Finish What We Started

The MAGA Movement’s Ground War to End Democracy

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By Isaac Arnsdorf

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"Entertaining, enlightening and disturbing." – Ira Glass

The immersive, captivating untold story of the mass radicalization of the Republican Party in the aftermath of January 6, 2021, entrenching the political power of a radical right-wing movement dedicated to dismantling democracy itself.
 
Inspired by Donald Trump’s election lies, a growing movement of grassroots activists mobilized around the country to pick up where the insurrection left off, laying the groundwork to succeed next time where Trump had failed to keep himself in power. But their own success in taking over and purging the Republican Party became their undoing as it drove away moderates and supplied the Democrats with a winning message in the 2022 midterms. Still, the MAGA Republicans proved uninterested in learning from that defeat, only becoming more extreme, divisive, and dead set on returning Trump to power. 
 
Washington Post national political reporter Isaac Arnsdorf has spent years at the forefront of reporting on this growing movement. Drawing on extensive, exclusive on-the-ground reporting around the country, and deepened by historical context, Arnsdorf has produced the defining journalistic account of the origins, evolution and future of the MAGA movement. Combining critical and rigorous reporting with the intimacy and complexity of a novel, this book is unlike any other in the decade since Donald Trump convulsed and transformed American politics.
 
Finish What We Started tells the story of the ordinary Americans driving this change, who they are and where they came from, what motivates them, and what their movement means for the survival of American democracy.

 

Genre:

  • "Isaac has a great eye for a story, and hangs out with people we all need to know.  I was thrilled to run some of the early reporting from this book on our radio show, and I’m sobered to see how it all played out in the months after. An entertaining, enlightening and disturbing book."
    Ira Glass, host of This American Life
  • Finish What We Started is a bracing, deeply reported dispatch from the front lines of the MAGA movement — a movement that, as Isaac Arnsdorf convincingly shows here, is more radical and determined than ever as it gathers force for Trump’s campaign to reclaim the White House.”
    Joshua Green, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Devil’s Bargain
  • “Isaac Arnsdorf is a political journalist par excellence, whose work is shaped by deep, immersive reporting, perceptive analysis and a keen understanding of history. Finish What We Started is a sophisticated yet unnerving portrait of the MAGA movement and a stark preview of what a second Trump term might portend. This is urgent and essential reading for anyone who cares about the state of America’s democracy.”
    Philip Rucker, co-author of the New York Times bestselling A Very Stable Genius
  • “Isaac Arnsdorf ventures beyond the punditry of Washington, D.C and delivers a revealing, distinctive look at how our nation's democracy might be forever changed. Peppered with scoops and fresh insight, Finish What We Started manages to be both spritely and ominous, a closely-reported depiction of the reorientation of modern politics.” 
    Robert Samuels, New Yorker staff writer and Pulitzer-Prize winning co-author of His Name is George Floyd: One Man’s Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice
  • "This book is extraordinary. By turning the lens away from the palace intrigues that crowd far too many Trump books, patiently earning the trust of his most devoted grassroots followers to document without adornment what they actually say and think instead, Isaac Arnsdorf has provided an invaluable service for future historians. But you can read it now. And you must. Your jaw will drop. Even mine did."
    Rick Perlstein, author of Reaganland
  • “Many have been surprised at the radicalization of the Republican Party by fringe extremists but Isaac Arnsdorf, a talented young political reporter has been ahead of this story from the start. Now, in vivid and chilling detail he takes readers inside the grassroots of the MAGA movement as its foot soldiers fight to take over not just the Republican Party, but the entire country. Anyone trying to understand how America has come to the brink of embracing authoritarianism in 2024 should read this engagingly told yet terrifying book.”
    Jane Mayer, author of Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right
  • "An eye-opening look at how a fringe effected a hostile takeover of a once-mainstream political party."
    Kirkus
  • "Washington Post journalist Arnsdorf debuts with a raucous recap of the evolution of Trumpism since the 2020 election via the 'Precinct Strategy,' a movement encouraging adherents to join the Republican Party’s lowest ranks as precinct committeemen, from which vantage point they can oust moderate Republican leaders and promote MAGA primary candidates...It’s an entertaining and insightful look at the Republican Party in extremis."
    Publishers Weekly

On Sale
Apr 9, 2024
Page Count
272 pages
ISBN-13
9780316497510

Isaac Arnsdorf

About the Author

Isaac Arnsdorf is a national political reporter for The Washington Post who covers former president Donald Trump, the “Make America Great Again” political movement, and the elected officials, activists, donors and media figures on the right who are powering the Republican Party. He was previously an investigative reporter covering national politics at ProPublica and a money-in-politics reporter at Politico. His reporting on President Trump's agenda for veterans won the Sidney Hillman Foundation's Sidney Award and the National Press Club's Sandy Hume Award. Finish What We Started is his first book. 

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