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.
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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.