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In this candid new political memoir from Senator John McCain, an American hero reflects on his life—and what matters most. I don’t know how much longer I’ll be here. Maybe I’ll have another five years. Maybe, with the advances in oncology, they’ll find new treatments for my cancer that will extend my life. Maybe I’ll be gone before you read this. My predicament is, well, ra In this candid new political memoir from Senator John McCain, an American hero reflects on his life—and what matters most. I don’t know how much longer I’ll be here. Maybe I’ll have another five years. Maybe, with the advances in oncology, they’ll find new treatments for my cancer that will extend my life. Maybe I’ll be gone before you read this. My predicament is, well, rather unpredictable. But I’m prepared for either contingency, or at least I’m getting prepared. I have some things I’d like to take care of first, some work that needs finishing, and some people I need to see. And I want to talk to my fellow Americans a little more if I may. So writes John McCain in this inspiring, moving, frank, and deeply personal memoir. Written while confronting a mortal illness, McCain looks back with appreciation on his years in the Senate, his historic 2008 campaign for the presidency against Barack Obama, and his crusades on behalf of democracy and human rights in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Always the fighter, McCain attacks the “spurious nationalism” and political polarization afflicting American policy. He makes an impassioned case for democratic internationalism and bi-partisanship. He tells stories of his most satisfying moments of public service, including his work with another giant of the Senate, Edward M. Kennedy. Senator McCain recalls his disagreements with several presidents, and minces no words in his objections to some of President Trump’s statements and policies. At the same time, he offers a positive vision of America that looks beyond the Trump presidency. The Restless Wave is John McCain at his best.


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In this candid new political memoir from Senator John McCain, an American hero reflects on his life—and what matters most. I don’t know how much longer I’ll be here. Maybe I’ll have another five years. Maybe, with the advances in oncology, they’ll find new treatments for my cancer that will extend my life. Maybe I’ll be gone before you read this. My predicament is, well, ra In this candid new political memoir from Senator John McCain, an American hero reflects on his life—and what matters most. I don’t know how much longer I’ll be here. Maybe I’ll have another five years. Maybe, with the advances in oncology, they’ll find new treatments for my cancer that will extend my life. Maybe I’ll be gone before you read this. My predicament is, well, rather unpredictable. But I’m prepared for either contingency, or at least I’m getting prepared. I have some things I’d like to take care of first, some work that needs finishing, and some people I need to see. And I want to talk to my fellow Americans a little more if I may. So writes John McCain in this inspiring, moving, frank, and deeply personal memoir. Written while confronting a mortal illness, McCain looks back with appreciation on his years in the Senate, his historic 2008 campaign for the presidency against Barack Obama, and his crusades on behalf of democracy and human rights in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Always the fighter, McCain attacks the “spurious nationalism” and political polarization afflicting American policy. He makes an impassioned case for democratic internationalism and bi-partisanship. He tells stories of his most satisfying moments of public service, including his work with another giant of the Senate, Edward M. Kennedy. Senator McCain recalls his disagreements with several presidents, and minces no words in his objections to some of President Trump’s statements and policies. At the same time, he offers a positive vision of America that looks beyond the Trump presidency. The Restless Wave is John McCain at his best.

30 review for The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights and Other Appreciations

  1. 5 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    I didn't grow up in a political household, politics, world views were rarely discussed. At least not in front of us children. Remember my mom swooning over the Kennedy's like many parents. That may be why I don't really affiliate with any political party. I tend to vote the issues and the person, their characters, their experience. In this way over the years I have come to admire John McCain. I didn't agree with all his views, all his stances, but I did recognize his grace, his strength, his int I didn't grow up in a political household, politics, world views were rarely discussed. At least not in front of us children. Remember my mom swooning over the Kennedy's like many parents. That may be why I don't really affiliate with any political party. I tend to vote the issues and the person, their characters, their experience. In this way over the years I have come to admire John McCain. I didn't agree with all his views, all his stances, but I did recognize his grace, his strength, his integrity, his love for his job and his country, the people. He is now fighting a battle that may be his last, and the words in this book is what he wants to impart to those remaining. I knew I had to read them. His book covers much, his career, his positions on various issues, leaders and the decisions he agreed and disagreed with, his family, his feelings, his diagnosis, and his hopes for the future, even if he is not there to see them. They are not written particularly well, but they are written with honesty, and wisdom. They are touching and stirring in their simplicity. The likes of men that this in our government, men who dedicate themselves to public service because they feel they can make a difference, not for vainglory, but for love of country, is near its end. The old vangaurd, I believe they call McCain, the lion of the Senate, is being replaced with people with little or no political experience, with millionaires and billionaires that can now buy our highest offices, at a state and federal level. How can the country I live in still be considered a democracy? I fear when these elder stateman are gone, so too is the wisdom, the caring, and the dedication they provided. His own words, "Above all else, we must stand in solidarity with the imprisoned, the silenced, the tortured, and the murdered because we are a country with a conscience." I fear Senator McCain even before you leave this Earth, we are no longer that country. I want to thank you for your long service, and can do nothing but wish there were more men and women with a conscience leading our country today.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    It was a memoir. He didn't shit on anyone and he didn't do a tell all. He wrote about his experiences around the world, he had nice things to say about Sarah Palin, he had not very nice things to say about Obama's decisions (understandable), and not very much to say about Trump (surprising). If you were a fan of John McCain then you will enjoy this book. I was a Republican since the 1970's until 2000 (then I became a Democrat) and I loved McCain until he made Palin his VP pick in 2007, but after It was a memoir. He didn't shit on anyone and he didn't do a tell all. He wrote about his experiences around the world, he had nice things to say about Sarah Palin, he had not very nice things to say about Obama's decisions (understandable), and not very much to say about Trump (surprising). If you were a fan of John McCain then you will enjoy this book. I was a Republican since the 1970's until 2000 (then I became a Democrat) and I loved McCain until he made Palin his VP pick in 2007, but after reading this book I am back to having a fondness for him again. He is a good man, he has done so many good things and I wish all Republicans and some Democrats were more like him.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jean

    I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book. The book covers his campaign for presidency to the current time. I found some of his observations and comments about people such as Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Obama, both Bushes and high military command most interesting. Toward the end of the book he also had some comments about Trump. In this book what came through to me loud and clear was that McCain’s priority is the country and all else is secondary. Prior to reading this book I had read “Faith I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book. The book covers his campaign for presidency to the current time. I found some of his observations and comments about people such as Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Obama, both Bushes and high military command most interesting. Toward the end of the book he also had some comments about Trump. In this book what came through to me loud and clear was that McCain’s priority is the country and all else is secondary. Prior to reading this book I had read “Faith of My Father’s A Family Memoir” by McCain; doing this was most helpful in understanding McCain in this current book. I highly recommend this book. I read the book as an audiobook downloaded from Audible. The book is just over fourteen hours. McCain read the forward but the actor, Beau Bridges, narrated the book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Peter Tillman

    Here's an edited excerpt, published as an essay by the WSJ: ‘Vladimir Putin Is an Evil Man’ https://www.wsj.com/articles/john-mcc... "Three months later, in Putin’s first weeks as prime minister [1999], bomb explosions destroyed apartment buildings in three Russian cities, including Moscow. Putin used the incident as grounds for starting a second Chechen war and ordered the bombing of Grozny, Chechnya’s capital. The inhumanity of the Russian assault was stunning. No caution, no discrimination, no Here's an edited excerpt, published as an essay by the WSJ: ‘Vladimir Putin Is an Evil Man’ https://www.wsj.com/articles/john-mcc... "Three months later, in Putin’s first weeks as prime minister [1999], bomb explosions destroyed apartment buildings in three Russian cities, including Moscow. Putin used the incident as grounds for starting a second Chechen war and ordered the bombing of Grozny, Chechnya’s capital. The inhumanity of the Russian assault was stunning. No caution, no discrimination, no trials, brutal and merciless: Just kill people, fighters and civilians, and don’t worry about the difference." "Vladimir Putin is an evil man, and he is intent on evil deeds, which include the destruction of the liberal world order that the United States has led and that has brought more stability, prosperity and freedom to humankind than has ever existed in history. He is exploiting the openness of our society and the increasingly acrimonious political divisions consuming us. He wants to widen those divides and paralyze us from responding to his aggression. He meddled in one election, and he will do it again because it worked and because he has not been made to stop. Putin’s goal isn’t to defeat a candidate or a party. He means to defeat the West."

  5. 4 out of 5

    Donald Powell

    John McCain is truly a great man and a true American Hero in many realms. I thoroughly enjoyed reading his thoughts, his approach and his urgent plea for principles above personalities. His vision of governance is amazingly aligned with the founders and other great political thinkers. As a student governance in my sixth decade I can unequivocally say John McCain has the voice we should all hear. Politicians and citizens need to read this book and internalize it, act in accordance and preach it l John McCain is truly a great man and a true American Hero in many realms. I thoroughly enjoyed reading his thoughts, his approach and his urgent plea for principles above personalities. His vision of governance is amazingly aligned with the founders and other great political thinkers. As a student governance in my sixth decade I can unequivocally say John McCain has the voice we should all hear. Politicians and citizens need to read this book and internalize it, act in accordance and preach it like he does. HIs maturity of thought and approach are tempered by humility and fed by passion. He is a model for all Americans, all citizens everywhere. I have differed from him on many policies, having been on the progressive side of the Democratic party, but, this alters my opinion of him and his ideals not one iota. I was born and raised in Northeastern Arizona (Navajo County) and particularly appreciated his few references to Arizona. I feel a connection to him that transcends politics, a heartfelt gratitude

  6. 4 out of 5

    Marc Gerstein

    I love political memoirs, whether from people I agree with or disagree with, like or don’t like, voted for or voted against. Considering the arc of his life, with much to be revered even by those with differing views, I thought this would be a winner. It is a powerful historic resource given the incredible quantity of valuable information it presents based on the first-hand experiences McCain had with so many issues of global importance. And it raises vital questions, such as whether the U.S. has I love political memoirs, whether from people I agree with or disagree with, like or don’t like, voted for or voted against. Considering the arc of his life, with much to be revered even by those with differing views, I thought this would be a winner. It is a powerful historic resource given the incredible quantity of valuable information it presents based on the first-hand experiences McCain had with so many issues of global importance. And it raises vital questions, such as whether the U.S. has really learned anything at all from the Vietnam experience. I could argue, from the book, that it hasn’t. The problem is that McCain doesn’t argue one way or the other even though he’s in a prime position to develop such arguments. I think this may be more of a failure of editing than writing. McCain has enough on his plate and shouldn’t be expected to be a polished author. He needed good feedback along the way that told him it was too much a recitation of just-the-facts without nearly enough perspective. That’s the editor’s job.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Book

    The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights, and Other Appreciations by John McCain and Mark Salter “The Restless Wave” is a candid yet surprisingly understated political memoir from John McCain. No matter what side you are on the political spectrum, McCain’s love of country is undeniable and shines through in what is most likely his last swan song. This frank 416-page book includes the following ten chapters: 1. No Surrender, 2. Country First, 3. About Us, 4. In the Company of Heroe The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights, and Other Appreciations by John McCain and Mark Salter “The Restless Wave” is a candid yet surprisingly understated political memoir from John McCain. No matter what side you are on the political spectrum, McCain’s love of country is undeniable and shines through in what is most likely his last swan song. This frank 416-page book includes the following ten chapters: 1. No Surrender, 2. Country First, 3. About Us, 4. In the Company of Heroes, 5. Arab Spring, 6. Fighting the Good Fight (with and against Ted Kennedy), 7. Nyet (Know Thine Enemy), 8. Know Thyself (Defending the West), 9. Part of the Main (American Exceptionalism), and 10. Regular Order. Positives: 1. A well-written, candid book. 2. The interesting life and observations of Senator McCain. “All that is attributable to one thing more than any other. I have been restless all my life, even now, as time grows precious.” 3. The book defines the essence of John McCain. “To fear the world we have organized and led for three-quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems is unpatriotic.” 4. Many quotes of wisdom. “We don’t build walls to freedom and opportunity. We tear them down.” 5. Senator McCain is a very credible man with a high degree of patriotism, integrity and sense of care for your fellow human being. Willing to admit the wrongs of the past. “We had gone into Iraq based on faulty intelligence about weapons of mass destruction, and destroyed the odious Saddam Hussein regime.” 6. A wonderful take on immigration. “I wish every American who out of ignorance or worse curses immigrants as criminals or a drain on the country’s resources or a threat to our “culture” could have been there. I would like them to know that immigrants, many of them having entered the country illegally, are making sacrifices for Americans that many Americans would not make for them.” 7. Recounts his presidential campaigns. “Win or lose, I didn’t want anyone ever to have fair grounds to criticize us for resorting to any kind of racist dog whistling. I wanted to win. I wanted to be President. But I, too, recognized the social progress Obama’s candidacy represented, and I didn’t want to impede it by inciting, even with a wink and a nod here and there or with language that had double meanings, the prejudices that have marred our history. I cautioned staff repeatedly, and senior staff reiterated it repeatedly, to steer clear of any communication, formal or informal, or an event or any person that could be interpreted as suggesting race as a reason to vote for me and against Obama.” 8. His views on torture are priceless. “The ultimate victim of torture is the torturer, the one who inflicts pain and suffering at the cost of their humanity.” “But I knew, too, that information extracted by torture is unreliable.” 9. His sense of right and wrong is admirable. “The cruelty of our enemies doesn’t absolve us of this duty. This was never about them. It was about us.” 10. McCain lives for the best usage of military power. “I was convinced that our plan to transfer military responsibilities to the Iraqis was too hasty while our plan to return political control of the country to them was too attenuated, and I began saying so in speeches and interviews.” 11. McCain’s views of Hillary Clinton. “I went to Iraq and Afghanistan in February 2005 with Lindsey and Senators Russ Feingold, Susan Collins, and Hillary Clinton. It was my second experience traveling with Hillary, whose company I enjoyed very much. She was a hardworking and intelligent senator, which wouldn’t surprise anyone to learn. But she is also, contrary to the negative public image promoted by her detractors, very warm, engaging, and considerate in person, and fun.” 12. Some facts are hard to ignore and digest. “As of today, as the Syrian war continues, more than 400,000 people have been killed, many of them civilians. More than five million have fled the country and more than six million have been displaced internally. A hundred years from now, Syria will likely be remembered as one of the worst humanitarian catastrophes of the twenty-first century, and an example of human savagery at its most extreme.” 13. He clearly defines his politics. “Not an isolationist, protectionist, immigrant-bashing, scapegoating, get-nothing-useful-done Republican. Not, as I am often dismissed by self-declared “real” conservatives, a RINO, Republican in Name Only. I’m a Reagan Republican, a proponent of lower taxes, less government, free markets, free trade, defense readiness, and democratic internationalism.” 14. Discusses key political issues. “Campaign reform was the central issue of my 2000 campaign. I could see people react favorably to my thesis that campaign reform was a necessary prerequisite to other government reforms, that too much money from too few sources bred a dependency on narrow interests that frequently undermined the national interest.” 15. His love for the Senate and the senators that made it so. “Lesson one: only give your word if you’re sure you can keep it.” 16. The Russians! “I was alarmed by Russian interference in the election. Any loyal American should be. I wanted to make Putin pay a steep price for it, and I worried the incoming administration would not be so inclined. I had strongly disagreed with candidate Trump’s admiration for Vladimir Putin, which I put down to naïveté and a general lack of seriousness about Putin’s antagonism to U.S. interests and values.” “He warned that Putin would never be a reliable partner to the West, that his long-term goal was to reestablish the Soviet empire.” 17. No love lost for Putin. “Putin blamed the Obama administration for fomenting the protests, especially Secretary of State Clinton, who had appropriately stated the administration had “serious concerns about the conduct of the [December] election.” “The Russian people,” she continued, “deserve the right to have their voices heard and their votes counted.”” “Vladimir Putin is an evil man. There is no better word for him. And he is intent on evil deeds, which include the destruction of the liberal world order, its values and its institutions.” “Putin’s interference in our last election achieved all his objectives. He damaged Hillary Clinton’s campaign, but that wasn’t his most important priority. Encouraging our government’s dysfunction, and disaffection and distrust in the polity were his main objectives. He sees evidence of his success every day in our polarization and gridlock.” 18. A great defender of human rights and democracy. “Martin Luther King, Jr., had called it “the fierce urgency of now,” the transformational moment when aspirations for freedom must be realized, when the voice of a movement can’t be stilled, when the heart’s demands will not stand further delay.”” 19. Keen sense for the betterment of humanity. “If we don’t accept that the nature of a regime shapes its conduct, we risk profoundly misreading international politics. We expect better behavior from despots than we have reason to. We miss what can be the most transformational force for good in the world: the anger of oppressed people, and their hope, their imperishable hope for change.” “There is nothing so rewarding as contributing, even if only in the most modest way, to the defense of another human being’s dignity, all the more so when the person is otherwise a stranger to you.” 20. Makes suggestions on how to improve politics in America. “If a candidate modestly promises to build relationships on both sides of the aisle, to form alliances to promote their ideas, to respect other points of view, and split differences where possible to make measurable progress on national problems, ask that candidate to run for President. Their humility and honesty commend them for the job.” Negatives: 1. A bit more verbose than I would have liked. At over 400 pages this book will require your time. 2. No supplementary material. I would have liked a timeline, charts or diagrams. 3. Surprisingly tamed. Other than his pure disdain for Putin, McCain was understated. 4. The book is not a smooth page-turner the interest varies from topic to topic. 5. I would have enjoyed more focus on his political views. In summary, this progressive has much admiration and love for Senator McCain. My politics may differ from McCain but we are on the same wave as it relates to our love for humanity and democracy. I have the utmost respect for this honorable man and wish him the best. If you want to know the man and what drives John McCain read this book, I recommend it! Further suggestions: “Faith of My Fathers” by the same author, “A Higher Loyalty” by James Comey, “Facts and Fears” by James R. Clapper, “Promise Me, Dad” by Joe Biden, “Audacity of Hope” by Barack Obama, “Fire and Fury” by Michael Wolff, “What Happened “ by Hillary Rodham Clinton, “Can It Happen Here?: Authoritarianism in America” by Cass R. Sunstein, “How Democracies Die” by Steven Levitsky.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    I really enjoyed reading his personal thoughts and statements and reading about his experiences. However, it was way too much detailed information for me on each battle in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Zulfiya

    Let me start with this blunt confession aka disclaimer - I am a Russian immigrant, an agnostic, and a progressive, so hopefully, I am not biased too much with my four star review, but the book is not about me - it is about John McCain by John McCain, who is a very rare breed among Republicans. He is a true patriot of his country ( as he sees it) and the one who is always willing to shake hands across the political aisle for the betterment of his country. The book is not exactly a memoir - it is Let me start with this blunt confession aka disclaimer - I am a Russian immigrant, an agnostic, and a progressive, so hopefully, I am not biased too much with my four star review, but the book is not about me - it is about John McCain by John McCain, who is a very rare breed among Republicans. He is a true patriot of his country ( as he sees it) and the one who is always willing to shake hands across the political aisle for the betterment of his country. The book is not exactly a memoir - it is mostly a book of political and personal musings with some passages filled with painful truths, ideas you do not agree with, or even passages radiating elegiac confessions of what it is to be alive and be mortal. As he openly states, McCain is a Reagan type Republican, an honest supporter of American ideals who sincerely believes that they will work for everyone on this Earth. He is, to a point, an incarnation of Rudyard Kipling with his idea of the white man's burden or, to be precise, American man's burden to bring prosperity, cultural growth, stability, and peace using the American model. In this book, McCain shows that people can be friends despite their political affiliations and work together and compromise to the mutual benefit and the benefit of his country. He was not hostile to anyone in the book, and he was very respectful of Sarah Palin despite her silly personality and irrational behavior after the campaign. He also honestly admitted that the surge of change that brought Obama to presidency was too strong to handle as America was ready for a change, but it also shows that he was willing to fight a good fight till the very end. He never directly questioned and criticized Trump, but he clearly stated his own views on immigration, torture, religious and political freedoms and civility, and they are all drastically different from Trump's, so these are all tongue-in-cheek statements. Any book in the democracy with free market is a way of earning money, so he definitely did not want to completely alienate all Republican voters, and that is why he was harsher on Obama than I expected, but it was still a very respectful stance. The only thing that was nagging me is his unapologetic support of Mikheil Saakashvili, who was a progressive change in Georgia many years ago, and now unfortunately, due to the vagaries of politics and his ambitions, turned into a clown-like politician who often plays cheap. All in all, it does tell volumes about the person whose closest friends are both Republicans and Democrats, and who is possibly fighting his final battle with dignity and integrity. Thank you, John McCain for allowing me to see another truth out of many that are there.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Deb Jones

    Politically speaking, John McCain and I have often been on opposite sides of the fence. That has not kept me from appreciating what an intelligent and dedicated man he is. Having read The Restless Wave, I feel solid in that conviction in addition to realizing his great love for the United States and all her people. McCain has penned a biography that brings a back story to selected periods/ventures from his run for the presidency in 2008 to his strong feelings about the need for torture methods to Politically speaking, John McCain and I have often been on opposite sides of the fence. That has not kept me from appreciating what an intelligent and dedicated man he is. Having read The Restless Wave, I feel solid in that conviction in addition to realizing his great love for the United States and all her people. McCain has penned a biography that brings a back story to selected periods/ventures from his run for the presidency in 2008 to his strong feelings about the need for torture methods to adhere to the Geneva Conventions to his insights on situations in the Middle East and more. I found his voice to be down-to-earth and full of the spirit that has driven McCain his entire political career.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Marilyn

    Holy cow, did he ever travel. I can understand why he needed fact checkers to help him with dates and places. This is a compendium of Senator McCains time in the Senate. He obviously relished and enjoyed the experience. Apropos of the Presidents visit to Finland, Senator McCain makes no bones about mistrusting Vladimir Putin and his goals. He also mistrusts the President and his America First agenda. This book could have made stronger with some judicious editing. It takes a bit to plow through th Holy cow, did he ever travel. I can understand why he needed fact checkers to help him with dates and places. This is a compendium of Senator McCains time in the Senate. He obviously relished and enjoyed the experience. Apropos of the Presidents visit to Finland, Senator McCain makes no bones about mistrusting Vladimir Putin and his goals. He also mistrusts the President and his America First agenda. This book could have made stronger with some judicious editing. It takes a bit to plow through the details. Senator McCain is a true American hero.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ronald Aylward

    I stopped at page 75. This is one of the most poorly written books that I have started to read. It is very ego centric as evidenced by the use of the personal pronoun “I”. It is a steam of conscious type of writing that John may enjoy, but it is not worth reading. I am glad I rented from the library. Did not cost me anything.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Matt Heavner

    An interesting life - a good, broad look at the world from the view of McCain. A lot of explanation, but not an apologia. No regrets over Sara Palin. No love for Putin. Confusion about wtf is up with Trump. Interesting reflections on the Senate - with Kennedy, Udall, and others.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Pam Cipkowski

    I always like to hear what John McCain has to say, and this book is no different. A lot of political war stories here, and a heavy dose of foreign policy (which made me yawn in a few spots), all injected with his usual sarcastic wit and bravado. Conversations about the 2008 campaign are almost quaint, with tales of old-fashioned politicking. He’s a bit hard on Obama, but also shows his respect for him as well. I don’t have the head or the mind for foreign policy, but McCain definitively shows the I always like to hear what John McCain has to say, and this book is no different. A lot of political war stories here, and a heavy dose of foreign policy (which made me yawn in a few spots), all injected with his usual sarcastic wit and bravado. Conversations about the 2008 campaign are almost quaint, with tales of old-fashioned politicking. He’s a bit hard on Obama, but also shows his respect for him as well. I don’t have the head or the mind for foreign policy, but McCain definitively shows the threat that Russia presents to the U.S. and to the west. He called the decision not to impose new sanctions on Russia after the 2016 election, “...a colossal strategic mistake, and a stain on our honor.” And he laments that, “The world is learning to live without our active leadership.” I think he gives Trump way too much credit, though, i.e., “I’m not sure what to make of President Trump’s convictions,” and, “It is hard to know what to expect from President Trump...” He has the bully pulpit here, and he should have used it more forcefully to speak out about Trump’s moral and political failings. McCain’s view of America, though, seems forever enmeshed in a flag-waving, idyllic love of country, while barely acknowledging the discrepancies that leave the bounty and promise of this great nation untouchable and unreachable for many. He will long remain, though, a heroic and noted figure, and one of the most colorful, outspoken legislators of our time. Like him or not, McCain is part of a vanishing old guard who knows his stuff and will fight his battles. When the time comes, we will greatly feel his loss.

  15. 4 out of 5

    JerryDeanHalleck

    The Louder he talked of honor, the faster we counted our spoons. This isn't a good book. Its boring and prose style is mediocre. You'll have to be a BIG McCain fan to enjoy reading it. First, if you're looking for great insights into the 2008 campaign, the US Senate, or McCain's political associates - you're out of luck. McCain mostly writes about McCain. How he felt, what he thought, were he went, and his views on politics and foreign policy. His comments on everyone else are pedestrian. For ex The Louder he talked of honor, the faster we counted our spoons. This isn't a good book. Its boring and prose style is mediocre. You'll have to be a BIG McCain fan to enjoy reading it. First, if you're looking for great insights into the 2008 campaign, the US Senate, or McCain's political associates - you're out of luck. McCain mostly writes about McCain. How he felt, what he thought, were he went, and his views on politics and foreign policy. His comments on everyone else are pedestrian. For example, here are McCain's "insightful" comments on George Bush: "I disagreed with President Bush on some issues, including a few big ones, like his tax cuts. But I agreed with him on other things, most things, really, and I liked him. He's likable and a good man". Even the people his dislikes (like Gov. Huckabee or Rand Paul) are rarely mentioned. So, there aren't any fireworks. Secondly, the book is dull because 2/3 of it covers McCain's overseas travels and foreign policies. Its nice McCain went to Iraq or Russia and met with military/foreign leaders - but so what? , McCain wasn't making decisions about the Iraq War or Russia. He was a Senator. And he had no influence with Bush and Obama - the actual decision makers. In the remaining third of the book, McCain covers his 2008 campaign and talks about his illness, Amnesty, and friendship with Ted Kennedy. Evidently, Ted was a "Great guy" with a "Great laugh" who McCain loved to "fight with" and then have a drink and a joke. Except for Amnesty, when he and Ted were on the same team. Oh, and Hillary was a wonderful person, who could be funny and really could put it away.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ash Wilson

    “I don’t know how much longer I’ll be here. Maybe I’ll have another 5 years. Maybe, with the advances in oncology, they’ll find new treatments for my cancer that will extend my life. Maybe I’ll be gone before you read this. My predicament is, well, rather unpredictable. But I’m prepared for either contingency, or at least I’m getting prepared. I have some things I’d like to take care of first, some work that needs finishing, and some people I need to see. And I want to talk to my fellow America “I don’t know how much longer I’ll be here. Maybe I’ll have another 5 years. Maybe, with the advances in oncology, they’ll find new treatments for my cancer that will extend my life. Maybe I’ll be gone before you read this. My predicament is, well, rather unpredictable. But I’m prepared for either contingency, or at least I’m getting prepared. I have some things I’d like to take care of first, some work that needs finishing, and some people I need to see. And I want to talk to my fellow Americans a little more if I may.” … those were the first words I heard from what John McCain has announced will be his last published work ever as he serves his last term ever as a United States Senior Senator representing the state of Arizona. I heard them read in his own, unmistakable voice that I’d know anywhere, anytime, in any space. This was the excerpt released in an audio clip prior to the release of the book, although the words can actually be found in print near the end of the final chapter. A final chapter that I balled my eyes out at, as an older gentleman who has led one hell of an incredible life as an American patriot and hero so humbly, peaceful, acceptingly, openly, comes to terms with the reality of his sad but true terminal brain cancer diagnosis. I needed some time after I finished this book before I could write a review for it. As it turns out, I needed 3 days. I found some other reviews I’ve read so far about it to be quite interesting. A few people said that it didn’t seem like a “tell all” or “brutally honest” or anything like that. Those people clearly know nothing of John McCain, the man, personally, because this book seemed as brutally honest, raw and emotional as it gets. Yes, it’s true that he didn’t heavily discuss his personal life, and it was mostly about his work, but this is not his first book. He has written several amazing books with staffer / historian Mark Salter, and this is his 3rd memoir after “Faith of My Fathers” and “Worth the Fighting For”. He goes into his personal life as much as he needed to as a public political figure. What other personal details does one need to know? He’s openly discussed his marriages, his children, much of his time in captivity held as a POW, (which is about as dark and personal as it can get), his personal, private thoughts, reflections and dealings during public, national, and sometimes international issues, etc. Not sure what “tell all” information he’s supposed be revealing. He’s not some trashy Hollywood celebrity. I also disagreed with a lot of what I saw others saying about his political colleagues and his viewpoints on them. I thought he was respectful, but also, brutally honest about his feelings on all of that. But I’ll get to that later. The book is entitled after a line from the Navy Hymn, which I should have easily assumed, but did not know prior to reading it. The opening chapter caught me out just as much as the closing one did. Although I had to read it for myself, I still heard in my head it being read perfectly in McCain’s always steady voice: “Accumulated Memories.” (Also what the chapter is titled.) “I had reached an age when I had begun to feel the weight of them. Memories evoked by a connection to someone or to an occasion. By a familiar story or turn of phrase or song. Memories of intense experiences, of family and friends from younger days. Of causes fought, some worth it, others not so much, some won and some lost. Of adventures bigger than those imagined as a child. Memories of a life that had seemed to me so lucky and unlikely, and of friends who had been braver, but not as fortunate [as me].” After that, the final memoir starts out basically where “Worth the Fighting For” had left off. A little less than the first 20 percent or so of the book is about the 2008 Presidential election. For me, personally, (in fairness, as someone who worked for McCain in that election), there wasn’t much to be learned about it that isn’t already public knowledge. Nothing really revelatory. He wanted to select one of his best friends, a past Democrat, converted Independent, (now retired from public service), Joe Lieberman, as his VP pick, but was told that was a poor choice that would have negative consequences for the RNC, etc, (which, in retrospect, must be a little bit of a hard pill to swallow seeing where the RNC would go 8 years later and who would become the next ‘Republican’ President.) And he does express clear regret over not going with his gut and his heart on that choice and admitted that not picking Lieberman was a mistake. However, he also remained extremely respectful to Sarah Palin throughout this section, which I thought was especially classy based off of my own personal opinions of her, her family, and how she has treated McCain then, now and in between - but I digress. From there, he led into reflections about the Iraq / Afghanistan wars, his choices, votes, thoughts, and regrets about them, how it affected his second Presidential, run, etc. Side-note: I actually found it funny that one of the first reviews I read about this book criticized him because they claimed that he spent too much time discussing Iraq. Again, it’s like, hello? Did you know anything at all about John McCain before you picked this book up? He comes from a family of Navy admirals, he’s a strong military man himself, is the longtime chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and has often said, as his actions have clearly exhibited throughout his years of public service, that as a U.S. Senator, he has always specialized mostly in foreign affairs. What did people expect him to focus on when discussing the latter half of his career besides the war we’ve been in during that entire time? Whatever your views on torture and all of the controversy over how the United States has implemented it through the CIA, etc during our war on terror / post 9/11 years, you can’t read this book and say that McCain doesn’t clearly lay out and make a quite compelling argument against its use, especially when you factor his personal history and a few shocking, (at least in my opinion), eye opening stories he shared that he has learned from people he’s worked with, talked to, political things he’s experienced, etc. The subject itself is a somewhat murky and complicated area for my personal beliefs, but I respect the hell out of his beliefs, especially on the subject of torture for interrogation purposes. He was highly critical of the CIA and for some, again, very compelling and good reasons, many of which I did not know or realize the full extent of previously. It’s no secret that in the name of protecting us, in post-9/11 America especially, although the corruption has always been there to some extent, there have been a whole lot of fishy things going on with the CIA, FBI, and pretty much all other government entities and all of their bs bureaucracy for some time now. But there were many things McCain has rallied against and been almost obsessed with fighting back on within these agencies over the last several years, that he goes quite far into detail about in this book and with shocking clarity and blinding honesty throughout this book, and that really starts in the Iraq / Afghanistan sections. He pretty much finishes that by talking about the legislation he finally pushed through at least preventing the CIA from waterboarding interrogees, as well as upholding the Rules of the Geneva convention that had been seeming to fall by the wayside. The middle of the book, and probably the bulkiest section, focuses on his many numerous trips abroad over the years to war zones, third world countries, etc., and the (sometimes highly complicated) relationships he formed and developed with so many other world leaders and dignitaries from so many different political backgrounds throughout his time in office, almost making him a quasi-ambassador of sorts with his notoriety, well known hot-headed maverick personality, etc that he became so well known for even in faraway countries overseas to entirely down and out destitutes striving so hard to find a better way, build better communities, governments, and societies in their own lands with hopeful assistance from the freest country on earth, America. In these sections most clearly, but really throughout the entirety of the book, he has such a clear, strong tone of Western Civilization and American especially exceptionalism as well as that of a Democratic internationalist and more of a Human Rights activist than I think I quite ever took him for. And while he’s always been known as a Republican who frequently reached across the aisle working with Democrats on major, bipartisan legislation, (or as many haters and opponents have called him over the years, a RINO - ‘Republican In Name Only’), and has famously shared some of his closest, oldest, most personal friendships and relationships with his Democratic colleagues, he also clearly has leaned more and more left in his politics with age. I idolize the man as the embodiment of everything that makes a hero in my mind, and yet, I probably disagreed with him politically more in this book than any of his previous ones. Which ties into a brilliant point made in the book that could only be stated as elegantly by McCain, himself: “We need to recover some perspective about how much someone’s politics is a testament to their character. When did politics become the principal or only attribute we use to judge people? Republicans AND (emphasis added) Democrats can be good neighbors, loving parents, loyal Americans, decent human beings. I don’t remember another time in my life when so many Americans considered someone’s partisan affiliation a test of whether that person was entitled to their respect.” Amen, hallelujah, and praise the lord was all I could say to that! And I hope to God more people can see it, agree with it, respect it and move towards some positive changes and understandings that we are all more alike than we are different and we MUST find more ways to communicate without hate, lies and insults, come together, work together, love and understand each other and each other’s point of views, or else I fear, (as I know McCain does), that we are heading for the collapse of democracy and freedom as we have all come to love and know it. Speaking of that, after several sections regarding all of the foreign relations travel, there was a chapter dedicated to his unlikely close friendship, heated Senate floor debates, political disagreements as well as compromises and legislation worked on allied together with the ‘Lion of the Senate’, Ted Kennedy who passed away of the same type of brain cancer that now inflicts McCain, (as did Joe Biden’s son). I have my own reservations about who Teddy was as a man based on my feelings of how he lived much of his personal life, and just like McCain states, there are few fundamental things I personally aligned my political beliefs with his own on, but again, I respect McCain’s views and I was touched as he described their quite dubious, long, deep, and meaningful relationship. Somewhere in there, McCain touched on some of the most famous legislation that he, himself championed throughout his career, such as campaign finance reform after the infamous Keating 5 scandal, and comprehensive immigration reform, which his views have always been quite the hot button issue on considering the U.S. / Mexico border state he represents, etc. He then dove in to the Arab Spring. He discussed visiting Benghazi against the administrations wishes, (not the first or last of many times he would visit dangerous, volatile, wartime areas against Presidential administrations advice and wishes), and his meetings with ambassador Chris Stevens, later killed in the highly populated, tragic, “13 Hours” story. This obviously led right into all of his thoughts on (and for / pro!) Russia, and his famously tumultuous feud with Vladmir Putin, who he held absolutely no punches against in this book. He makes a very thorough, compelling argument against Putin and all he’s done and is most likely to do in the future. He states that he hates Putin and that Putin is an evil man. He laughingly recalls his tongue in cheek tweet heard around the world: “Dear Vlad, the #ArabSpring is comin’ to a neighborhood near you!” Shockingly, they have never actually met face to face, which I didn’t realize prior to reading this. Although, they have attended the same events / been in the same room together, etc before. In fact, he discussed the incident from 2007 during the Munich Security Conference which McCain had attended since the 1970s, but Putin was attending for the first time. Putin gave a scathing, accusatory, shock-value speech about the U.S. at the conference staring at McCain nearly the entire time and clearly hoping to ignite McCain’s well known hot temper. When he finished McCain recalls thinking, “I’ll be damned … that seemed kind of personal.” Which made me laugh out loud, again, reading it in McCain’s voice and thinking of his type of sarcasm. (This also happened when more than once, McCain referred to Putin’s KGB years as “the bad old days”.) McCain’s speech following Putin’s touched on what Putin had said, but only with a “brief, diplomatic approach.” As McCain points out, he’s a known hot head, but he also always knows when he CAN be a hot head and he well knew that fighting fire with fire in this situation would just be giving Putin exactly what he wanted whereas this way, ignoring him pretty much all together and speaking really positively and optimistically above his remarks, was simply the most diplomatic approach and would obviously irk Putin the most effectively anyways. In it, he expressed much more disappointment and a sadness rather than vengeful anger. In my opinion, it was a stellar, glowing highlight in McCain’s political career. He then discusses something I actually really knew little about - his closeness with Georgia, its leaders, and how hard he has fought for their freedoms, admittance into NATO, separation from Russia, etc. The last career point his discusses is his very thought-provoking, in-depth, vantage point of the entire timeline of the collapse of the Republican healthcare bill that he famously flew to Washington D.C., showed up to the Senate, and gave a thumbs down, ‘no’ vote on, effectively sinking it and garnering the wrath of many in the Republican party immediately following the announcement of his cancer diagnosis and his brain operation to remove the original blood clot. The clear, strong, uniting speech he delivered on the Senate floor that day is one of my very favorites of his ever, and I was happy to see it re-printed in full in the book. In the book, he gave very concise, difficult to argue with reasoning for why he felt he could not vote for the bill, everything that went on behind the scenes, and what he needed to see in it for it to get his ‘yes’ vote. Most importantly I think for Republicans to understand, is how much he DID, in fact, want to repeal and replace Obamacare, and why morally, although it might have been what was right for his party, in the end, he just couldn’t vote for a hurriedly scrapped together, lesser GOP version of legislation that they tried to rush through just as he acknowledged Obamacare wrongly was. Throughout the book, there were old stories that I loved and knew prior, that I was excited to see in his writing here - such as his old story about his friend Mike Christian who was a POW at the same time that he was and how he had sewn an American flag into his clothes that once discovered by the Vietnamese prison guards, was at once confiscated, and he was severely beaten for. What’s the first thing he does after? McCain looks over in the middle of the night to the corner of the cell and sees him sewing in another American flag again. As McCain states, he did it for no reason other than that he knew how much they all needed that flag. Their very livelihoods depended on it. They needed to be able to salute it, pledge allegiance to it, and remember all that it stood for in order to get them all through that time spent together in hell. I SO love that story and so many other brave, patriotic, historical tales like it that McCain has shared with us time and time again. He loves nothing more than stories of true heroism and loyal patriotism. There were also interesting stories I learned, such as McCain trying to get in touch with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg about some inspiring young activists in Tunisia doing good, dedicated work, who admired and respected Zuckerberg so greatly that they wished only to meet and / or simply thank him. … apparently, he never had time to get back to McCain on that. Fascinating. I also had no idea that McCain is the one who originally received / was entrusted with the now infamous “Trump dossier” from the Brits, which he later turned over to James Comey and the FBI. Speaking of, how’s this for people who didn’t find this memoir to be personal? He specifically addresses his incredibly embarrassing televised and much ridiculed moment of confusion and pause when questioning Comey in front of the committee and how that along with his sudden constant exhaustion and other pieces tied into his wonder / worry over his health physical which led to the MRI that then turned up his cancerous brain clot / tumor. Trump. Of course we have to go there. Although rarely calling him by name, McCain referred to our current President several times throughout the book. (How could he not?) He never really specifically addressed their famously public feuding, or any of the nasty, horrible things Trump has said about McCain personally whenever McCain politically disagrees with him, but he was fairly harsh on the character he fears Trump holds as a man and the lack of character, morals, and values he has exhibited as a leader. He openly expresses his concerns with Trump’s administration and how he runs his cabinet and White House. And he fascinatingly reflects on how history might play the Trump Presidency out in the future that McCain is almost certain he won’t live to see. McCain is also highly critical throughout the book with clear reasoning of many things in both the W. Bush and Obama presidential administrations, although he also compliments them both as men and decent human beings throughout as well. He makes crystal clear that there is no love lost at all between him and other political figures such as Rand Paul, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Joe Arpaio, etc. He also expressed deep love, friendship and gratitude for some of his opponents on the other side of the aisle, as mentioned, Ted Kennedy, and ones that didn’t surprise me at all, such as his long, deep, personal friendships with Joe Biden, Joe Lieberman, John Kerry, and his foreign traveling buddy, Lindsey Graham, (who is a fellow Republican). Of that group, I was probably most surprised, (and honestly, personally a little disappointed) in his various quite complimentary remarks about Hillary Clinton. I always respect McCain’s views and opinions above most others, but I really do not understand his high praise and feelings for that woman at all based on his history and belief system compared with her history and belief system, but he spoke pretty highly of her several times throughout the book. In the end - I laughed. I cried, I tried to savor my time with the last new published work I know I’ll read of his during his lifetime. I sometimes strongly disagreed with him, sometimes strongly agreed, and I have to say, he made solid, strong arguments that made me re-think my views on a few things during this book as well.

  17. 5 out of 5

    skip thurnauer

    In the introduction too The Restless Wave, "Accumulated Memories", McCain states that "We live in a land made from ideals, not blood and soil. We are custodians of those ideals at home, and their champions abroad." He goes on to say that America has done good in the world because we believe our ideals inspire all mankind and that the international order we've overseen would improve peace, security, and prosperity for all. If you were to read no further, you would understand what has inspired Sen In the introduction too The Restless Wave, "Accumulated Memories", McCain states that "We live in a land made from ideals, not blood and soil. We are custodians of those ideals at home, and their champions abroad." He goes on to say that America has done good in the world because we believe our ideals inspire all mankind and that the international order we've overseen would improve peace, security, and prosperity for all. If you were to read no further, you would understand what has inspired Senator McCain's political career and his life. McCain touches on many of the issues that most deeply concerned him, especially those that touched him as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was one of the most vocal critics of extreme interrogation techniques. His experience as a POW imbodied the belief that what makes the victim superior to the torturer is knowing that if the tables were turned you wouldn't treat them as they treated you. "The ultimate victim of torture is the torturer" because torturing costs them their humanity. McCain's advocacy of human rights was extensive and took him to every continent. "I believe the United States has a special responsibility to champion human rights in all places, for all peoples, and at all times. I've believed that all my life." He made extensive trips to the hot spots of the Middle East, spending Thanksgiving after Thanksgiving with American troops. McCain questions U.S. strategies under multiple presidents, usually advocating for stronger U.S. military presence and action. He has a lot to say about Russia and Putin. The reset of relations with Russia by the Obama administration may of had noble motives. Vice President Biden stated, "The U.S. rejects the notion that NATO's gain is Russia's loss... or that Russia's strength is NATO's weakness." Putin is a different adversary who plays by a different playbook. Following the reset, Russia cracked down on dissidents within Russia and on foreign soils, moved against former Soviet Chechnya, the Ukraine, Georgia, and supported Assad in Syria. Putin has relentlessly removed opponents - politicians, oligarchs, and the press. "It is not a coincidence that as the Kremlin has reverted to autocracy at home under its crooked ex-KGB colonel, Vladimir Putin, it has become more aggressive abroad, occupying territories that belong to its neighbors: helping one of the cruelest regimes on earth..., interfering in an American presidential election..." McCain is an advocate of building relationship with members of the other party and working across the aisle. He discusses his relationships with Democratic Senators like Ted Kennedy, Joe Lieberman and others. At one time, he was even invited to jump parties and join his Democrat foes. Compromise has become not only a foreign concept to many congressman today, but a dirty word. He often reached across the aisle to enlist support for legislation. With Ted Kennedy, he championed immigration reform under multiple administrations. McCain touches on his own unsuccessful run for president and briefly on the current holder of that office. Finally, he discusses his current battle, not being waged on the Senate floors or on some foreign land, but against cancer. He closes saying, "What an ingrate I would be to curse the fate that concludes the blessed life I've led." He tried his best to make a difference and he did.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    John McCain implies throughout this book that he is not a gifted orator like Ted Kennedy, Barack Obama or other colleagues. If this is so, the talent must lie with his co-author, Mark Salter, because every chapter soars with passionate, evocative, eye-wetting prose. One small caveat is that it appears several turns of phrase were just too good, as variations of the same pull-quote appear repeatedly, becoming more embellished with each re-telling. This is probably by design. Although McCain allows John McCain implies throughout this book that he is not a gifted orator like Ted Kennedy, Barack Obama or other colleagues. If this is so, the talent must lie with his co-author, Mark Salter, because every chapter soars with passionate, evocative, eye-wetting prose. One small caveat is that it appears several turns of phrase were just too good, as variations of the same pull-quote appear repeatedly, becoming more embellished with each re-telling. This is probably by design. Although McCain allows that he might last a few more years, this book is his swan song. It is tightly focused on stories and issues from the last two decades, and it frames his positions on those issues in a way that only a Senator with nothing left to lose could frame them. He begins with his campaign against Barack Obama in 2008, but unlike Hillary Clinton in her book, _What Happened_, he does not use very many words to express frustration or disappointment that he did not win the election. On the contrary, he notes the historical significance of Obama's nomination and election, compliments his running mate, Sarah Palin, and moves on to spend a long time discussing--and defending--the political position that he felt was most likely to cost him votes: the war in Iraq. If American voters were ever concerned that John McCain was focused on foreign policy, to the detriment of all else, this book offers substantial confirmation. McCain notes that he spends every 4th of July with the troops in Afghanistan. He repeatedly describes himself as a proponent of "Democratic Internationalism," and provides examples of what America should and should not do, using stories from Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Uzbekistan, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Russia, Vietnam, China, Myanmar, etc. etc. He has met with freedom fighters and politicians in all the most difficult theaters, encouraging democratic movements in any way a US Senator can. McCain also offers an impassioned defense of immigrants and a spirited defense of (failed) legislation that would have given many a path to US Citizenship. This is not surprising. If we understand, as McCain does, that people around the world all seek liberty and self determination, if we understand that people around the world deserve to be treated with dignity, and if we understand that America has a unique ability and obligation to defend the principles of liberty and dignity, then compassionate immigration policy and Democratic Internationalism go hand-in-hand.

  19. 4 out of 5

    David Anthony Sam

    Best to use John McCain’s own words and Hemingway’s: Before I leave I'd like to see our politics begin to return to the pur poses and practices that distinguish our history from the history of Other nations. I would like to see us recover our sense that we are more alike than different. We are citizens of a republic made of shared ideals forged in a new world to replace the tribal enmities that tormented the Old one. Even in times of political turmoil such as these, we share that awesome heritage Best to use John McCain’s own words and Hemingway’s: Before I leave I'd like to see our politics begin to return to the pur poses and practices that distinguish our history from the history of Other nations. I would like to see us recover our sense that we are more alike than different. We are citizens of a republic made of shared ideals forged in a new world to replace the tribal enmities that tormented the Old one. Even in times of political turmoil such as these, we share that awesome heritage and the responsibility to embrace it. Whether we think each other right or wrong in our views on the issues of the day, we owe each other our respect, as long as our character merits respect, and as long as we share, for all our differences, for all the rancorous debates that enliven and sometimes demean our politics, a mutual devotion to the ideals our nation was conceived to uphold, that all are created equal, and liberty and equal justice are the natural rights of all. Those rights inhabit the human heart, and from there, though they may be assailed, they can never be wrenched. I want to urge Americans, for as long as I can, to remember that this shared devotion to human rights is our truest heritage and our most important loyalty. "The world is a fine place and worth the fighting for and I hate very much to leave it," spoke my hero, Robert Jordan, in For Whom the Bell Tolls. And I do, too. I hate to leave it. But I don't have a complaint. Not one. It's been quite a ride. I've known great passions, seen amazing wonders, fought in a war, and helped make a peace. I've lived very well and I've been deprived of all comforts. I've been as lonely as a person can be and I've enjoyed the company of heroes. I've suffered the deepest despair and experienced the highest exultation. I made a small place for myself in the story of America and the history of my times. Best to finish with Shakespeare: “He was a man, take him for all in all, I shall not look upon his like again.”

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    Very well read by Beau Bridges. I highly recommend the audiobook for this one. John McCain reads the prologue and afterward and Beau Bridges reads the meat. This book highlights the great John McCain, not the one who pandered to the religious right running in a Republican primary. He speaks plainly about his experiences in the last few years and his upcoming death. His insight into Putin and Russia is invaluable as is his knowledge of Myanmar. He's direct about the problems in Congress and the i Very well read by Beau Bridges. I highly recommend the audiobook for this one. John McCain reads the prologue and afterward and Beau Bridges reads the meat. This book highlights the great John McCain, not the one who pandered to the religious right running in a Republican primary. He speaks plainly about his experiences in the last few years and his upcoming death. His insight into Putin and Russia is invaluable as is his knowledge of Myanmar. He's direct about the problems in Congress and the inability of it to work for the peop!e it serves. I really was glad to listen to this book and got more out of it than I thought I would. Mark Salter is a great writer and brought out the best in McCain.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn Harper

    Poignant, passionate, and unfailingly patriotic, McCain recalls the causes he’s dedicated his life to and appeals—both directly and indirectly—for his readers to take up the standard. I don’t agree with all of his positions, but I admire and respect McCain’s fervor, sincerity, fidelity to his causes, and, most of all, his love for his country and his fellow Americans. I found it a little disjointed at times with a few errors the editors missed.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    "To fear the world we have organized and led for three-quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems is unpatriotic... "We live in a land made fro ideals, not blood and soil. We are custodians of those ideals at home, and their champion abroad. We have done great good in the world beca "To fear the world we have organized and led for three-quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems is unpatriotic... "We live in a land made fro ideals, not blood and soil. We are custodians of those ideals at home, and their champion abroad. We have done great good in the world because we believed our ideals are the natural aspiration of all mankind, and that the principles, rules, and alliances of the international order we superintended would improve the security and prosperity of all who joined with us. That leadership has had its costs, but we have become incomparably powerful and wealthy as well. We have a moral obligation to continue in our just cause, and we would bring more than shame on ourselves if we let other powers assume our leadership role, powers that reject our values and resent our influence. We will not thrive in a world where our leadership and ideals are absent. We wouldn't deserve to." (9) **** "The experience that made the biggest impression on me was a ceremonial one. General Patraeus had asked us to participate in an Independence Day event at Saddam's al-Faw Palace at Camp Victory that included the reenlistment of over 600 soldiers and the naturalization of 161 soldiers, mostly Hispanic immigrants, who had risked life and limb for the United States while they waited to become citizens. Some of these soldiers, the reenlisted and the newly naturalized, were on their second and third combat tours. Some of them had just had their current tour extended. Most were kids, of course, and som eof them had spent two or three years of their short lives living with fear and fatigue, cruelty and confusion, and all the other dehumanizaing effects of war. They had seen friends killed and wounded. Some had been wounded themselves...And here they were, re-upping again, choosing to stay in harm's way...[Senator] Lindsey [Graham] and I spoke at the ceremony. We were awed by them. It was hard to keep our composure while witnessing that kind of courage and selfless devotion to duty. And it was all the harder after General Petraeus recognized the sacrifice made by two soldiers who had planned to become naturalized citizens at the ceremony, and were now represented by two pairs of boots on two chairs, having been killed in action two days before. 'They died serving a country that was not yet theirs,' Petraeus observed. "I wasn't the only person there with a lump in his throat and eyes brimming with tears. I wish every American who out of ignorance or worse curses immigrants as criminals or a drain on the country's resources or a threat to our 'culture' could have been there. I would like them to know that immigrants, many of them having entered in the country illegally, are making sacrifices for Americans that many Americans would not make for them." (19-20) **** "Some might read this [accounts of torture of suspected terrorists] and say to themselves, 'Who gives a damn what happened to a terrorist after what they did on September 11?' But it's not about them. It never was. What makes us exceptional? Our wealth? Our natural resources? Our military power? Our big, bountiful country? No, our founding ideals and our fidelity to them at home and in our conduct in the world make us exceptional. They are the source of our wealth and power. Living under the rule of law. Facing threats with confidence that our values make us stronger than our enemies. Acting as an example to other nations of how free people defend their liberty without sacrificing the moral conviction upon which it is based, respect for the dignity possessed by all God's children, even our enemies. This is what made us the great nation we are." (80-1) **** "The moral values of integrity of our nation, and the long, difficult, fraught history of our efforts to uphold them at home and abroad, are the test of every American generation. Will we act in this world with respect for our founding conviction that all people have equal dignity in the eyes of God and should be accorded the same respect by the laws and governments of men? That is the most important question history ever asks of us. Answering in the affirmative by our actions is the highest form of patriotism, and we cannot do that without access to the truth. The cruelty of our enemies doesn't absolve us of this duty. This was never about them. It was about us." (104) **** "Here's one fact fools ignore. Our Constitution and closely divided polity don't allow for winner-takes-all governance. You need the opposition's cooperation to get most big things done. And so, I've worked with Democratic colleagues to do things I thought were important. Proudly. When I travel overseas, I like to travel in a bipartisan delegation. I've cultivated many relationships over the years with foreign politicians, journalists, and military leaders that made me a better proponent of my country's interests and values, and more knowledgeable about our allies and adversaries. I want more members of Congress from both parties to acquire that experience with the hope they will thwart the spread of a form of nationalism that barely distinguishes enemy from friend, seeing every relationship as purely transactional with a winner and a loser. Congress can produce statesmen as well as the executive branch can, statesmen who will help retain our primacy in world affairs." (201) **** "Although their numbers aren't large, it's the true believers who fear America is contaminated by the customs of non-European immigrants who make this moment so fraught. They believe the President shares their prejudice, and has promised to enact it into law. They're not only opposed to illegal immigration, they're opposed to immigration, at least immigration from south of the border, and the Caribbean, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. They're still a small faction in the Republican Party. But they're the ones getting all the attention right now. They need to be confronted, not ignored or winked at or quietly dismissed as kooks. They need to be confronted before their noxious views spread further, and damage for generations the reputation of the Republican Party." (206) **** "Unlawful immigration is a serious legal, economic, commercial, and security problem. It is not our biggest or most dangerous problem, not by any stretch of the imagination. But it is a serious problem, especially for border states...That a compromise immigration reform policy is no closer to being enacted today than it was when we first attempted it is mostly attributable to the misinformation and downright lies that enflame opponents, which have only gotten more pervasive and inflammatory over the last decade. Here's a little straight talk: "First, there are eleven to twelve million immigrants, give or take, residing in this country without permission. Most of them are never going to leave, and they're [sic] really isn't much we can do about it or that we should want to do about it...Two-thirds of adult unauthorized immigrants have been here for at least a decade. They're integrated into the fabric of our communities...The physical and legal infrastructure and the nationwide hard-heartedness required to round up and deport eleven to twelve million mostly decent, hard-working, well-liked people will never exist. To attempt anything like ti would produce an economic, social, and humanitarian catastrophe. It would hurt communities all over the country, shrink revenue bases, necessitate tax increases and cuts in services. Businesses large and small would be damaged or destroyed by sudden losses of employees and customers...It would destroy the spirit of communities and our reputation as a compassionate and practical people. "Second, the great majority of unauthorized immigrants came here to find work and raise their families, like most immigrants have throughout our history. They are not the rapists, killers, and drug dealers of fevered imaginations of the Right...Only a small fraction ever commit violent crimes, a much lower percentage than native-born violent criminals. Only 3 percent have committed a felony of any kind. About a third own their own homes. A third have children born here. They pay taxes, obey the laws, contribute positively to our economy and society, serve in our armed services, are killed and wounded in overseas conflicts, and live in fear they'll be discovered and expelled from the land of their dreams. "Third, since 2007 most immigrants who come here without permission simply outstay their visas. They don't cross the border illegally. And since the Great Recession, net illegal immigration has been flat or negative as more immigrants voluntarily returned to their native countries as jobs were scarce. A wall along the southern border isn't going to solve the problem. It might make it worse. Spending tens of billions of dollars on a dubious barrier to illegal immigration takes resources away from more effective border security and enforcement... "Fourth, unauthorized immigrants aren't depriving millions of native-born Americans of employment. Most jobs taken by immigrants are low-paying, and have the hardest conditions. Their employers have trouble filling payrolls. Many jobs are seasonal or otherwise irregular employment. Unauthorized immigrants are not sucking up all the blue-collar jobs in the country as their most hyperbolic antagonists insist. They make up approximately 5 percent of the workforce. Even in communities where immigrants have taken jobs that might otherwise have been taken by native residents, their economic activity, their spending on local goods and services creates new job opportunities for locals. "There are politicians today who would have Americans believe that illegal immigration is one of the worst scourges afflicting the country...Whatever their reasons, the cynical and the ignorant promotion of false information and unnecessary fear have the same outcome. Decent, hardworking people who mean no harm are blamed for crime, unemployment, failing schools, and various other ills, and become in the eyes of many the objects of hate and fear." (211-4) **** "I'm not sure what to make of President Trump's convictions. At times as a candidate and as President, he has appeared to be more than merely a realpolitik adherent. He seemed to mock the idea that America has any business at all promoting its values abroad. I don't know if that is sincerely his view or if he believes that the global progress of democracy and the rule of law should be only a distant, notional goal of American statecraft. He threatened to deliberately kill the spouses and children of terrorists, implying that an atrocity of that magnitude would show the world America's toughness. His lack of empathy for refugees, innocent, persecuted, desperate men, women, and children, is disturbing. The way he speaks about them is appalling, as if welfare or terrorism were the only purposes they could have in coming to our country. His reaction to unflattering news stories, calling them 'fake news,' whether they're credible or not, is copied by autocrats who want to discredit and control a free press. He has declined to distinguish the actions of our government from the crimes of despotic ones. He seems uninterested in the moral character of world leaders and their regimes. The appearance of toughness or a reality show facsimile of toughness seems to matter more than any of our values. Flattery secures his friendship, criticism his enmity. He has showered with praise some of the world's worst tyrants. He said Putin was doing 'a great job rebuilding Russia,' failing to note that the 'rebuilding' has come at the expense of liberty and justice in Russia, and, in many instances, at the cost of Russian lives. He has seemed just as smitten with Xi Jinping, despite the campaign of repression Xi waged as he consolidated his vast power. "He hardly ever talks about human rights as an object of his policies. He went on a two-week, five-country trip to Asia, and never raised the subject. Not in Vietnam, where political dissidence is a crime. Not in the Philippines, where the blustering Rodrigo Duterte holds murderous notions about criminal justice. President Trump's noticeably keen regard for Duterte feels more like an expression of genuine admiration than a realists' recognition that the Philippines is a valuable partner in the region...The world expects us to be concerned with the condition of humanity. We should be proud of that reputation. I'm not sure the President understands that." (325-6) **** "There have been times in the past and there will be times in the future when America's conduct at home and in the world will fall short of our own high standards. That doesn't mean that our values are imperfect, only that we are. In those instances, our true friends will encourage us to change course. But we should never believe that our fallibility disqualifies us from supporting the rights of others. That isn't humility. It's an abdication of moral responsibility. What matters most is that we remain confident in our principles, mindful that they are not ours alone, and that we recognize that to be on the right side of history is to support people denied their basic rights." (329) **** "...You're damn right, I'm a champion of compromise in the governance of a country of 325 million opinionated, quarrelsome, vociferous souls. There is no other way to govern an open society, or more precisely, to govern it effectively. Principled compromises aren't unicorns. They can be found when we put political advantage slightly second to the problem we're trying to solve." (358) **** "It will require a persistent effort to identify and insist on what is objectively true and what isn't by the press, by media companies, by honest people in public life, and by broadly popular figures in all kinds of professions, business, sports, entertainment, who know that there is more to moving the country forward than winning an argument or an election. We have to recover our sense that we're part of a community that's larger than our political cohort, that we all, despite our disagreements, have shared interests and values. "That requires, paradoxically, taking politics more and less seriously. If you're alarmed by our descent into all-consuming partisanship, by the fact that much of the grassroots energy in both parties is with the closed-minded absolutists on the fringes, what are you doing about it? Are you voting in primary elections? Are you helping choose party leaders for your county, your state? Are you running for leadership positions yourself? Are you showing up for precinct committee meetings, district elections, town halls with your elected officials? Because I guarantee you, votes of the Far Right and Far Left are. They show up. And if those are the voices party leaders and elected officials hear from most them those voices will exercise influence over the local and state parties, over the national party, and over our national affairs that exceeds the strength of their actual numbers. If you want politics to be more civil, if you want Congress to argue less and get more done, then show up. Represent. Play as big a role in the mundane activities of politics as the zealots do. It's important." (360) **** "As always, more important than any political reforms is the discernment of votes. Here's my unsolicited advice to the American voter. If a candidate for Congress pledges to ride his white horse to Washington and lay waste to all the scoundrels living off your taxes, to never work or socialize or compromise with any o them, to make an example of them, and then somehow get them to bow to your will and the superiority of your ideas, don't vote for that guy. It sounds exciting, but it's an empty boast and a commitment to more gridlock, and gridlock is boring. If a candidate modestly promises to build relationships on both sides of the aisle, to form alliances to promote their ideas, to respect other points of view, and split difference where possible to make measurable progress on national problems, ask that candidate to run for President. Their humility and honesty commend them for the job. "There is a scarcity of humility in politics these days. I suspect it's never been in abundant supply in most human enterprises. And I don't mean modesty. Any politician worth a damn can fake modesty. Humility is the self-knowledge that you possess as much inherent dignity as anyone else, and not one bit more. Among its other virtues, humility makes for more productive politics. If it vanishes entirely, we will tear our society apart. No one will feel we owe each other the truth, much less our respect." (362-3) **** "What great good we've done in the world, so much more good than harm. We served ourselves, of course, but we helped make others free, safe, and prosperous because we weren't threatened by other people's liberty and success. We need each other. We need friends in the world, and they need us. The bell tolls for us, my friends. Humanity counts on us, and we ought to take measured pride in that. We have not been an island. We were 'involved in mankind.' "Before I leave I'd like to see our politics begin to return to the purposes and practices that distinguish our history from the history of other nations. I would like to see us recover our sense that we are more alike than different. We are citizens of a republic made of shared ideals forged in a new world to replace the tribal enmities that tormented the old one. Even in times of political turmoil such as these, we share that awesome heritage and the responsibility to embrace it. Whether we think each other right or wrong in our views on the issues of the day, we owe each other our respect, as long as our character merits respect, and as long as we share, for all our differences, for all the rancorous debates that enliven and sometimes demean our politics, a mutual devotion to the ideals our nation was conceived to uphold, that all are created equal, and liberty and equal justice are the natural rights of all. Those rights inhabit the human heart, and from there, though they may be assailed, they can never be wrenched. I want to urge Americans, for as long as I can, to remember that this shared devotion to human rights is our truest heritage and our most important loyalty." (379)

  23. 5 out of 5

    Leslie's Bookcase

    I did enjoy this book. I wrote about my takeaways here: http://lesliesbookcase.com/2018/06/13...

  24. 4 out of 5

    Eliz

    Instead of an autobiography looking back at his life, this book is largely a rant about the 2008 election and how everyone but him and his friends Lindsey and Joe are and were wrong on Iraq and every other point in the Middle East. It's like formula writing. Instead of making a point then adding some detail you get pages of details that prove he's right in his eye before you ever even approach what he was right about. It's about 40 percent before he moves mostly on from the Middle East, but he k Instead of an autobiography looking back at his life, this book is largely a rant about the 2008 election and how everyone but him and his friends Lindsey and Joe are and were wrong on Iraq and every other point in the Middle East. It's like formula writing. Instead of making a point then adding some detail you get pages of details that prove he's right in his eye before you ever even approach what he was right about. It's about 40 percent before he moves mostly on from the Middle East, but he keeps coming back to it. It's a shame really because his life was so much more, and as the end nears to have so much focus on what he lost instead of what he gained makes for sad reading.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Fergie

    I haven't always agreed with John McCain's politics. In fact, most times, I don't agree with his vision for America, but one thing I have never doubted is the value & content of his character. He has always been in my eyes an American hero who has lived his life guided by what he felt was best for America. In reading his latest memoir, THE RESTLESS WAVE, one can't help but get the sense that John McCain wants to give back to his country one last time...to share and instruct through his own e I haven't always agreed with John McCain's politics. In fact, most times, I don't agree with his vision for America, but one thing I have never doubted is the value & content of his character. He has always been in my eyes an American hero who has lived his life guided by what he felt was best for America. In reading his latest memoir, THE RESTLESS WAVE, one can't help but get the sense that John McCain wants to give back to his country one last time...to share and instruct through his own experiences, wisdom, and vision regarding leadership. John McCain shows himself a maverick; a man intent on being guided by a strong moral compass, NOT by Republican party values, but by AMERICAN values. Here we see McCain being a northern star for what it takes to consistently lead by putting Country Over Party. Washington should heed his call to action; American citizens should do the same. Overall, I feel the gist of the book focuses on certain key issues Senator McCain seems to wish to review with Americans. He knows his time is short, but wants to leave valuable food for thought about what vision he has for our country. He doesn't pull any punches. There certainly is a sense that he fears for the path of our country as he sees ignorance and hate taking over his political party and, indeed, his country. He warns against extreme nationalism; against fear; against the ignorance to believe a leader who is more likely to talk against his own intelligence agencies than against Putin and the Russian regime who has made it their systematic mission to destroy American democracy. Certainly there is a matter of urgency in McCain's words. For a large part of the book, McCain instructs us in the history of Putin's rise to power and his ceaseless efforts to dismantle the American form of government. While McCain discusses his run for the office of the President of the United States, the core of the book does not hinge on the events of that campaign. In fact, I was a bit disappointed by the fact that he seemingly glossed over his (what I strongly felt & still feel) irresponsible choice in the dangerously ignorant and inexperienced Sarah Palin as a running mate. That choice and Palin's ability to whip up ignorant fury and hate has, in my opinion, made way for Trump's brand of ignorance, but McCain has no negative words for Palin. He acknowledges in passing that she sometimes faltered in interviews, indicating her lack of a knowledge base, but otherwise, he doesn't suggest that choice as the possible roots to the seeds of hate and extreme nationalism that came from that choice. I would have liked to have had Senator McCain acknowledge his mistake on this score, but the reader, if he or she is looking for that to come from the pages of this book, will not find it. McCain breaks up the book into certain topic issues, but the common thread throughout is his ideal of integrity and American values. He doesn't shy away from when he felt the American government fell piteously short of those ideals. McCain pays equal amounts of scorn on both the Bush & Obama administrations for what he sees as those administrations' failures. The black mark on George W. Bush's administration in McCain's eyes is the debacle of Abu Ghraib and all the torture methods used & approved by the Bush administration. McCain outlines the mis-truths that that administration used when saying that tactics like water-boarding led to valuable intel that they insisted would later lead to the capture of terrorists like Osama Bin Laden. McCain emphatically denies this to be the case and points to the facts that no valuable information has ever been proven to come through torture methods. He speaks of America's shame in submitting to such intolerable measures; measures he feels strongly go against American values. It's clear that, while McCain states his belief in the overall goodness of George W. Bush, he holds him responsible for violating the moral standing of the United States' integrity in the world because of Bush's administration's support of inhuman measures that violated the Geneva Convention. Additionally, McCain doesn't shy from his critique of his Presidential Candidacy Opponent, Barack Obama, when he states his opinion that the biggest failure of Obama's presidency as he views it was his lack of follow through on the Syrian question. To McCain, Obama's failure to go all into taking on Russian-backed Bashar al-Assad, a man responsible for killing thousands of his own citizens in Syria's bloody civil war, was that President's biggest failure. McCain's belief is that this decision as he perceives it will have a lasting, negative impact. To McCain, he doesn't seem to quibble about such details as to why Obama may have been reluctant to put ground troops on the ground, or why Obama wished to avoid starting yet another war in which American soldiers would be asked to fight and die. To McCain, the issue was one of morality. In these instances, McCain seems to think in terms of black and white. While he comes across as hawkish on many issues throughout the book, one thing is always certain...if John McCain holds a belief, one could bet its roots are steeped in honor, integrity, morality, and values. But, McCain's harshest words are reserved for Donald Trump. Indeed, McCain refers to him early on in the book. It is clear within the first 25 pages that, in some respect, the book is a call to action for Americans to take back their country from the nefarious leader who he feels has hijacked not only his party, but his country. What's telling is that it's not until more than halfway through the book that McCain can bring himself to refer to Trump by name. McCain's detractors will say the animosity he feels for the current President derives from a sense of jealousy that Trump and not he, McCain, achieved the presidency, but from everything I've read on John McCain and from how he comes across in this, his last book, one thing I cannot believe is that John McCain possesses that degree of pettiness. In fact, McCain makes the case through reason, experience, and history for why he feels our country is at the greatest risk it has been since the Cold War. What seems to make this more intolerable to McCain is that he feels that the risk is self-imposed by the likes of Trump who he feels is woefully inadequate to the task of moral or political leadership. In all, McCain focuses most of the book outlining the key issues of our day...issues like immigration, campaign finance reform, gerrymandering, the need for moral leadership based on fact and not some drummed-up propaganda-fueling nationalistic President intent on cozying up to freedom-fearing dictators. He remains firm in his belief that health care must be reformed. He includes the speech he gave on the floor of the Senate last year when he gave the deciding vote against repealing Obamacare. While McCain insists he is still against President Obama's signature legislative accomplishment, he is not willing to dismantle the Affordable Care Act without replacing it with some form of coverage for the thousands of Americans who would become uninsured should the Act be repealed. McCain stresses the importance of a free press. He warns against Donald Trump's intentions to lead like a totalitarian autocrat who lies to get his followers to believe him and only him -- to get his supporters to distrust a free and involved press. McCain states his belief that a free press keeps government and politicians honest and the American public informed. He implores Americans to understand the danger in pigeonholing immigrant groups. Instead, he highlights such facts as the thousands of foreign-born soldiers currently fighting for our country (citing some who have even died) who came into this country illegally, waiting to be naturalized citizens of the country they are willing to sacrifice themselves for. Perhaps the bravest parts of the book regarding the immigration issue come when McCain, while citing both parties have failed to provide a compromise-worthy solution, it has been more often than not, much more largely a Republican failure. McCain has come to see his party as one of obstructionists, unwilling to bend to the necessary measures of compromise that make healthy governance possible. McCain goes so far as to suggest that only when American voters give Democrats the majority in the House will any sensible, humane immigration bill be passed. Perhaps what surprised me the most is McCain's high praise for Hillary Clinton. He seems to wax poetic about her intelligence, political acumen, courage, and follow through. Perhaps he senses someone like him who was deprived of a job he feels he and she would have excelled, but whatever the reason, it's clear that John McCain has nothing but respect for Hillary Clinton. Finally, Senator John McCain implores Americans to demand of their leaders to seek compromise. He implores that without efforts of good faith and dealing will Americans ever reap the benefits of a healthy, working government. McCain never seems to claim that the American system of governance is perfect, but he feels that with Americans voting to put legislative leaders in positions of government, our country can once again achieve the greatness that John McCain believes is the promise of America.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Morrissey

    For those who decry the current political landscape under Donald Trump and are seeking a smart, uplifting, and passionate defense of a different kind of American exceptionalism than the ethno-nationalism of Steve Bannon, John McCain's memoir will feel like a timely literary and political salve. This book is obviously heartfelt, coming on the heels of Senator McCain's cancer diagnosis, revealing what he thinks his legacy will be. Whether you agree of disagree, it is admirable to read McCain's pri For those who decry the current political landscape under Donald Trump and are seeking a smart, uplifting, and passionate defense of a different kind of American exceptionalism than the ethno-nationalism of Steve Bannon, John McCain's memoir will feel like a timely literary and political salve. This book is obviously heartfelt, coming on the heels of Senator McCain's cancer diagnosis, revealing what he thinks his legacy will be. Whether you agree of disagree, it is admirable to read McCain's principled stance against torture, his seeking out of compromise, and his loyalty to the men and women of the armed forces. Even his defense of the surge in the Iraq War, though a policy this reader felt and still feels was a mistake, is defended robustly. One can still discern an alarming trend towards intervention in McCain's telling of the Arab Spring and the Syrian Civil War, though the arguments are presented far more cogently, and deserve much more respect, than the pseudo-intellectual hair-trigger tendencies of bureaucrats like John Bolton. In the final chapter, Senator McCain offers a line from his favorite Hemingway tale, "For Whom the Bell Tolls": “The world is a fine place and worth fighting for and I hate very much to leave it.” Senator McCain has spent many, many years fighting for what he believes in, much of which is worth remembering. As fortunate as John McCain has been to live his life, we as Americans, especially those on the left, should be grateful that we have lived to fight with, and occasionally alongside, such an honorable individual.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Phil

    Four years ago this month, I read Hillary Clinton's 'Hard Choices' I am going to use the same review for Restless Wave, as I believe it too, gives us insight into the nature of true statesmanship, leadership, knowledge, and integrity. Like him or not; politics aside: you cannot read this without having an appreciation for the complexity of geo-politics in a post 9/11 world. And, you can't help but acknowledge that McCain is as knowledgeable as anyone on the horizon when it comes to the condition Four years ago this month, I read Hillary Clinton's 'Hard Choices' I am going to use the same review for Restless Wave, as I believe it too, gives us insight into the nature of true statesmanship, leadership, knowledge, and integrity. Like him or not; politics aside: you cannot read this without having an appreciation for the complexity of geo-politics in a post 9/11 world. And, you can't help but acknowledge that McCain is as knowledgeable as anyone on the horizon when it comes to the conditions and players across the globe. I will add, this is true patriotism, true heroism, true courage of conviction. This may well be his farewell to us. Read it. You'll learn a lot.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    I listened to the audio book version narrated mostly by Beau Bridges, who was a good choice since his voice is similar to John McCain's. On the whole, I thought this book was pretty boring. I'm not that interested in military details and 75% of this book was devoted to that topic. I was hoping the book was going to be a personal memoir about his life, but it is largely political. McCain has a lot of negative things to say about Obama. I suppose I can understand why. He did lose the presidency to I listened to the audio book version narrated mostly by Beau Bridges, who was a good choice since his voice is similar to John McCain's. On the whole, I thought this book was pretty boring. I'm not that interested in military details and 75% of this book was devoted to that topic. I was hoping the book was going to be a personal memoir about his life, but it is largely political. McCain has a lot of negative things to say about Obama. I suppose I can understand why. He did lose the presidency to Obama, so I guess this book is McCain's chance to point out how he would have done things differently. McCain spends a huge amount of time discussing past U.S. foreign policy in Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Syria and others. Each time, McCain lays out how President Obama's foreign policy failed and what he should have done. McCain also brings up Hilary's role in Libya. Basically, if only Obama had followed McCain's advice, everything would have turned out great. I thought the parts of the book devoted to the 2016 election and other domestic political topics were interesting and worth reading, but that was a small fraction of the book. I also liked the parts where McCain talks about himself and his personal views. I wanted to get to know McCain the man better. That's why I read this book. But the book mostly presents McCain the politician.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Pat

    The subtitle of this 2018 book “Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights, and Other Appreciations” suggests that McCain’s book, written with his longtime aide and co-writer Mark Salter, would be a nostalgic look back at an event filled life, but it is much more than that. Chapter by chapter McCain describes in detail his participation in the complexities of governing and decision making. In doing so he provides a primer, never more needed than now, on what it takes for good policy decisions to be m The subtitle of this 2018 book “Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights, and Other Appreciations” suggests that McCain’s book, written with his longtime aide and co-writer Mark Salter, would be a nostalgic look back at an event filled life, but it is much more than that. Chapter by chapter McCain describes in detail his participation in the complexities of governing and decision making. In doing so he provides a primer, never more needed than now, on what it takes for good policy decisions to be made and what grave mistakes result when American values are not intrinsic to those decisions. McCain starts by describing his failed 2008 campaign in detail. He takes full blame for his mistakes including the choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate. You see from the inside what a grueling task it is to run for office, but you can also see that his motivation is very much rooted in his patriotism. The book really finds its feet when McCain takes on the gritty issues of foreign policy from torture in Iraq, the Arab Spring, color revolutions in Europe to the inner workings of Russia. I had not realized how much he had travelled to the trouble spots of the world and how much time he spent talking to the people on the ground as well as policy makers in Washington. When trouble was boiling up anywhere he already knew some of the players and regardless of their positions he would do his best to listen to their point of view and explain that of the USA. . It is worth reading this book just to get a sense of the type of expertise and insight available to policymakers if they will only take the time to gather input from relevant sources rather than just approaching issues from a political point of view. I found his explanation of the lead up to the Magnitsky Act fascinating. McCain’s description of Putin’s corrupt oligarchy and its role in his rise and persistent power is detailed and well documented. How chilling it is to find as I write this that Trump was apparently willing in Helsinki to make a deal with Putin which help the Russian get his revenge against those who fought back against Russian corruption leading to the sanctions on banks and oligarchs required by the Act. I was particularly struck by the fact that any trip McCain planned would have a bi-partisan makeup. It thus comes as no surprise that he mourns the death of bi-partisan law-making in Congress. As much as he and Ted Kennedy disagreed on many things they succeeded in working together where they did agree to great effect from which grew a great friendship. Mc Cain’s description of the handling of the Iraq war underlines his belief, based on first-hand experience, that the country’s greatest mistakes are made when those making the decisions fail to consult the advice of those with lengthy experience of the country or situation, or heed the advice of the professionals on the ground now. McCain does not spare any president who he feels made mistakes. He clearly respects Obama as a human being but is very clear about the mistakes he believes he made both in domestic policy like provisions of the Affordable Care Act and foreign policy, particularly Syria. The end of each chapter in the book reiterates his belief that the USA must always approach issues foreign and domestic informed by “our founding conviction that all people have equal dignity in the eyes of God and should be accorded the same respect by the laws and government of men.” He closes his chapter on torture with, “The cruelty of our enemies doesn’t absolve us of this duty (to stop using torture). This was never about them. It is about us.” McCain makes the point repeatedly that the task of true leadership requires principled decision making based on a willingness to listen and learn. Although he doesn’t spend much time specifically commenting on Trumps words and actions, it is clear, given the political context in which he is writing, who the intended recipient of these comments is. McCain repeatedly stresses the importance of basing our actions on our values, writing, “I refuse to accept that our values are morally equivalent to those of our adversaries.” In its weekly column “By the Book” the NY Times asks the subject of the questionnaire what book they recommend that the President should read. “The Restless Wave” would head my list.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Dan Keefer

    Judging a political book is a tricky thing to do . . . objectively. Typically you read it because you are interested in the person (i.e. You agree with him most of the time.). If you don't like the person, you give the book a bad review without reading it. All the reviewer generally wants to do is trash the subject and spout off about their own opinions without regard for the facts. Check out the reviews. Maybe in this case I'm wrong. Reviewer's Confession: I am an independent that typically vote Judging a political book is a tricky thing to do . . . objectively. Typically you read it because you are interested in the person (i.e. You agree with him most of the time.). If you don't like the person, you give the book a bad review without reading it. All the reviewer generally wants to do is trash the subject and spout off about their own opinions without regard for the facts. Check out the reviews. Maybe in this case I'm wrong. Reviewer's Confession: I am an independent that typically votes his conscience. It's been difficult to decide which side is ruining America the most . . . the hapless Democrats that seem to be controlled by the far-left or the Republicans who have lately put party before country. This "platform" became overt when Mitch McConnell announced that the Republican Party's #1 priority was to "make Obama a one-termer". The hell with doing the people's business, right? Just obstruct any potential "win" for the other side. Hillary was no better because she totally ignored the white male working class in her run for the presidency. Everything was "women" and "minorities". She failed to understand that not ALL white males run this country. There are plenty of white males who aren't living the good life. A rich woman or minority is doing better than the average white man in this country because it's no longer simply a case of race or gender . . . $$$$ runs this country and always has. The irony is that the average white male voter, feeling disenfranchised by Hillary, turned to someone who has a history of taking advantage of the "little man" for personal gain and glory. A large number of men of all races do share his crudeness and sexist behaviors, but to the rational mind, that doesn't make them presidential material. While McCain is considered what once was called a "hawk", he put his money where his mouth is and has served his country honorably. In the last couple of decades, draft evaders have been given the Commander-in-Chief role while they bad-mouth the service of veterans like John Carey, John McCain and Gold Star families. I like people who serve others, not draft evaders who try to tear down people who served their country. I am a Vietnam veteran who doesn't hangout at the local VFW and exaggerate my role in the "conflict" or my reasons for joining the military. Joining is the best way for a poor individual to later get an education they otherwise couldn't afford. I bring this up in order to give background to my statements about this book. I admire John McCain while not necessarily agreeing with him much of the time. You can be assured that when McCain takes a side, he does so out of conviction not to parrot the party's line . This is one of the reasons why he was included in Caroline Kennedy's updated version of her father's "Profiles in Courage". The Book: I am not sure what I expected of this book, but this wasn't it. I'd say the emphasis is 80% on his place in recent history (i.e. his run for the presidency, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Health Care, etc.), and while there are several little backstory tidbits, the vast majority of this information is already known familiar to the informed reader. The same goes for the later chapters about how he "balanced" dealing with his brain cancer and the Senate. Conclusion: While there is plenty of new information to be found if you haven't kept up with current events or don't know what to believe, the generalist may well find the details boring and give up on this book. Those expecting the final, retrospective autobiography from a man facing death eye-to-eye, there is some of this but not a lot. In my opinion, "The Restless Wave" is one of those books that will fly off the shelf because of how many people correctly respect John McCain and know his life will end soon. However, I also sense that for many people it will sit on their bookcase partially read.

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