages of text)

    On the Saturday after the election, Donald Trump received a small group of
    well-wishers in his triplex apartment in Trump Tower.

    (...)

    Few people who knew Trump had illusions about him. That was almost his
    appeal: he was what he was. Twinkle in his eye, larceny in his soul.

    (...)

    Indeed, while everybody in his rich-guy social circle knew about his
    wide-ranging ignorance—Trump, the businessman, could not even read a
    balance sheet, and Trump, who had campaigned on his deal-making skills, was,
    with his inattention to details, a terrible negotiator—they yet found him
    somehow instinctive. That was the word. He was a force of personality. He could
    make you believe.

    (...)



    Trump, trying to move in on his friend’s date, urged a stop in
    Atlantic City. He would provide a tour of his casino. His friend assured the
    model that there was nothing to recommend Atlantic City. It was a place overrun
    by white trash.

    “What is this ‘white trash’?” asked the model.
    “They’re people just like me,” said Trump, “only they’re poor.”


    (...)

    It was something of an outlaw prescription for winning — and winning, however you
    won, was what it was all about.

    Or, as his friends would observe, mindful themselves not to be taken in, he
    simply had no scruples.

    What was, to many of the people who knew Trump well, much more
    confounding was that he had managed to win this election, and arrive at this
    ultimate accomplishment, wholly lacking what in some obvious sense must be
    the main requirement of the job, what neuroscientists would call executive
    function. .. On the most basic level, he simply could not link cause and effect.

    (...)

    Donald Trump might not know what he didn’t know,
    but he knew Tom Barrack knew. He would run the business and Trump would
    sell the product—making American great again. #MAGA.


    (...)

    Bannon described Trump as a simple machine. The On switch was full of
    flattery, the Off switch full of calumny. The flattery was dripping, slavish, cast
    in ultimate superlatives, and entirely disconnected from reality: so-and-so was
    the best, the most incredible, the ne plus ultra, the eternal. The calumny was
    angry, bitter, resentful, ever a casting out and closing of the iron door.

    This was the nature of Trump’s particular salesmanship. His strategic belief
    was that there was no reason not to heap excessive puffery on a prospect. But if
    the prospect was ruled out as a buyer, there was no reason not to heap scorn and
    lawsuits on him or her. After all, if they don’t respond to sucking up, they might
    respond to piling on. Bannon felt — perhaps with overconfidence — that Trump
    could be easily switched on and off.
    Last edited by random new yorker; 10-01-2018 at 02:16 PM.

  9. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by random new yorker View Post
    I dont think it will be a copyright problem cos the eBook is flying into everyone's mailboxes ... I think it is part of their marketing campaign
    Good luck with that defence. Fair use (typically as part of a review) is one thing but that does not extend to posting the book or complete chapters of the book. Going beyond fair use for review purposes puts both you and the site at risk.

    Regards...jmcc
    Last edited by jmcc; 10-01-2018 at 05:42 AM.

  10. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by random new yorker View Post
    Chapters 2-22 of Fire and Fury have new material (not published elsewhere) so I will be careful to post only a few captions per Chapter.

    @Saoirse: let me know if you think the excerpt of Chapter 2 below is too much.
    I'm afraid it is too much... People can just get the book. I'd suggest posting links to news articles about any revelations
    The United Irishman. Updated 5/2/14

  11. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmcc View Post
    Good luck with that defence. Fair use (typically as part of a review) is one thing but that does not extend to posting the book or complete chapters of the book. Going beyond fair use for review purposes puts both you and the site at risk.

    Regards...jmcc
    Putting this site at risk of being sued by the publisher Little, Brown?

    LOL

    imagine how much exposure would getting sued by LB would do to this site?

    but yea I agree, i'll go upthread and edit out chunks of the Prologue and Election day.

  12. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saoirse go Deo View Post
    I'm afraid it is too much... People can just get the book. I'd suggest posting links to news articles about any revelations
    sounds good

  13. #58
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    Two excellent books on medieval Ireland I got recently;

    Paul McCotter's Medieval Ireland: Territorial, Political and Economic Divisions.
    This is a great piece of research into the Trícha Cét Gaelic land and clan based division, which also explains the Bally or Baile system and how we have our townlands today.

    Matthew Stout's Early Medieval Ireland 431-1169.
    This is a brilliant introduction into Medieval Irish history with fascinating maps and photos. Covers everything from church formation to the development of the different regional dynasties.

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