Reviews for The Art Of Her Deal

by Mary Jordan

Publishers Weekly
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In this brisk and largely flattering biography, Washington Post reporter Jordan (coauthor, Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland) portrays first lady Melania Trump as “independent, highly focused, and acutely aware of her own power and when to deploy it.” Contrary to reports that Melania didn’t want her husband to run for president and cried the night he was elected, she was actually one of the few people in Trump’s inner circle who believed he could win, Jordan writes, and had an influential role in key decisions such as selecting Mike Pence for vice president. Jordan tracks Melania’s journey from the former Yugoslavia (present-day Slovenia), where she was born Melanija Knavs in 1970, to modeling gigs in Milan and Paris, where she “stayed away from the drugs and hard party scene” and “left few traces,” and New York, where she starred in a Camel Light ad campaign before meeting Trump sometime in 1998 (accounts of precisely when and where vary). Though some anecdotes strain plausibility, especially the claim (based on a third-hand source) that Melania told Trump she was angry about the Access Hollywood tape leak because it meant he might have lost the election “for us,” others (including tensions with stepdaughter Ivanka Trump and the securing of improved prenup terms before relocating to the White House in June 2017) ring true. This detailed yet credulous account adds depth to the prevailing portrait of Melania as merely an “elegant accessory” to her husband. (June)


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

How a determined Eastern European model reinvented herself as one of the most prominent women in the world.As Pulitzer Prizewinning Washington Post reporter Jordan clearly demonstrates in this meticulously researched biography, her subject shares many similarities with her husband. She is seen, writes the author, as the good-hearted princess who needs to be saved from her rapacious and bullying husband, the vulnerable immigrant swept up in his presidential ambitions who cried the night he was selected, the vapid and shallow model with nothing much to say about the world, the lucky beauty who just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Yet she is none of these things. Jordan spent five years uncovering the truth, some of which has been carefully hidden along the way and some of which remains in dispute. For example, was she actually successful as a model? Was she washed up by the time she encountered her future husband? Or, as one insider claims, was her career really cut short by her meeting Donald Trump? Even before Trump, Melania had perfected the art of sealing off different parts of her life. Via her interviews with more than 120 subjects in five countries, the author steams open the seals. The hypocrisy of Trumps position on chain migration has never been made clearer than it is here: Melania brought her parents to the U.S., and she dines with them daily; her parents and her son speak Slovenian at home; her mother cooks and even does the dishes. As for her purported fluency in Italian, French, and German, the author notes that those who have worked closely with Melania have never heard her use more than a few words in those languages. Jordan diligently assembles the facts on the Access Hollywood scandal, the Stormy Daniels affair, the plagiarized convention speech, and the bizarre jacket at the border, among other events. The authors presentation often achieves the simple elegance her subject aspires to.Interesting and fairas complete a portrait as we can expect of the current first lady. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

How a determined Eastern European model reinvented herself as one of the most prominent women in the world. As Pulitzer Prize–winning Washington Post reporter Jordan clearly demonstrates in this meticulously researched biography, her subject shares many similarities with her husband. “She is seen,” writes the author, “as the good-hearted princess who needs to be saved from her rapacious and bullying husband, the vulnerable immigrant swept up in his presidential ambitions who cried the night he was selected, the vapid and shallow model with nothing much to say about the world, the lucky beauty who just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Yet she is none of these things.” Jordan spent five years uncovering the truth, some of which has been carefully hidden along the way and some of which remains in dispute. For example, was she actually successful as a model? Was she washed up by the time she encountered her future husband? Or, as one insider claims, was her career “really cut short by her meeting Donald Trump”? Even before Trump, “Melania had perfected the art of sealing off different parts of her life.” Via her interviews with more than 120 subjects in five countries, the author steams open the seals. The hypocrisy of Trump’s position on “chain migration” has never been made clearer than it is here: Melania brought her parents to the U.S., and she dines with them daily; her parents and her son speak Slovenian at home; her mother cooks and even does the dishes. As for her purported fluency in Italian, French, and German, the author notes that those who have worked closely with Melania have “never heard her use more than a few words in those languages.” Jordan diligently assembles the facts on the Access Hollywood scandal, the Stormy Daniels affair, the plagiarized convention speech, and the bizarre jacket at the border, among other events. The author’s presentation often achieves the simple elegance her subject aspires to. Interesting and fair—as complete a portrait as we can expect of the current first lady. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

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