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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 tells a story that in the words of Newsweek makes the other presidential candidates look like pygmiesJohn McCain learned about life and honor from his grandfather and father both four star admirals in the US Navy This is a memoir about their lives their heroism and the ways that sons are shaped and enriched by their fathers John McCain's grandfather was a gaunt hawk faced man known as Slew by his fellow officers and affectionately as Popeye by the sailors who served under him McCain Sr played the horses drank bourbon and water and rolled his own cigarettes with one hand More significant he was one of the navy's greatest commanders and led the strongest aircraft carrier force of the Third Fleet in key battles during World War II John McCain's father followed a similar path eually distinguished by heroic service in the navy as a submarine commander during World War II McCain Jr was a slightly built man but like his father he earned the respect and affection of his men He too rose to the rank of four star admiral making the McCains the first family in American history to achieve that distinction McCain Jr's final assignment was as commander of all US forces in the Pacific during the Vietnam War It was in the Vietnam War that John McCain III faced the most difficult challenge of his life A naval aviator he was shot down over Hanoi in 1967 and seriously injured When Vietnamese military officers realized he was the son of a top commander they offered McCain early release in an effort to embarrass the United States Acting from a sense of honor taught him by his father and the US Naval Academy McCain refused the offer He was tortured held in solitary confinement and imprisoned for five and a half years Faith of My Fathers is about what McCain learned from his grandfather and father and how their example enabled him to survive those hard years It is a story of three imperfect men who faced adversity and emerged with their honor intact Ultimately Faith of My Fathers shows us with great feeling and appreciation what fathers give to their sons and what endures


10 thoughts on “Faith of My Fathers A Family Memoir

  1. says:

    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 belowUnited 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 three served while America was at war somewhere Senator McCain also briefly sketches out the history of his family going back to their origins from Scotland but it is not much than an outline Basically the McCains have been in military service since the Great Rebellion of England which McCain doesn't bother to explain in depth understandably so; and then a McCain fought for George Washington and a McCain fought in the Civil War on the side of the South McCains have been a military family for centuriesThe Senator does go into depth describing the military careers of his grandfather father and his own military service John McCain Senior who was a naval aviator and who became a four star admiral was involved with many sea based battles with the Germans in WWI and the Japanese in WWII He directed operations of aircraft carriers and land based aircraft John McCain Junior was a WWII submariner and later in his career he became a four star Admiral during the Vietnam War John McCain III a US Senator currently and the author of this book followed his father and grandfather into military service as a naval aviator It was while flying a bombing mission over Hanoi he was shot down and became a North Vietnam prisoner of war He remained a prisoner for seven years suffering torture solitary confinement in cells barely different from outdoor toilets and he almost died from horrifying physical body damage from the original plane crash and from beatings and poor nutrition Almost all of the captured Americans fought back against their jailers continuously in many small and large ways including escape attempts which clearly would fail enduring severe punishments in return I have to admit much of this behavior by the weak and injured prisoners as told by McCain is beyond my understanding I do understand their resisting the Viet Cong's pressure to force them to make false confessions and statements against the United States I understand how they needed to communicate and care for and support each other However as McCain described very brave individual and group pranks which served to provoke terrible body breaking tortures especially on certain men in particular some because of their officer rank McCain says that although he suffered torture the Viet Cong seemed to hold back somewhat in torturing him I cannot understand the military mind on this As McCain related the toughening warrior experiences of his grandfather his father and his own during military school and while in uniform during wartime service it is clear to me these guys live in a different universe from what I know Perhaps military men all over the world share this worldview to constantly provoke and endure pain simply for personal tests to meet a masculine performance standard publicly acknowledged by their peers whatever those standards of tough male behavior Sometimes the pain endurance test is for the sake of rigid personal or patriotic honor into which they have been taught to channel their need to demonstrate manliness but hazing is also widely prevalent in all kinds of male institutions At the same time while demonstrating personal resistance to agonies of the flesh they must show strong emotional resentment and resistance to any authority except to that of their immediate dogpack leadership McCain did not seem to see how much their pranks and attempts to humiliate and defy the Viet Cong jailers resembled the hazing he described in earlier chapters during military school I strongly feel an alien mentality in all of these memoirs by warrior men it does seem to be mostly a feature of male thrill seeker brains I have read which is very unfamiliar to the way my mind functions Obviously I must accept it despite not understanding it There appears to be an intrinsic pattern in warrior mentality all over the world Gentle reader you may not think well of me for the following confession after having read these memoirs for about five or so wars during my lifetime seeing interviews with warrior types on video and having talked with men who exhibit warrior mentality I can no longer feel the sorrow I used to feel when they die in combat or even in extreme sports for the matter or in captivity as prisoners I still grieve for the waste of their lives sometimes in their warrior deaths though especially in activities like gang banging fraternity hazing or drunken sports excesses to escape the pure boredom of a regulated safe lifeNot so alien to me like many people who wanted to read this book frankly I had a voyeuristic fascination and curiosity about McCain's imprisonment and torture Ok then He gives most of those readers what they seek beginning at chapter 16 He does not go into ghastly explicit details but he does give readers than an outline of his sufferings It was a genuine horrific awful time of torture and depraved confinement for the POWs held by the North Vietnamese The North Vietnamese wanted to win this war against the Americans and they had experienced great torture and depravity too from the time of the French occupation of their country Shit rolled downhill Not an excuse but it is an explanation and of course it is human natureI have included a Wikipedia link below about the Viet Cong this time I myself was a teenage anti Vietnam war protestor but I did not think that the Western celebrities and others who went to North Vietnam to support the Viet Cong was a good thing Protestors of Western participation in the Vietnam war should not have shown ANY support for the Viet Cong in my opinion I wanted the USA military out of Vietnam because I believed these brave Western fighters were sacrificing themselves in a badly planned thus unwinnable war and I wanted the Vietnamese to be in charge of their own country However I was no friend of Communists and I still am notI thought and still think Communism sucks as a form of government Communism seems to reuire a dictatorship and dictatorships appear to always need institutionalized torture and social repression and purposeful scapegoating to rule its citizens living under it Communism is not much different in practice from religious theocracies except apparently it is the worst form of government in terms of longevity History has shown Communist governments appear to fail from a strangled economy after about 60 years unless they introduce policies encouraging private enterprise and individual property ownership which effectively is the end of their pure Communism economy if not of the dictatorship and the underlying kleptocracy which always seems to accompany dictatorships Of course nobody knew that Communist governments self destruct during the Vietnam War Simply it had become clear then to young adults after awhile like the Ira Wars it wasn't any longer obvious it was about the danger of an antagonistic power running things in Vietnam working to destroy the American way of life if such a danger existed it had passed on and the war had for certain deteriorated and it had become degenerate and deranged Continuing the Vietnam war was destroying what America was trying to save American values We still have not recovered morally from this long ago war in my opinion We are messed up We got our fingers burned fighting for what we believed would be right and good for everyone in the world our form of democracy and Christianity imho alongside our faith in American exceptionalism; so we have lost interest in some wars recently or we have ended wars in draws because these countries hate us instead of love us This has made us even uncertain about our faith in democracy and we are deserting our moral beliefs in our Constitution here at home Instead we fight wars now using shallow principles to be policemen keeping order for American business interests and our business friends For any other causes that come up we now lose interest after responding habitually as if to an ex's booty call By the way I think peaceful mass street protests we baby boomers used to do back then in the 1970's is a perfect vehicle to convince democratic politicians to understand what their constituents want from them I suggest we as 'the people' should be doing this today as well It was very effective in the 1970's and it has been very effective all over the world since Just saying


  2. says:

    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 uite impressive and is historically linked back in time to military involvement This story overall was very thought provoking There were some parts I enjoyed reading about and others not so much I think if you have any kind of military knowledge and experience it’s understandable The names and the workings of and war strategies of ships aircraft submarines and special operations were confusing though now I’m much educated thanks to this book My father and relatives served in WWii and we were never told any stories at all of their action overseas; they were silent of all they experienced to the day they died Viet Nam was an entirely different storyI struggled as any human being and American citizen would reading about McCain’s capture and brutal torture by the Vietnamese The book ends rather abruptly with McCain’s release from the POW camp with just several pages after that It briefly gives the reader his thoughts and feelings about the war his family and his country; his hope his sometimes reckless perseverance his honor and commitment and courage to serve his country proudly as he and his forefathers before him had


  3. says:

    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 dayIn “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” most interesting The military culture is uniue McCain also covered his life as a POW The story ends with his release from the POW facility If McCain writes a book about his life from his release to the present I would enjoy reading itI read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible The book is just about five hours John McCain did a good job with the narration of the book I enjoy listening to the author read his book particularly a well known man like McCain whose voice I recognize


  4. says:

    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 countryThe beginning of the book dealt with a lot of McCain's ancestry He was trying to portray a sense of fate but for those sections all I got was a sense of longwindedness I'm flipping to a random page The Youngs of the Clan Lamont from the Firth Cumbrae Islands arrived in America earlier than the McCains having first fled to Ireland during England's Great Rebellion In 1646 Mary Young Lamont and her four sons crossed I know the book is marketed as a family memoir but this was too muchHe dedicates a large portion of the book to his youthful follies He definitely seemed to be a hell raiser which he attributed to a lot of things including being small moving a lot because of his father's military service and the necessity of proving himself in each new enviornment His grades suffered and he was always in trouble I think youthful folly My daredevil clowning had cut off electricity to a great many Spanish homes and created a small international incident is a prereuisite for running for president Bush Obama Kerry I can't really picture Gore doing anything outlandish but I'm sure he did don't we all?Once in Vietnam the book improved After what he went through one can understand why McCain was and is so vehemently opposed to tortureAlthough McCain agrees the war was mishandled he never backs down that it should have been fought I was impressed by the NViet propaganda machine and often wonder about how those machines work today You'd think they'd be a whole lot efficient I can't imagine how hard it would have been to keep faith in your country and compatriots when faced with such adversity Wow There was a great and now well known story of the POW who was with him who sewed an American flag was tortured for it and that very night began sewing a new one And that's where I'm torn on Patriotism Love for country and faith in country are great and important But they have to be tempered with individual principles and morality I'm not always sure it's really possible to have both at all times but you can see how McCain really worked toward it even if he definitely leaned toward completely patriotic I worry about blind patriotism and I worry about anti patriotismOn the ending pages he writes Many men who came home from Vietnam physically and spiritually damaged to what appeared to be a country that did not understand or appreciate their sacrifice This book at the very least helped me understand that sacrifice a little clearly


  5. says:

    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 claimed to be perfect When he say's it's country first he means it Senator McCain has lived a thousand lives in one I'd love to sit and talk with him one day Until I read this book I had no idea of his long line of family members who were high ranking soldiers While it's sad to read about the torture and inhumane treatment of the POW's it helped open my eyes and made me really think about our freedoms big and small and how they don't come easy I am so grateful to the military families who sacrifice SO much for our country and I am so glad John McCain wrote this book My boys have always been obsessed with anything military and I've worried that one of them will join one daynow I know if that day ever comes I'll be proud and supportive and have fiath in God This is a book I will ponder for a long time


  6. says:

    Rest in Peace John McCain ✝️29 08 1936 25 08 2018


  7. says:

    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 uniuely horrendous circumstances he faced as an American in a Vietnamese Prisoner of War camp in the 1960s To attempt to interpret the title out of context especially today in light of the current Presidential race is totally inappropriate and inaccurateFor sentimental andor personal reasons I am strongly inclined to give this book five stars I admit it; I was incredibly moved by Senator McCain's suffering on behalf of our country I admire patriots especially humble ones In FoMF he constantly downplays his own torture and punishment insisting he was spared what most of his comrades suffered because of his four star father Maybe he was and maybe he wasn't It certainly didn't sound like he got off too easy If you call two broken arms a broken knee bayoneted twice deliberately getting your shoulder broken starved beaten solitary confinement for years tortured interrogated hung by your arms and broken bones going unset for months favorable treatment well then I guess his famous father's position earned him some sort of 'special' status I just don't see itHowever sympathy aside the first half of the book is devoted to the history of Senator McCain's illustrious grandfather and father both four star naval heros in their own rights And while I recommend this sort of reading to my sea loving father and my military husband and father in law it can get a bit tedious to someone with no military background It does however give anyone who wants to understand John McCain an excellent background on his family their history values mannerisms and relationships Also McCain is very upfront and honest about his own youthful misadventures and all the hard knocks he took as a result I liked him all the for his humor and candorI don't deny that I was prepared to like the book I had seen the movie of the same name and knew what McCain suffered in Vietnam Still I liked the book for than just the facts of what happened; I liked it for the way it downplayed his actions and focused on his family and the men he served with There were many little ways that the character of the author shone through his writing Ultimately FoMF is a story about the Code of Conduct and what it meant to a group of young men who were tested to the utmost of their human endurance In particular McCain highlights one young man who he says never wavered in his commitment to the Code and died for his efforts McCain confesses his worst fear during his five year ordeal in these words'My first concern was not that I might fail God and country although I certainly hoped I would not I was afraid to fail my friends I was afraid to come back from an interrogation and tell them I couldn't hold up as well as they hadHad I accepted that many of the others had surrendered their dignity voluntarily had agreed to live with such reproachful self knowledge I doubt I would have resisted to the extent that I did and thus I would probably not have recovered from the shame I felt when I was brokenGlory belongs to the act of being constant to something greater than yourself to a cause to your principles to the people on whom you rely and who rely on you in turn No misfortune no injury no humiliation can destroy it' pp 256 257Unless we have experienced something of the magnitude of five years of systematic unrelenting torture we can never know what it is like but we can at least read about it ponder it value it and be grateful to the heroic patriots who have suffered and died for the sake of our country for usAn excellent book Read it this month if you canWe watched the movie by the same name the other night and were all moved by what Senator McCain went through during his five year ordeal as a POW in Vietnam This is the book my daughter's English class should be reading on the Vietnam War instead of The Things They Carried but we have become a nation which has forgotten its heroes Are we in denial blind or bent on self destruction?So far the book is focused on McCain's grandfather and father both four star Navy generals the first ever father and son in the United States Navy to be so honored They were both heroes in their own rights; Senator McCain had a hard double act to follow and yet he never flinched from itHis writing about himself is self deprecating humorous and unflinchingly honest I like him


  8. says:

    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 WarThis 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 were brutally tortured and uestioned nearly to death As described in this memoir POWs were treated awfully fed scraps beaten for seemingly no reason and forced to speak against their own country in propaganda videos They would go against worldwide POW laws to destroy their prisoners physically and mentally and take away their dignity I would love to see a world without these horrible acts of violence and hateThis book made me realize how much a parent of grandparent can impact your life Throughout his most of his young life McCain spent his time with his mother who influenced his personality greatly Despite not seeing them very often his father and grandfather really impacted who he was as a person After all their success in the military he wanted to be just like them but not only from a military standpoint His father and grandfather made sure to instill excellent human characteristics in McCain from a young age They wanted to make sure that no matter what he ended up doing in his life he would become an excellent personThis book made me wonder about what purpose the Navy serves in the military As described in the book they serve above water in the air and deep underwater While all three characters described their personal experiences in their specific line of work there wasn’t any mention to the other sections of their branch of the military Due to this I wondered how all three of those parts worked in tandem with each other to protect the US I also wondered what exactly they did when the US was not fighting in a war Overall this memoir made me wonder about an aspect of the US military that I did not know much aboutThis book made me see that life in the Navy is incredibly difficult and reuires extremely courageous people The scenes described in the memoir are incredibly vivid and well written McCain his father and his grandfather all served different roles in the Navy and many of their stories are portrayed in this book His grandfather served on a battleship his father worked on a submarine below the surface and McCain himself was a Navy pilot These stories are beautifully described and highlights the courage and bravery of all of the people serving After reading this book I can clearly tell that serving in any military branch takes incredible amounts of courage This book made me believe that people will understand and act on the awful treatment of fellow people everywhere This book and other similar memoirs have described awful acts of hate in the world While it may seem like that these events described in the book occurred in the past it was not that long ago To this day many people are still treated horribly based off of aspects that are out of their control However I believe that Faith of My Fathers and books like it can highlight the injustices of the world and lead to people realizing how terrible these hate based actions are This book made me feel that there can be hope in any situation No matter what happened to any of the prisoners at these camps they always stuck together and held on to that sliver of hope that they had left While at most times it seemed extremely bleak for the captives of these camps they always tried to keep a positive mindset to push through Throughout the course of the memoir the characters were hopeful for a better future no matter what adversity they faced I could definitely feel hopeful for the characters as the story progressed This book made me hope that people will become much accepting of each other This book highlighted a very dark point in human history filled with a lot of hate and violence This memoir portrayed one man’s experience in a brutal prisoner of war camp He shows the amount of hate aimed at him and his fellow prisoners and how it impacted them I think that reading this will show that hate is not the answer and can only lead to violence and injustice


  9. says:

    “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 McCainCombining 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 our Nation first as a Naval Aviator as a POW in Vietnam for almost 6 years as a Senator and as candidate for Commander in Chief Yet the Republican Party hierarchy is reacting to his candidacy with scorn and vitriol why? Everything I’ve read about John McCain testifies to his valor his underlying character his willingness to die for his country I am not the sort of person who passively accepts the opinions of the “experts” As my children constantly are pointing out when I embarrass them with pointed uestions I am a person who likes to “know things” John McCain has been called “The Maverick” Well I’m sort of a maverick too My admiration piued I began Faith of My Fathers and ordered the seuel Worth Fighting For John McCain comes from a long line of Patriots I can relate to much of his early family history We both hail from the South had ancestors who fought in the Revolutionary War the War Between the States and WW2 In reading about his father and grandfather I am reminded of my own duty to remember and to record the lives of my forefathers as best I can The second half of this book has been a difficult read How does one write and read words describing almost 6 years of mental and physical torture How does one survive as a POW and having survived against incredible odds enduring unbelievable pain what does one do with life's subseuent liberty? If you are John McCain life euals sacrifice and service His faith patriotism and sense of honor never fail him Bring on book 2 I wonder if come November there will be an entirely new John McCain seual history being written


  10. says:

    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 12 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 specific details of this horrendous experience I shed many tears as I learned of the freuent beatings he sustained and the appalling conditions in which he lived I was inspired by McCain's overwhelming love for his country and his cause even though his imprisonment circumstances were a result of fighting a very unpopular war I appreciated reading about the experiences of other POWs as well and McCain is uick to point out that others had it even worse than he did I came away from this book with an even greater appreciation for the tremendous sacrifice that McCain made for his country The many lessons John McCain learned while imprisoned and the support and strength he gleaned from his fellow POWs are important for everyone to know It was an honor to read about one of America's finest patriots We were a good country before Vietnam and we are a good country after Vietnam In all of history you cannot find a better one John McCain