A Higher Loyalty

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A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership
A Higher Loyalty James Comey.jpg
AuthorJames Comey
CountryUnited States
SubjectEthics, Leadership
PublishedApril 17, 2018
PublisherMacmillan Publishers
Media typePrint, e-book, audiobook
ISBN978-1-250-19245-5 (Hardcover)

A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership is a book by James Comey, the former Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), discussing ethics and leadership Comey encountered throughout his life, his career in public office, and his relationship with President Donald Trump, who fired him in May 2017. It was published by Macmillan Publishers' Flatiron Books on April 17, 2018.


After James Comey was fired as Director of the FBI by Trump, he began to write an autobiography. Several publishers submitted bids in an auction conducted by literary agency Javelin to secure the rights to the book.[1] By August 2017, Macmillan Publishers' Flatiron Books announced that it had acquired the rights to Comey's autobiography, and set a release for spring 2018. The announcement stated the book would be discussing ethics, leadership, and Comey's experience in government.[2]

In November 2017, the title of the book was revealed to be A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership with a release date of May 1, 2018.[3][4] The title references how Trump insisted on Comey's personal "loyalty" regarding the criminal investigation into Michael Flynn in a private meeting in January 2017, and how Comey relies more on a "higher loyalty" to lasting values such as justice and truth.[5][6][7] The release date was moved up to April 17 because of scrutiny faced by the FBI during the Special Counsel investigation.[8] On March 19, A Higher Loyalty had become the top-selling book on Amazon. It was overtaken the next day by A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo,[9][10] then returned to the top-selling rank on Amazon shortly before the release date, after receiving significant media coverage.[11]


A week after the book's initial release, sales topped 600,000 copies when including print, audiobooks, and e-books.[12]


External video
Discussion with Comey on A Higher Loyalty, 4-30-2018, C-SPAN

In early April 2018, before the release of A Higher Loyalty, the Republican National Committee (RNC) launched a website in an attempt to discredit Comey.[13] The RNC also released two digital attack ads painting Comey as "not credible", a "leaker", and a "Washington insider".[14] In an interview that aired on April 13, 2018, RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel described A Higher Loyalty as "salacious" and said that "when you read it, [Comey] discredits himself". McDaniel, who said that she had not read the book, stated that her opinion was based on "excerpts" she had heard.[15]

The Independent, giving the book three stars out of five, described it as "peppered with brutal asides about Trump, but his version of events rings true."[16] The New York Times called it "very persuasive" and described the book as "absorbing" in its book review,[17] stating "Comey's memoir offers visceral details on a president untethered to truth."[18] The Guardian observed "While spilling the beans on Trump, the ex-FBI director portrays himself as both high-minded and willing to share his own pratfalls."[19] The Evening Standard headlined the book as "The G-man gets his revenge on Trump", and Philip Delves Broughton stated "Trump offends all that Comey claims to hold dear about power in America and the values and institutions which merit his loyalty."[20] The San Francisco Chronicle summarised the book as "Former FBI Director James Comey knows he may never be forgiven by Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump for what he did – and did not do – in the 2016 presidential election. His much-anticipated new book, "A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership,” is his appeal for them and their supporters to at least understand, if not accept, the reasons behind his treatment of two investigations that continue to reverberate in American politics."[21]

Television adaptation[edit]

In September 2018, it was reported that CBS Television Studios had bought the rights to the book with the intent of developing it into a miniseries. The series is set to be written by Oscar-nominated screenwriter Billy Ray, who will also executive produce the series alongside Alex Kurtzman, Heather Kadin, and Shane Salerno.[22]


  1. ^ "Comey's Writing a Book, and Publishers Are Eager to Pay Big Money for It". The New York Times. July 15, 2017. Retrieved March 17, 2018.
  2. ^ "James Comey, Former F.B.I. Director, to Publish a Book Next Spring". The New York Times. August 2, 2017. Retrieved March 17, 2018.
  3. ^ "James Comey's new book will tell readers about 'A Higher Loyalty'". USA Today. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  4. ^ Stracqualursi, Veronica (November 2, 2017). "Former FBI Director Comey takes veiled swipe at Trump with book: 'A Higher Loyalty'". ABC News. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  5. ^ Smith, Aaron (November 2, 2017). "James Comey's upcoming book is called 'A Higher Loyalty'". CNN. Retrieved February 8, 2018.
  6. ^ Kupperman, Tammy; Stracqualursi, Veronica (January 19, 2018). "Former FBI Director James Comey to teach ethical leadership class". CNN. Retrieved July 1, 2018. 'Ethical leaders lead by seeing above the short term, above the urgent or the partisan, and with a higher loyalty to lasting values, most importantly the truth,' Comey says in the article.
  7. ^ Yilek, Caitlin (January 1, 2018). "James Comey: I hope 2018 brings 'more ethical leadership'". CNN. Retrieved July 1, 2018. 'Here's hoping 2018 brings more ethical leadership, focused on the truth and lasting values' Comey wrote Sunday in a likely shot at President Trump.
  8. ^ "James Comey memoir gets an earlier release date amid 'urgent conversation' about FBI". USA Today. Associated Press. May 16, 2017. Retrieved February 8, 2018.
  9. ^ Nelson, Louis (March 19, 2018). "Comey's memoir tops Amazon's best-sellers list". Politico. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  10. ^ Estepa, Jessica (March 19, 2018). "John Oliver's book about Marlon Bundo, Comey memoir top Amazon bestseller list". USA Today. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  11. ^ Gajanan, Mahita (April 13, 2018). "James Comey's Book A Higher Loyalty Isn't Out Until Tuesday. But It's Already One of 2018's Best Sellers". Money. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
  12. ^ "James Comey's book sales are through the roof". New York Post. April 25, 2018. Retrieved April 26, 2018.
  13. ^ Yglesias, Matthew. "The RNC's new Lyin' Comey website, explained". Vox. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  14. ^ Singman, Brooke. "GOP launches aggressive 'Lyin' Comey' website ahead of release of former FBI chief's book". Fox News Channel. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  15. ^ "Transcripts - The Lead with Jake Tapper". CNN. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  16. ^ Lees, Alasdair (April 17, 2018). "James Comey, A Higher Loyalty, book review". The Independent. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  17. ^ Kakutani, Michiko (April 12, 2018). "James Comey Has a Story to Tell". The New York Times. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  18. ^ Shear, Michael (April 12, 2018). "Comey's Memoir Offers Visceral Details on a President 'Untethered to Truth'". The New York Times. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  19. ^ Conrad, Peter (April 22, 2018). "A Higher Loyalty by James Comey – review". The Guardian. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  20. ^ Broughton, Philip (April 19, 2018). "A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership by James Comey - review: The G-man gets his revenge on Trump". London Evening Standard. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  21. ^ Diaz, John (April 18, 2018). "'A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership,' by James Comey". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  22. ^ Petski, Denise; Fleming Jr, Mike (September 18, 2018). "James Comey's 'A Higher Loyalty' Near Deal At CBS Studios For Miniseries From Billy Ray, Alex Kurtzman & Shane Salerno". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 21, 2018.