American Breakdown

American Breakdown:The Trump Years and How They Befell Us

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The most incisive account of why Trump happened, and where we can go from here

American Breakdown is the brilliant political diary of one of America’s leading essayists, David Bromwich, whose work has drawn wide appreciation for its incisive portraits and accurate prognosis. From his analysis of the Cheney-Bush co-presidency, in which foreign policy was reduced to permanent war, and Barack Obama’s practice of reconciliation without truth, Bromwich chronicles the emergence of Donald Trump—the demagogue of a culture of corruption from which all traces of political interest and candour have dropped away. An unsparing account of the degradation of American democracy, the book leads off with a new introduction on the prospects for change during the new Democratic Congress.


  • A historically informed examination.

    Sewell Chan, in praise of Moral ImaginationNew York Times
  • Magisterial ... the best comprehensive, in-depth recent analysis.

    Drew Maciag, in praise of The Intellectual Life of Edmund BurkeChronicle of Higher Education
  • David Bromwich is the most penetrating cultural critic in contemporary America.

    Jackson Lears