The Reckoning Book Summary - The Reckoning Book explained in key points
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The Reckoning summary

Mary L. Trump

Our Nation's Trauma and Finding a Way to Heal

3.2 (213 ratings)
20 mins

Brief summary

"The Reckoning" by Mary L. Trump provides an insider's look into the Trump family's dynamics, and how they ultimately shaped Donald Trump's personality and behavior. It explores the impact of his upbringing, family relationships, and thirst for power on his presidency.

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    The Reckoning
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    Racism structured American society well after the Civil War concluded.

    Luther and Mary Holbert are tied to a tree outside Doddsville, Mississippi. Around them is an angry mob of more than 600 men, women, and children. The crowd is whipped into a frenzy – over the next few hours they cheer as the couple are brutally tortured and eventually burned alive.

    This brutal scene isn’t some artifact of antebellum life – it took place in 1904, decades after the end of the Civil War. And it wasn’t an isolated incident. Between 1865 and 1950 more than 6000 Black people were killed by white lynch mobs.

    Such stories and statistics are horrific, yet, they’re important to recall. They demonstrate the awful stain that racism and white supremacy have left in the United States – a stain that still remains today.

    The key message here is: Racism structured American society well after the Civil War concluded.

    When the Civil War finally ended in 1865, America was at a crossroads. Not only did the country have to rebuild physically, but it also had to reconfigure its social and economic structures. For more than two centuries, the nation built its wealth on the back of a cruel racial caste system. Now, more than four million formerly enslaved people had to be integrated into society.

    During this period, called Reconstruction, Northern politicians pushed through the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments. In theory, these constitutional orders eliminated slavery and guaranteed freed people equal citizenship and the right to vote. But, in practice, these laws fell short. 

    Many states, especially in the south, found ways to re-entrench white supremacy. Legislatures passed poll taxes and literacy tests to keep Black communities from voting. They also passed new, strict laws called Black Codes. These codes made vague acts like “loitering” criminal offenses. With these laws, many freed Black people were swept up by local police and punished with forced labor – effectively recreating slavery as a legal institution.

    By the time Reconstruction ended in 1867, much of the optimism and opportunity felt after the war had faded. Then, in 1896, the Supreme Court issued a decision in the case Plessy v. Ferguson. This ruling established the “separate but equal” doctrine which laid the legal groundwork for segregated institutions in the coming decades. So, even after the Civil War, Black Americans were subject to discriminatory and oppressive structures which kept them from experiencing their full rights as citizens. 

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    What is The Reckoning about?

    The Reckoning (2021) is an unflinching look at contemporary American society. This sharp treatise draws informative connections between the nation’s traumas and its current issues.

    The Reckoning Review

    The Reckoning (2021) by Mary L. Trump is a thought-provoking exploration of the Trump family's rise to power and how it has shaped our society. Here's why this book is definitely worth reading:

    • With insider knowledge and a candid perspective, Mary L. Trump offers a unique and revealing account of the family dynamics behind the scenes.
    • The book dives deep into psychology and sociopolitical aspects, shedding light on the broader implications of the Trump phenomenon.
    • With a meticulous and detailed approach, it presents a comprehensive analysis that challenges preconceived notions and provides a fresh take on the subject matter.

    Who should read The Reckoning?

    • Voters struggling to understand the contemporary political landscape
    • Citizens concerned about the future of their country
    • Anyone interested in a critical analysis of American society

    About the Author

    Mary L. Trump holds a PhD in clinical psychology from Adelphi University and is the author of the best seller Too Much and Never Enough. She is the niece of former US President Donald Trump.

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    The Reckoning FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Reckoning?

    The main message of The Reckoning is a compelling exploration of how Donald Trump's presidency has shaped American democracy and the repercussions it will have for the future.

    How long does it take to read The Reckoning?

    The reading time for The Reckoning varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Reckoning a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Reckoning is a thought-provoking and insightful read that provides a unique perspective on Donald Trump's presidency. It is definitely worth reading for those interested in understanding the impact of his time in office.

    Who is the author of The Reckoning?

    The author of The Reckoning is Mary L. Trump.

    What to read after The Reckoning?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Reckoning, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • Hagakure by Yamamoto Tsunetomo & Alexander Bennett
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    • Stillness Is the Key by Ryan Holiday
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