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Summary

Michael C. Bender, senior White House reporter for the Wall Street Journal, presents a deeply reported account of the 2020 presidential campaign that details how Donald J. Trump became the first incumbent in three decades to lose reelection - and the only one whose defeat culminated in a violent insurrection. 

Beginning with President Trump’s first impeachment and ending with his second, Frankly, We Did Win This Election chronicles the inside-the-room deliberations between Trump and his campaign team as they opened 2020 with a sleek political operation built to harness a surge of momentum from a bullish economy, a unified Republican Party, and a string of domestic and foreign policy successes - only to watch everything unravel when fortunes suddenly turned.

With first-rate sourcing cultivated from five years of covering Trump in the White House and both of his campaigns, Bender brings listeners inside the Oval Office, aboard Air Force One, and into the front row of the movement’s signature mega-rallies for the story of an epic election-year convergence of COVID, economic collapse, and civil rights upheaval - and an unorthodox president’s attempt to battle it all. 

Fresh interviews with Trump, key campaign advisers, and senior administration officials are paired with an exclusive collection of internal campaign memos, emails, and text messages for scores of never-before-reported details about the campaign. 

Frankly, We Did Win This Election is the inside story of how Trump lost and the definitive account of his final year in office that draws a straight line from the president’s repeated insistence that he would never lose to the deadly storming of the US Capitol that imperiled one of his most loyal lieutenants - his own vice president.

©2021 Michael C. Bender (P)2021 Twelve

What listeners say about Frankly, We Did Win This Election

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Weakest of the recent titles on 2020 US Presidential Election and Trump

Very ‘Meh’ at times and lacking substance.

Far too often the author allows the narrative to excuse the inexcusable. Goes out of his way to minimise or just ignore criticism of Trump and many of the people around him.

His choices are a bit strange in parts of this book. Makes a big deal of the various personal interactions he has had with Trump but spends the bare minimum time dissecting the insurrection on Jan 6th. In an audiobook that is more than 17 hours it only gets about 10 to 15 minutes - far, far less than a subject of that significance deserves.

His device of inserting some of Trump’s fans as a narrative aid to the book also doesn’t work.

Was also surprised how much he pulled his punches with regards to people like Pence, Kushner and most of the mainstream Republicans. Easy to tell where his sympathies lie.

I’ve read or listened to several of the recent books about the last year of the Trump White House/ US Presidential Election and despite the length this one comes across as the least substantial.

Overall a disappointment, save your money and get one of the other titles on this subject matter.

1 person found this helpful

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Nor quite what I expected - but I still enjoyed.

I enjoyed the book, the voice is a little bit mechanical, but not enough to be annoying.
I expected the book to focus more on the final stage of the election, and pull apart some of the arguments made by the Trump team, however it's more about the full election campaign - with throwbacks to various controversies during the entire term, and I wasn't unhappy with what was delivered.

1 person found this helpful

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It's the bits in-between the news

I liked this for the bits between the news and also how it links the news of the time. Goodness knows what Trump could've achieved with a bit more competence himself and around him. He could've truly changed the trajectory of America and the World but it also shows he probably doesn't get there had he not been himself. An amazing character in history to have witnessed.

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A very interesting story

A wonderfully interesting behind the scenes account of the 2020 election. Couldn’t stop listing to it. Highly recommended

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Elegant Variation? No, thanks.

I found the intonation of the guy reading it a little strange and hence disconcerting. I found Bender's continual use of so-called "elegant variation" really quite annoying.

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ok. Dull in places.

I've listened to several books on Trump and the 2020 election and whilst I did find this one interesting, there were some chapters I found a little tedious. I've dipped in and out of it whereas others, such as Disloyal by Michael Cohen, I couldn't switch off.

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Interesting but a bit disappointing

The author narrates in an insightful and informed view of relevant events in the course of the Trump preparation for the 2020 US presidential election. It is a well narrated description, but I found it to lack a bit of punch. Maybe I was just too well informed, since I accompanied the US political situation rather closely, but it was hard to find really new details on the events that led to the election, Trump's refusal of the election results, leading to the 6th January attempt to stop Congress from validating the results.

I don't think the book does justice to the subtitle - "inside story how Trump lost". Problems in the campaign are described, even leading to the replacement of Brad Parscale, as there are light references to specific issues with the management of the Covid pandemic, but it is more in a description of events format than a slightly more analytical manner. So readers will have to draw their own conclusions on how Trump lost.
Still, being a WSJ reporter, the author had easy access to key Trump associates and Trump campaign staff. The tidbits of information acquired through these circles are well orgazined into an entertaining narration, thus reading the book won't be time wasted,

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The best yet on the Trump years

Superb narration...and a riveting listen...disappointed when it end..really enjoyable..can thoroughly recommend this great book...if I hadn't lived through it...I'd think it fiction!

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  • R. Rawlings
  • 18-07-21

This book has good information, but also flaws.

The intention seems to be that this is to read as a levelheaded report, but it seems that it has a bit of an apologetic slant. 99% of the reported behind closed doors comments from Trump are exactly what he needed to say in public at the time, to show some semblance of sanity. Its almost too perfect that he'd have so much to say in earnest, that would have made him more popular, and he ostensibly refused to say it. I'm not going to say that the author is downright subservient to the former president, but it seems that his job at the wall street journal, and therefore at News Corp, might actually depend on him finding a balance between real reporting, and apologetics.

At one point in the book, the former president's minions try to use the author to launder their own message through a more respectable news source, and I can't help but wonder if that's what the whole book actually is.

33 people found this helpful

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  • RandallM6
  • 16-07-21

Randallm

Don’t use this voice ever again in any book… please…horrible method… just horrible… ruined a great book I fear

16 people found this helpful

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  • Hey_McGee
  • 15-07-21

Very interesting book

This book is terrifically interesting especially the last 3 chapters. However all throughout there were nuggets of information I'd never heard before

16 people found this helpful

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  • Alexandra Hunt
  • 16-07-21

100% recommend

Detailed, in-depth and well written. Not my usual genre but I was so entranced with insiders scoop. My mind is blown. Recommend this book to everyone!

12 people found this helpful

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  • Clara Batres
  • 15-07-21

Nothing you haven't already heard

This book isn't very detailed and you learn nothing new. Unlike Landslide by Michael Wolff, I found myself sometimes bored and tuning out instead of listening intently.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Tina
  • 20-07-21

Frankly it’s interesting

I wish there was more information pertaining the timeline of the insurrection, especially when Biden made his speech, but that’s my opinion.
This was an interesting read, especially talking to the people that supported the former president.
I don’t know if I will listen to the other audiobooks about the former president, but this was a good book.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Forrest J.
  • 29-07-21

What a waste!

Seldom do I write such a review. This is simply a rehash of the main stream media’s dislike of Trump, nothing new, and completely ignores the mounting evidence of election fraud. Save your money and time.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Lynda M. Essman
  • 20-07-21

So much more than I knew

I have been glued to MSNBC, newspapers, NPR, etc. but there is more behind the scenes horror than we already knew. Reading about the repeated assaults on our government, the judicial system, common decency we’ve observed made this book’s ending more heartbreaking. This guy is golfing every day and enjoying adulation and standing ovations at dinner every evening. Nauseating. But for the constant lies, infighting and backstabbing all around him, he could have done even more damage than he did. Awful, awful man.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Doug
  • 20-07-21

Not What I Expected

I found myself constantly skipping ahead to avoid long stretches of uninteresting story lines. The narrator’s voice added to my increasing boredom. Yes, Bender seems well-sourced but goes down paths that only tangentially figure in to the central theme. Overall, a disappointment.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Kari Davis
  • 23-07-21

Fascinating!

This was a fascinating book about Trump and his fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants administration. It was amazing to read the details about, and how, the administration worked its way around the issues, as well as the made-up issues, that they wanted to support. It is frustrating for a full-on Democrat, such as myself, to know what went on, and then find out that things were actually worse than originally thought. I am sure this thought is true for many anti-Trumpers. I appreciate this author’s accounting of the truth about Trump and his thrown together administration!

4 people found this helpful