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Man of the People: The Life of John McCain

ISBN: 978-0-471-22829-5
432 pages
October 2002
Man of the People: The Life of John McCain (047122829X) cover image
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.
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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.

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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, most recently, 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 will be a Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. Alexander lives in New York City.
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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)
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