As a writer I am quite jealous of Michael Wolff. Also as a writer, I am extremely heartened to see that books still have the power to shock and disrupt in a world where other forms of writing, from tweets and articles to speeches and television programs, dissolve into the news ether within hours of appearing.
I’m jealous because how often does a writer get a stroke of luck like that? Wolff almost accidentally found himself sitting at the heart of the biggest story on the planet, (well, the biggest story in the self-absorbed, navel-gazing western world at least), with nobody apparently paying him any attention. All he had to do was watch, listen and prompt people with the odd question and the whole terrible, fabulous, incredible story tumbled into his lap.
The reading world, primed by box sets like The Sopranos, The West Wing, House of Cards and McMafia, (two of which also started their lives as books), was ready and waiting for someone to take all the thousands of story strands of the last year or two of power, politics, corruption and buffoonery, and put them into a book shape.
Between hard covers, (although I have to admit I couldn’t wait those extra few hours and downloaded it as an e-book), the story suddenly had a permanency and authority which none of the fleeting news stories had managed to achieve. It became a news story in itself – possibly the biggest book-related news story since Fifty Shades of Grey first exploded into the public consciousness.
So, bravo to Mr Wolff, and all the various publishers who took no notice of the furious bluster from the White House et al and went ahead to publish and be damned.