Magazine July 27, 2020, Issue

John Bolton’s Memoir and the Necessity of Strategic Vision

Copies of John Bolton’s book, The Room Where It Happened, on display at a Barnes and Noble bookstore in New York, June 23, 2020 (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)
The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir, by John Bolton (Simon & Schuster, 592 pp., $32.50)

The Room Where it Happened is the most important White House memoir yet to emerge from the Trump administration, in no small part because John Bolton is the most consequential conservative yet to leave the administration on bad terms. It will be challenging reading for Trump supporters, and not just the many who have rarely disagreed with Bolton about anything. It is a story of two good Americans who proved almost perfectly incompatible as teammates, each overly sensitive to the other’s flaws, and blind to his virtues.

Bolton served as national-security adviser to President Trump from April 2018 to September 2019,

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This article appears as “A Bad Match” in the July 27, 2020, print edition of National Review.

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Mario Loyola is a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the director of the Environmental Finance and Risk Management Program of Florida International University, and a visiting fellow at the National Security Institute of George Mason University. The opinions expressed in this column are his alone.

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