Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House

by Michael Wolff

Hardcover, 2018

Call number




Henry Holt and Co. (2018), Edition: First Edition, 336 pages


"The first nine months of Donald Trump's term were stormy, outrageous -- and absolutely mesmerizing. Now, thanks to his deep access to the West Wing, bestselling author Michael Wolff tells the riveting story of how Trump launched a tenure as volatile and fiery as the man himself. In this explosive book, Wolff provides a wealth of new details about the chaos in the Oval Office. Among the revelations : What President Trump's staff really thinks of him -- What inspired Trump to claim he was wire-tapped by President Obama -- Why FBI director James Comey was really fired -- Why chief strategist Steve Bannon and Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner couldn't be in the same room -- Who is really directing the Trump administration's strategy in the wake of Bannon's firing -- What the secret to communicating with Trump is -- What the Trump administration has in common with the movie The Producers. Never before has a presidency so divided the American people. Brilliantly reported and astoundingly fresh, Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury shows us how and why Donald Trump has become the king of discord and disunion" -- Book jacket.… (more)

Media reviews

Wolff is strongest when he’s writing on what he knows best: the insecurities and ambitions of Trump and other media fixtures. Yet while much of this presidency does revolve around news coverage, it is still a presidency. And Wolff is far weaker when it comes to politics.
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What ultimately salvages the book are those moments when he all but makes Bannon his co-author, letting Bannon describe West Wing showdowns with his moderate nemesis, Jarvanka, in ways that render this the de facto first insider account of the Trump White House. Of course, the recollections are
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just those of a single aide, and may include what Trump himself once called examples of “truthful hyperbole.” In the newspaper business, such stories would be deemed “too good to check.” But given the popularity of “Fire and Fury,” Wolff might call them something else: liberal catnip.
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Wolff’s access to Trump and his inner circle is evident. At the outset, Wolff writes of how he sat down with Trump in his Beverly Hills home, while Kushner and Trump aides Hope Hicks and Corey Lewandowski milled about. Likewise, the quotes obviously bespeak knowledge and close proximity. Unlike
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Hillary Clinton, Trump represented a movement, and that fact deserved greater elucidation by Wolff. Said differently, among Fire and Fury’s shortcomings are its failure to adequately explain how Trump arrived at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and its insufficient appreciation for the bond forged by Trump and his base. In that sense, the book lacks the connective tissue present in Devil’s Bargain, Joshua Green’s take on the Trump campaign and the first few months of the presidency. Clearly, Fire and Fury has set off a storm that has left its share of casualties. ... Make no mistake, Wolff’s latest is a must-read. It pulls away whatever curtain still cloaks the Trump White House, leaving those who know Trump best to do the talking.
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Is it accurate? Many details are simply wrong. Whether the larger narrative is true is a different question....A bigger problem with Fire and Fury, however, is that by any standard of sound journalism it has big problems with transparency and sourcing. The people who take time to read the book
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for themselves will find a devastating portrait of Donald Trump. Trump is portrayed as totally out to lunch, with such a short attention span that he’s incapable of reading policy briefs much less of analyzing a problem or making a well-informed decision. Trump is shown constantly watching cable TV, frustrated and confused by the fact that he doesn’t receive widespread approval. His staff is well aware of his shortcomings and wonders just how long they can continue the illusion that Trump is capable of governing.
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The Guardian
Wolff inevitably likens the Russian cover-up to the skulduggery of Watergate, and briefly updates us on Pissgate and Pussygate – respectively the spurious tale of the golden shower in Moscow, and Trump’s better-authenticated braggadocio about his success as a groper (although, evidently
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believing that executive privilege protects his mendacity, he now claims that it “really wasn’t me” on that tape). Fire and Fury also gives the lowdown on the lacquered trompe-l’oeil that is Trump’s hairdo, with those tinted tendrils combed over a cranium that is totally bald and resonantly empty. But beyond such acts of exposure, what makes the book significant is its sly, hilarious portrait of a hollow man, into the black hole of whose needy, greedy ego the whole world has virtually vanished. Wolff deplores Trump, explains the conditions that made him possible, and accuses us all of colluding in this madness.
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Rolling Stone
Fire and Fury is really two books rolled into one. The first is a compelling nonfiction book about the intellectual divide in the modern right, as candidly hashed out to Wolff by influential figures like Steve Bannon and Roger Ailes and (seemingly?) Rupert Murdoch. The second is a Primary
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Colors-style novel about what goes on behind various closed doors in the Trump White House, based on a few bits and pieces of fact, which are offset by mountains of eye-rollingly insupportable supposition, spiced with occasional stretches of believable analysis.
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User reviews

LibraryThing member pamelad
This is a valuable contribution to the getting rid of Trump cause. The writing is terrible - verbose, full of insider political jargon and sweeping, unjustified assertions - but that doesn't matter. Wolff's premise is that Trump is ignorant, inconsistent, incompetent, infantile and possibly
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illiterate. Competent people make him feel insecure, so he gets rid of them. Wolff marshals his evidence to support his case. I do not trust Wolff's views and judgement - he comes across just as badly as some of the people he denigrates - but he's interviewed and quoted enough insiders to be taken seriously.
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LibraryThing member cjh5801
No great insight into Trump's numerous failings, but still an enjoyable and somewhat frightening read. Other than the supposed quotes from those involved, much of it could have been constructed from media reports. Overall, a nice summary of the case against Trump. In keeping with a major theme of
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the book, the severest damage to Trump's political fortunes resulting from its publication will most likely come from Trump's intemperate and misguided response to it.
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LibraryThing member MontzaleeW
Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff is like being a fly on the wall in the White House. Sure, some of this info was on the news but this is more personal. This gets right in there to the people that work with the Grabber-in-Chief. What they think of him, how they work
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together, or not. The back stabbing, the leaking and by who about who. What the staff call the main loafer behind his back. What the orange man does with his time. It is quite interesting. There are grammar mistakes... didn't expect that. Knocked a star off for that. The rest was what I always wished, to be a fly on the wall...:)
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LibraryThing member Schmerguls
5540. Fire and Fury Inside the Trump White House, by Michael Wolff (read 6 Mar 2018) When I put my name in at the Library for this book I was number 22, but there was more than one copy and I soon had the book--though it was due in one week instead of the usual three. The book has no footnotes, no
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source notes, and of course no bibliography. I recognize that it is the type of book where some sources will not be wiling to be identified, but there are some things in the book which could have been and I wish had been sourced. It is a pretty startling book although I cannot say anything in the book surprised me since we have been listening to and watching the current president for many months now. The book tells much about Steve Bannon, apparently a source for much in the book.. On page 309 in the book it is stated: that Steve Bannon says he himself will run for president in 2020, and will be elected. My first reaction was he could never be elected and then, with a shudder, I recalled that I thought the same thing in regard to Donald Trump in 2015. One should take care not to underestimate the stupidity of the electorate, I remind myself.
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LibraryThing member scottcholstad
I'm a Trump hater, along with his staff, family, and cronies. But this book made me laugh so hard at the absolute idiocy going on at the White House, and yes, while I wanted to cry too, there were just too many totally funny moments for me not to enjoy this book. If you want to see the biggest
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fools who've ever lived in our country, and see what idiots they are, and read about the most narcissistic, thin skinned liar you've ever heard of while laughing the whole way through, this book is for you. Recommended for liberals, progressives, and even conservatives who are regretting voting for this idiot-child!
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LibraryThing member NickHowes
No shortage of dirt about President Donald Trump and his White House. Follows the story from inauguration until Bannon's dismissal. Cable News has highlighted the most outrageous claims while making clear that there are errors while noting that if even a generous proportion of claims are true, the
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result is a hair-raising view of a man who should not even be allowed to take the White House tour. Any flaws in the book, including the occasional over-complex sentence, are overwhelmed by the content. Amazing story.
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LibraryThing member c_why
I believe every word. Now for Bob Woodward.
LibraryThing member Shijuro
The rule of Frederick the Great was described as "despotism tempered by incompetence", and that's the picture of the first 200 days of the Trump presidency.

The book appears a fly-on-the-wall description of the events, with sometimes conflicting versions presented side-by-side with the biases
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attributed (e.g., the Bannon camp vs. the "Jarvanka" camp).

However negative the content, the author's politics are not obvious and he seems to be simply quoting the people on the inside, which makes this book that much more disturbing and frightening.

It did, however, provide some explanation for the events we saw unfold and somehow made them easier for me to comprehend. The self-serving and petty influences of the various individuals go a long way toward explaining the paradoxical events in the news.
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LibraryThing member nyiper
Because I have been all too absorbed in the daily happenings, the overall story of this book in terms of what happened when is something you can easily agree with. What was more interesting was the flavor Wolff provides about what people right IN there with "T" were saying and feeling at the time.
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Just a mind-boggling mess---I really wish it WERE just a novel. This is one of those cases where truth, or at least what is presented by Wolff, is much, MUCH stranger than fiction---sadly.
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LibraryThing member KateVane
I’ve never paid anywhere near £13.99 for an ebook before, and probably won’t again, but Fire and Fury is a book of the moment and I wanted to be part of it.

Was it worth it? I’m not sure. Most of the key revelations have already appeared in the media. Having followed the Trump story fairly
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closely, there’s not much that was new to me, and nothing that was surprising, but having it laid out as one coherent narrative was a useful and oddly entertaining way of having the full horror of our situation reinforced. (I know I’m not American but Trump and his big red button loom over us all.) It’s quite readable and I even laughed out loud a few times. What stayed with me, chillingly, is the number of people, across all factions, willing to collude to keep a clearly incompetent man in power for their own ends.

The book relies on a number of sources and Wolff explains that the extent to which they were on the record is ambiguous, in part because the White House had no clear procedures in place. The later chapters in particular rely heavily on Bannon’s perspective. His criticism is most intense while discussing the role of the Trump family, especially Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner (Jarvanka). While it’s not hard to believe his portrayal of the foolishness and naked self-interest of Jarvanka, I felt the need to pause and step back.

It’s like when you’re reading a chapter in a crime novel which is narrated by the antagonist and get so caught up in the story you suddenly realise you’re cheering on a serial killer. Bannon, as represented in this book, is an evil genius, but recent events (such as the defeat of his preferred candidate, racist and alleged paedophile Roy Moore in Alabama) indicate that he may not be (a genius, that is).

There are a couple of things that annoy me. Wolff seems to have taken on one of the traits of his subject, writing long, rambling sentences with more clauses than Donald Trump has had Diet Cokes. And the book is riddled with errors. I don’t mean factual errors, I’ll leave others more qualified to comment on those. I mean typos, misspellings, words added or missed out, the basic stuff that would lead to fire and fury being rained down on an indie author on a budget flogging a novel for 99p. I know the book came out in a hurry but I would expect such a profitable title to have been within an awkward hand-hold of a copy editor.

Should you buy it? If you’re really absorbed in the soap opera, like me, then you probably won’t want to miss out. Otherwise you can read the key points in the media coverage and wait to pick it up second hand or in the library. But by then it will no doubt have been superseded by even more strange events.
You can read a longer version of this review with links on my blog
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LibraryThing member cdogzilla
Palace intrigue, a book utterly unconcerned with the impact of the Trump administration on anything outside the political fortunes of its members. Wolff's knob-shining for Bannon, his relentless romanticization of Bannon's "alt-right" politics, is disgusting. The last chapter in particular is Wolff
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brazenly campaigning for an insider position in a future Bannon presidential campaign.

Trump is an abomination. Don't mistake my loathing of this book for support of Trump or his shit-for-brains, white supremacy-buttressed ideology. The corruption, mendacity, incompetence, and treasonous actions of this administration warrant deep scrutiny and documentation. Wolff just isn't the man for the job.
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LibraryThing member rosechimera
When horror books become non-fiction, you get a view into Trump's personality (disorder), thinking, and inner-circle dynamics.
LibraryThing member Yoh
Entertaining yet lacks credibility. Its sources and their veracity were dubious at best and some facts misleading. However, it is fast paced and gives more dimension and background to the behind the scenes characters of the current administration. But even if only a fraction were accurate it’s
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still eye opening and renders the dysfunction as entertaining.
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LibraryThing member willszal
This book represents a historic moment. It also tells a story so compelling that, once seen, cannot be unseen.

Donald Trump did not intend to be president; he wanted to start a media network. No one around Trump thought he could make it to the Whitehouse (except Steve Bannon), and no one around him
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now these days thinks he has a chance at making it through his first term.

Trump is a machine. He has the same self-control as a toddler. He wants everyone to like him, seemingly failing to realize the impossibility of such an outcome in politics. He is a pawn of those around him, and, at the same time, a whole-unpredictable force of nature. He doesn't have coherent policy views because his internal state various from minute to minute. His speeches are incoherent because he's psychologically unsound, if not outright deranged.

Trump, and his administration, shot himself in the foot with the whole Russian thing: taking the meeting in the first place, firing Comey, lying about the meeting, saying they shouldn't look at the family finances. They've mis-handled the situation at every step of the way, and at this point the vortex of impeachment seems inescapable. This book might just seal the deal.

Trump is in the news every day, and has been for a couple years now. This book takes the barrage and reminds of the larger arc, calling out the truly significant events between all the commotion.

The book also exposed me to more of the views of actual voices of the Trump Whitehouse than I've ever taken the time to listen to before.
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LibraryThing member Alphawoman
Page 56 and I'm beginning to feel sorry for Trump.
LibraryThing member Susan.Macura
This book received a great deal of hype. Too often such hype is way out of proportion to the actual book. However, here the hype was on target. This is a frightening look at the Trump White House, even if some of it proves to be discredited. What makes so much of it believable is that it aligns too
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often with what we as citizens and voters can observe about the president and his staff with our own eyes! This is a man who should never have run for this office, much less be elected to it. He has brought out the worst in too many of us because that is who he is at his core. This book is a shocking look at a man who probably will go down in history as the worst president we ever elected to this vaulted position.
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LibraryThing member ghr4
Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House is to be applauded for shining a light on some of the dark recesses of the chaotic and dysfunctional Trump White House, and the utter ignorance and stupidity of this president. If the book somehow hastens the end of this abhorrent
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administration, then another robust round of applause certainly would be in order.

But a sober analysis of the book's content reveals that there's really not much new in here. The majority of the book is simply a recap of the events of the first nine months of the Trump administration which have already been reported exhaustively. Sprinkled in are the revelatory juicy bits (pretty much all of which were included in the New York Magazine teaser article, published just before the book's release), which largely serve as mere embellishments to the widely known White House infighting and the President's readily apparent idiocy.

Wolff's writing style is generally passable, but he has an irritating penchant for tossing in some extremely obscure words, presumably an attempt to add some literary heft to his work. And there are some astonishingly convoluted sentences with mangled syntax which inevitably bring the reader to a puzzled halt.

Apart from the frequent quotes from Steve Bannon, clearly the primary source for Wolff, it is impossible to determine the sourcing for much of the other "new" material in the book. It is unclear whether Wolff witnessed all of the events he relates, or is merely reporting them second-hand. There are no footnotes, and the introductory "Author's Note," ostensibly an attempt to clarify, serves only to muddy the waters further. Nevertheless, everything does ring true.

Though Wolff clearly aspires to journalism, this is really more the work of a hack. But in this case even a well-timed hatchet job by a hit man can serve a valuable purpose when a most deserving target is in the crosshairs.
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LibraryThing member ericlee
This book has been so hyped, so much written about it, that there are probably few surprises in it for the reader. However, there's quite a difference between spending five minutes reading the highlights and sitting down for five or six hours, immersing oneself in the horror show that is the Trump
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administration. In a word, Michael Wolff's book is brilliant. It's a political thriller with an absurd premise: that the President of the United States is a complete idiot who is also possibly insane, and that everyone around him knows this to be true. The first victim of the success of this book of this is its central character other than Trump, Steve Bannon who had the ambition to replace Trump as the next president. If Michael Wolff has done nothing else, he's put an end to the career of this arrogant fascist and for that deserves our full thanks. After reading this book, and the noting the reaction to its publication, I'd say the question is no longer if Trump is removed from office, but how. I'm betting on a resignation. But impeachment would do just as well. If this book makes that happen even one day sooner, that's more than most authors could ever dream of achieving. Well done, Michael Wolff, and thank you.
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LibraryThing member jugglingpaynes
Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff follows the unlikely campaign of 45 through the first 9 months of his time at the White House.

I found the biggest problem with this book is the lack of editing, especially in the first half. There is too much purple prose and sentences that run off on tangents. It's
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easy to lose the point of a sentence when it runs on for a paragraph and constantly twists off the main thread.

That said, I did appreciate Wolff's assessment of this administration and his account is very believable. Everything in the book is familiar to anyone who has followed the news, but the author gives more information about what was happening behind the scenes.
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LibraryThing member LisCarey
Michael Wolff spent months inside the Trump White House, often hanging out on the couch in a common area, talking to people, but also simply listening.

It's important to note that Wolff has a reputation of being a somewhat sloppy reporter, not always reliable. It's also important, though, to note
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that no one mentioned in this book has denied saying what he attributes to them in this book. There are disagreements over interpretation, but not over what they said. Other reporters, with better reputations, as well as other people with access, say that while there may be inaccuracies of detail, the overall account rings true.

Steve Bannon, now out of the White House, and indeed having further torched his standing with his failed support of Roy Moore's campaign for the US Senate in Alabama, was his main point of entry to the White House and apparently his major source. That's a possible source of bias in the gloss that gets put on the facts.

Overall, this is an alarming picture of a White House in chaos. It's fascinating, revealing, and scary. It needs to be taken with a few grains of salt, and compared with other accounts and reporting as they become available. Nevertheless, it's an important contribution to understanding what is going on in our government and why.


I bought this book.
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LibraryThing member brianinbuffalo
For starters, the ubiquitous promotional campaign that preceded the release of ths book should be a lesson to other authors. If you're going to serve up three-quarters of all the riveting material in media interviews, be prepared for many readers to a tad disappointed as they search for uncharted
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territory during their 300+-page adventures. Having said that, Wolff's controversial work is a fascinating and disturbing protrait of a White House in disarray. True, some inaccuracies, inconsistencies and other issues have raised come credibility questions. But political junkies and even armchair contemporary history buffs will find this an interesting "fly-on-the-wall" perspective one of the most tumultous periods in Washington history. It raises some intriguing questions and provides insights into dozens of key players both inside and outside the White House.
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LibraryThing member Clara53
Listened to this book on audio. Excellently revealing assessment of Trump personality (even though we all intuitively knew what he is like through his crazy behavior) and what's going on in the West Wing. Kudos to the Michael Wolff. The errors reported in the news are minute compared to the real
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insight of what's going in Trump White House. It's scary to realize that what seems like a nightmarish film is actually a reality. The narrator of the audio version, Holter Graham, did a superb job too.​
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LibraryThing member ilovemycat1
Was impressed with the intellectual rigor and overall writing of Michael Wolff's book. His personal appearances on TV belied the seriousness he brought to his book. Personally intrigued by the dynamic of Murdoch vs. Ailes and how much the President craved the approval of Murdoch. As an ardent
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watcher of the Presidency and the daily chaos of the White House, this book shed light on the personal habits of the President that you see playing out in real time, to this day. His reliance on his nightly phone calls with a coterie of "friends" , his total obsession with all things Trump and Bannon's relationship with the President, Reince Priebus etc. all made for a very interesting read and worth the hype surrounding the release of the book. .
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LibraryThing member KerryD1971
Hilarious! The Keystone Cops of politics. An idiot surrounded by clowns.
But I am thankful to the brave men and women who work there who aren't clowns, and block his worst impulses.
I present to you, the twit(ter) president.
LibraryThing member Sandydog1
You can't put it down. It's captivating in a perverse sense. 'Like watching a train-wreck into an orphanage...




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