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Citizen McCain First Edition Edition

15 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0743230025
ISBN-10: 0743230027
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Editorial Reviews Review

Congressional politics can be a dirty, rough-and-tumble game, but Washington legend Elizabeth Drew takes us ringside to an unusually fierce fight: the quest for campaign finance reform, spearheaded by maverick senator John McCain.

Little known outside Arizona, McCain gained prominence when he broke from the Republican leadership and still came close to earning his party's nomination for the presidency in 2000. Derailed by George Bush (whose lieutenants, one of Drew's interviewees remarks, fought "the dirtiest, nastiest campaign I've ever seen"), McCain struck out against entrenched, big-money interests, earning plenty of enemies on Capitol Hill and plenty of admirers outside the Beltway. Drew gives us a day-by-day, sometimes hour-by-hour account of McCain's courtly but tough battle, fought with handshakes here, cajoling there, and shrewd calculation everywhere.

Readers wanting to know how things really get done in Washington have a fine guide in Drew, and admirers of McCain will find still more reasons to respect him after watching him in combat. --Gregory McNamee

From Publishers Weekly

Drew offers a focused narrative that follows Senator John McCain through the 2001 legislative session as he maneuvers toward his goal of campaign finance reform. The highly respected Drew, a former New Yorker political writer and author (The Corruption of American Politics, etc.), was granted extraordinary access to McCain, including many private interviews and the cooperation of his staff. She is careful to note, however, that this is not an approved biography. The result is an instructive, even suspenseful, fly-on-the-wall account of how recondite parliamentary ploys, masterful management of the press and public relations, opportunistic coalition-building and sheer tenacity, energy and conviction laid the groundwork to challenge the formidable forces aligned against finance reform. High-profile players intent on disrupting McCain's fragile coalition include White House advisor Karl Rove, Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, ultraconservative Republican Congressmen Dick Armey and Tom DeLay, along with unions and various lobbyists. In the midst of her narrative, Drew is forced to change her focus from the battle over campaign finance reform to the events of September 11. In Drew's view, McCain provides a rare example of leadership as he makes numerous media appearances including one as the sole guest of Jay Leno designed to reassure the public after the terrorist attacks. In that regard, the book's title is revealing. For Drew, McCain is a man to whom the title "citizen" attaches as an honorific without irony, the reference to Orson Wells's manipulative Kane notwithstanding.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (May 7, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743230027
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743230025
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,276,487 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 1, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is a highly revealing book about Senator John McCain, one of the most fascinating figures to hit the political scene in many moons. Those who followed his unsuccessful but energizing presidential campaign will be delighted to see the more complete and complex figure who emerges in these pages. He is shown as a serious strategic thinker who keeps his eye on the ball to achieve a long term legislative goal. While describing McCain the book also gives a lot of insight into the process which led to the passage of the campaign finance overhaul. It's a great read for anyone interested in McCain, Washington politics, the campaign finance system in this country or all of the above.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Richard A. Stratton on October 21, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Get personalities out of the equation.
An unvarnished up to date inside look at how our national legislation is formulated, processed, obstructed and finally passed. An vital and compelling insight into the capabilities and limitations of our constitutional process. Critical insight into the legislative process. A forceful argument for communicating with our elected representatives.
Who says so? I'm a student of government: Georgetown; AB [History/Government],1955; Stanford, MA [International Relations],1964; and victim of Congressional ambivalence (POW Hanoi, Vietnam 1967 - 1973].
Incidentally, Senator McCain comes across as a TR reincarnated; but that is not the fault of the author. McCain assumes the responsibilty himself. What you sees is what you gets. Don't fault the messenger; read the book and be a better citizen for the doing so.
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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Sudie Nolan on May 14, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I never thought that I would write a review of a book on campaign finance reform and call it a "page turner," but this one is just GREAT....It keep me enthralled all the way to the end, which is more than I can say about other books on similar subjects.
Despite what many think, living inside "the beltway" does not necessarily equate to an knowledge of the inner-workings of Congress. In fact, although I read the news coverage of the protracted campaign-finance reform battle, I didn't have a clear understanding of the difficulties behind-the-scenes.
What I enjoyed most about Elizabeth Drew's latest book--Citizen McCain--is that it delves into all of the inner workings: the wrangling and deal-making that accompany Congressional legislation. Ms. Drew is able to explain it in plain English--and it's fascinating.
I definitely recommend this book.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Chris Salzer on April 14, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Always original and always unabashedly candid, John McCain has won over many fans in the realm of politics - as well as his fair share of enemies. Whenever I hear McCain is to appear on Hannity & Colmes or another show, I make it a point to tune in - because I know something provocative - and possibly something controversial, may be said. That's what sets McCain apart from the politically correct force-fed politicians of today - he refuses to rigidly adhere to the strident dogma of party lines. McCain, instead, subscribes to his own agenda - one of morality, reform, and good old-fashioned honesty.
While Elizabeth Drew primarily delineates McCain's co-authored monumental McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Bill throughout the book, she all the while allows us to delve into the innerworkings of the McCain office and his devoted staff. While others in his own party(and those outside as well) bash him and label him as being bitter towards Bush as to why he didn't back the President's tax cuts, McCain proves that he, above all, is a man of principle, not party line. True American patriots like John McCain are few and far between. As SC Senator Lindsey Graham says, "The thing about John McCain is that if you ever get to be his friend, he'll be with you thick and thin. There ain't a lot of that up here."
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 14, 2002
Format: Hardcover
My mother-in-law always used to give me a subscription to the New Yorker for Xmas, so I have been a longtime reader and fan of Elizabeth Drew. For those of us in the hinterland who can only stand a limited amount of Washington politics, she is a good filter for it. Now she has taken on our most famous maverick politician, and the combination is a winner. There is enough inside detail to let you know how things work, and at the end you can close the cover and say "Thank God I don't have to live there!"
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By CeeCee on August 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
During the political season, it is good to read a political book which just gives some straight talk without attacking. Citizen McCain documents some of the years in which McCain worked with Congress on the McCain Fiengold Campaign Finance Reform Bill. After Congress got through with it, the final bill was not the same as it started. I'm sure he would like to see more reform. (At the time this was written, most people had not heard of Obama.)

The book gives insight into how Congress works and how it takes persistance, cooperation, and the maturity to have the patience of Job to get a bill passed. I enjoyed seeing him at work.

One trait which has not gotten the attention it deserves is his empathy. The author states: "...the empathy of someone who's suffered for someone he sees is hurting. There's a kindness, even a sweetness, that's unusual for people so ordinarily self-centered as polilticians." This book also shows his leadership during 9-ll.

Faith of My Fathers: A Family Memoir offers more insight into McCain especially his experiences as a POW. It also shows how he was a maverick even when he was 2 years old. In this autobiographical book, it is amazing how much he talked about the importance of others and the need to serve a cause greater than self-interest. It is not an "all about me" type of book.
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