Plaintiff in Chief by James D. Zirin

For a president who enjoys boasting about the vastness of—well—everything, it should come as no surprise that Donald Trump has been part of an audacious number of lawsuits. The roughly 3,500 cases themselves are as varied as Trump’s business schemes. It’s a wild ride, stemming all the way back to a 1973 case for housing discrimination to the pre-presidential Trump University class action lawsuit and every defamation case in-between.

Author James Zirin, a former federal prosecutor, manages to string this overabundance of litigation together into an exploration of the Trumpian way of life. Why let bygones be bygones when you can sue? Or better yet, when you can threaten to sue. In case after case, he’s presented as a lumbering entity smashing into the legal system regardless of his actual legal standing. And while Zirin is routinely fair in his assessments, this repetition of scenarios casting Trump in a negative light will probably appeal more to individuals of a certain political persuasion.

This is unfortunate because, though Zirin does admit to identifying as a Republican and he obviously has a distaste for Trump, he steeps his analysis in facts. Consistently, he provides thorough documentation for his claims, which is particularly startling in showcasing Trump’s frequent lies. Deposition and popular media interview answers often contradict, and it’s almost astounding how easily Zirin is able to present Trump sabotaging himself right out in the open. After this occurring in lawsuit after lawsuit, it almost becomes too daunting to finish, but Zirin makes it all flow, writing clearly without getting too wonkish — frankly, it’s a compelling tragedy.

Does Zirin offer much sway in the minds of Trump apologists? No. However, for anyone already bristling each time they see a ‘BREAKING NEWS’ chyron, he offers an insightful dive into some of the less-focused-on legal scandals that Trump has left in his wake.

Title: Plaintiff in Chief: A Portrait of Donald Trump in 3,500 Lawsuits
Author: James D. Zirin
Publisher: All Points Books
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Classification: Nonfiction, Politics

Zirin’s Website | Publisher’s Page | Goodreads

Note: I received a free ARC of this book through Edelweiss.


    1. I’ve seen a few reviews mention how Zirin gets bogged down with legal jargon, but I didn’t think that was the case at all. It seemed highly readable yet thorough to me. And I’m so glad you liked that line! It was my main takeaway from this— he just seemed more interested in inflicting damage than suing for any real reason.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That’s good to know. I’m not surprised that was your main takeaway, he comes across so vindictive and petty as it is, and he gives the impression of using the legal system to enhance his bullying tactics, especially in business.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. No matter the author’s feelings about Trump, it’s still important to look at this man’s litigation history as a whole because that in itself forms a stark narrative based on facts. Maybe when his supporters begin to question their faith in this man their curiosity will win out.

    Thanks for an outstanding review, Christopher💜

    Liked by 1 person

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