The central themes that Comey returns to throughout this impassioned book are the toxic consequences of lying; and the corrosive effects of choosing loyalty to an individual over truth and the rule of law ... Comey’s book fleshes out the testimony he gave before the Senate Intelligence Committee in June 2017 with considerable emotional detail, and it showcases its author’s gift for narrative ... The volume offers little in the way of hard news revelations about investigations by the F.B.I. or the special counsel Robert S. Mueller III...What A Higher Loyalty does give readers are some near-cinematic accounts of what Comey was thinking.
Most Americans will never go beyond the juicy bits trumpeted by the wall-to-wall Comey coverage this week – but they should. James Comey’s book is more interesting and more important than the gossipy headlines make it out to be, albeit not necessarily for the reasons the author may have wanted ... Higher Loyalty is really three different books in one. It's a meditation on ethical leadership (a conceit that disappears for scores of pages at a time), a traditional memoir of a senior public servant and an exposition of Trump’s presidency ... It’s an obviously hurried project and one that perhaps would have benefited from more distance for self-reflection ... I believe, too, that Comey believes he consistently did the right thing for the right reasons throughout 2016. That said, he doesn’t do a good job of convincing readers why he did what he did – those seeking insights into his decisions over the course of 2016 will likely find themselves disappointed by his accounting and reckoning with those actions in this book.
By and large, pundits and book reviewers have overlooked Comey’s most explosive revelations involving illegal conduct in the White House ... what is really important about his book is that we have a senior official in the Bush administration documenting how the government conducted illegal surveillance on US citizens and engaged in illegal torture (including waterboarding of detainees) in various 'black sites' around the world ... Comey frames his entire book as a plea for 'ethical leadership' based on the values of 'truth, integrity, and respect for others,' without which the justice system begins to decay. Yet he never addresses why neither he nor anyone else has ever used their authority to hold those who engaged in illegal surveillance and torture fully accountable ... Of course, A Higher Loyalty is best known for Comey’s famous confrontations with President Trump ... Comey describes these incidents in an engaging and cinematic style. His reporting is filled with vivid details and direct quotes attributed to both Trump and himself which make these accounts convincing and credible. But all the attention devoted to these shiny objects, should not obscure the rest of Comey’s book. Unintentionally, A Higher Loyalty teaches more about 'ethical leadership' by studying not what Comey has done in his career but by what he has failed to do. Not only has our government failed to hold any officials accountable for torture and illegal surveillance, but those very officials have been rewarded with high positions, book deals, prominent speaking tours, and, most recently, the May 17 confirmation of Gina Haspel as director of the CIA.