Bookworm: ‘Revenge’ is an additional voice in the cacophony

If you don’t feel that you’ve read enough about politics, look for this book and you get yours

Terri Schlichenmeyer
Michael Cohen, former personal attorney to President Donald Trump, speaks to the media before departing his Manhattan apartment for prison on May 6, 2019, in New York.

“Revenge: How Donald Trump Weaponized the US Department of Justice Against His Critics”

  • By Michael Cohen
  • c.2022, Melville House
  • $32.50, 297 pages

You’ll get yours. If you live to be 1000 years old, ohhh, there’ll be vengeance. One way or another, someone will get what’s due to them. Now. In the next life. The one afterward, you don’t care. You’ll get even for being treated badly because, as in the new book “Revenge” by Michael Cohen, payback’s a ... well, you know.

“Revenge: How Donald Trump Weaponized the US Department of Justice Against His Critics” by Michael Cohen.

If you follow American politics at all, you know who Cohen is – but just in case, as a refresher, he was former President Trump’s lawyer and self-admitted “fixer.”

Was ... until Trump “threw me under the bus.”

Cohen begins that tale with the Steele Dossier, a controversial (and once again newsworthy) report that alleges collusion between Trump’s campaign and the Russian government during the 2016 presidential campaign. Because he was a Trump employee, Cohen was named in the document but he denies most the allegations involving himself.

Though his protestations have been borne out in the intervening years, Cohen embraces any guilt and admits his lies when doing so is appropriate. Still, he’s understandably unwilling to be the fall guy if he didn’t do the dirty work.

Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former lawyer, leaves federal court after his sentencing in New York.

He is particularly (again, understandably) incensed that he went to jail on what he and others say were unfairly-inflated charges involving his taxes, and that Federal officials threatened to charge his wife if he didn’t comply. His prison sentence, he believes, was improperly enhanced, given the lack of severity of the crime; the axis of this book, in fact, are the allegations of corruption within the FBI and Bill Barr’s DOJ. Cohen is furthermore frustrated that he was offered home confinement during the Covid outbreak, then endured its rescindment before having it granted again, which harmed his health. His reputation, he feels, was sullied, and that rankles him because he believes his arrest and conviction were meant as distractions directed by his former boss.

He points his finger at Donald Trump, saying that Trump “wanted me dead.”

There is a lot of repetition inside this book – some stories are told, almost identically, two or three times – which may make readers wonder if the gentleman doth protest too much. It’s an active book, too, with a lot of jumping to conclusions, leaping to defense, and laying blame. And while it may be amusing to some readers, Cohen indulges in a fair amount of playground name-calling, which becomes tiresome.

Still, readers have to have some level of respect for a guy who says he “would never accept” a pardon from his former boss, and who rather cheerfully makes lemonade out of the lemons of incarceration. These occasional curveballs are pleasant surprises inside what is otherwise, heavy sigh, yet another tome in a long line of tomes about the last administration.

Overall, for someone who is plain, pure tired of it all, the fact that “Revenge” is an additional voice in the cacophony is not going to give your soul any balm. And yet, if you don’t feel that you’ve read enough about politics, 2016-2020, look for this book and you get yours.

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The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. She has been reading since she was 3 years old and never goes anywhere without a book. Terri lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 11,000 books. Read past columns at marconews.com.