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A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership Hardcover – 17 Apr 2018
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A riveting inside account of life and leadership at the heart of the FBI and high office in the United States of America.See all Product description
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Within the autobiography’s covers, the reader sees what it was like for a flawed but fundamentally honest man to try and navigate a partisan-politics minefield while attempting to uphold the US Constitution and do what was best for the nation he loved. We also get something of a history of Comey’s career and a lesson in ethics, which might be confusing to some, seeing as how we appear to be living in an age of extreme cynicism, where it’s perceived that everyone acts out of crass self-interest and no one cares about antiquated and naïve ideas like goodness and truth.
Regarding the criticisms of Comey being petty, i.e. his descriptions of Trump’s orangey orangeness, the writer describes almost all “characters,” so fair’s fair. Also, I think the bit about the size of Trump’s hands is just some levity. There’s humour elsewhere. In such a serious and high-pressure career, there’d need to be. All told, A Higher Loyalty is highly readable and royally informative. Five bright orange stars.
Troy Parfitt is the author of The Bigot, or How I Learned to Love Donald Trump: A Novel
Second, although you will have heard about the Trump related content this book is very much more an autobiographical work detailing Mr Comey's childhood, part time jobs and school days, the events and factors that shaped his character and career. It covers his early legal work and his role in bringing down the mafia, and then on into his early career as a public prosecutor, difficult days of service for the Bush administration, and onwards to his FBI appointment by President Obama and role and influence in government. Although the Trump related content is definitely in there, it forms a fraction of the whole, towards the second half of the book.
Once you get to that it is very interesting but nothing more than a confirmation of everything you already know or suspected, It is not as salacious and amusing as the Michael Wolff accounts though with the political trench warfare, backstabbing and political intrigues amongst the inexperienced and power hungry, tales of screaming hysteria, petulant tantrums, and early nights watching Fox news whilst gorging on cheese burgers in bed.
Comey is, as he readily admits, not a flawless individual and he paints a warts and all view of himself. He does however consider himself to be a champion of law and order, who has tried to do the right thing - his higher loyalty is to truth and justice justice and the rule of law rather than to any individual or personal political bias.
Make no mistake, Mr Comey has a particular agenda and an axe to bear, but he appears to do so in a balanced and fair way. He comments for example that he does not doubt Trump's intelligence, his mental capacity of the size of his hands. He does not believe Trump should be impeached despite his flaws - as an elected President he should be removed by the electorate rather than by unelected officials. He does however have a lot to say about his bullying personality, the lack of moral character or respect for political norms, his leadership (in)capacity and indeed his demand (like the Mafia bosses Comey previously tangled with) for personal loyalty above loyalty to the constitution, the rule of law and to the office.
On reflection this seems a fair and reasonable account of his role and dealings with the Trump administration. The fact that he can do so in a relatively balanced way gives his account greater credibility.
The prose style is simple but effective. It’s a workmanlike telling of the story.
Best read after Fire & Fury for the greatest appreciation, I think.
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