Book in the news: riveting bestseller exposes the real Trump

Cover of A Higher LoyaltyA Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership
by James Comey
Published by Macmillan, £20
(Buy at Amazon)

The controversial book by James Comey, the man who US president Donald Trump fired as FBI director, “is really three different books in one”, says Garrett Graff in Rolling Stone. It’s “a meditation on ethical leadership, a traditional memoir of a senior public servant, and an exposition of Trump’s presidency”.

And what a “sickly, sanctimonious, self-reverential piece of work” it is, says Justin Webb in The Times. Having “handed Trump the presidency on a platter” by his last-minute revelations about Hillary Clinton’s emails, Comey has evidently decided that he is “going to expiate his Clinton sin by foaming at the mouth against Trump”.

Given the behaviour of past presidents, Comey “does himself no favours with his prissiness” when it comes to allegations of Trump’s extra-marital trysts. However, the worst weakness is that “only a third of the book is really up-to-date stuff” about the current presidency, with the remainder about Comey’s FBI’s career.

Comey is “an occasionally cloying companion”, agrees Jonathan Freedland in The Guardian. But he “has quite a story to tell – and that’s even before we get to the Clinton and Trump chapters that have made this book an instant best-seller” – those are “riveting”. The author “has a keen eye and his observations of Trump and his enablers are sharp”. In all, Comey’s “self-righteous” attitude looks “like a rather tolerable vice”, especially “given the alternatives”.