With Safe Space for Odious Ideas, New Books Capture Intellectual Spirit of the Trump Era

Rich Pliskin
Jan 27 · 4 min read
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Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

It’s true that the past four years of maladministration have brought American democracy to its knees and cleared a path for mass death, economic calamity and a pervasive sense that the whole show is about to blow and maybe it should.

On the other hand, wow! What a ride! The riots, the lunatics, the Nazis — if it wasn’t one thing, it was another! And a batch of new books captures the intellectual ferment of the Trump years. Below are some of the standouts reviewed in brief:

· “The Almanac of Republican Heroes” — This elegantly thin volume features contemporary GOP bravehearts who have put country before party when faced with presidential abuse of power, presidential incitement and presidential looting of the treasury. Printed on diaphanous three- by two-inch leaves, “Republican Heroes” is a book you can read from start to finish in the time it takes to scratch your crotch. 1 page, Kindle only, 37 cents.

· “No More Mr. Nice Guy: The Autobiography of Attila the Hun” — It’s mayhem, pillage and butchery in fifth century Europe … and you are there! This recently discovered first-person account puts the reader in the saddle with the “Scourge of God,” a villain so base he murdered his ​own ​brother in a power play, then led his Hun horde across the continent to plunder villages, slaughter innocents and topple the Eastern Roman Empire. It’s said that Attila could tenderize a slab of meat by galloping about all day with it lodged between his thigh and his horse. Wow! Let’s see Ted Cruz do that! 2,127 pages, 47 massacre sketches by the author, $112.

· “Hitler: Reconsidered” — Amateur historian Hermann Klempisch takes a fresh look at the “much maligned boy from Braunau am Inn.” Though scholars “obsess” over Hitler’s “foreign adventures,” Klempisch, a groundskeeper at Trump South Jersey, says the Führer deserves history’s due for his domestic achievements, like making the trains run on time. Klempisch should know: A lifelong railroad enthusiast, he possesses the world’s largest cache of Nazi-era train schedules. Just don’t ask how he got them! Ordinarily so attentive to detail, Klempisch overlooks one question: Where were all those boxcars headed? 463 pages, $37.99.

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

· “A Goulash in Every Pot & a Jihadi Under Every Bed” — Speaking of vile Europeans, former presidential adviser Sebastian “Seb” Gorka pulls no punches in his White House memoir cum cookbook, weaving ​tough​ anti-immigrant screeds with tender asides on Hungarian home cooking, the hearty fare beloved by this British-born son of Hungarian emigres. As rib sticking as Gorka’s recipes — and as rib cracking as his policy ideas — the real thrill here is a foreword by retired general Michael Flynn​, penned​ from his rubber room at the Federal Asylum for Morons & Lunatics. 216 pages, 19 recipes, HUF Ft 297.

· “Birth of a Nation: Three Cheers for the Three-Fifths!” — Forget July 4th or 1619 (puh-leeze!). America’s true birthday was June 11, 1787, when the three-fifths compromise was ​introduced at the constitutional convention. So argues U.S. Senator Rand Paul, the Kentucky ophthalmologist known for his antic takes on civil rights laws. Paul writes that the traditional view of the compromise as an abomination that endorsed genocide, hastened civil war and stained the Founders “misses the big picture.” Oh? “By removing the last obstacle to ratification​ of the Constitution​, the ‘Three-Five’ was an ingenious feat of bipartisanship that secured the blessings of freedom for all. Any idiot can see that.” Self-published, 574 pages, 127 photos of the author, $3.99.

· “Mike Pence, Mitt Romney and a Hooker Walk Into a Bar …” — Conservative cutups let ’er rip in this collection of quips and putdowns featuring Dennis Miller, Kirstie Alley, Scott Baiao and Roseanne Barr. These comics know how to deliver a right cross! Among the best of the bunch (spoiler alert!): “The next thing I know, the sheep are goosestepping around the barnyard and the turkeys are clucking, ‘Goebbels, Goebbels! Goebbels, Goebbels!’ ”; “In that case, just call me Tonto Goldstein!”; “But why do you ask, Two Dogs Humping?”; and “Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how’d you like the play?” Too funny. 74 pages, $17.76.

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Photo by Road Trip with Raj on Unsplash

· “Upsizing for Dummies: How to Profit From Your Neighbor’s Doom” — Americans ​are unloading their possessions on eBay, Etsy and Poshmark like there’s no tomorrow, which may be the case. Enter sustainability guru Bosco Franzese, who says that 99% of the stuff goes unsold and ends up as nondegradable crap at the curb. Franzese shows how to sift, evaluate and ​discreetly ​make off with your neighbors’ stuff while ​no one’s looking. 97 pages, $24.99.

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Rich Pliskin

Written by

Lifelong writer. Credits include New York Times; “Marketplace,” “Morning Edition” and “Living on Earth” programs. https://richpliskin.com

The Haven

The Haven

A Place to Be Funny Without Being a Jerk

Rich Pliskin

Written by

Lifelong writer. Credits include New York Times; “Marketplace,” “Morning Edition” and “Living on Earth” programs. https://richpliskin.com

The Haven

The Haven

A Place to Be Funny Without Being a Jerk

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