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Character Is Destiny


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Senator John McCain entered the Naval Academy in June of 1954 and served in the United States Navy until 1981. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Arizona in 1982 and to the Senate in 1986. The Republican Party's nominee for president in the 2008 election, McCain was also the author of Faith of My Fathers, Worth the Fighting For, Why Courage Matters, Character Is Destiny, Hard Call, Thirteen Soldiers, and The Restless Wave. John McCain died in 2018. Mark Salter is the author, with John McCain, of several books, including Faith of My Fathers and The Restless Wave. He served on Senator McCain's staff for almost twenty years.


As in last year's Why Courage Matters, McCain's latest volume uses biography as an illustration of virtue, but this time the senator broadens his palette significantly, telling 34 stories of heroes whose lives embody qualities ranging from honesty and loyalty to curiosity and enthusiasm. At the root of them all, he says, is a willingness to stay true to one's conscience against all challenges. Thus martyrs appear prominently, from Thomas More and Joan of Arc to Edith Cavell and Father Maximilian Kolbe, as do military heroes, including Pat Tillman, the pro football player whose love of country led him to enlist in the army shortly after 9/11. But the pantheon is inclusive enough to hold Aung San Suu Kyi and Gandhi alongside Churchill and Eisenhower. Although he is reaching out to a younger readership, McCain's plain but sincere language does not condescend to his audience. He makes occasional oblique references to his experiences as a prisoner of war-describing, for example, how they reinforce his understanding of Victor Frankl's concept of dignity-but the only chapter centered on his ordeal highlights a furtive moment of kindness from a Vietnamese soldier. Amid much speculation concerning his plans for 2008, McCain has made a declaration of values that liberals can embrace as readily as conservatives. Agent, Flip Brophy. (Nov. 1) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Traits to have and the people who exemplify them (e.g., Elizabeth I displayed confidence), from the busy senator who gave us books like Worth the Fighting For. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

"An eclectic collection of heroes . . . [John McCain] will be remembered in a volume like this some day."--The Washington Post Book World

"Uplifting . . . inspiring . . . The lessons of these people's lives are as relevant to adults as to children."--Minneapolis Star Tribune "McCain can surprise you, and Character Is Destiny surprises in the diversity of its cast."--Houston Chronicle "McCain has made a declaration of values that liberals can embrace as readily as conservatives."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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