The book takes the form of a chronological biography; while Donald Trump is the stated focal point, significant attention is devoted to other individuals in the Trump family as a way to shed light on their mutual dynamics and financial dealings. Drawing on her skills as a clinical psychologist, the author attempts to provide the inner familial workings as a background from which to analyze Donald, but has avoided outright diagnosis. In Part One: The Cruelty is the Point, the author describes the character of Fred Trump Sr., the patriarch of the family, and attempts to elucidate how his treatment of his children has had a lasting impact on them. Based on recollections from family members, Mary diagnoses Fred Sr. as a high-functioning sociopath who sought to use those around him for his benefit. Donald, while observing his brother Fred Jr. being criticised over perceived shortfalls, would adopt his nature to avoid displays of sadness, weakness or kindness. Mary states Fred's influence ensured that Donald would have limited access to his range of emotions. Their mother, Mary, is described as physically and mentally challenged during the children’s formative years as a result of illness. Later in life, she would reveal to Mary that she was relieved when Donald was sent to military school, as he had become belligerent and disobedient towards her. In Part Two: The Wrong Side of the Tracks, the author chronicles the early career of Donald Trump. She observes that, since Fred never reached the fame he considers deserving of his business acumen, he was happy to allow his son to play the public face while he took care of the actual work by leaning heavily on political and other connections. Meanwhile, Fred Jr. sees that after being unfairly blamed for the collapse of large housing projects, he is sidelined by his brother Donald and thus chose to leave the family business to pursue a career as a commercial pilot. The family's constant denigration of his chosen profession contributed to his struggles with alcoholism and other issues, leading to both his aviation career and marriage failing. He eventually died due to a heart attack in a hospital away from family, while his parents waited at home and his brother Donald was at a movie theater. In Part Three: Smoke and Mirrors, the author details how, as the influence of Fred Sr. waned, Donald Trump struggles to operate his business without the knowledge and connections his father provides. Mary describes Donald as an inept businessman that was able to keep up appearances only due to his associates’ unwillingness to tear down the facade, as they see his notoriety as an asset. At one point Donald has to negotiate with his creditors for a monthly allowance of $450,000. Mary also focuses on how the family turned on her after Fred Sr.’s death, including cutting off the health insurance of her brother and her, resulting in precarious conditions for her brother's child. Mary decides to settle by allowing the rest of the family to buy out her partnership of a family corporation at what she now understands to be a significant undervaluation. She eventually learned the true value of her family's wealth by acting as an anonymous source in the Pulitzer-winning New York Times investigation. In Part Four: The Worst Investment Ever Made, the author provides her view of the period when Donald Trump mounted a successful campaign for the US presidency. Mary again draws on her psychologist training to claim that her grandfather Fred Sr. initiated a direct line to more power actors, all enabling Donald's worst instincts to serve their respective needs. She states that, due to Trump's psychological capacity being forcefully stopped from fully developing since his young age, he remains extremely susceptible to manipulation by more capable local and foreign actors. * From Wikipedia*
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