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The Hill to Die On: The Battle for Congress and the Future of Trump's America

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The inside story of the battle to control Congress and the unsparing fight for advantage in the 2018 midterm elections With control of both the House and Senate up for grabs in 2018 and the direction of the nation resting on the outcome, never has a more savage, unrelenting fight been waged in the raptor cage that is the U.S. congress. From the torrid struggle between t The inside story of the battle to control Congress and the unsparing fight for advantage in the 2018 midterm elections With control of both the House and Senate up for grabs in 2018 and the direction of the nation resting on the outcome, never has a more savage, unrelenting fight been waged in the raptor cage that is the U.S. congress. From the torrid struggle between the conservative Freedom Caucus and Speaker Paul Ryan for control of the House, to the sexual assault accusations against Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh that threw the Senate into turmoil, to the pitched battles across America in primaries, the road to the midterm election has been paved with chaos and intrigue. And that’s before one considers that it’s all refracted through the kaleidoscopic lens of President Trump, who can turn any situation on its head with just a single tweet. With inside access that ushers readers deep into the inner workings and hidden secrets of party leadership, Politico Playbook writers Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman trace the strategy and the impulsiveness, the dealmaking and the backstabbing, in a blow-by-blow account of the power struggle roiling the halls of Congress. The Hill to Die On will be an unforgettable story of power and politics, where the stakes are nothing less than the future of Congress and the fate of America.


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The inside story of the battle to control Congress and the unsparing fight for advantage in the 2018 midterm elections With control of both the House and Senate up for grabs in 2018 and the direction of the nation resting on the outcome, never has a more savage, unrelenting fight been waged in the raptor cage that is the U.S. congress. From the torrid struggle between t The inside story of the battle to control Congress and the unsparing fight for advantage in the 2018 midterm elections With control of both the House and Senate up for grabs in 2018 and the direction of the nation resting on the outcome, never has a more savage, unrelenting fight been waged in the raptor cage that is the U.S. congress. From the torrid struggle between the conservative Freedom Caucus and Speaker Paul Ryan for control of the House, to the sexual assault accusations against Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh that threw the Senate into turmoil, to the pitched battles across America in primaries, the road to the midterm election has been paved with chaos and intrigue. And that’s before one considers that it’s all refracted through the kaleidoscopic lens of President Trump, who can turn any situation on its head with just a single tweet. With inside access that ushers readers deep into the inner workings and hidden secrets of party leadership, Politico Playbook writers Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman trace the strategy and the impulsiveness, the dealmaking and the backstabbing, in a blow-by-blow account of the power struggle roiling the halls of Congress. The Hill to Die On will be an unforgettable story of power and politics, where the stakes are nothing less than the future of Congress and the fate of America.

30 review for The Hill to Die On: The Battle for Congress and the Future of Trump's America

  1. 4 out of 5

    Fred Klein

    This book is a view of the first two years of Trump's term (first term, and I'm hoping only term) from the perspective of Congress. It is at times gripping, at other times fun, and at other times frustrating. I was most frustrated when reading about the times that congressmen from both sides wanted to work together but were prevented from doing so by the leadership. One criticism: There are so many congressmen and congresswoman -- obviously not as many senators but still a lot -- that it often be This book is a view of the first two years of Trump's term (first term, and I'm hoping only term) from the perspective of Congress. It is at times gripping, at other times fun, and at other times frustrating. I was most frustrated when reading about the times that congressmen from both sides wanted to work together but were prevented from doing so by the leadership. One criticism: There are so many congressmen and congresswoman -- obviously not as many senators but still a lot -- that it often became hard to remember everyone. I had to check the index many times to see when the first mention of someone was to remind myself. This book could have used a glossary of names with short summaries about each people.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bettie

    They thought Trump was taking notes, then they saw the paper. The President is notorious for not paying attention to details but according to a new book, even when he was writing during a meeting, he wasn’t taking notes. Politico's Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer join Lawrence to discuss their new book and what it reveals about the Trump White House and the President’s own party. They thought Trump was taking notes, then they saw the paper. The President is notorious for not paying attention to details but according to a new book, even when he was writing during a meeting, he wasn’t taking notes. Politico's Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer join Lawrence to discuss their new book and what it reveals about the Trump White House and the President’s own party.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jim Mullin

    If there had ever been a doubt in my mind about Congressional term limits this book confirms the necessity. The book covers the activities in the House of Representatives from 2016 through 2018. The authors relate a fascinating tale of the twists and turns of the new majority Republicans attempting to interface with President Trump along with pushing their legislation though the now minority Democratic party. For me it was a page turner, a hard to put down, and very well written account of accept If there had ever been a doubt in my mind about Congressional term limits this book confirms the necessity. The book covers the activities in the House of Representatives from 2016 through 2018. The authors relate a fascinating tale of the twists and turns of the new majority Republicans attempting to interface with President Trump along with pushing their legislation though the now minority Democratic party. For me it was a page turner, a hard to put down, and very well written account of accepted indolence, corruption, selfishness and complete disregard of their electorates bidding's except for a very few in both parties. I asked myself why do we continue to vote these nimrods into office and almost never hold them accountable year after year?

  4. 5 out of 5

    Hillary Rossi

    The book was okay, very informative. I could tell the authors had their journalism hat on for the duration. I would have liked to know more about constituent's on-going reaction and grass roots efforts to get the House to flip. What about the US population's reaction to Charlottesville, Kavanaugh, or DACA? Or the government closure, tax break for the rich, or the RNC giving campaign money to Roy Moore in Alabama? I think the authors were too easy on the Republicans by not including any of the pu The book was okay, very informative. I could tell the authors had their journalism hat on for the duration. I would have liked to know more about constituent's on-going reaction and grass roots efforts to get the House to flip. What about the US population's reaction to Charlottesville, Kavanaugh, or DACA? Or the government closure, tax break for the rich, or the RNC giving campaign money to Roy Moore in Alabama? I think the authors were too easy on the Republicans by not including any of the public's response. So while the book was informative, I think the authors forgot to include the hefty charge of those Americans who rose up and ended the Republicans' lives on that hill. And what person couldn't see this coming?

  5. 4 out of 5

    Chris Sosa

    "The Hill to Die On" is a well-reported and serviceable account of recent congressional history. There's unfortunately little in the way of analytical insight as the authors opt instead for a narrative play-by-play of events with which political watchers are already familiar. But readers who haven't followed the daily reporting closely will enjoy this book. (Note: Jake Sherman's narration sounds like it's playing at double-speed. I've never heard a narrator speak so fast. The publisher should adj "The Hill to Die On" is a well-reported and serviceable account of recent congressional history. There's unfortunately little in the way of analytical insight as the authors opt instead for a narrative play-by-play of events with which political watchers are already familiar. But readers who haven't followed the daily reporting closely will enjoy this book. (Note: Jake Sherman's narration sounds like it's playing at double-speed. I've never heard a narrator speak so fast. The publisher should adjust the audio.)

  6. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Hope

    This book is really all over the place. 3 1/2 stars. The players in the House and Senate through Trump's presidency up to Impeachment. Lots of details on major players, while still feeling very surface. Writing was good, but it felt a bit scattered. Worth a read, definitely. This book is really all over the place. 3 1/2 stars. The players in the House and Senate through Trump's presidency up to Impeachment. Lots of details on major players, while still feeling very surface. Writing was good, but it felt a bit scattered. Worth a read, definitely.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Reverenddave

    The great Charles Pierce once described Politico as “Tiger Beat on the Potomac, which manages on a regular basis to cover the worst of our politics through the worst of our political journalism.” It was an apt description, and while Politico has improved since then, aspects of it (like the morning playbook) still revel in that approach. So too does this book. It’s the platonic ideal of access journalism, wearing its sources on its sleeve and eschewing depth or real analysis for gossipy bon mots The great Charles Pierce once described Politico as “Tiger Beat on the Potomac, which manages on a regular basis to cover the worst of our politics through the worst of our political journalism.” It was an apt description, and while Politico has improved since then, aspects of it (like the morning playbook) still revel in that approach. So too does this book. It’s the platonic ideal of access journalism, wearing its sources on its sleeve and eschewing depth or real analysis for gossipy bon mots that will look great excerpted in a paragraph in Politico’s own Playbook. It’s a breakfast of chocolate frosted sugar bombs cereal, sure it gets you through the morning but you got nothing of value out of it and will feel the worse for it when you’re done.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Mishap

    With grinding teeth and tense shoulders I read this survey of Congress during the era of #45. Very informative and a necessary glimpse at how things work in The Hill, I hated reading about despised, venal figures like Paul Ryan and Mark Meadows as if they were normal human beings and not selfish, entitled, ignorant white men who only give a fuck about their own classes' power and wealth while they pretend to work for the good of the country as a whole. But that's me. Like any institution with a h With grinding teeth and tense shoulders I read this survey of Congress during the era of #45. Very informative and a necessary glimpse at how things work in The Hill, I hated reading about despised, venal figures like Paul Ryan and Mark Meadows as if they were normal human beings and not selfish, entitled, ignorant white men who only give a fuck about their own classes' power and wealth while they pretend to work for the good of the country as a whole. But that's me. Like any institution with a history, Congress has hierarchies, procedures, traditions, and other accouterments of power and it was interesting to have those exposed.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ellen

    As a history specifically of Republican congressional leaders, this is fairly thorough and hits all the gossip buttons. As a chronicle of the midterm elections it's disappointing, and some of the moments chosen as hallmarks of Congress during this time are bizarre. I'm biased of course but there was a lot more to the 2018 cycle than what Paul Ryan was doing, and hopefully another book will capture that. As a history specifically of Republican congressional leaders, this is fairly thorough and hits all the gossip buttons. As a chronicle of the midterm elections it's disappointing, and some of the moments chosen as hallmarks of Congress during this time are bizarre. I'm biased of course but there was a lot more to the 2018 cycle than what Paul Ryan was doing, and hopefully another book will capture that.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Debra Robert

    It’s a great book if you want to understand Congress, especially in recent years. Since I follow politics closely, some was just a review of everything that went on up to the Government Shutdown. I didn’t know about all the perks they get, all the back-dealings, inner works and outright lying to put out a message. Also, how much Trump really doesn’t know and how he frustrates all, especially his allies. It’s all very sad and difficult to take. Not sure why I wanted to read it!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    This could easily be four stars; I’ve just read too many current politics books recently. This one takes an inside look at Washington DC by two Politico legislative reporters, rehashing the 2016 presidential primaries and general election, and concluding in early 2019. Parts of it were fun to relive; other parts gave me a little political PTSD. Some interesting insider tidbits, like which congressional representatives sit near each other in chambers.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Gayla Bassham

    A tick-tock of what was going in with Congress during the first two-plus years of the Trump administration. It's an interesting read, but doesn't add anything extremely new. A tick-tock of what was going in with Congress during the first two-plus years of the Trump administration. It's an interesting read, but doesn't add anything extremely new.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Claudia

    GOP hill to die on? Immigration..Individual #1 hill to die on? The Wall. And Congress seldom works well together.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kavya

    "It takes a certain level of confidence—some would say narcissism—to believe that you, above all others in your congressional district, are the best fit to represent your community. Unlike the White House, which has one principal, each member of Congress is his or her own boss—an independent contractor, operating with little guidance or oversight and within few bounds. At their disposal is millions of dollars in government and campaign cash that, broadly speaking, they can spend however they ple "It takes a certain level of confidence—some would say narcissism—to believe that you, above all others in your congressional district, are the best fit to represent your community. Unlike the White House, which has one principal, each member of Congress is his or her own boss—an independent contractor, operating with little guidance or oversight and within few bounds. At their disposal is millions of dollars in government and campaign cash that, broadly speaking, they can spend however they please." "In short, next time a politician says that money doesn't play a role in politics, you should be skeptical." "No polling, no prep, just a name thrown almost at random by two aides over dinner. This is how one of the nation's most important Republican groups started the 2018 cycle." "Throughout recent American history, Congress has thought wise to knowingly set itself up for a crisis. Think of it like this: Imagine if, for some reason, you purposely set up a date on which all your household appliances would break down and needed to be fixed, on the assumption that fixing them all at once would somehow be easier. Congress does this all the time." "Almost everyone involved in crafting the tax reform bill had the same takeaway: It was a success because of relatively limited involvement by Donald Trump and the White House." "Sloppy Steve, Trump had scrawled on the top of the card in black marker. Copious notes then followed. As Cohn had detailed his plans to rebuild America's roads, the president was writing down how he wanted to trash Steve Bannon the next time someone asked him about it." "Longtime politicians struggled to contend with the movement, Crowley perhaps chief among them. At every turn, his team discounted the work that Ocasio-Cortez and her campaign were doing." "If one wanted to understand the source of the gridlock that has kept Congress's approval ratings so low for so long, one need not look further than the crisis generated by the immigration discharge petition. What it showed was that a majority of the House wanted and was willing to pass progressive-looking immigration reform. The votes were there for Hurd-Aguilar, a bipartisan bill approved by Democrats and pushed by a moderate Republican. But its very bipartisanship was what doomed it." "Grassley's inner circle was hoping the White House would nominate someone like Amy Coney Barrett, a judge with virtually no paper trail who could sail through the conformation process." "Ford's testimony will forever be remembered for its raw emotion—a woman who lived for more than thirty years, bearing the scars of a teenage sexual assault. Kavanaugh's portion of the day will be remembered for a different kind of raw emotion: anger." "It was a remarkably bloodless perspective, especially in light of the situation: A man accused of serial sexual assault had just been elevated to the Supreme Court. Republicans were the subject of constant protesting. The Capitol looked like a 1960s-era war protest." "Two days after he'd pitched a bill to spend $23 billion on a border wall and filmed a campaign ad at the border, urging voters to help him build it, McCarthy was extolling the virtues of a diverse America." "But Pelosi was already priming the pump, swearing that Democrats would never impeach the president unless it was bipartisan and promising a tight investigation operation." "At one point, Ryan eyed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the twenty-nine year old Democrat who was the star of the new class. "Hey, I know you," he said with a big smile on his face. "I'm Paul." Ocasio-Cortez smiled and shook his hand." "Ocasio-Cortez voted for Pelosi, as expected, as Republicans booed and hissed, but her vote for Pelosi had never been doubt. Shortly after she beat Joe Crowley, Pelosi had lunch with her in San Francisco. Pelosi's charm offensive began early."

  15. 4 out of 5

    Keith LaFountaine

    The Hill to Die On, as with many political books I've read over the course of the past year, feels redundant. With Donald Trump's first (and hopefully only) term nearing its end, I've noticed that many political analysts seem to proffer the same answers and explanations for his behavior. Similarly, they seem to view congressional proceedings through the same lens. As such, I didn't really learn anything new in this book. It also struck me as odd that about 85-90% of this book was focused on inter The Hill to Die On, as with many political books I've read over the course of the past year, feels redundant. With Donald Trump's first (and hopefully only) term nearing its end, I've noticed that many political analysts seem to proffer the same answers and explanations for his behavior. Similarly, they seem to view congressional proceedings through the same lens. As such, I didn't really learn anything new in this book. It also struck me as odd that about 85-90% of this book was focused on internal Republican strife rather than the midterms. Every now and then, a specific midterm election outcome would be brought up, or a specific race that was widely covered (AOC gets a few paragraphs here for her besting of Joe Crowley). Not only did Tim Alberta's book, American Carnage come out around the same time as this (covering this internal party strife with more depth and success, in my opinion), but it also seems odd to look at the midterm election through the eyes of the people who lost. Considering the historic margins by which Democrats won in 2018, I was expecting a play-by-play of the candidates who had flipped important seats. Rather, what the book is about is the internal dynamics of the Republican party, its splintering base, and the feud between McCarthy and Scalise -- most of which had nothing to do with the midterms as a whole. All in all, just a disappointing read.

  16. 4 out of 5

    EMMANUEL

    This book is embarrassing. I would be embarrassed if I was the author, whom authored this book. This book, was said to be of 26 months of research. I'm not quite certain if the research took longer, but it's not necessary to evaluate, and / or utilize information from 26 months of political archives, to analyze, so that a person can generate a political thought that will aid a person to author a useless political science novel. A person... just needs a day of political activity to write a novel. This book is embarrassing. I would be embarrassed if I was the author, whom authored this book. This book, was said to be of 26 months of research. I'm not quite certain if the research took longer, but it's not necessary to evaluate, and / or utilize information from 26 months of political archives, to analyze, so that a person can generate a political thought that will aid a person to author a useless political science novel. A person... just needs a day of political activity to write a novel. Not 26 months or more. Embarrassing. This book, is literally a compilation of pages defaulted in criticizing, berating, hating, threatening, and breaking laws to deface and facility terroristic harm onto the president and those whom are of his association. I don't understand, and don't even care of how this book happened. What I don't understand, is how can someone, any person, allow themselves to be confident enough, to generate an associated "professional work..." - this work is by far, no means anything professional... and create a novel - a book; hundreds of pages long to deface and criticize a person and a group of people, without providing context of how to resolve the associations in which is disagreed and unfavorable, from the author's stance. The person's disagreements with those whom is of context. And. Providing context, in regards to why the author's favorability is of whom was disclosed as favorable.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Bill Manzi

    Another look at the first half of the Trump Administration, but this time from the perspective of Congress. The authors appear to have been granted access to some key Congressional leaders from both parties, leveraging that access to produce a work that will likely confirm some of the worst public perceptions of the Congress. The book is not Trump dominated, but most certainly shows how the interactions with the President are handled by Congress, and how Trump (and staff) himself managed the Con Another look at the first half of the Trump Administration, but this time from the perspective of Congress. The authors appear to have been granted access to some key Congressional leaders from both parties, leveraging that access to produce a work that will likely confirm some of the worst public perceptions of the Congress. The book is not Trump dominated, but most certainly shows how the interactions with the President are handled by Congress, and how Trump (and staff) himself managed the Congressional process. It is not a pretty picture for any of the players involved, even when some measure of success is achieved. The book extends beyond Trump, allowing us to see how the GOP leadership race played out after Speaker Paul Ryan announced his retirement, giving us a close view of the attempt by Steve Scalise to find a way to bump off Kevin McCarthy. Nancy Pelosi fighting off the insurgent effort to replace her as the Democratic leader is covered, and she comes off as a master, while the insurgents do not look so good. The battle for control of Congress, won by the Pelosi led Democrats, is covered extensively. In that coverage we get a good look at the Joe Crowley- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Democratic primary, and how Crowley, interested in leadership of the Democratic caucus, never saw the train coming that took him out of Congress. The role of money, and how it is allocated, and its importance in shaping the races, is shown clearly. The leadership races, and the battle for control of Congress, is not all that the authors look at. The important legislative battles that brought us the government shutdown, the GOP passed tax bill, Supreme Court nominations, and the rather unique Trump method of dealing with Congress are all covered. Paul Ryan’s exasperation, and frustration, come through clearly on that front. Ryan, as Speaker, had to deal with the dynamic of the GOP Freedom Caucus, which wreaked all sorts of havoc on Ryan and GOP leadership. Trump back dooring the Speaker on multiple occasions by dealing directly with Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows of the Freedom Caucus created all sorts of problems for the GOP leadership. Trump’s fundamental miscalculation, against all GOP advice, on forcing the government shutdown, and then being forced to capitulate to Nancy Pelosi, is covered in some detail. The response to the shutdown, and the out of touch nature of Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, is highlighted. The coverage of Kushner is unflattering, to say the least. Not sure how it could be otherwise, as this guy is a walking train wreck, with little or no self awareness. Here are some of the Kushner gems from the book. “It was at this point that Kushner got more involved in trying to solve the shutdown. He seemed to view himself as uniquely qualified to break legislative logjams, although there was scant evidence that that was the case. Kushner had played a central role in passing a bipartisan criminal-justice reform bill, and appeared to relish his work on that front. But, to longtime aides on Capitol Hill, this wasn’t the triumph he seemed to think it was, since Democrats were always yearning to rewrite the nation’s incarceration laws. Just before the shutdown set in, Kushner told Ryan, McCarthy, and Scalise that he wasn’t focused on the immigration standoff because he was “distracted with criminal justice reform.” But now that reform was done, he expected to make short work of it. I’m on it, he told Ryan. I can quickly fix it.” Sherman, Jake. The Hill to Die On (p. 389). Crown/Archetype. Kindle Edition. Of course Kushner solved nothing, but his self importance and self delusion are astounding. “When Sen. John McCain visited the White House early in the administration, he was in the midst of telling Trump about military procurement reform, a longtime passion, when Kushner interjected. “Don’t worry, Senator McCain. We’re going to change the way the entire government works,” Kushner said without a hint of irony. “Good luck, son,” McCain responded.” Sherman, Jake. The Hill to Die On (p. 48). Crown/Archetype. Kindle Edition. Kushner was also convinced he could solve the issue of immigration, constantly telling people that a big deal was possible. Never mind not understanding his negotiating partner, Kushner did not even grasp the actual position of his own team. Kushner’s involvement in immigration talks ended like everything he touches ends. With recriminations, bad blood, and of course no deal. “Perhaps unsurprisingly, the sessions, which happened over the first weekend of 2019, did not bear much fruit. Participants were struck by how many aides the White House had gathered—more than fifty, by several estimates—which made the sessions un-conducive to deal cutting. Kushner began speaking more regularly in these meetings. In one, he marveled at the fact that it costs the government $750 per day to keep an undocumented child in the United States. They might as well put them up at the Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown, he quipped. He also said he was bringing a businessman’s mind-set to the border talks. The border needed more money because people were trying to cross it more often, he said. He brushed aside concerns about cost, and said the federal government should spend whatever it needs on security. The meetings left Democrats and Republicans alike bewildered. How, they thought, could they come to a deal with a White House that was so scattershot in its thinking? How could the president put his trust in a neophyte like Kushner?” Sherman, Jake. The Hill to Die On (pp. 392-393). Crown/Archetype. Kindle Edition. I enjoyed the book, and I do recommend it. The authors garbled what a “pocket veto” is, but aside from that minor complaint the book is another look at the first couple of years of the Trump Administration from a different vantage point, and contributes to understanding some of the forces pulling the political system apart. It does not always take new ground, but certainly gives more detail than you will get from reading Politico, where the authors write a daily newsletter.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Griffiths

    This made for an interesting and different read to many political history books that tend to focus on the overarching pictures, in that it focuses specifically on one branch of the US government. The authors are excellent journalists and it shows in this book where the relationship with their sources allows for a far more detailed picture than would otherwise have been on offer.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia

    I had to stop mid way... very interesting information but really didn't care for the narration... Also, with the current situation(s) I found it difficult to stay focused... I do believe I will go back and 'read' this at some point...just not now... I had to stop mid way... very interesting information but really didn't care for the narration... Also, with the current situation(s) I found it difficult to stay focused... I do believe I will go back and 'read' this at some point...just not now...

  20. 4 out of 5

    L.M. Elm

    Mostly the who's who of the Republican party. If you pay even passing attention to the news you'll know the characters in this story. If you don't pay attention to the news, then this a good primer for the ins and outs of the players in the U.S. Capitol. Mostly the who's who of the Republican party. If you pay even passing attention to the news you'll know the characters in this story. If you don't pay attention to the news, then this a good primer for the ins and outs of the players in the U.S. Capitol.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jon Hoffman

    The one thing about the last 4 years is time has collapsed on itself and I am forgetting everything that happened. Not a comfortable feeling. This book was a linear replay of 2016-2018 and the writers really, really want you to know that Nancy Pelosi is great. You may think she’s not? According to the authors, you are wrong.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Joleen

    This book is great for any political junkie. It outlines the first two years of Donald Trump's presidency, from the highs, to the lows, to everything in between. This book was extremely detailed and gave a behind the scenes look into deal making in Washington DC. This book is great for any political junkie. It outlines the first two years of Donald Trump's presidency, from the highs, to the lows, to everything in between. This book was extremely detailed and gave a behind the scenes look into deal making in Washington DC.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tom Hartung

    The Hill to Die On, The Battle for Congress and the Future of America by Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer - both senior writers for Politico - was published in 2019. It is about the relationship between President Donald Trump and members of Congress from both major political parties. The Hill to Die On is one of the nearly twenty books about politicians I read in the summer of 2019 while researching a book about incumbents, candidates, and other politicians. As I looked for biographies of the The Hill to Die On, The Battle for Congress and the Future of America by Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer - both senior writers for Politico - was published in 2019. It is about the relationship between President Donald Trump and members of Congress from both major political parties. The Hill to Die On is one of the nearly twenty books about politicians I read in the summer of 2019 while researching a book about incumbents, candidates, and other politicians. As I looked for biographies of the incumbents and candidates, The Hill to Die On kept coming up in searches, and I eventually gave in to my curiosity about it. I am giving the book 4 of 5 stars because I found it to be fairly objective and non-partisan, which gives it a more authentic air than other more subjective, partisan - and much more typical - reports. The reporters are not necessarily kind to their subjects, but they are not overly cruel either. I like that! After setting the scene in the Oval Office and Congress, the reporters start the book in earnest on Election Day Eve 2016. In its over 400 pages, the book goes on to cover the first 728 days of Donald Trump's administration, with the final chapter entitled Shutdown. Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer take subtle jabs at politicians from both sides of the aisle. For example, near the beginning of Chapter 5, entitled The Limits of McConnell's Power, they write "McConnell was absolutely, perhaps maniacally, focused on power" [p. 69]. Later the book takes gentle aim at Democratic senators - and presidential candidates - Amy Klobuchar, Cory Booker, and Kamala Harris. In Chapter 18, entitled The Second Seat, which is about the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, the authors state "there was a chance they would use the high-profile hearing to play to the cameras, increase the buzz about a potential 2020 bid, and get the pundits opining on whether they came off as presidential" [p. 304]. Although these four senators are not necessarily laser-focused on implementing "the will of the people" - an ultimately inherently subjective idea anyway - the authors make it easy to understand their motivations. Like any good book, the ending has a climax - which in this case is the shutdown of the American Government in late 2018. By the end of the meeting, one thing was clear: The president had sided with [House Representative from North Carolina Mark] Meadows and [House Representative from Ohio Jim] Jordan, two rank-and-file congressmen, over the Speaker of the House [Republican Paul Ryan] and the Senate majority leader [Republican Mitch McConnell]. He wouldn't sign the bill without billions of dollars for his border wall. It was a stunning coda to a gobsmacking two years. The government was headed for a shutdown, and no one - including the president, Meadows, and Jordan - had any idea how to get it back open again. - From The Hill to Die On, by Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer, p. 386. After reading The Hill to Die On I incorporated some of the insight gained to help describe some of the spiritual portraits in my ebook Visualizing Politicians' Personalities, 2019 Incumbents and Candidates. If you are looking for more about The Hill to Die On, you might want to consider checking out my ebook.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Overall Rating: 9.5/10 (5/5 stars) I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Wow; this book is absolutely incredible. As I venture into adulthood, I’m finding nonfiction more and more interesting rather than just slugging through each book for school. This book is right up my alley too, having worked at the DNC in the fall of 2018. I love the nitty-gritty of politics, and that is exactly what this book gave me. For anyone who watches the news and wonders what things are real Overall Rating: 9.5/10 (5/5 stars) I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Wow; this book is absolutely incredible. As I venture into adulthood, I’m finding nonfiction more and more interesting rather than just slugging through each book for school. This book is right up my alley too, having worked at the DNC in the fall of 2018. I love the nitty-gritty of politics, and that is exactly what this book gave me. For anyone who watches the news and wonders what things are really like in Congress behind the scenes, this book is for them. Regardless of one’s background in politics, The Hill to Die On provides new learning experiences and frankly a thrilling read. I enjoyed every chapter of this book and am very impressed with the flow and readability of a book that covers such a confusing time period. What I particularly loved about this book is that it has the potential to appeal to a wide variety of audiences. I always either have two struggles reading political books. The first is that it is too pandering to those who know nothing about politics, and therefore it is slightly boring for me to read, and at best I am left with wanting to learn so much more. The second is that it is way too complicated and boring for even myself, let alone just an average voter, and I am left wishing for the book to end. I did not face either of these struggles while reading this book. There is enough explanation and backstory for a casual citizen to really enjoy reading it, and enough terminology in there for me and others who have worked in the political field to dig a little deeper into a hole with which we are already familiar. I recommended this book to my family, who only got involved in politics when I did, because the readability is quite remarkable. I guarantee you that anyone reading this post could pick up this book and find something unexpected, an explanation for something they never understood, and a deeper understanding of something they remember from the 2018 election cycle. Palmer and Sherman prove themselves to be excellent storytellers. Another thing that fascinated me about this book is just how engrossed I was in the story. I almost wrote plot there, because it almost feels like something an author would make up. It reads like an engrossing political thriller. This is certainly partially because the political situation is quite ridiculous, but it also shows the talents of Sherman and Palmer. The pacing is fantastic in this work, with time taken to address high profile issues and things that never make it to the press alike. My one complaint about The Hill to Die On is that sometimes the focus is unclear, and the “cast of characters” can be overwhelming. However, the book does a good job at the end of making sure readers know where each of the main individuals Palmer and Sherman focus on end up. Where politics has no beginning and end, Palmer and Sherman chose a definitive beginning and end in order to create one cohesive narrative, making the read even more enjoyable. Overall: If you hate political books, this is the book for you. If you love political books, this is also the book for you. That seems to be impossible, but the talents of Palmer and Sherman create a completely readable and flowing narrative that allows each reader, regardless of political affiliation or background, to immerse themselves into the story of an historic election. www.goodbadanduglybooks.net

  25. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    No matter what side of the aisle you sit on, there's something for any bipartisan American. Jake and Anna bring the same insight they bring daily in Politico Playbook & Politico, in the written words of this book. It's insightful and definitely gives a glimpse behind the curtain of politics today. No matter what side of the aisle you sit on, there's something for any bipartisan American. Jake and Anna bring the same insight they bring daily in Politico Playbook & Politico, in the written words of this book. It's insightful and definitely gives a glimpse behind the curtain of politics today.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Seth

    Super fun read, incredible insight into american politics

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ray

    Some books are "timely", in that they give good information about on-going activities. Others are "timeless", in that the information they contain remain relevant for years. Others, like "The Hill to Die On", just seem to pass in the night. It makes me think that some non-fiction books should have an expiration date, much like the dairy products I buy from the supermarket, e.g., a "use by" date, a "best before" date. This book, by long time political writers Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman, focuses Some books are "timely", in that they give good information about on-going activities. Others are "timeless", in that the information they contain remain relevant for years. Others, like "The Hill to Die On", just seem to pass in the night. It makes me think that some non-fiction books should have an expiration date, much like the dairy products I buy from the supermarket, e.g., a "use by" date, a "best before" date. This book, by long time political writers Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman, focuses mostly on some of the inner workings of the House and Senate in the aftermath of the election of Donald Trump as U.S. President. It provides a glimpse of some of the workings of Congress, but now that the 2018 election has been completed, much has changed. They give us several looks at Congressional interactions, what they did, but not much in terms of analysis as to how these actions affected voters. Congress is no longer totally controlled by the Republican Party, the House Leadership has changed, and the dynamics of legislative initiatives have changed. So it's not a forward looking book, and doesn't answer relevant questions such as "where do we go from here", "how do we improve things", etc. But, for those interested in reviewing the President's campaign promises, such as repealing and replacing ObamaCare, building a wall on the Southern border, declaring China a currency manipulator, prosecuting Hillary Clinton, negotiating new trade agreements with trading partners, passing new infrastructure legislation, etc., and understanding why many of these promises remain incomplete, there are some nuggets of information within. The authors give some insights into why Congress was ineffective early on, even though under single party control, and then look at more recent interactions between the President and Congress after the 2018 election. Other sections ​remind us about campaigns are financed and how Congressmen must continue to raise funds for their election races. There also are descriptions of selected Congressional primary contests​ and political in-fighting among Congressmen. However, many of these individuals may no longer be in office, be of only minor importance, or of little significance to many readers. I would have hoped that the book offered more insights into National Party priorities, national vision, major legislative initiatives, etc. Instead, what it showed me is that the primary priority of both political parties is preserving their power in office, and finding equitable solutions to the problems of the Country is a secondary concern. If you already have a low opinion of Congress, this book won't make you feel much better.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Travis

    The book purports to tell the story of Congress during the Trump Administration. Generally, each chapter tells a different story of a legislative or policy battle that took place, with a few recurring characters in focus, typically House and, to a lesser extent, Senate leadership. My hypothesis with this book is that the authors, in the course of their day jobs, got a bunch of "scoops" that either didn't make it into Playbook or were embargoed by sources for a book. They then decided to use the The book purports to tell the story of Congress during the Trump Administration. Generally, each chapter tells a different story of a legislative or policy battle that took place, with a few recurring characters in focus, typically House and, to a lesser extent, Senate leadership. My hypothesis with this book is that the authors, in the course of their day jobs, got a bunch of "scoops" that either didn't make it into Playbook or were embargoed by sources for a book. They then decided to use the book as a vehicle for the scoops, filling in the narrative around it. The problem with this for me was that 90% of the book seemed to just be re-telling what has been in Politico over the past 2 years, with behind-the-scenes details at totally random times, while leaving out all sorts of meaningful details and unanswered questions. So they will start telling a story, then give have a bunch of quotes from one behind-the-scenes meeting (presumably 1 of hundreds), and then give virtually no details or color on other events that were much more important to the story. Putting this another way, instead of deciding "here's the story we want to tell, let's go do some reporting and find answers to hard questions to really tell the story"... instead, the book feels like "here are some random tidbits people told us, let's tell a book about them"... and, while some of the tidbits are interesting, they are not quite enough to carry a book. For someone with a casual interest in politics who doesn't follow the news on a daily basis, this could be an interesting book. For me, who was working in Congress during the years the book took place and sort of lived these events, it was a bit of a disappointment. Considering the 2 authors both have quite busy day jobs, and didn't really appear to take much time off to write this book, this probably shouldn't have been a surprise.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Morrissey

    What should come as no surprise to Jake Sherman and Ana Palmer is the revelation that political news has a definite shelf life: left for too long, without a compelling historical narrative, such news becomes stale, boring, the stuff of deleted Politico Playbooks in one's email box. "The Hill to Die On" is at times an interesting morsel of news and narration on Congressional politics in the Trump era, but one often feels its staleness: the vicissitudes of Paul Ryan's speakership seem distant to t What should come as no surprise to Jake Sherman and Ana Palmer is the revelation that political news has a definite shelf life: left for too long, without a compelling historical narrative, such news becomes stale, boring, the stuff of deleted Politico Playbooks in one's email box. "The Hill to Die On" is at times an interesting morsel of news and narration on Congressional politics in the Trump era, but one often feels its staleness: the vicissitudes of Paul Ryan's speakership seem distant to those presently miffed at President Trump's debauched take on the 4th of July (alas who knows what tomorrow will bring as well!). Sherman and Palmer must have approached writing the book in similar fashion to their popular morning newsletter. The writing is workmanlike, interesting for brief stretches, but lacks the tether of theme that separates news from history. Sherman and Palmer do uncover an interesting dynamic to the Trump administration's approach to Congress: namely, it all revolves around how the Donald is feeling on whatever day it happens to be. Unlike Paul Ryan, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and Mitch McConnell, Trump stakes no claim to a hill to die on; rather, he freewheels and seeks attention and adulation at the expense of any particular policy or vision. There is no plan, only ego. For readers of Politico and political news generally, much of this book will not be new or particularly insightful. However, it is an interesting dive into the world of Congressional politics, and how Republicans in particular might be less than enthusiastic, at least behind closed doors, at the push and pull of the Trump presidency.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Louis

    Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer’s The Hill to Die On: The Battle for Congress and the Future of Trump's Americais the inside story of President Trump’s first two year and the intra-party battles than consumed these first two years. The Republican Party managed to paper over their differences, especially where Trump was concerned, for the short-term. However, the fracture lines appeared soon enough and made governing, in any coherent and responsible way, nearly impossible. Trump’s unpredictability s Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer’s The Hill to Die On: The Battle for Congress and the Future of Trump's Americais the inside story of President Trump’s first two year and the intra-party battles than consumed these first two years. The Republican Party managed to paper over their differences, especially where Trump was concerned, for the short-term. However, the fracture lines appeared soon enough and made governing, in any coherent and responsible way, nearly impossible. Trump’s unpredictability served to exacerbate the problem. Although the Democratic Party was out of power for two years, those still in office managed to prevent the Republican Congress from going completely off the rails. The Republican dysfunction in Congress combined with the ineptitude and corruption of the Trump administration created the perfect opening for Democrats to regain control of the House. Although much of this book is not completely new to anyone who follows politics, it still serves as reminder that we are currently in uncharted territory where politics is concerned. What the future holds is impossible to predict—it could be better or it could be worse than what has taken place so far.

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