Captain John Sidney McCain,
III, USN (ret.), is the senior United States Senator from Arizona and presidential nominee of the Republican Party in
the 2008 presidential election. Senator McCain graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1958. He became a naval aviator, flying
ground-attack aircraft from aircraft carriers. During the Vietnam War, he nearly lost his life in the 1967 USS Forrestal fire.
In October 1967, while on a bombing mission over Hanoi, he was shot down, badly injured, and captured by the North Vietnamese.
He was a prisoner of war until 1973, experiencing episodes of torture and refusing an out-of-sequence early repatriation offer;
his war wounds left him with lifelong physical limitations.
He retired from the Navy as a captain in 1981, moved to Arizona, and entered politics.
Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1982, he served two terms, and was then elected to the U.S. Senate in 1986,
winning re-election easily in 1992, 1998, and 2004. Senator John S. McCain (writing with his assistant
Marshal Salter) is the author of: Faith of My Fathers: A Family Memoir; Worth
the Fighting For: A Memoir; and, Why Courage Matters: The Way to a Braver Life.
said of Faith of My Fathers: A Family Memoir, “As the 2000 presidential campaign heats
up, Republican hopeful McCain, the senior senator from Arizona, weighs in with the most engrossing book to appear in a long
time from a presidential candidate. Writing with Salter, his administrative assistant, McCain carefully avoids the pitfalls
of self-promotion, knowing that he has a larger, more interesting story to tell than merely why he wants to be president.
McCain is famous for the five years he endured as a prisoner in the Hanoi Hilton, the most notorious POW camp in Vietnam.
Less well known are two other John McCains: his father and grandfather, both of whom served as admirals in the U.S. Navy.
The military service of all three men forms the basis of this gripping, heartfelt reflection on war and naval culture. McCain's
grandfather was a legendary old salt, a hard-drinking gambler who fought in WWII next to giants like Nimitz and Halsey. McCain's
father was a submarine commander who rose to become commander of all U.S. forces in the Pacific during the Vietnam War. Almost
half the book is devoted to McCain's grueling tenure as a POW. When he was shot down over Hanoi in 1967, he broke both
arms, one shoulder and one knee. During his imprisonment, McCain was tortured repeatedly and frequently locked in solitary
confinement. The faith McCain avows is a simple one: "in God, country, and each other” each other being his comrades
at the Hanoi Hilton and, later, his fellow citizens. McCain's memoir is too good to be dismissed as simply another campaign
book. It is a serious, utterly engrossing account of faith, fathers and military tradition.”
According to the book description of
Worth the Fighting For: A Memoir, “After five and a half years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam,
naval aviator John McCain returned home a changed man. Regaining his health and flight-eligibility status, he resumed his
military career, commanding carrier pilots and serving as the Navy's liaison to what is sometimes ironically called the
world's most exclusive club, the United States Senate. During his time in public office, McCain has seen acts of principle
and acts of craven self-interest. He describes both extremes in these pages, with characteristic straight talk and humor.
He writes honestly of the lowest point in his career, the Keating Five savings and loan debacle, as well as his triumphant
moments – his return to Vietnam and his efforts to normalize relations between the U.S. and Vietnamese governments;
his fight for campaign finance reform; and his galvanizing bid for the presidency in 2000.”
Publisher’s Weekly said of Why
Courage Matters: The Way to a Braver Life, “After two stirring memoirs, Senator McCain turns in a slim
meditation on the nature of courage. Suggesting the definition of courage has been stretched thin in contemporary parlance,
where it can be applied to acts as insignificant as cutting or not cutting one's hair, McCain seeks to return to the word's
fundamental meaning not just of "the capacity for action despite our fears" but self-sacrifice for the benefit of
others as well as for oneself. Although he addresses valorous conduct by American soldiers in the Korean and Vietnam Wars,
he is, as always, modestly self-critical of his own experiences in Vietnam (although he and his fellow POWs turned to one
another for moral support on a daily basis, he confesses, "I was not always a match for my enemies"). In an especially
moving chapter, he recounts the participation of his congressional colleague John Lewis in the nonviolent wing of the Civil
Rights movement. Other sections discuss the Navajo leaders Manuelito and Barboncito, Jewish freedom fighter Hannah Senesh
and Burmese dissident (and Nobel Peace Prize recipient) Aung San Suu Kyi. These compelling life stories stand up against the
best passages of McCain's previous works. Alas, his writing becomes more vague and less interesting when he shifts to
a more abstract discussion of the need for courage in the post–September 11 era. One of McCain's greatest strengths
as a writer has been that he doesn't sound like just another politician, and while the drop-off in quality here isn't
significant, it is noticeable.”