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Faith of My Fathers: A Family Memoir

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  3,782 ratings  ·  367 reviews
With candor and ennobling power, McCain tells a story that, in the words of Newsweek, 'makes the other presidential candidates look like pygmies'.

John McCain is one of the most admired leaders in the United States government, but his deeply felt memoir of family and war is not a political one and ends before his election to Congress. With candor and ennobling power, McCain
Paperback, 368 pages
Published August 22nd 2000 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published 1999)
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Average rating 3.87  · 
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aPriL does feral sometimes
Edit August 25, 2018 RIP

Edit July 20, 2017: Yesterday it was announced that John McCain had a cancerous brain tumor surgically removed. I am very sad. I had read his memoir a few months ago and I have the greatest admiration for Senator McCain because of his service and sacrifices for his country.

January 2017 review below:

United States Senator John McCain's autobiography, 'Faith of my Fathers', gives readers mostly a military service history of McCain's grandfather, father and himself. All thr
Before reading John McCain’s new book “The Restless Wave”, I decided to reread his book “Faith of My Fathers”. I originally read this book in 2009. I am glad I reviewed McCain’s life considering his cancer and the politics of the day.

In “Faith of My Fathers” McCain reviews his early life and tells about the lives of his grandfather and father. Both men became 4-star admirals. His father was head of CINCPAC during part of the Viet Nam War. I found his stories about growing up as a “navy brat” mos
Dec 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Very much full of personal family stories and musings, and banterings between military colleagues, officers and administration.

We learn of the McCain military history and the personal effects it has on it’s families; it’s a duty of honor. There’s a lot of military jargon and the background workings of the military, which a civilian might not know of, or truly understand. The McCain line of ancestry is quite impressive and is historically linked back in time to military involvement.

This story,
Aug 06, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, memoirs
This book reminded me about everything I love and hate about patriotism. Although it initially dragged, (and I mean really dragged) McCain's stories of his internment in Vietnam along with his father's stories of being in a submarine while the Japanese were dropping depth charges were fascinating. But, it took him too long to get to the stories of his sacrifice for our country.

The beginning of the book dealt with a lot of McCain's ancestry. He was trying to portray a sense of fate, but for those
Sep 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: every American
Wow! I loved this book so much. John McCain is a great storyteller and he has many too tell. It was a fascinating and educational read, full of ups and downs. The things he indured throughout his navy carrier and as a POW are amazing and make me so proud of all those who serve our country. He has had so many close calls that I'm left feeling God has great work for this man to do. He strikes me as a humble man who is full of integrity and lives his life to the best of his ability (though he never ...more
Sleeping with Ghosts
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Rest in Peace John McCain ✝️29-08-1936 - 25-08-2018
Oct 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: any patriotic American
Despite its unfortunate title, Faith of My Fathers is an incredible book which has almost nothing to do with organized religion and everything to do with living an honorable life. The 'faith' Senator McCain is speaking about only becomes apparent on page 257 of the book and it is spelled with a small 'f', meaning 'keeping faith with one's brothers', in particular under the uniquely horrendous circumstances he faced as an American in a Vietnamese Prisoner of War camp in the 1960s. To attempt to i ...more
Michael Sample
Sep 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The memoir Faith of My Fathers by John McCain and Mark Salter is an incredibly moving and important story. It provides an extremely detailed view into McCain’s experiences throughout the Vietnam War.

This book made me wish that one day war will be irrelevant and all the atrocities that come with it will end. This book takes place during the Vietnam war, an extremely violent and deadly war. Not only did countless people die during the war, but once american soldiers were captured by Vietnam, they
Jan 24, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Voters, Americans, Patriots
“People may not love you for being strong when you have to be, but they respect you for it and learn to behave themselves when you are.”

Admiral Jack McCain father of Senator John McCain

Combining 2 targets of recent study, the military and politics, I began John McCain’s book with heightened interest. In searching for the right candidate for the Presidency, John McCain has become the man that intrigues me most. Here is an obvious American Hero, an individual who has given his life in service to
Jul 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
Faith of My Fathers is a MUST read for every American (regardless of your political affiliations). John McCain discusses his family legacy (both his grandfather and father served high positions in the military), and the impact those men had on his own military career. A good portion of the book is devoted to McCain's 5 1/2 years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. Although I knew the basics of McCain's time as a POW, I found it extremely interesting and absolutely heartbreaking to hear of the ...more
Apr 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I don't share his politics this is a book worth reading. It's an interesting study of feeling that your path through life has been decided by forces not under your control. It also is an outstanding example of how a family name gives you a pass on many things. That said, John McCain rose above that when he was a POW and placed the good of the whole above himself and became a true hero, as did all of the other prisoners.
I first wrote this review several years ago and decided to add a note c
Sep 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Just like Obama's first book, this family memoir really tells you a lot about McCain. It goes into great length about his father's and grandfather's roles in WWII and the Vietnam War, which is both fascinating and a good history lesson. It also has many detailed chapters about his time as a POW. I'd challenge anyone to read this and not come away with a deeper appreciation for his service to our country.

You always hear about his 5 1/2 years spent as a POW, but I think that concept is so foreign
Eric K.
Oct 31, 2007 rated it it was amazing
The 5-star review is NOT an endorsement of McCain for President. His time and place was 2000, and the country and the world suffer for his loss to Bush in the GOP primaries. Now he's too old, too crotchety, and will with a mathematical certainty get the USA into a righteous and wholly unnecessary war with Iran. As it happens, so far I support Obama.

But this book is extraordinary. McCain's father AND grandfather were admirals, but he never felt affection for or from them. He enrolled in the Naval
Lou Fillari
Jul 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good little family memoir. It's titled Faith of My Fathers and dammit, he spoke about faith of his fathers. And being a POW. He made it sound treacherous, which was probably the goal.

I've been debating between three and four stars all day but this story was nerve-wracking and intense. Honestly, I'm frightened of what Mac Kane will do to me if he finds out I only rated this three stars.
Apr 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Of all the biographies and memoirs written about American servicemen coming to terms with their humanity, few are as powerful and unforgettable as "Faith of My Fathers" by John S. McCain III.
McCain was almost certainly destined to be a Naval hero. John's father was a successful submarine commander and a grandson of a famous fleet admiral, who both served in WWII.

But, John's destiny was threatened by less than stellar behavior both in high school, and in the Naval Academy. By the time he graduate
Oct 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“If you valued them, and held them strongly, love and honor would endure undiminished by the passing of time and the most determined assault on your dignity.”

An engaging family history by the deceased senator and POW. Written presumedly as a presidential propaganda piece for McCain’s first run for the Oval Office. Despite that it is well-written and absent the vitriol expected from politicians.

“Some officers get it backwards. They don’t understand that we are responsible for our men, not the oth
Feb 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
I recently got to visit an Air Force base and briefly spend time in an F-16 simulator, and that caused me to bump this book up to the top of my reading list. (I know John McCain was in the Navy, not the Air Force, but I was curious to know more about life as a military pilot.) McCain obviously had a tremendous amount of respect for his father and grandfather. However, I found the beginning part of the book - when he talks about them - to be only mildly interesting. It's not objective enough to b ...more
Aug 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
John McCain said he had a "sense that it would fall to him to represent his family when the history of his generation was recorded." Maybe that was one of the reasons why he wrote "Faith of my Fathers". I am probably not the typical person to read this type of memoir. I'm not really interested in the details of military service, or war time stories, but this book is much more than that. I found it to be quite insightful. When his grandfather said, "dying for your principles and country was a pri ...more
Mar 06, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had mixed feelings about McCain going into this book. I finished it, and in some ways I am more confused. Not because the book wasn't clarifying -- it added ALOT to my picture of McCain. The problem is that the more you know him the more complicated you realize he is.

This is NOT your typical ghost written 'campaign' autobio. (though I'm sure his help from Mark Salter was considerable). This is a VERY honest and revelatory account of his pre-political life and that of his family. He is open, s
Sep 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
Excellent book, well written, and engaging. I wanted to read this book to learn a bit more about John McCain. To be fair to both presidential candidates, I also plan to read Barack Obama's autobiography, not because I like or support him, but because I want to know more about him. Let me emphasize the fact that I do not plan on reading it because I like him, support him, or agree with his views (in fact, I feel quite the opposite), but to learn more about him.

Anyways. Back to John McCain. This b
Sep 02, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys reading about the military & who likes John McCain
Recommended to Chrissy by: My school
You’re probably saying to yourself “I have heard of family values but I really don’t know what it is.” The meaning of this phrase is simply put as a political and social concept used in many cultures to describe what is expecting. In the book “Faith of My Fathers”, John McCain III tries to follow in his father and paternal grandfather’s footsteps by enrolling in the navy. His family was very big on military and fighting for your country. To be a son and grandson of two men that have both ranked ...more
Brandon O'Neill
Sep 23, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My goal was to read a McCain and Obama book by the time of the election. I feel more comfy with McCain so he got the nod. This is not a political book in the sense that it is not about current policy. It is a memoir of his grandfather, father, and his own experiences in war. Anything political in his book refers to Vietnam.
The first third of the book was OK. It dealt with his grandfather and father's experiences in WWII, mainly. The book kicked into high gear for me when he talks about himsel
Chris Munson
Aug 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography, politics
Obviously, I’d heard a little bit about McCain’s military service and some of his personal story during the 2008 presidential election. But, I really still didn’t know much about him. So, I thought it time to pick up his autobiography as the next election cycle begins to heat up. Surprisingly, there really isn't any political content - so don't be put off from reading the book if you don't lean to the right. The book details three generations of McCain warriors, including his grandfather's and f ...more
Jack W Perry
Apr 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Regardless of one's political perspective, this is a book to be read. It is a great story.

McCain showed great courage and honor during his 5.5 years in a Viet-Nam POW camp. He was tortured and abused. He survived. He is an American hero.

I don't always agree with his politics, but I do respect him. He is not some tin-soldier war-hawk that hides behind his political office. Recently he voted for the latest gun-control bill. He was one of four GOP members to do so. He is someone the GOP should list
Dennis C.
Aug 28, 2007 rated it liked it
I gained a lot of respect for John McCain after reading this. I came away from believing McCain is steadfast and sincere in his convictions about the war in Iraq. At the same time i disagree wholeheartedly with his conclusions about Vietnam.
I read this while traveling to Vietnam. After touring Hanoi and visiting a Vietnam War museum there, it becomes clear our leaders view of the war and the way the people of Vietnam viewed it were very different. Iraq seems to be a continuation of our leader's
Kenneth Flusche
Oct 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Well Done...... My only disagreement with Mr. McCain is his insistence that the Military could have won the war in Vietnam. He truly believes that and I can honor him for sticking to it. Using his argument then the Brits could have won our First War and the South could have won the Worst War. He states his case with Honor but his enemy North Vietnam was not the enemy in this war. My generations War ..........
Justin Wright
Sep 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An exceptionally honest and vivid account of the horrors faced by POWs in Vietnam, and the influences and experiences that led John McCain there. I have to wonder if I could held out under such mental and physical anguish for such a long number of years to return with honor. A true picture of faith in God, Country, and his fellow brothers in arms.
Jul 01, 2008 rated it it was ok
Entertainment-0 Stars
Education- 1 Star
Readability- 1 star
Innovation- 0 Stars
Inspiration- 0 Stars

I read this book to get an impression of what John McCain is like. How we see ourselves and how others see us are usually quite different. I think that McCain’s strengths are that he is strong willed, and he was extremely committed to his fellow service members, his country and Navy tradition. His real weakness is that he can’t see anything outside this narrow tunnel of existence. I don’t want to be u
Vicki NewMath
Apr 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a read! The history of three generations in the United States Navy and several different wars. John S. McCain was an honorable man, and made a great Senator. I highly recommend this book for anyone in the navy, or has interest in the military in general.
DonnaJo Pallini
Oct 11, 2018 rated it liked it
John McCain’s father and grandfather were great influences in his life and it is very heartwarming to read of their families memoirs. Also, even though it was tough to read of the horrors as POW, our military deserve our upmost respect. Thank you for your service.
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John Sidney McCain III was an American politician who served as a United States Senator from Arizona from 1987 until his death. He was the Republican nominee for President of the United States in the 2008 election, which he lost to Barack Obama.

McCain graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1958 and followed his father and grandfather—both four-star admirals—into the U.S. Navy. He became

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