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Man of the People: The Life of John McCain Paperback – January 19, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0471475453 ISBN-10: 0471475459
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Alexander has written lives of Sylvia Plath and James Dean, but he became a political journalist in the 1990s and recently wrote several articles about Republican Senator McCain of Arizona for Rolling Stone. The first two-thirds of this biography retell the stories (third-generation navy, five years as a POW in Hanoi) we've already heard, in McCain's own Faith of My Fathers (1999) and Robert Timberg's The Nightingale's Song (1995) without substantially revising the public understanding of McCain. In fact, Alexander's version occasionally seems politically na‹ve. He deals with McCain's transition from military officer to aspiring congressman, for example, in just a few pages, never questioning the motives for this career change. This lack of political perspective may stem from Alexander's populist adulation of his subject, whom he calls "the one current politician who best articulates the hopes and dreams of the common man." It's no surprise, then, that the blow-by-blow coverage of McCain's run at the White House is sharp, richly detailed journalism. Unfortunately, the story trails off after McCain drops out of the race; there's some material on the campaign finance reform bill, and an interesting rumor that the Democrats tried to lure the senator out of the Republican Party in early 2001, but then there's really nowhere else to go (the book's epilogue was not available for review). Alexander, a fellow at the Hoover Institution and cohost of WABC radio's Batchelor and Alexander, offers an adequate enough account of McCain's life, but it will have a tough time competing against McCain's latest memoir, Worth the Fighting For.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

This first complete biography of Sen. John McCain-navy brat, navy pilot, prisoner of war, populist Republican legislator, and presidential candidate-is presented by Alexander, political pundit and biographer of Sylvia Plath (Rough Magic) and J.D. Salinger (Salinger: A Biography). The author admires McCain and believes that he could have been elected president in 2000 by running as an independent. While McCain's five-and-a-half-year ordeal as a prisoner of war in the notorious "Hanoi Hilton" is vividly told, his career as a representative and a senator from Arizona is treated more fully than any other part of his life. McCain's ongoing feud with President Bush over dirty tricks in the 2000 Republican primary is also thoroughly described, as is McCain's signature issue, campaign-funding reform. (Elizabeth Drew nicely tells the story of McCain's leadership of the campaign reform movement in Citizen McCain.) Alexander does not write with the verve and introspection that McCain does in his two autobiographies, Faith of Our Fathers and Worth Fighting For, but he offers an informative, politically astute biography that is recommended for public libraries.
Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley (January 19, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471475459
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471475453
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1.1 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,106,542 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Paul Alexander is the author of Salinger: A Biography, the basis of Shane Salerno's much anticipated feature documentary Salinger to be released in theatres by the Weinstein Company in September before appearing on American Masters on PBS in the spring.

Alexander is the editor of the essay collection Ariel Ascending: Writings About Sylvia Plath and the author of Rough Magic, a biography of Plath; Boulevard of Broken Dreams: The Life, Times, and Legend of James Dean, a bestseller that has been published in ten countries; Death and Disaster: The Rise of the Warhol Empire and the Race For Andy's Millions; Man of the People: The Life of John McCain; The Candidate, a chronicle of John Kerry's presidential campaign; and Machiavelli's Shadow: The Rise and Fall of Karl Rove. He is the author of the bestselling Kindle Singles Murdered, Accused, and Homicidal. His latest e-book, Mistried, was published by Rosetta Books.

A former reporter for Time, Alexander has published nonfiction in The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, The Boston Globe, New York, The Nation, The Village Voice, Salon, Worth, The New York Observer, George, Cosmopolitan, More, Interview, ARTnews, Mirabella, Premiere, Out, The Advocate, Travel & Leisure, The Los Angeles Times Book Review, Biography, Men's Journal, Best Life, The New York Review of Books, The Huffington Post, and Rolling Stone. In Europe, his journalism has appeared in Paris Match, Gente, and The Guardian. He contributes to The Daily Beast.

Alexander wrote Good Night, Dorothy Kilgallen, an original screenplay about Kilgallen's investigation of the Kennedy assassination, for Twentieth Century Fox. He is the author of the plays Strangers in the Land of Canaan and Edge, which he directed. Developed at The Actors Studio, Edge, the one-woman play about Sylvia Plath, ran in New York, where Angelica Page received an Outer Critics Circle Award nomination; London; and venues in other cities, among them Miami, where New Times named Page Best Actress. Edge toured Australia and New Zealand and enjoyed a second run in New York. In all, Page performed Edge 400 times. Alexander is the director of a British revival of Ariel Dorfman's play Death and the Maiden; New York Stories, an evening of one-act plays by Paul Manuel Kane that ran in New York; and Brothers in Arms, a documentary feature film about John Kerry and Vietnam (First Run Features).

Alexander holds a BA in English and Creative Writing from The University of Alabama and an MFA from The Iowa Writers' Workshop. He has taught at the University of Houston, Long Island University, The City University of New York, and Hofstra University. Memberships include PEN American Center, the Authors Guild, and the Playwrights and Directors Unit of The Actors Studio. In the fall of 2002, he was a Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. In January 2013, he appeared at the Key West Literary Seminar as part of the Writers on Writers series.

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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By "gclaus7" on January 7, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Fans of John McCain who want to know about the senator's life history will not be too disappointed. It's all there, from his childhood through his military service through his ascendancy to the national spotlight.
Unfortunately, the book is sloppily written and edited. Alexander repeats himself quite often, and he relies too much on long-winded quotes from other sources. Further, the editing leaves a lot to be desired. Phrases like "centered around," as opposed to the correct "centered on" are commonplace and distracting. Alexander's magazine pieces are much better, which leads me to believe this work suffers from poor editing more than the pedestrian prose.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Fabrizio Poli on February 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book a few years ago and just recently read it. John McCain hasn't had an easy life and his imprisonment in Vietnam really marked his life. I found the book written quite well.

The author has done his research well and if you are American and thinking about voting this book will help you find out more about what makes John McCain tick. It was interesting to find out that when McCain got back from Vietnam he found his wife had been disfigured in a car accident & couldn't have any more kids, so he started seeing other women, this lead into a divorce. Shortly after McCain met his current wife and started another family. Things to think about I guess when electing a President...
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