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December 19, 2018 December 2019, Regular Features No Comments

To offer a choice for holiday reading  here are a couple of very different books for consideration: ‘A change of key’ and ‘James Comey – a higher loyalty’.

A change of key

The characters in A change of key by Adrienne Jansen are a number of refugees living in a Wellington city council high rise set of flats. Each lives in their own isolation having  their own back story which, for various reasons they do not want to talk about. 

The city council’s decision to raise the rent gradually brings them together to fight a common cause. In doing so  barriers are gradually broken down as ethnicity suspicions and rumours are proven groundless. Music  proves to be the one thing several have in common and the basis of eventual friendships.

Having worked with refugees in New Zealand Adrienne Jansen can portray an authentic background for her story giving the reader an insight to the problems that these people face as they integrate  into their new way of life. 

A nice undemanding holiday read, I find having a book set in a town I’m familiar with somehow always adds to the story . Anybody who has earlier read Marina Lewycka’s novel the Lubetkin legacy will no doubt notice the similar setting and plot; a group of immigrants living in  London council flats bought together by a common fight with their council landlord. 

James Comey – A higher loyalty 

In this just published book James Comey describes his time as Director of the FBI under Presidents Bush , Obama ,and briefly, Trump. He also details his  previous involvement with Bill and Hillary Clinton during his time as Assistant U.S. Attorney under Rudy Giuliani. 

He takes readers through cases and personal events which helped shape his views on justice, fairness and ethical leadership. His battles against the  surveillance and torture policies of the Bush administration read like pages from a political thriller. 

FBI Director is a non political position with an appointment being for ten year, renewable, blocks which often covers time with two or even three presidents in power.  This separation of power is strictly followed, while the Director  can be part of a group advising the President on a particular subject the President never has a one on one meeting with the Director. 

Presidents Bush and Obama understood the reason for the importance of keeping the —— and never arrange a private meeting with Comey. However President Trump did not observe this convention and  on three occasions ordered the Director to the White House, at each meeting he demanded that Comey make a pledge of loyalty to Trump. 

Each time Comey explained that to ensure total independence the FBI can not pledge loyalty to anybody.  He said that he could promise to always tell the President the truth.  The rebuffs came at the price of Comey’s position,  he was sacked  even although he had two years to run on his term. 

In A higher loyalty readers details his involvement in many cases which  made the headlines  and of the inner workings of the American political system. It is a portrait of good leadership, misguided leadership, patriotism and the vital importance of a culture of telling the truth. 

Mike Beckett 

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