Saturday, February 17, 2018

The Unmaking of the President 2016: How FBI Director James Comey Cost Hillary Clinton the Presidency


I received this ARC free via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 3 Stars

When I saw this pop up on NetGalley, my first thought was "Uuuggghhh, here we go." I have no interest in reading Clinton's memoir of it, but I wanted to see what exactly this book would entail and how it would conclusively prove its premise. Not that it really had to, because it is no secret that Comey's letter had a huge impact on the election. My biggest gripe is with the sub title because Comey is not the only reason Clinton lost. Yes, his timing was absolute garbage - both the timing of his initial letter stating there were more emails, and the follow-up, which went largely unnoticed due to said timing, stating there was nothing new.

Davis cites Clinton's decisive lead heading into the week of October 24th, then the release of Comey's letter to Congress four days later, as the absolute proof that it is Comey alone who cost Clinton the election. Let's just ignore the fact that the 2016 election saw two of the most unlikable candidates in history squaring off. (Don't worry, this will not turn into a diatribe about how Bernie would have defeated Trumplethinskin. I mean, of course he would have. But I digress.)

In the weeks leading up to the election, I avoided coverage as much as I could. I even went so far as to avoid NPR, because it was all so sickening that our democracy could have such a mockery made of it by allowing someone so clearly in love with spray tanning and so clearly unqualified to be president making it to the general election. I did know of Comey's letter and follow-up, the former of which I recalled thinking of at the time as huge help to Trumplethinskin's precarious position.

I found the portions of the text not directly related to Comey and his letters far more interesting. The discussion in general of this whole hullabaloo about private email servers was of interest, as was the sections that focused on the 25th amendment and impeachment.

In the end though, there is nothing really new to add to the discussion from this book. It's not a boring book, and I did appreciate the details, especially in regards to protocol, since it is at least clear that Comey did not follow it at all. But these are also things I likely would have already known had I paid closer attention to the news in that final week and a half.

Trumplethinskin's election was a truly awful thing for our country and I wish it was not our reality. But books like these in the end do a kind of disservice to their cause. Looking back at the election does us very little good at this point, especially one year in. Instead we have to focus on the midterm elections coming up in the fall and flipping as many seats as possible blue. I am cautiously optimistic about the wins in special elections in the last few months and we have to keep working to ensure more seats go the same way.


  1. It's one of the books on my list to get to when time allows. I have a few books connected to this election to read!

    1. It was okay and infuriating all the same, especially having lived through it and waking up everyday realizing you are surrounded by 60 million people who made a really terrible choice on election day. Let me know your thoughts when you get to it. I am waiting on Fire and Fury by the library, which I anticipate to be similar in that it is info I already know, but deliciously gossipy and awful at the same time. I've gone from being person #223 on 60 copies to person #106 on 90 copies. I am surprised that they ordered so many copies, given the fact that I live in a very conservative state (unfortunately), and that it is taking so long for me to get my hands on it.


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