From Publishers Weekly
As he faces down the perplexing issues of war in Iraq and immigration reform at home, it's fitting that Arizona senator McCain, a contender for the 2008 Republican presidential bid, would spend time reflecting on principled stands that either "win a hero's welcome or indefinite pain and suffering." McCain and co-author Salter follow the blueprint of their previous book, Why Courage Matters, to provide readers with a series of character-as-history profiles of the men and women who shaped seminal moments in 20th century political and cultural history, from the integration of professional baseball to the pardoning of Richard Nixon to the end of the Cold War, as well as seemingly trivial accomplishments like the invention of the disposable razor ("Sell the shave, not the razor"). Throughout, an insider's view provides keen insight on the caprices of history and more than a few echoes of current events, most importantly the interplay between personal experience and national destiny. Meticulously crafted, this collection will appeal to those who respect McCain's reputation as a maverick for whom "faith and courage" ranks among the most important forces in human history.
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Much admired for his integrity, McCain offers profiles of individuals who have been confronted with difficult situations and made heroic choices. He begins Bud Day, an air force major who escaped captivity in Vietnam in 1967 only to be recaptured and help othersincluding McCainsurvive. McCain details the qualities represented in making the hard calls in life: awareness, foresight, timing, confidence, humility, and inspiration. The most important part of the equation is self-awareness, and McCain recalls how his own lack of self-awareness caused him to be captured in Vietnam. In separate chapters, he explores each of those qualities and provides examples of people who exemplify them. Branch Rickey, who broke the color barrier in American baseball by hiring Jackie Robinson, is profiled for his awareness of the pernicious impact of racism. Theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, the former pacifist, who turned his considerable intellect to support World War II, is profiled for his humility in recognizing the paradox of war in the context of moral responsibility. McCain also cites former President Gerald Ford for his humility in showing mercy for disgraced President Nixon and pardoning him, at great political cost. Among the inspirational profiles are Apollo II mission commander Neil Armstrong and Captain Robert Gould Shaw, who commanded the all-black Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Infantry during the Civil War. McCain and cowriter Salter treat all of those profiled in great detail, providing the historical context for their hard calls. Bush, Vanessa