John McCain, U.S. Senator from Arizona and author of Character Is Destiny: Inspiring Stories Every Young Person Should Know and Every Adult Should Remember (Random House), is renowned as one of the most popular and outspoken members of the United States Senate, championing causes that he strongly believes in, regardless of popular opinion. Most Americans also know that in 1967, McCain was shot down over Vietnam and held as a prisoner-of-war in Hanoi for five and a half years, much of it in solitary confinement, earning him a Purple Heart. He retired from the Navy as a captain in 1981, and was first elected to Congress in 1982.
Aside from his life as a Senator and veteran, McCain is also a father to seven children. It is his personal passion for being a good parent and teacher that inspired him to write Character Is Destiny.
McCain chooses 35 character traits, such as honesty, cooperation, resilience, humility, and humor, and illustrates each trait with an account of a remarkable historical figure. McCain also speaks openly about his own parenting experiences, and shares moving stories about his mother and how she continues to teach him lessons about character to this day.
McCain’s stories are vivid and dramatic, appropriate for children and compelling for adults. He believes that our lives and characters are not predestined, but are created by the everyday choices that we make. Even more radically, he emphasizes how character is dependent on our own conscience, and not on the perceptions of others. Character is Destiny was written with Mark Salter, who was hired as a legislative assistant in 1989 and has been the senator’s administrative assistant since 1993.
Senator John McCain was interviewed at Kentucky Author Forum by Robert Siegel, host of NPR’s “All Things Considered.” Robert Siegel interviewed Pulitzer Prize-winning writer John Updike in the Forum’s first season, and returned in succeeding seasons to interview ABC Anchor Ted Koppel, jazz great Wynton Marsalis, and renowned religious commentator Karen Armstrong.