Thoughts of a Philosophical Fighter Pilot (Reprint ed.) 1st Edition
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"Devoted" by Dean Koontz
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"No fair-minded reader can depart these pages without deep admirations for Stockdale and for the stoic philosophy he propounds...This is a book to be read, pondered, and cherished."
About the Author
- Item Weight : 12.8 ounces
- Paperback : 245 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9780817993924
- ISBN-13 : 978-0817993924
- Product Dimensions : 6 x 0.63 x 9 inches
- Publisher : Hoover Institution Press; 1st Edition (July 1, 1995)
- Language: : English
- ASIN : 0817993924
- Best Sellers Rank: #63,290 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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This is perhaps the most intellectually and emotionally charged book I have read. And yet Admiral Stockdale was a quiet, humble man. As previous reviewers have commented, there is a wealth of material: ethics, history, drama...but I focus on the introspection he demands of America, especially in choosing leaders that send our young men and women into harms was...and, at times, into 7 and-a-half years of constant torture.
Do not presume to think you know the substance of this book. I assure you, you will be proven wrong. The book is brutal. Yes, it does describe the torture and underground resistance - the ordeal and triumph American POWs. And that is more than useful for several generations of Americans who came to maturity when we, as a Nation, preferred to ignore a government's duplicity and, in many instances, stupidity in the conduct of war and national affairs.
The book is critical of the government. What? A Vice Admiral and holder of the Medal of Honor being critical of the government? Damn right! So pay attention. This is not a criticism based on emotion or a "why didn't you help me" cry. It's a demand...nothing less...that elected officials exhibit character. Character is unambiguous. You want an example...it is simple: It is not what you believe in. It is how you act.
On page 30, Stockdale recounts a conversation as I quote: "I think that in an important way, the television news industry is doing the whole country a continuing disservice. We constantly reinforce a bad idea that we helped invent - the idea that the key to being a good citizen, a discerning voter, is to know where all the candidates stand on all the issues. The issues are given center stage and the politician is cast as their suitor. We have made the expression `so much for philosophy, lets get down to issues' a maxim of conventional wisdom. And at news time every evening, all networks project scenes of harassed men and women being nailed down by stubborn interviewers who insist on quick answers on where their victims stand on gun control, abortion, and so on......
"...what's important is not the person's current views on transient issues, but his character."
And this, from Lester Crystal, then the President of NBC News!
Character. How does a man or woman of character act? They do not quibble. They do not lie. They do not debate "What 'is' is?"
On many levels, Stockdale defines the term.
This book is an excellent introduction to the life of a man who defined leadership not with words, but with deeds. The current crop of politicians and so-called cultural leaders should be required to read this volume, and the rest of us should read it so we can tell the difference between a real leader and a wordy fake whose only motivation is "game theory".