It is possible to read Comey's book and come away thinking he believes in himself above all. He has a soaring self-regard, and he can be pious, even pompous. But it is hard to think he’s not telling the truth about his encounters with Trump. When he sits down with the president, he tells us, he has flashbacks of his days as a mob prosecutor ... Comey is in a unique position to write [A Higher Loyalty] ... Comey testified about [Mike Flynn's trial] much of this last year, but the added atmospherics in the book are powerful. The image of the president as mob boss is indelible. The stench of criminality hangs in the air of the West Wing like cordite ... If we see another season when high crimes are charged against a president, the likeliest count will again be obstruction of justice, again regarding a break-in at Democratic headquarters, again with the FBI working—this time with [Comey as his star witness].
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.