3.14.2007 

Faith Of My Fathers

Author: John McCain
Year: 1999
Pages: 348
Rating:88/100
Amazon: Faith of my Fathers

Faith of my Fathers is a family memoir by John McCain. He fondly recounts, through his own memories as well as stories passed down to him, the honorable lives of both his father and grandfather. The story then morphs into McCain's experiences in the Navy and his five years as a Prisoner Of War in Vietnam.

Both McCain's father and grandfather were celebrated four-star admirals in the Navy. John McCain grew up in this military atmosphere and followed their path to Annapolis and the Navy. In his youth, he was stubborn and foolish and did not set himself apart from his peers. In fact, he was in the bottom 5% of his graduating class. By his own admission, he played the part of a spoiled navy brat who reaped the benefits of his esteemed family blood lines. The turning point of McCain's life occurs when his plane was shot down and he is captured as a P.O.W.

The second half of the books is super scintillating (thanks Dicky V.) as McCain vividly describes his experience as a prisoner. He was beaten, tortured and interrogated. McCain turned towards the other P.O.W.'s for courage and support and to keep hope alive. This is also the time when McCain learns to love America and all the freedoms and comforts of our nation. Despite the mental anguish and terror, McCain begins to develop his ideology and moral compass as he survives through the trauma.

Many of his stories seem to glorify war. To men like John McCain the military is a way of life. McCain is honest and forthright in deconstructing all three men (including himself) and it helps understand the motivations and inspiration of the McCain's.

Litty’s Take

As I mentioned in this blog post I am going to read the autobiographies for all of the top 2008 presidential candidates. I started with McCain because I had the most outstanding questions about him. He is considered a political maverick and isn't afraid of partisanship. Yet many believe he is quickly swinging to the right to win the Republican Party nomination. I wanted to understand his past. What does it mean to be a P.O.W.? It sounds horrible. Is he still all there physically…mentally (this might sound foolish but really is something that floats through my head)?

I was satisfied with what I learned about him and look forward to reading about more candidates. I can now better relate and appreciate McCain and his ideas. For instance, he supports increasing the troops in Iraq. Understanding his past it's a cinch to realize that McCain would favor this. I'm not saying I agree I just understand the qualifications behind his convictions.

There are some things I liked and some things I wasn't so hot about but overall I feel more informed. I'm not here to share my political views but I do want to put myself in the position to make an informed decision. Reading this book has allowed be to better evaluate McCain.

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