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Character Is Destiny: Inspiring Stories Every Young Person Should Know and Every Adult Should Remember [Kindle Edition]

John McCain , Mark Salter
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $23.95
Kindle Price: $10.99
You Save: $12.96 (54%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

In Character is Destiny, McCain tells the stories of celebrated historical figures and lesser-known heroes whose values exemplify the best of the human spirit. He illustrates these qualities with moving stories of triumph against the odds, righteousness in the face of iniquity, hope in adversity, and sacrifices for a cause greater than self-interest. The tributes he pays here to men and women who have lived truthfully will stir the hearts of young and old alike, and help prepare us for the hard work of choosing our destiny.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. As in last year's Why Courage Matters, McCain's latest volume uses biography as an illustration of virtue, but this time the senator broadens his palette significantly, telling 34 stories of heroes whose lives embody qualities ranging from honesty and loyalty to curiosity and enthusiasm. At the root of them all, he says, is a willingness to stay true to one's conscience against all challenges. Thus martyrs appear prominently, from Thomas More and Joan of Arc to Edith Cavell and Father Maximilian Kolbe, as do military heroes, including Pat Tillman, the pro football player whose love of country led him to enlist in the army shortly after 9/11. But the pantheon is inclusive enough to hold Aung San Suu Kyi and Gandhi alongside Churchill and Eisenhower. Although he is reaching out to a younger readership, McCain's plain but sincere language does not condescend to his audience. He makes occasional oblique references to his experiences as a prisoner of war—describing, for example, how they reinforce his understanding of Victor Frankl's concept of dignity—but the only chapter centered on his ordeal highlights a furtive moment of kindness from a Vietnamese soldier. Amid much speculation concerning his plans for 2008, McCain has made a declaration of values that liberals can embrace as readily as conservatives.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

After a career in the U.S. Navy and two terms as a U.S. representative, John McCain was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1986 and reelected in 1992 and
1998. He and his wife, Cindy, reside in Phoenix, Arizona.

Mark Salter has worked on Senator McCain's staff for more than 15 years. He lives in Alexandria, Virginia, with his wife, Diane, and their two daughters.

Product Details

  • File Size: 785 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1st edition (October 25, 2005)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #701,181 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
63 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Singularly Important Listing of Remarkable People November 13, 2005
Other reviewers have not revealed McCain's list of admirable character traits, and the individuals he believes best personify them, so let's do that:

Grouped under "HONOR": Honesty (Thomas More), Respect (Ghandi), Authenticity (Joan of Arc), Loyalty (Sir Ernest Shackleton), Dignity (Victor Frankl).

Grouped under "PURPOSE": Idealism (Sojourner Truth), Righteousness (Romeo Dallaire), Citizenship (Pat Tillman), Diligence (Winston Churchill), Responsibility (Lord Nelson & lieutenants), Cooperation (John Wooden).

Under STRENGTH: Courage (Edity Cavell), Self-Control (George Washington), Confidence (Elizabeth I), Resilience (Abe Lincoln), Industry (Eric Hoffer), Hopefulness (John Winthrop).

Under UNDERSTANDING: Faith (Christian guard at Hua Lo Prison), Compassion (Maximillian Kolbe), Mercy (Mother Antonia), Tolerance (The Four Chaplains), Forgiveness (Nelson Mandela), Generosity (Oseola McCarty).

Under JUDGMENT: Fairness (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.), Humility (Eisenhower), Gratitude (Tecumseh), Humor (Mark Twain), Courtesy (Aung San Suu Kyi).

Under CREATIVITY: Aspiration (Ferdinand Magellan), Discernment (Leonardo da Vinci), Curiosity (Charles Darwin), Enthusiasm (Theodore Roosevelt), Excellence (Wilma Rudolph).

Under LOVE: Selflessness and Contentment (Mother Teresa)

Little reflection is required to notice the arbitrariness of some of the above pairings of characteristics and individuals. Several other classifications and pairings would have been possible and, obviously, many of the above people qualify under more than one heading.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
In a manner similar to then-Senator John F. Kennedy's "Profiles in Courage" in 1955, Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) has co-written, with his regular writing partner Mark Salter, a straightforward book about 34 historical figures, both famous and forgotten, all of whom followed their conscience against seemingly insurmountable odds to achieve their sense of truth and decency. Depending on your political affiliation, the publication seems either ironic given the declining level of trust for the current administration and its leader, or timely given McCain's own Presidential aspirations. Perhaps to escape such scrutiny, McCain and Salter have targeted their book to young adults who are otherwise ignored by such politicians except in polemics such as promising increased subsidies for higher education. This decision is admittedly crafty, but fortunately, the co-authors handle their history lesson in a non-condescending way that makes it constructive reading for readers of any age.

The overriding message they want to convey is that there is nothing circumstantial when it comes to people who achieve greatness, that in fact, they achieve greatness as a result of their own character. McCain's message of being responsible for one's own happiness resonates, and he modestly assesses himself as a work-in-progress in this regard. The book is rather arbitrarily organized into seven categories - honor, purpose, strength, understanding, judgment, creativity and love - under which he identifies individuals who represent key aspects of those criteria for greatness. The expected figures are included, legendary martyrs such as Joan of Arc (under "Honor" epitomizing authenticity), Thomas More (representing honesty) and Nelson Mandela (showing forgiveness in the "Understanding" section).
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48 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Virtue of Virtues November 11, 2005
"Character Is Destiny," by Senator John McCain, reminds me somewhat of the series of books by virtue's czar, William Bennett. Bennett's forte was compiling vignettes from classical literature to illustrate various admirable character traits. McCain follows suit by highlighting character as illustrated by famous and not-so-famous individuals from ancient history and modern times.

His choice of heroes and heroines is eclectic enough to please folks on the right and the left. As the subtitle suggests, the book can be a shared experienced between young and old, parents and children. It is worth the reading for its celebration of the human spirit, in particular the spirit of hope that overcomes despair, love that conquers hate, and faith that defeats doubt.

Reviewer: Bob Kellemen, Ph.D., is the author of "Soul Physicians," "Spiritual Friends," and "Beyond the Suffering: Embracing the Legacy of African American Soul Care and Spiritual Direction."
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28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is an impeccably written book, and one that is well worth keeping, sharing, and especially giving as a gift, as the stories and principles hold a great deal of weight, by virtue of the light from which the stories have been written.

On the subject of destiny, McCain does not believe in inevitable destiny. Instead, he shares, "It is your character, and your character alone, that will make your life happy or unhappy. That is all that really passes for destiny. And you choose it."

On character and reputation, he shares:
"Many good people mistake their reputation for their character. It is a mistake I have made many, many times," McCain writes. "Of course, our reputation should be a reflection of our character. But sometimes, through no fault of our own, it is not.

"We must be true to ourselves. And we must be true to others, whether they believe we are or not."

This is the ultimate message of this stellar book, and the stories help to reinforce how to live the messages by inspiring us with the truth others have shared and lived by.

I am actually rewarding my high school age children to read this book. I also feel that anyone, at any age, can significantly enhance their lives from the many principles in "Character is Destiny" by making the conscious choices to do so.

Deserves 10 Stars.

Barbara Rose, Ph.D. author of Stop Being the String Along: A Relationship Guide to Being THE ONE and Know Yourself: A Woman's Guide to Wholeness, Radiance & Supreme Confidence
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Published 1 month ago by Peter
1.0 out of 5 stars Please don't make your students read this.
It was trite, from beginning to end.
Published 7 months ago by Devon Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars More Than Expected
Inspirational stories. Excellent collection that associated people and history with character. Rich cross section of stories that I know I can find one of them to use each and... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Zardoz
5.0 out of 5 stars Character is Destiny
There are very encouraging stories told in this book. We need more positive and supportive information in our lives to achieve our own Destiny.
Published on January 10, 2013 by maryhgarnett
2.0 out of 5 stars Good seller, o.k. book, questionable author...
The book shipment and packaging was great. The condition of the book was just as expected. The seller delivers as promised. The book itself is a joke... Read more
Published on December 27, 2012 by Catherina Wojtowicz
3.0 out of 5 stars Not 100%
Of the many things human beings have the potential to possess, there is character. This tends to separate the above normal from the beast. Read more
Published on March 22, 2011 by Dan Schobert
2.0 out of 5 stars Cannot read this material to a child!!
I was excited when ordering this book. I planned to read the stories to my granddaughter, who is ll

The wording of the stories is not in a form a child could... Read more
Published on August 6, 2010 by A. Starkey
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring
I enjoyed this book, and hope that someday, my three young children can read it as well. I am inspired to dream bigger and love others better in my journey. Read more
Published on January 2, 2010 by Kimberley Mullens
1.0 out of 5 stars Out of Touch
I really went into this book with an open mind and was let down. McCain is out of touch. These stories are not his own, but are just a retelling of the good works of others. Read more
Published on November 16, 2008 by Sarah Ficca
5.0 out of 5 stars McCain Secrets Revealed
For those who have questions about John McCain, this is a must read. It holds the reasons behind many of John McCain's otherwise inexplicable behavior. Read more
Published on October 24, 2008 by B. Leecraft
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