3 Brawling Book Reviews

Conflict is at the core of what makes stories so compelling. These are the complicated moments where everything becomes muddled, elevating characters while driving the plot forward. And for some books … well, the entire narrative is one complicated sparring match, whether verbal or physical or both. Here are three reviews that each showcase an all-out brawl.


The View has been a staple of morning television in the United States for twenty years. However, its success, even with Barbara Walters at the helm, wasn’t always a guarantee. In The Ladies Who Punch, journalist Ramin Setoodeh explores the highlights, drama, and brawls as told by the women who have sat around the table.

Setoodeh boasts conducting over 150 interviews, and this extensive research makes for an inclusive backstage look at an explosive show. Anecdotes fly left and right from most of the on-air talent, resulting in a fun, fast read. There is a heavy emphasis on the Rosie O’Donnell years and a lack of current tensions involving Meghan McCain, but this is a must-read for even casual and former fans of the show.

Title: Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View
Author: Ramin Setoodeh
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Publication Date: April 02, 2019
Classification: Entertainment, Nonfiction

Setoodeh’s Twitter | Publisher’s Page | Goodreads


The world of politics can be cutthroat, and Team of Vipers certainly highlights that point. Here, Cliff Sims, a former communications aide, details his often tumultuous 500 days working for the Trump administration.

Sims has no problem skewering some of his former colleagues, and occasionally seems to even relish in it. Shouting matches, backstabbing, and media leaks all make appearances. But Sims struggles to criticize the person at the center of attention: Trump. Even when Sims offers up a misstep, he immediately brushes it aside as not really the President’s fault … the person with all the power in the situation. Occasionally insightful, but most of these stories are detailed in other, better works.

Title: Team of Vipers: My 500 Extraordinary Days in the Trump White House
Author: Cliff Sims
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Publication Date: January 29, 2019
Classification: Nonfiction, Politics

Simms’s Twitter | Publisher’s Page | Goodreads


Vince Russo seems to court controversy in professional wrestling, whether he’s working for WWE, WCW, or any number of other promotions. In Rope Opera, Russo reflects on the drama that arises working in a field where fighting is just part of the job.

Unfortunately, for a memoir, this book doesn’t do much to elevate Vince Russo himself. In a world filled with high-flying spectacle and epic feuds, Russo comes off as defensive. You can hear a faint “I guess you had to be there,” after every anecdote. That is, of course, when he’s not being condescending.

Title: Rope Opera: How WCW Killed Vince Russo
Author: Vince Russo
Publisher: ECW Press
Publication Date: January 22, 2010
Classification: Entertainment, Nonfiction

Russo’s Twitter | Publisher’s Page | Goodreads


15 Comments

  1. I’m glad Team of Vipers sounds like one I can skip. I was reading everything that came out of the administration for awhile and it was just too much. I’m trying to be more careful and really only pick ones that are worthwhile and insightful. Interesting that he doesn’t allow anything to be Trump’s fault. So many of them who leave still scramble to stay in his good graces! I love your mini-reviews, you’re so insightful even when very concise!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t think you’re long-winded at all, I wish I could be as concise and still explain something helpfully! I’m learning from you 🙂 Isn’t it ridiculous how many people have already left this administration and written memoirs? It’s almost surreal. I think the only sort of related one I’ve read lately is Andrew McCabe’s The Threat and it was really good. But a step back was necessary…I’m glad to get some insight about it from you though!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You’re too kind! I really love reading your reviews— though I feel like you’ve singlehandedly doubled my TBR pile. And since I haven’t read Andrew McCabe’s book, it looks like you’ve added yet another one! But you’re right. It feels as though this administration is an author mill at this point. I have Chris Christie’s book waiting on my shelf … I pretty much already know how I’m going to feel about it …

        Like

  2. Great reviews of each of these books Christopher. The book on The View sounds like one I would enjoy. I do enjoy a good book dealing with wrestling, but was never a big Vince Russo fan, so I am not surprised about your reflections on that one.

    Liked by 1 person

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