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The transition from President Donald J. Trump to President Joseph R. Biden Jr. stands as one of the most dangerous periods in American history.

But as # 1 internationally bestselling author Bob Woodward and acclaimed reporter Robert Costa reveal for the first time, it was far more than just a domestic political crisis.

Woodward and Costa interviewed more than 200 people at the center of the turmoil, resulting in more than 6,000 pages of transcripts—and a spellbinding and definitive portrait of a nation on the brink.

This classic study of Washington takes readers deep inside the Trump White House, the Biden White House, the 2020 campaign, and the Pentagon and Congress, with vivid, eyewitness accounts of what really happened.

Peril is supplemented throughout with never-before-seen material from secret orders, transcripts of confidential calls, diaries, emails, meeting notes and other personal and government records, making for an unparalleled history.

It is also the first inside look at Biden’s presidency as he faces the challenges of a lifetime: the continuing deadly pandemic and millions of Americans facing soul-crushing economic pain, all the while navigating a bitter and disabling partisan divide, a world rife with threats, and the hovering, dark shadow of the former president.

“We have much to do in this winter of peril,” Biden declared at his inauguration, an event marked by a nerve-wracking security alert and the threat of domestic terrorism.

Peril is the extraordinary story of the end of one presidency and the beginning of another, and represents the culmination of Bob Woodward’s news-making trilogy on the Trump presidency, along with Fear and Rage. And it is the beginning of a collaboration with fellow Washington Post reporter Robert Costa that will remind readers of Woodward’s coverage, with Carl Bernstein, of President Richard M. Nixon’s final days.

Review

“The thing that is so bracing and nerve-wracking and important about this new book is what it reveals about how much worse it was than we knew, how much closer we came to real disaster than we have known before now.   — Rachel Maddow, MSNBC

 

"The book details how Mr. Trump''s presidency essentially collapsed in his final months in office, particularly after his election loss and the start of his campaign to deny the results."  — Michael S. Schmidt, The New York Times

 

"We know that the period between the election and the inauguration was a time of great domestic turmoil. And what  Peril  does is it shows that this was also a grave national security crisis."   — Isaac Stanley-Becker, NPR

 

“Explosive new details about former President Donald Trump''s actions around last year''s election and the January insurrection.”  — PBS

 

"Woodward and Costa got an exclusive transcript of the call. Pelosi has the same concerns that Milley does. The phone call is dramatic. It''s blunt. And Pelosi wants Milley to reassure her that the nuclear weapons are safe."   — Jamie Gangel, CNN

 

"Excerpts of the Woodward/Costa book in The Washington Post and CNN make the Trump administration’s operations in January 2021 sound like a bewildering blend of King Lear, The Decline and Fall of The Roman Empire, Dr. Strangelove and Veep."  — Olivier Knox, The Washington Post

 

"A cliffhanger . . . Like an installment of a deathless Marvel franchise, for all its spectacle Peril ends with a dismaying sense of prologue." –  John WilliamsThe New York Times

About the Author

Bob Woodward is an associate editor at The Washington Post where he has worked for 50 years. He has shared in two Pulitzer Prizes, one for his Watergate coverage and the other for coverage of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He has authored 20 national bestselling books, 14 of which have been #1 New York Times bestsellers.

Robert Costa is a national political reporter at The Washington Post, where he has worked since 2014. He previously served as moderator and managing editor of Washington Week on PBS and as a political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and a master’s degree from the University of Cambridge. He is from Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

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4.4 out of 54.4 out of 5
2,665 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

gammyjill
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Best book so far…
Reviewed in the United States on September 21, 2021
If you’re looking for the gold standard in Trump books, Bob Woodward and Robert Costa’s “Peril” is it. I’m not saying that because it was written by Bob Woodward (I thought his two previous books about the Trump administration were “okay, not great”). It’s good because of... See more
If you’re looking for the gold standard in Trump books, Bob Woodward and Robert Costa’s “Peril” is it. I’m not saying that because it was written by Bob Woodward (I thought his two previous books about the Trump administration were “okay, not great”). It’s good because of what Woodward and Costa cover in their book. Everything from Covid, the election, the riots of January 6, and past few months.

As per usual in a Bob Woodward book, the topic - Donald Trump’s final year in office - was thoroughly investigated. The authors seemed to know the right questions to ask their interviewees, and that can make all the difference in an expose. Is “Peril” an expose? Yep, and a very good one.

As an addendum, I heard an interview with Robert Costa, who said, when asked about the book’s title, that he and Woodward thought Donald Trump was not through with politics and was therefore a “peril”. I agree fully with him and only wish the people who SHOULD read this book would read it…
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Elisa 20Top Contributor: Health & Wellness
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A nation in "Peril" == we still haven''t thought enough about what that meant/means
Reviewed in the United States on September 21, 2021
I like the Woodward trilogy titles: “FEAR” was a reminder of what Donald Trump thought was important in order to get power. “RAGE” came from Trump’s proud observation of the emotion he could create in others. And “PERIL” shows how the chaos, anger and fear came... See more
I like the Woodward trilogy titles: “FEAR” was a reminder of what Donald Trump thought was important in order to get power. “RAGE” came from Trump’s proud observation of the emotion he could create in others.

And “PERIL” shows how the chaos, anger and fear came together in the final year of Trump’s presidency, placing the presidency and even democracy in danger. “Peril” begins with America in danger from Trump. It ends the same way. Trump hasn’t gone and neither is the threat he poses to democracy.

Woodward is working with Washington Post’s Robert Costa, but the style of research and writing is the same. It’s a lot of interviews –over 200—and a lot of work putting them together in a way that will hold interest. Sometimes they succeed in this and create real scenes—other times, you see the problem of having so much detail that you just –have- to include it. Storytelling sometimes takes a back seat to recounting details that aren’t always that significant.

That’s one problem. A bigger one is that Woodward has always been kind to people who are his sources. Typically, they are some of the most complicit people, but are allowed to spin themselves into heroes. Here, that’s General Milley, Bill Barr, Lindsey Graham, Kellyanne Conway, among others who need to be scrutinized in a harsher light.

“PERIL” has many unnerving descriptions of Trump’s instability and apparent unwillingness to accept the reality of losing the election. Some of the above people made some efforts to save us from disaster. But most of the staffers and Republican officials around Trump do little to protect democracy. Barr’s there, and Pence, But where’s the rest of the Cabinet? The president described here is a danger to the country. Where were the Republicanns in the Cabinet to invoke the 25th amendment? Why were McCarthy and McConnell so complacent? There are no answers here.

Pence’s decision-making process made this a worthwhile read for me. He did the right thing—in the end—including staying at the Capitol during the insurrection. But he clearly wanted to cooperate with Trump if at all possible under the Constitution. It was only after everyone he consulted – including Dan Quayle, who comes across well here – that Pence agrees to do the right thing—and do it without equivocation. (For a time, he dithered about possibly expressing sympathy with those who wanted to throw out Biden votes).

About a third of the book is about Biden—his campaign, transition, and early presidency. But, as in real life, it’s Trump who takes the air out of the room. Even ten months after losing, he is still sending letters to Georgia’s secretary of state as he did last Friday, demanding that the electors be “decertified or whatever the legal remedy is.” It would be comical. If it wasn’t so delusional and dangerous. “Peril”, indeed.
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Debra M.
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
If I could burn this book without ruining my phone, I would. Don''t buy it.
Reviewed in the United States on September 21, 2021
Bob Woodward is making big money with his lies and half truths just like every other book he''s written. I''ll never buy anything with his name on it again.
314 people found this helpful
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Robert F.
5.0 out of 5 stars
Impactful and a lesson
Reviewed in the United States on September 21, 2021
Exceptional read. I finished the book in 4 hours. Exceptional reporting and a scary look at what Donald Trump tried to do and ultimately failed. We might not be so lucky next time.
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C
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Behind-the-scenes look at interactions between political and military leaders
Reviewed in the United States on September 21, 2021
The Notes indicate that this book is the result of hundreds of hours of interviews with over 200 firsthand witnesses. The book is divided into 72 chapters, and a total of about 418 pages, not including the Notes section. There are 29 pictures of various political and... See more
The Notes indicate that this book is the result of hundreds of hours of interviews with over 200 firsthand witnesses. The book is divided into 72 chapters, and a total of about 418 pages, not including the Notes section. There are 29 pictures of various political and military figures at the end of the book, with captions describing certain events that they were each involved in.

The Prologue starts with the perspective of General Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his conversations with Chinese military personnel during the events of Jan 6th 2021 at the Capitol. Milley reassures China of America''s stability, and makes sure the rest of his chain of command is aware of the nuclear weapons protocols, reminding them that he needs to be involved in any proposed military strike.

Over the next several chapters, the authors describe many behind-the-scenes events and conversations from dozens of political and military leaders. This includes Paul Ryan''s conversations with Trump, Biden''s family issues, Mitch McConnell''s suggestions to Trump about the Court, Mueller''s report, Anita Dunn''s advice to Biden, Biden''s close friend Mike Donilon and his input, James Clyburn''s perspectives, thoughts from the Sanders campaign staff, Robert O''Brien''s advice to Trump about Covid, and more.

The next few chapters offer more windows into the interactions between major political figures. The authors cover Bill Barr''s pleas to Trump, Trump''s initial response to Covid, Gen. Milley''s thoughts about Trump''s speech-writer Stephen Miller, and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper''s thoughts about using the Insurrection Act. There is also a copy of an official unclassified document from Gen. Milley to the leaders of the branches of the military, reminding them of the military''s devotion to protecting the Constitution. The authors describe Gen. Milley seeking advice from Colin Powell, Brad Parscale being demoted from his position as Trump''s campaign manager, Kamala Harris being chosen as Biden''s running mate, the events of election night, and Rudy Giuliani''s advice to Trump,

The book continues to jump around, describing different conversations between various parties and the reactions of political figures to the events of the past few years. There is information about Mike Pompeo, FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn, Fauci, House minority leader Kevin McCarthy, attorney Sidney Powell, Linsey Graham''s advice to Trump, and more. There is quite a bit of information about Mike Pence''s response to the election results and the events at the Capitol, and his seeking advice from others including Dan Quayle. Overall, it is Gen. Milley and Pence that seem to be focused on more than some of the others, and the authors spend a good portion of the book describing their interactions.

This book does offer unprecedented insight into the thoughts of certain military and political leaders during this time period, but I can''t help but wish that this information could be provided in a less partisan manner. Maybe it isn''t possible anymore in our modern politically divisive climate, where everyone is so entrenched in their positions; but I miss the days when there was something closer to neutral reporting on events, without pandering to one side while vilifying the other. As it stands, this seems like yet another book that will be praised by half of the country and ignored or criticized by the other half.
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RTM
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
How US Democracy Barely Survived Trump
Reviewed in the United States on September 21, 2021
Bob Woodward (with Robert Costa) gives readers his third and final book about the Trump Presidency. As with all of these books, there are many surprising, sometimes shocking, revelations based on interviews with DC insiders. This book begins with an eye opening... See more
Bob Woodward (with Robert Costa) gives readers his third and final book about the Trump Presidency. As with all of these books, there are many surprising, sometimes shocking, revelations based on interviews with DC insiders. This book begins with an eye opening flashforward, describing how General Milley (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) on Jan 8, 2021 tried to assure Chinese officials that Trump was not going to launch an attack against them. Nancy Pelosi and others had talked to Milley about their concerns that Trump was dangerously unstable mentally. The first third of the book, however, focuses on the last year of Trump''s Presidency, as well as Joe Biden''s campaign for the Democratic nomination and later his race against Trump. I found this part of the book rather superficial, but Woodward does at times provide yet more disturbing evidence of Trump''s erratic behavior. For example, Trump tries to bully the FDA Director to rush approval of a COVID vaccine regardless of the safety risks. The second part of the book I found the most interesting, as Woodward describes in detail Trump''s relentless and insidious efforts to overturn the election results. Perhaps this was predictable, but it is shocking to read about the numerous Republicans who supported Trump''s attempt to undermine the Constitution. Even more shocking is how close they came, much closer than I suspect most Americans realize. The last part of the book covers Biden''s initial six months of his Presidency, especially his efforts to combat COVID, pass a relief funding bill through Congress, and withdraw from Afghanistan. Overall, I found this book to be often fascinating reading, even though I think that the authors tried to cover too much ground. It is unfortunate that some readers (and reviewers) see this book as a partisan attack on Trump. The primary message of this book for me concerns the dangerous future US society faces when those in power create a cascade of lies in order to undermine elections, the cornerstone of democracy.
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John
1.0 out of 5 stars
More Woodward Tripe
Reviewed in the United States on September 21, 2021
The content of the book is a complete liberal hack job on President Trump. The book should be listed in Fantasy or Liberalism for Dummies.
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Jose Adorno
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A must have
Reviewed in the United States on September 21, 2021
This is a great book 📖 Bob and Robert did a wonderful job.
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Top reviews from other countries

Kath Gray
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Dont waste yr money
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 23, 2021
Embarrassingly lightweight for the most part. Four page chapters about anecdotes about Joe Biden deciding to run for president- that is not what i bought this book for & not what it was advertised to be about. Dont waste your time- the four important occurrences were...See more
Embarrassingly lightweight for the most part. Four page chapters about anecdotes about Joe Biden deciding to run for president- that is not what i bought this book for & not what it was advertised to be about. Dont waste your time- the four important occurrences were reported on news programs, this not what i expect from a respected journalist. I dont think I''m even going to bother to finish it.
5 people found this helpful
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David Rostance
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A insight into the lies of Donald Trump
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 23, 2021
Bob Woodward And Robert Costa have written a masterpiece. Looking at Trumps desperate attempts to stay in power that came to a head on January 6th with the insurrection. Superbly researched this book is well recommended
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Mark Twain
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great price
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 21, 2021
Interesting book Speedy delivery
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Anton Strgacic
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Very Pooly Written
Reviewed in Canada on September 25, 2021
I am actually quite shocked on how poorly written this Woodward book is. It''s like the book was rushed out the door without a final draft. There are a lot of sentences that are disjointed, misplaced and out of place. It is all very distracting as you try to read through the...See more
I am actually quite shocked on how poorly written this Woodward book is. It''s like the book was rushed out the door without a final draft. There are a lot of sentences that are disjointed, misplaced and out of place. It is all very distracting as you try to read through the book. There are numerous examples and it''s more than simply an author who can''t write very well. It''s more about a book that hasn''t been edited fully. There are also some very easily identifiable factual errors like on page 57 where they say Trump fell 10 votes short of being removed by the Senate I''m his first impeachment which is incorrect. He was 10 votes shy of removal in the second impeachment. It''s odd. There are much better books out there.
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MICHAEL A.
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Condition of new book.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 1, 2021
The book has had some water damage before delivery.
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