Book Review: A Higher Loyalty by James Comey

Book Name: A Higher Loyalty

Author: James Comey

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Rating: 3.9/5

Book Blurb: A riveting inside account of life and leadership at the heart of the FBI and high office in the United States of America. 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. His journey provides an unprecedented entry into the corridors of power and a remarkable lesson in what makes an effective leader.

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 Trump campaign and Russia, Comey has been involved in some of the most consequential cases and policies of recent history.

Review: James Comey’s book is a highly readable account of his time at the FBI but much of the book is about his passionate fight as an attorney. He delves into his childhood and explains the reason for wanting to work in law enforcement. An encounter with the Ramsay Rapist as a child may have had some impact on his decision to serve the law agencies.

Much of the book is devoted to his time as a lawyer fighting cases and ensuring justice. Don’t go around buying this book for some of the sensational stuff as there is hardly any. He does give us an insight into the workings of the justice department and is remarkably candid in his writing.

This is the memoir of a man who did not bend down in front of bullies and did the right thing which eventually cost him his job but he left honorably.

“The credibility of the Department of Justice is its bedrock. The American people must see the administration of justice as independent of politics, race, class, religion, or any of the many other things that divide humans into tribes.”

He explains about the cases involving Hillary Clinton at depth and surprise- some of his own family members are supporters of the democratic party!

While much has been said of the way things were handled by Comey, he did what anybody else would have done at his place- ensure a proper investigation is done whenever new facts came into light. Law enforcement shouldn’t and thankfully didn’t succumb to the pressure and constant media scrutiny because of the election process.

This book is about leadership and why true leaders shouldn’t demand favors or loyalty. The only loyalty should be towards the constitution. History will always put a man who didn’t succumb to bullies on a higher pedestal than a President who doesn’t shy away from bending the rules.

Read this book to learn about the inside workings at play in the biggest democracies at work. Sadly, a country which should set an example for other developing democracies is closely mirroring the same institutions and governments that the US has long criticised.

It does get a bit harrowing in the middle and may not appeal to all but a fascinating account overall.


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