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McCain's Promise: Aboard the Straight Talk Express with John McCain and a Whole Bunch of Actual Reporters, Thinking About Hope Paperback – June 1, 2008


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McCain's Promise: Aboard the Straight Talk Express with John McCain and a Whole Bunch of Actual Reporters, Thinking About Hope + Consider the Lobster and Other Essays + Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 124 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books; 1st Back Bay Pbk. Ed edition (June 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316040533
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316040532
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #444,386 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Wallace's inexperience as a campaign reporter is an advantage here, leading to unvarnished insights."—Ariel Gonzalez, Miami Herald

"Bracingly insightful."—Pankaj Mishra, New York Times Book Review

"Wallace conveys a geniuine disillusionment at the sham of the whole arrangement: the endless political posturing, the robotic news coverage...At the same time, he recognize's McCain's essential magnetism."—Steve Almond, Los Angeles Time Book Review

"Compelling...A patient and thoughtful meditation on what McCain's military past-specifically, his five-plus years as a prisoner of war-means about his moral fiber."—Kevin Canfield, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

About the Author

David Foster Wallace was born in Ithaca, New York, in 1962 and raised in Illinois, where he was a regionally ranked junior tennis player. He received bachelor of arts degrees in philosophy and English from Amherst College and wrote what would become his first novel, The Broom of the System, as his senior English thesis. He received a masters of fine arts from University of Arizona in 1987 and briefly pursued graduate work in philosophy at Harvard University. His second novel, Infinite Jest, was published in 1996. Wallace taught creative writing at Emerson College, Illinois State University, and Pomona College, and published the story collections Girl with Curious Hair, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, Oblivion, the essay collections A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, and Consider the Lobster. He was awarded the MacArthur Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award, and a Whiting Writers' Award, and was appointed to the Usage Panel for The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. He died in 2008. His last novel, The Pale King, was published in 2011.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 63 people found the following review helpful By jubster on September 13, 2008
Format: Paperback
Given DFW's recent tragic death (and the election timing of this re-release), I'd imagine alot of folks may now discover this book. What Wallace wanted current readers understand about the context, he told the Wall Street Journal in an interview from June 2008. Here's the excerpt:

"The essay quite specifically concerns a couple weeks in February, 2000, and the situation of both McCain [and] national politics in those couple weeks. It is heavily context-dependent. And that context now seems a long, long, long time ago. McCain himself has obviously changed; his flipperoos and weaselings on Roe v. Wade, campaign finance, the toxicity of lobbyists, Iraq timetables, etc. are just some of what make him a less interesting, more depressing political figure now--for me, at least. It's all understandable, of course--he's the GOP nominee now, not an insurgent maverick. Understandable, but depressing. As part of the essay talks about, there's an enormous difference between running an insurgent Hail-Mary-type longshot campaign and being a viable candidate (it was right around New Hampshire in 2000 that McCain began to change from the former to the latter), and there are some deep, really rather troubling questions about whether serious honor and candor and principle remain possible for someone who wants to really maybe win. I wouldn't take back anything that got said in that essay, but I'd want a reader to keep the time and context very much in mind on every page."
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120 of 135 people found the following review helpful By taews on May 27, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you have read Consider the Lobster, you have already read this book! I feel very deceived to have bought it. This newly released book is a chapter from Consider the Lobster for which Wallace spent time with McCain's campaign bus in 2000! This is NOT about the current 2008 campaign. I'm extremely disappointed at the crass commercialism of the publisher and/or Wallace for re-releasing old stuff with a new name just to cash in on the current presidential campaign. I should have given it 1 star, but if someone has not read the piece already, he or she would enjoy this book.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Verita VINE VOICE on September 16, 2008
Format: Paperback
So if you have any interest in his other essays, read that book instead of this one. While this is not a bad essay, note the timing of its re-release during a year when McCain is running for the Presidency of the US. Note also that Wallace, recently deceased, had changed his opinion of McCain, as per an interview he gave in May 2008: [...]
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By E. Scoles on December 19, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you're a fan of David Foster Wallace's nonfiction, I think this is probably a must-read. It faces squarely off against his fascinations with issues of ethics and authenticity, and shows him in a troubled frame of mind. I can't say how much editing was done recently, but this is technically the last book he published before his death so it's also got that grim recommendation.

By turns it's uncomfortably funny and fascinating, and it paints a portrait of McCain that's remarkably insightful in the light of the recent campaign. It's DFW at the top of his nonfiction game.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nicole on August 22, 2014
Format: Paperback
This is a really brilliant piece, and significantly more engaging than your standard "inside politics" story.

It's fun and accessible, and like much of Wallace's nonfiction, feels like a good story from a friend who's very clever but more than a bit inept human interaction, but who's ultimately very sweet and humble and compassionate.

Interestingly, it doesn't really try to make a political point in a conventional sense, but rather spends its time looking at the way campaigns are structured and run and how fundamentally ridiculous and wasteful the whole system is, then moves to discussing the interplay of authenticity and advertising in our modern age. It's endlessly fascinating, even fourteen years later, since the focus on large social/political issues instead of partisan ones makes the individual setting more interesting and timeless.

It's definitely worth reading, both for Wallace fans, and those of us who just like engaging long-form journalism.
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By Chris on January 30, 2013
Format: Paperback
Looking back after the Bush II and Obama administrations, it might be hard to imagine why there would be something promising about McCain or why he would be the subject of a fascinating campaign book. Over the past twelve years, McCain has calcified into a strictly partisan politician. At the time the book was written, McCain was more of the maverick that he claimed to be in the 2008 election. In 2000, McCain was the less-polished, more sincere alternative to the establish-picked George W. Bush.
This brief book (originally this was a piece for Rolling Stone, that was severely cut to fit the magazine) follows McCain in South Carolina after his surprise win in the New Hampshire primaries. Because Wallace was writing for Rolling Stone, Wallace was not granted any access to the candidate. The book is like Roger & Me in a sense, that you never get to see the subject of the piece up close. Wallace ends up spending a lot of his time with the camera crews of the various news organizations. The title of the magazine piece was "Up Simba", which is what one of the camera men grunts each time he lifts his video camera. The camera men offer a unique perspective to the campaign. Wallace discusses some of the more absurd aspects of a political campaign such as: "the scrum", the surrounding of the candidate by TV camera men as the candidate leaves a venue and heads to the bus; or where do the huge American flags come from and what happens to them after the rallies. This a unique piece of political reporting and if you'd like an outsider's point of view on campaigns, I would highly recommend this book.
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