Too Much and Never Enough
How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous ManBook - 2020
From the critics
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Fred created an atmosphere of "learned helplessness," in which his children are dependent on the Master (in this case, Fred) for their most basic needs, contingent on his approval. The metrics of learned helplessness run in exact opposition to those of unconditional love.
Fred kept propping up Donald's false sense of accomplishment until the only asset Donald had was the ease with which he could be duped by more powerful men."
-Mary L. Trump, PhD, TOO MUCH AND NEVER ENOUGH: HOW MY FAMILY CREATED THE WORLD'S MOST DANGEROUS MAN
“Donald today is much as he was at three years old: incapable of growing, learning, or evolving, unable to regulate his emotions, moderate his responses, or take in and synthesize information.” - p. 196
“Donald was to my grandfather what the border wall has been for Donald: a vanity project funded at the expense of more worthy pursuits.” - p. 195
“Child abuse is, in some sense, the experience of ‘too much’ or ‘not enough’.” - p.26
“I hope this book will end the practice of referring to Donald’s ‘strategies’ or ‘agendas,’ as if he operates according to any organizing principles. He doesn’t. Donald’s ego has been and is a fragile and inadequate barrier between him and the real world, which, thanks to his father’s money and power, he never had to negotiate by himself. Donald has always needed to perpetuate the fiction my grandfather started that he is strong, smart, and otherwise extraordinary, because facing the truth—that he is none of those things—is too terrifying for him to contemplate.” - p.17
There are 351 quotes posted in goodreads:
Also, the book mentioned an Oct 2, 2018 NYTs article "Trump Engaged in Suspect Tax Schemes as He Reaped Riches From His Father." It is well worth a re-read:
President Trump has been fighting a subpoena seeking his tax returns by Congress and the New York State prosecutors.
My quotes below stay away from the Trump family saga except Trump's alleged hiring someone to take his SATs. The rest of the quotes are on the inappropriate sexual comments to the author, his oldest brother's daughter (similar comments to his daughter Ivanka from various other sources), willingly to be manipulated press, and Trump's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Aware of the Wharton School’s reputation, Donald set his sights on the University of Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, even though Maryanne had been doing his homework for him, she couldn’t take his tests, and Donald worried that his grade point average, which put him far from the top of his class, would scuttle his efforts to get accepted. To hedge his bets he enlisted Joe Shapiro, a smart kid with a reputation for being a good test taker, to take his SATs for him. That was much easier to pull off in the days before photo IDs and computerized records. Donald, who never lacked for funds, paid his buddy well. Not leaving anything to chance, he also asked Freddy to speak with James Nolan, a friend from St. Paul’s, who happened to work in Penn’s admissions office. Maybe Nolan would be willing to put in a good word for Freddy’s little brother.
As formal as Mar-a-Lago was in some ways, it was also much more casual than our usual family gathering places, so I felt comfortable wearing a bathing suit and a pair of shorts to lunch, which was being served on the patio. Donald, who was wearing golf clothes, looked up at me as I approached as if he’d never really seen me before. “Holy shit, Mary. You’re stacked.” “Donald!” Marla said in mock horror, slapping him lightly on the arm.
At a very deep level, his bragging and false bravado are not directed at the audience in front of him but at his audience of one: his long-dead father.
In those days, Penn was much less selective than it is now, accepting half or more of those who applied. In any case, Donald got what he wanted. In the fall of 1966, his junior year, he would transfer from Fordham to the University of Pennsylvania.
On October 2, 2018, the New York Times published an almost 14,000-word article, the longest in its history, revealing the long litany of potentially fraudulent and criminal activities my grandfather, aunts, and uncles had engaged in. Through the extraordinary reporting of the Times team, I learned more about my family’s finances than I’d ever known.
On the few occasions he was asked about his positions and policies (which for all intents and purposes don’t really exist), he still wasn’t expected or required to make sense or demonstrate any depth of understanding. Since the election, he’s figured out how to avoid such questions completely; White House press briefings and formal news conferences have been replaced with “chopper talk” during which he can pretend he can’t hear any unwelcome questions over the noise of the helicopter blades.
SummaryAdd a Summary
2020 saw several court battles over books featuring the Trump administration's missteps, and personal battles. One such title was THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENED: A WHITE HOUSE MEMOIR by former national security adviser John Bolton. Releasing it to a public hungry for insight into a president whose actions left many perplexed, it sold upwards of 750,000 copies its first week alone. Mary L. Trump, PhD, the president's niece, blew those numbers away in July with the release of her book TOO MUCH AND NEVER ENOUGH: HOW MY FAMILY CREATED THE WORLD'S MOST DANGEROUS MAN, selling over a million copies its first day. Love him or hate him, the American public, it seemed, couldn't get enough of Trump.
Born the fourth child of five to Fred and Mary Trump in 1945, Donald Jonathan Trump did not have a normal start to life. When he was still a toddler, his mother fell ill and was never able to provide the nurturing child psychologists say is crucial for healthy development at that age. His father, already a baron of sorts through his company Trump Management, didn't see the need - or have the time - to fill the void left by Mary. From a very early age, the author claims, Donald was left to figure out life on his own.
Fred Trump ran his household on the principles laid down by Norman Vincent Peale in THE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING, the international bestseller and precursor to the so-called prosperity gospel. It states, "[O]bstacles are simply not permitted to destroy your happiness and well-being. You need be defeated only when you are willing to be." Positivity is all well and good, but applying Peale's philosophy as a foundation of child-rearing? A philosophy that places blame squarely on the shoulders of the struggling; well, that's just messed up. As a result, Fred created an atmosphere of "learned helplessness," in which his children are dependent on the Master (in this case, Fred) for their most basic needs, contingent on his approval. The metrics of learned helplessness run in exact opposition to those of unconditional love.
Mary paints a picture of her grandfather void of affection. His approach to life seems to mirror what we know about President Trump: winning is everything, and winner takes all. He recognized Donald's flash and personality - qualities Fred lacked - and understood he could use them for financial gain.
"Fred didn't groom Donald to succeed him; when he was in his right mind, he wouldn't trust Trump Management to anybody. Instead, he used Donald, despite his failures and poor judgment, as the public face of his own thwarted ambition. Fred kept propping up Donald's false sense of accomplishment until the only asset Donald had was the ease with which he could be duped by more powerful men."
As a family history, TOO MUCH is a tragedy. It portrays a family which values wealth above each other. A family based on transactions, requiring proof of value from one another, endlessly pitted against each other by the family patriarch. Mary, being a professional in the field of mental health, excuses her uncle's petulance with TOO MUCH, whether intentionally or not. Mired in dysfunction, how else was he supposed to turn out?
As a political expose, TOO MUCH is a provocative warning. Regardless of wealth and fame, it's important to know what you're electing.
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