Veteran reporters David Corn and Michael Isikoff present solid, meticulous reporting in Russian Roulette. They tell the story of Donald Trump’s myriad connections to Russia, both before and during the 2016 election cycle. They integrate this into the Russian strategies to interfere in the election. It’s a gripping and specific narrative.

Interestingly, part of what they tell is how the information presented by the U.S. Intelligence community didn’t grip reporters or voters during the election. It’s about how the details got buried under other stories, especially those about the Clinton email server.

I’m supposing that you, my readers, lived through this election just like I did. Although I know some of you did it from the distant perspective of Europe, Asia, or Australia. Still, we heard the news stories and read the articles. So why is Russian Roulette worth reading if we already know everything?

Because it’s all the background behind the headlines. I confess. I often skim headlines, and only read some articles. Or I’ll catch the beginning of a TV news report, but not be able to plant myself and watch the whole thing.

Roulette takes all those headlines, puts them in a logical, primarily chronological, order and compels the reader to stop and take notice. It’s connect-the-political-dots for the average person. Sometimes it even reads like a spy novel.

But don’t think it’s salacious. It’s not gossipy like Fire and Fury. It’s not an individual’s personal perspective like What Happened or A Higher Loyalty. It covers less about Putin and the FSB than A Very Expensive Poison. Yet, it rounds out these stories, and provides a structural framework for all of them.

About the authors:

As his bio states, “Isikoff is chief investigative correspondent for Yahoo News, where he is also editor at large for reporting and investigations.” And “David Corn is Mother Jones’ Washington bureau chief and an on-air analyst for MSNBC.” Russian Roulette isn’t their first book together, either.

These men have many decades of writing and reporting experience. And it shows. The objectivity they offer is a valuable asset, since it’s in short supply these days.

My conclusions:

If you’ve been looking for a constructive explanation about today’s headlines, this is your background book. Isikoff and Corn explain Paul Manafort’s connections to both Russia and Trump. They detail how the various players in the Obama administration came to open the Special Counsel investigation.

Reading this I’m more clear than ever on the reasons Robert Mueller is taking so much time. The situation is the very definition of complicated. Roulette’s authors clearly state when their dots didn’t quite connect. And we know Mueller is tasked with finding the connection if it exists. Patience, people, patience.

I suppose conservative readers will question the veracity of Roulette’s account. That’s okay. We don’t have to agree. But I’m upfront about my perspective. This is information everyone resisting the GOP administration’s gaslighting needs to read. Now.