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Why Courage Matters by John McCain

Why Courage Matters

by John McCain

Other authors: Mark Salter (Author)

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I listened to this audiobook some time ago (long before the 2008 election debacle) and am sorry to report that I found it dull and rambling. I finished it mostly because I have a thing about needing to finish books, rather than because I liked it. I think I would have enjoyed an autobiography more, as the only parts I really enjoyed from this book are McCain's own experiences. ( )
  sweetiegherkin | Oct 16, 2010 |
A collection of short stories of men and women who were courageous in their actions and in some cases paid the ultimate price for their courage. The stories are short easy to read and contemporary. ( )
  foof2you | Sep 2, 2008 |
Though I was critical of some of McCain's political views in my more detailed discussions of this book, in the end I think it actually raised my opinion of him as a presidential candidate. More of a light philosophical tract than political commentary, Why Courage Matters is a series of twelve narrative stories and associated commentary of various historical events and the courageous people involved, which McCain uses to systematically explore the nature of courage as a virtue.

Generally McCain addresses three main topical points, what courage is as a definition, what importance is has both individually and socially, and the sources from which courage is obtained. With each topical and sub-topical area, a story of relevance is carefully presented, highlighting the particular points McCain is making.

Though my preconceptions were that this would be a mostly martial book in nature, detailing various and sundry war stories, the fact is that McCain placed more prominently and with more importance narratives concerning a Gandhian style pacifist activism. Holding up the values of social responsibility for change through passive resistance and civil disobedience. Some might argue that this is pandering to people outside of McCain's core political demographics, and there may be some small truth to that, but I think any such attribution can only be a small part of what is a well thought out and written position on the virtue of courage.

The toughest question to answer is would I recommend reading this book, and if so, to whom? This work is really best fit for those interested in McCain's politics at more than a policy positional level. Those that want a deeper understanding of the principals that underlie his positions. People from his senatorial state, Arizona, or those supporting his presidential candidacy would be advised to pick up a copy. Aside from that I would not actively recommend it as general reading, but for those who have for some reason been drawn to it topically or by general interest in its authorship, I would encourage them to pick it up as it manages to be entertaining, educational and enlightening. Even if you disagree with some of the material, you will need to thoughtfully analyze your own ideas to respond to those put forth by McCain. ( )
  JDubba | Dec 1, 2007 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John McCainprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Salter, MarkAuthorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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A reflection on courage presents a collection of stories of surpassing bravery and selfless devotion to duty and offers portraits of individuals--both famous and unheralded--who confronted adversity and triumphed.

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