Excerpts of James Comey’s book, A Higher Loyalty, leaked earlier this week and reviews have been unleashed—prompting a return of the New York Times legendary former chief book critic Michiko Kakutani (paywall). The former FBI head’s literary debut has already climbed to the top of Amazon’s bestseller books list, just like Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury did a few months ago.
In under a year and a half since the beginning of Donald Trump’s presidency, several juicy tell-all books have emerged. Given the record turnover rate of the Trump administration, there will likely be many more to come.
Here’s a rundown of what’s already out:
Comey gave the world a taste of his talent for storytelling in his congressional testimony, which had the suspenseful pacing of a spy novel; his account of a fateful Feb. 14, 2017, meeting with Trump began: “When the door by the grandfather clock closed, and we were alone, the President began by saying, ‘I want to talk about Mike Flynn.'”
Comey’s memoir A Higher Loyalty goes on sale next week, and some passages are as well-crafted as his previous accounts of life serving Trump. Here’s the former FBI director writing about how staff viewed the president:
“The silent circle of assent. The boss in complete control. The loyalty oaths. The us-versus-them worldview. The lying about all things, large and small, in service to some code of loyalty that put the organization above morality and above the truth.”
Comey has a clear message: “We are experiencing a dangerous time in our country, with a political environment where basic facts are disputed, fundamental truth is questioned, lying is normalized and unethical behavior is ignored, excused or rewarded.” And while noting in her review thatA Higher Loyalty doesn’t break any news and doesn’t shine in analytical rigor, Michiko Kakutani says that the book offers “some near-cinematic accounts of what Comey was thinking” during interactions with the president. Borrowing Saul Bellow’s words, Kakutani describes Comey as a “first-class noticer”—a quality you’d expect from the country’s onetime top investigator.
Read if: You are interested in the Mueller investigation and enjoy thrillers.
Half attributed information and half gossip, Wolff’s book confirms much of what the American reader had heard about chaos in the Trump White House. The book details Bannon’s power trips, the president copious “executive time”, and Ivanka Trump’s nicknames for Kellyanne Conway. None of it is truly shocking or unexpected, but taken altogether offers a captivating summary of the culture within this inexperienced administration.
Read if: You enjoy palace intrigues and behind-the-scenes color.
After lending his voice to all sorts of “alternative facts,” Spicer was one of the first casualties of the Trump White House. His book promises to “set the record straight” on the 2016 presidential campaign and early Trump presidency, focusing particularly what Spicer sees as the media’s unfair portrayal of the president.
“The stories that are being told are not an accurate representation of what President Trump went through to get the nomination, to transition to the White House and then his first six months in office,” Spicer said about the book.
Read if: You secretly think Trump’s inauguration crowd was the largest ever. Ever.
Anthony Scaramucci lost his job as the White House’s director of communication after just 10 days. But that didn’t keep him from proposing a 60,000 word memoir based on his experience. The book was to be titled I Did It My Way and initially framed as yet another a revelatory look inside the chaos of the White House, and at the tensions between Washington and Wall Street unleashed by Trump’s presidency.
“As someone who didn’t seek the job, Scaramucci at the immediate onset didn’t care if he lost the job,” reads the proposal, promising that “with a sense of nothing to lose, Scaramucci will take you exclusively behind the scenes in his first tell-all book.” However, the financier eventually walked back the promise, wanting instead to write a book that showed loyalty to Trump—which drove publishing offers away.
However the Mooch hasn’t given up; he is reportedly instead writing an analysis of Trump’s ascent to power, a book about an entrepreneur by an entrepreneur, as Scaramucci has described it. The book, titled Trump, The Blue Collar President: How Trump is Reinventing the Aspirational Working Class is scheduled to publish in September 2018.
Read if: You believe he still has more to say.