My Front-row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History

Book - 2017
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"Compelling... this book couldn't be more timely." - Jill Abramson, New York Times Book Review

From the Recipient of the 2017 Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism

Called "disgraceful," "third-rate," and "not nice" by Donald Trump, NBC News correspondent Katy Tur reported on--and took flak from--the most captivating and volatile presidential candidate in American history.

Katy Tur lived out of a suitcase for a year and a half, following Trump around the country, powered by packets of peanut butter and kept clean with dry shampoo. She visited forty states with the candidate, made more than 3,800 live television reports, and tried to endure a gazillion loops of Elton John's "Tiny Dancer"--a Trump rally playlist staple.

From day 1 to day 500, Tur documented Trump's inconsistencies, fact-checked his falsities, and called him out on his lies. In return, Trump repeatedly singled Tur out. He tried to charm her, intimidate her, and shame her. At one point, he got a crowd so riled up against Tur, Secret Service agents had to walk her to her car.

None of it worked. Facts are stubborn. So was Tur. She was part of the first women-led politics team in the history of network news. The Boys on the Bus became the Girls on the Plane. But the circus remained. Through all the long nights, wild scoops, naked chauvinism, dodgy staffers, and fevered debates, no one had a better view than Tur.

Unbelievable is her darkly comic, fascinatingly bizarre, and often scary story of how America sent a former reality show host to the White House. It's also the story of what it was like for Tur to be there as it happened, inside a no-rules world where reporters were spat on, demeaned, and discredited. Tur was a foreign correspondent who came home to her most foreign story of all. Unbelievable is a must-read for anyone who still wakes up and wonders, Is this real life?

Publisher: New York, NY :, Dey St.,, [2017]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ♭2017
ISBN: 9780062684929
Characteristics: xii, 291 pages :,maps ;,22 cm


From the critics

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Feb 23, 2019

I heard Discs 1 & 2 of the audio version, but Tur's filthy language was too much, so I skipped to Disc 6 (the last) and will comment only on those parts. Three-fourths of the book is about Tur, her makeup, clothes, meals, drinks, health, weight, aging, urinating, ambition, anxieties, sleeping, scheduling, hotels, gossip, rivalries, relationships, boyfriends, and TV viewing (summarizing favorite comedy episodes). [Her father is now a woman, Wikipedia.] Loving chaos like any good Liberal, Tur describes events out of sequence, jumping back and forth in time. Tur says she herself is history: future generations will study videos of her news spots. She reads in a singsong adolescent voice, as if almost giggling at Trump's foolishness.
--- Tur covered Trump 18 months for NBC. She considered him stupid yet dangerously clever. He could hardly talk, yet mesmerized crowds and outwitted opponents. Colleagues assured her Trump would lose, yet his huge, forceful rallies made her wonder from the start. She says that by election day she thought he would win. [On election night, she looked unsurprised while others were shocked and distraught.]
--- Tur boasts of spats with Trump over her disparaging reports. He perversely refused to kneel before the all-powerful Media. But one report pleased him so much he kissed Tur and praised her. She feared this would discredit her with peers. Tur condones organized hecklers whom Trump evicted from rallies, suppressing their right to keep him from speaking.
--- Tur ignores Trump's call for lower taxes and regulations, fair trade terms, more jobs, higher incomes, and border security. She assumes that people vote by race and sex per Liberal dogma, and was shocked that women supported Trump after beauty contestants accused him of kissing or patting, and a private quip about grabbing surfaced. She does not consider that women too might want a better economy and secure border, or that women with fathers, brothers, husbands and sons might resent Hillary's attacks on male "deplorables". (Hillary lost her own group, White women, by ten points.)
--- Tur blames Trump for opposing Muslim entry, but not Bush & Obama for wrecking Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria & Yemen, killing 1,000,000 Muslims and ruining the lives of countless millions more. Blames Trump for threatening wives and children of terrorists, but not Madeleine Albright for upholding sanctions that killed 500,000 Iraqi children -- nor Obama for droning Pakistani civilians -- nor Dem-backed US extermination of 50,000,000 unborn babies since Roe on Naziesque pretext they aren't people.
--- Tur denounced Trump for questioning integrity of election process. [Obama and Comey were secretly spying on Trump campaign using Russian disinformation supplied by Hillary for search warrants. To hide this rascality, Obama denied the system could be rigged. When Trump won, Dems suddenly declared the election HAD been rigged -- by Vladimir Putin. They sought to corrupt the Electoral College and are still trying to overthrow the Constitutional election result.]
--- Tur blamed Trump for praising Putin, who cruelly suppressed gay-solicitation so important to Liberals. She denounced Putin for invading other countries [Russian-populated parts of Georgia and Ukraine whose inhabitants sought Russian protection], but not Bush & Obama for destroying five Muslim countries above.
--- Tur says Trump looked confident in last days of campaign (contradicting Media tale that he expected to lose, told to justify false predictions). She says "Russia attacked America in 2016." She calls Trump supporters "creeps" and deplores the "scandal and shame" of his first six months in office (but ignores Hillary's crimes and scandals). She says her Media pals are hoping Trump will soon be forced out.

Jul 24, 2018

Hair-raising narrative by an exceptionally tough (physically and mentally) young woman. I recommend it highly.

JCLHeatherM May 12, 2018

Tur doesn't pull any punches or mince words when it comes to her year and a half journey with the Trump campaign. What was initially believed to be a six week stint turned into more than Tur was ready to bargain for when Donald Trump defied odds and Washington in not only taking the Republican nomination, but the White House as well. Election night coverage is a strong focal point in the book, with several chapters depicting the results of the electoral college at various times that night.

Mar 05, 2018

This book wasn't bad but it's difficult for me to say i liked it. It's a quick read. I must admit that i didn't know what to expect but my unknown expectations were not met. K Tur covered the Trump campaign so it was a given it would be about Donny. Turns out the book is more of a "The Boys On The Bus" tale - THE book (1973 T Crouse) about being a journalist on the campaign trail.
This book is not in chronological order, which i don't like, so i figured out how to read it in order since it's all time-stamped:
page 109 Chap 6 Oct 1983
page 7 Chap 1 May 23 2015
page 21 Chap 2 Jul 8
page 41 Chap 3 Nov 11
page 63 Chap 4 Dec 7
page 89 Chap 5 Dec 21
page 131 Chap 7 Jan 25 2016
page 143 Chap 8 Mar 3
page 169 Chap 9 Jun
page 197 Chap 10 Aug 25
page 219 Chap 11 Oct 9
page 255 Chap 12 Oct 24
page 17 Election Eve 11:59pm
page 37 E Day 1:51am
page 57 E Day 7:28am
page 85 E Day 11:00am
page 105 E Day 12:00pm
page 125 E Day 5:00pm
page 139 E Day 5:45pm
page 165 E Day 7:30pm
page 193 E Day 8:30pm
page 215 E Day 9:00pm
page 1 Prologue - E Day 10:59pm
page 251 E Day 11:00pm
page 277 E Day +1 1:00am

Feb 11, 2018

This is a good read although unfortunately I learned some things that happened during the campaign that were even more unsavory than I already knew. She did a good job of reporting the facts(not fake news). I wish I knew why authors like to go back and forth between time frames, it does not add to the narrative especially when it all just happened. She is very knowledgeable and how she stood up physically and when her life was threatened by Trump supporters is commendable.

Feb 11, 2018

I really enjoyed this book. It was informative about the campaign and frustrating and unbelievable details about Trump and his supporters and confirms I have reason to be afraid of what is happening in this country. A good read.

Jan 10, 2018

Quick read. The book is a series of flashbacks between election night in 2016 and the Trump campaign with fleeting glimpses into her personal life. She leaves out the juicy tidbit that she met her future husband Tony Dokoupil in the make-up room of NBC. He's now with CBS. At the end of the book, she hints at their romance (the 400 square foot apartment) and asks "Do we have time to get married now?" at the end of the acknowledgments.

I read this book between Hillary Clinton's What Happened which I didn't like and Michael Wolff's brilliant Fire and Fury (thank you, UW Bookstore) which I loved.

I wish Ms. Tur had more timely articulated and exposed the racist underbelly of Trump's campaign.

mawls Dec 30, 2017

Great for any news junkies or anyone curious about a reporter's life on the road, this takes a look into the not-so-distant past election. The writing is engaging and it includes personal anecdotes of an insider's look to being on the campaign trail. The format alternates between election day and the road up to it.

Dec 29, 2017

I thought I may be bored reading this since I kept up on the campaign while it was going on, but Katy brings out info that was not seen on tv. I am deeply saddened by the lack of any civility by some of Trump's supporters. The language they used toward media was shameful. I cannot understand where they think the kind of language they are using toward anyone that does not support Trump makes them look intelligent. It does the very opposite.

Dec 07, 2017

Until we can get the full story - hopefully of Trump's impeachment and unceremonious exit from the world stage - I'll settle for getting a story from the run-up to his election. Katy Tur does a good job at telling her story. I think there will be more interesting, insider stories which will reach us in the future (a journalist can't really be considered an insider to the total behind the scenes truth about the campaign) but Ms. Tur does a nice job of telling an interesting story while interspersing a bit about her own personal life as well. The book does a good and enjoyable job of introducing me to Katy Tur as well as to that awful orange man.

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