Review: A Higher Loyalty by James Comey

6:09 PM

A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership by James Comey | Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5)

It's easy to judge those in power over making difficult, if not impossible, choices. It's even easier to form your entire opinion on a single action of someone. As someone who's pretty heavily immersed in politics, but still quite young and not always fully aware, I will admit straight away that I judged James Comey during the presidential election of 2016.

After all, so many of us did just the same. I don't know if it ever dawned on me how unfair it was to judge the former FBI director so harshly. What I do know for certain is that due to the outcome of said election, I didn't quite think of Comey as he was. Human. A Higher Loyalty is the perfect biography because it shows us the man; not he former FBI director. His questionable moves in 2016 remain but now the general public gets the not-so gentle reminder that James Comey is only as human as the rest of us.

A Higher Loyalty explores James Comey's origins, what shaped him into the man he is today, flaws and all. It explores his passion for his job. The desire to do what he feels is right. His love of his wife and family. The little tragedies in his personal life. The ups and downs of his career; the rise and fall of his position as FBI director. As with anyone in the public eye, what we see is only a fraction of what is actually happening behind the scenes and Comey tries his damnedest to explain, and rationalize, his actions throughout the presented timeline.

What I liked about how Comey wrote of three very different presidents is that although he tried to be as neutral as possible, it was apparently obvious just how he felt about each of them. This extends to the many other politicians he has met with throughout his life. Comey pens various meetings and conversations of all degrees quite similarly and to the point.

I think that ultimately James Comey was faced with something impossible and the results, in his mind, were inevitable. While he doesn't wholly take responsibility for the chain of events that followed one specific investigation, he does come across as sympathetic.

It's important to remember the, even if our morals are, the world we live in isn't always in black and white terms. Good and bad seem obvious to us, but Comey was--and is--in a position that most of us cannot begin to fathom. I say this as someone who is a lifelong democrat and who, obviously, wished for our president to be Hillary Clinton.

In no way am I saying I necessarily agree with or justify Comey's decision, only that after reading this book I see where he was coming from.

This book isn't a necessary read for everybody, and for many it may seem lackluster or try hard, but I do think it's an important read. It shines a different light on Comey that may not change your view of him, or his actions, but it gives you a desperately needed perspective.

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