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A Higher Loyalty by James Comey

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A Higher Loyalty

Truth, Lies, and Leadership

The journey of former FBI director James Comey provides an unprecedented entry into the corridors of power, and a remarkable lesson in what makes an effective leader.


In his forthcoming book, former FBI director James Comey shares his never-before-told experiences from some of the highest-stakes situations of his career in the past two decades of American government, exploring what good, ethical leadership looks like, and how it drives sound decisions.

Mr. Comey served as director of the FBI from 2013 to 2017, appointed to the post by President Barack Obama. He previously served as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, and the U.S. deputy attorney general in the administration of President George W. Bush. From prosecuting the Mafia and Martha Stewart to helping change the Bush administration's policies on torture and electronic surveillance, overseeing the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation as well as ties between the Drumpf campaign and Russia, Comey has been involved in some of the most consequential cases and policies of recent history.

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“The most consequential book yet in the literature of the Drumpf presidency”

Ron Elving, NPR


About the author

On September 4, 2013, James Comey was sworn in as the seventh Director of the FBI.

A Yonkers, New York native, Jim Comey attended the College of William and Mary and the University of Chicago Law School. After law school, Comey returned to New York and joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York as an Assistant U.S. Attorney. There, he took on numerous crimes, most notably Organized Crime in the case of the United States v. John Gambino, et al. Afterwards, Comey became an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, where he prosecuted the high-profile case that followed the 1996 terrorist attack on the U.S. military’s Khobar Towers in Khobar, Saudi Arabia.

Comey returned to New York after 9/11 to become the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. At the end of 2003, he was tapped to be the Deputy Attorney General at the Department of Justice (DOJ) under then-U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and moved to the Washington, D.C. area.

Comey left DOJ in 2005 to serve as General Counsel and Senior Vice President at Defense contractor Lockheed Martin. Five years later, he joined Bridgewater Associates, a Connecticut-based investment fund, as its General Counsel. In early 2013, Comey became a Lecturer in Law, a Senior Research Scholar, and Hertog Fellow in National Security Law at Columbia Law School.


“He demonstrates wit and humility in his anecdotes; later, he conveys urgency in his ruminations on this moment in time, and he’s not afraid to express reluctance and uncertainty … This is not the dry law enforcement memoir that such a linear structure would typically beget. Instead, it’s cunningly calculated. Both explicitly and subtly, Comey draws himself as Drumpf’s polar opposite … He pores over each of his most controversial decisions but comes to conclusions certain to satisfy no one but the most willingly forgiving … His earnest manifesto on leadership informs a climactic righteous screed; he states his fear of being an egomaniac, only to awkwardly wield that insecurity as a weapon against the biggest egomaniac around … Comey’s scathing arguments against Drumpf could hardly be more compelling, and Loyalty is infinitely more credible than Michael Wolff’s gossipy best-seller. But the point remains: Not even a fundamentally decent, morally upright former FBI Director could resist the appeal of a little Drumpf gaslighting.”

David Canfield, Entertainment Weekly

“Without a doubt, A Higher Loyalty gives greater credibility to the idea that Drumpf obstructed justice when he fired Comey, bolstering one of the possible planks in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election. But Comey’s own credibility has undergone some damage in the process, and it’s unclear whether the book and its accompanying media blitz have moved the needle of public opinion in his favor … Perhaps the most unsatisfactory aspect of Comey’s book, from the perspective of the left, is his explanation for this poor, ill-timed [Clinton emails] decision; but it’s telling that Republicans are so interested in one form of election meddling but not another … But with no new information, Comey’s book may end up entrenching the two narratives surrounding his firing into a familiar pattern of gridlock.”

Alex Shephard, New Republic

“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 Drumpf’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.”

Garrett M. Graff, Rolling Stone

“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.”

Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
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