“Courage,” Winston Churchill explained, is “the ?rst of human qualities . . . because it guarantees all the others.” As a naval officer, P.O.W., and one of America’s most admired political leaders, John McCain has seen countless acts of bravery and self-sacrifice. Now, in this inspiring meditation on courage, he shares his most cherished stories of ordinary individuals who have risked everything to defend the people and principles they hold most dear.
“We are taught to understand, correctly, that courage is not the absence of fear but the capacity for action despite our fears,” McCain reminds us, as a way of introducing the stories of ?gures both famous and obscure that he ?nds most compelling—from the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to Sgt. Roy Benavidez, who ignored his own well-being to rescue eight of his men from an ambush in the Vietnam jungle; from 1960s civil rights leader John Lewis, who wrote, “When I care about something, I’m prepared to take the long, hard road,” to Hannah Senesh, who, in protecting her comrades in the Hungarian resistance against Hitler’s SS, chose a martyr’s death over a despot’s mercy.
These are some of the examples McCain turns to for inspiration and offers to others to help them summon the resolve to be both good and great. He explains the value of courage in both everyday actions and extraordinary feats. We learn why moral principles and physical courage are often not distinct quantities but two sides of the same coin. Most of all, readers discover how sometimes simply setting the right example can be the ultimate act of courage.
Written by one of our most respected public ?gures, Why Courage Matters is that rare book with a message both timely and timeless. This is a work for anyone seeking to understand how the mystery and gift of courage can empower us and change our lives.
John McCain, after a career in the U.S. Navy and two terms as a U.S. representative (1982-86), was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1986 and re-elected in 1992 and 1998. He ran for President in 2008 against Barack Obama. Senator McCain currently serves on the following Senate Committees during the 112th Congress: Ranking Member on the Senate Armed Services Committee; Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions; Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and Committee on Indian Affairs. He is the author of several books, including Faith of My Fathers, Worth the Fighting For, Why Courage Matters, character is Destiny, and Hard Call. He has seven children and four grandchildren. He and his wife, Cindy, reside in Phoenix.
Mark Salter is an American speechwriter from Davenport, Iowa, known for his collaborations with United States Senator John McCain on several nonfiction books as well as on political speeches. Salter has also served as McCain's chief of staff for a while, although he had left that position by 2008. Salter has often been referred to as McCain's "alter ego".
During the John McCain presidential campaign, 2008 the Wall Street Journal wrote that "When it comes to Sen. McCain's image, Mr. Salter, 53 years old, is the campaign's chief creator, shaper and enforcer. For two decades, he has been the presumed Republican nominee's speechwriter, adviser and confidant.