FAKE NEWS: Strange Historical Facts Reimagined in the World of Donald Trump is a brilliant piece of satire by David Hutter, a young author with a sharp tongue and a unique perspective on the world at large.
The book makes clear that politics has always made for a strange spectacle, and much of it seems downright unbelievable, even in comparison with today’s political circus. Rather than rehashing the madness of the present political situation, Hutter attempts to inject anecdotes from history into the paradigm of today, offering a unique perspective on history and the present day.
What results is a hilarious, and often disturbing, take on the past, which is two parts history lesson and three parts satire, with a dash of social commentary for good measure. It is also an engaging and fast-paced read that will have you laughing and squirming at the same time.
The unique element of this book is certainly the juxtaposition of historical facts – crazy as they may be – with the inexplicable behavior of the 45th president and the mood surrounding modern-day politics. How would Donald Trump respond to an invasion from a foreign army? How far would he go to cover his tracks and prevent his presidential legacy from being tarnished? By reimagining events from various periods of history as though they were occurring in the 21st century, we are given another reminder of how “not normal” life has recently become.
It is easy to believe that nothing has ever been this bad, particularly if you lean to the left on anything in the political realm, but Hutter reminds us that our species has been plagued by political corruption for thousands of years. An overall message of the book is, “This too shall pass” – which obviously makes the book mostly appeal to Trump’s detractors.
Fortunately, Hutter doesn’t write in the doom and gloom sense, nor with hyperbole. FAKE NEWS is an effective shift away from the exhausting perspectives of the 24-hour news cycle. It is serious, but satirical; timely, but also tongue in cheek. As an effective satire, the book does a good job of towing the line between the ridiculous and realistic, which creates a rather accurate picture of his main character in these anecdotes: Donald J. Trump.
The writing is whip-smart and creative, but there are moments of weakness, particularly in the imagined dialogue. Some of the passages are a bit too over-the-top, occasionally making Trump a caricature of himself, as if that were necessary. There are a few grammatical errors and some sloppy syntax as well that a basic edit should have caught, but the book flows well overall. Hutter has clearly read plenty of transcripts and tweets, as well as watched Trump attempt to speak, because the language he uses, and the demeanor of the president, are spot on for most of the book.
FAKE NEWS operates on a simple premise, but has the potential to amuse, educate, and inspire readers in different ways. Anyone overwhelmed or angered by the present moment can be helped by seeing failures of the past through the lens of the present, and vice versa – a perspective that would, ironically, be quite valuable for the 45th president himself, as well as those who see this moment as a kind of worst case scenario, rather than part of a not-so-illustrious tradition.
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