A captivating look at one of America's most prominent and fascinating public figures Bestselling author, war hero, presidential candidate, champion of the most politically sticky issue to rock Washington since Watergate-campaign finance reform- there may be no better known senator than John McCain. From Democrats to Republicans, many Americans relate to John McCain's straight-talking form of politics. In Man of the People: The Life of John McCain, political journalist Paul Alexander offers the only objective, in-depth account of this remarkable politician's journey-from Naval Academy student to Presidential hopeful. Readers will follow McCain from his rich Navy roots through his twenty-one year tour in the Navy, and then behold as he evolves into one of our country's most distinguished yet controversial political leaders. With insider access, Alexander flushes out the personal history to present a candid portrait of the political evolution of McCain. From the WWII hero grandfather who aggressively helped destroy the Japanese military machine to McCain's growth from Navy plebe to Reagan foot soldier, Alexander uncovers what makes McCain tick, how he evolved into a politician with a cause that has endeared him to Democrats and antagonized the Republican party leadership. Political insider, radio talk show host, and well-known journalist Paul Alexander followed McCain from the Presidential campaign trail to stumping for campaign finance reform. McCain's life is not only the story of the most compelling politician since Ronald Reagan but also the history of the transformation of American politics over the last thirty years. Through McCain's personal history-from Vietnam veteran to Reagan go-to guy to a key figure in the Keating S&L crisis to military campaign critic, Alexander pulls back the public curtain to reveal the private man. In doing so, he exposes military machinations, Vietnam controversy, POW torture, mental depression, and political intrigue. John McCain continues to push the political system, thus capturing the attention of the American public. The straightforward, no-nonsense style that has become his hallmark shines through every page of this telling biography.
Prologue. 1. Admiral McCain. 2. Anchors Away. 3. Vietnam. 4. Coming Home. 5. The Congressman From Arizona. 6. One Hundred Kings. 7. The Senator From Arizona. 8. Presidential Politics. 9. "The Dirtiest Race I've Ever Seen". 10. The Best Man. 11. Man of the People. Epilogue. Source Notes. Index.
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 naive. 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 co-host 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 (Forecasts, Sept. 23). (Nov.) (Publishers Weekly, October 14, 2002) "offers an informative, politically astute biography that is recommended..." (Library Journal, November 15, 2002)
PAUL ALEXANDER is cohost of the highly rated WABC radio show with John Batchelor, Batchelor & Alexander. He has become a widely read political journalist in recent years, and his articles have appeared in George, Mirabella, The Advocate, and Rolling Stone. He is the author of biographies on Sylvia Plath, James Dean, and J.D. Salinger. In addition, his cultural reporting has appeared in the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, New York, the Village Voice, Worth, Interview, the Los Angeles Times Book Review, Out, The Nation, Cosmopolitan, Premiere, Gear, Travel & Leisure, the New York Observer, and The Guardian. During the fall of 2002, he was a Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
"I continue to believe that we're the noblest experiment in the history of the world. My job is to do what little I can to see that that dream continues. All nations throughout history have fallen; they've risen and fallen. And someday America will fall. But I want that day to be put off as long as possible." And that, in a nutshell, is Senator John McCain–disarming yet honest, hopeful yet realistic, and one of today's most fascinating, sometimes antagonistic, and popular public figures. Senator McCain has garnered the respect and admiration of Americans of all political stripes, and–based on his goal-driven record of persistence and success–we may one day find ourselves referring to him as President McCain. But who is John McCain? What drove this one-time Navy plebe to the top rungs of the American political ladder, within striking distance of becoming the most powerful man in the world? Man of the People: The Life of John McCain is the first in-depth and straightforward examination of the remarkable journey of John McCain. Equal parts biography and history of late twentieth-century American politics, this fascinating book pieces together the puzzle of McCain's extraordinary life through the events and circumstances that shaped his distinctive personality and molded his character. Political journalist and bestselling biographer Paul Alexander parlays his unique access to McCain and his circle to recount: McCain's formative years as the son and grandson of four-star admirals McCain's brutal–yet transformative–stint as a prisoner of war in Vietnam His difficult decision to leave behind a promising military career to craft a new life in U.S. politics The hard-fought presidential campaign that raised McCain's national popularity and brought him acclaim John McCain has molded himself into one of our country's genuine leaders by answering only to his constituents and his conscience. In Man of the People, McCain's sincere though sometimes controversial style leaps from the printed page. Whether you are Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, it will provide you with a one-on-one introduction to the man who many consider to be the most principled and accomplished figure on today's American stage–and who may soon be calling the shots on that very same stage.
Praise for Man of the People "John McCain is a real man. By that I mean he has faults and weaknesses like anybody else. But he has supplemented those with a ferocious courage and intensity. Paul Alexander brings McCain's life to life in a way the reader will never forget." –Bill O'Reilly, anchor, The O'Reilly Factor "If I were looking for a politician to clean the corporate pigsty, it would be John McCain. In Man of the People, Paul Alexander artfully captures the drive, the integrity, and the tenacity that make John McCain such a one-of-a-kind politician." –Arianna Huffington, political columnist and author, Pigs in the Trough: How Corporate Greed and Political Corruption are Undermining America "Man of the People is the story of John McCain's unique American journey from the Naval Academy to the Hanoi Hilton, from the U.S. Senate to a presidential campaign that set the standard for honor, dignity, courage and truth in a year when those qualities were often politics' first casualty. I have had no greater privilege in all my life than finding and then standing on common ground with John McCain, and I look forward to fighting side by side with him on yet another day to make our country stronger. Paul Alexander has taken the full measure of this special man–the genuine article, a true citizen soldier through and through–and captured the essence of the John McCain I know and love." –Senator John F. Kerry of Massachusetts
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