Select one of the keywords
Character is Destiny    by John McCain & Mark Salter order for
Character is Destiny
by John McCain
Order:  USA  Can
Random House, 2007 (2005)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

In Character is Destiny, Senator John McCain and Mark Salter categorize human traits under Honor, Purpose, Strength, Understanding, Judgment, Creativity, and Love. In all, thirty-four specific traits are described by means of exemplary individuals.

The Introduction tells us, 'I don't believe in destiny. We are not born to become one thing or another, left to follow helplessly a course that was charted for us by some unseen hand, a mysterious alignment of the stars that pulls us in a certain direction, bestowing happiness on some and misfortune on others. The only fate we cannot escape is our mortality. Even a long life is a brief experience, hard as that is to believe when we are young ... Our character will determine how well or how poorly we choose.'

Honesty is exemplified by Thomas More, who was imprisoned in the Tower of London and executed for being honest. Born in 1478 to a prosperous family, More attended Oxford University, and joined a movement called humanism. Thomas More is the author of Utopia, espousing 'an imaginary and idealized civilization'. To this day, More is remembered as 'a man for all seasons'.

Doctor Viktor Frankl, a member of a family of Austrian Jews, is recognized for Dignity. Though he had acquired a visa to America, he let it expire during World War II, choosing to remain with his parents when the Germans invaded. He survived Auschwitz (though his wife Tilly was separated from him there and he was never to see her again), helped other prisoners, and kept his dignity throughout. Among his writings is Man's Search for Meaning, 'considered by many to be one of the most important books of our time.'

Mother Teresa of Calcutta exemplifies Selflessness and Contentment - 'She chose to live amid squalor and sickness and desperation, endured hardship and endless toil, and might have been the happiest person on earth.' In 1949 in 'the Calcutta slum where human misery had sunk to its most extreme condition', this Albanian nun saw in the multitudes of suffering outcasts a portrait of Jesus 'in distressing disguise'. In her Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, she emphasized that 'Love, to be true, has to hurt'.

Senator John McCain and Mark Salter have written so much more about many in Character is Destiny, including Pat Tillman for Citizenship (Tillman quit his high salaried football career to join the military after 9/11 and gave his life for his country); Winston Churchill for Diligence (he had his failures but rose above them when the world was in jeopardy); France's very young Joan of Arc for Authenticity; Sojourner Truth for Idealism; and Edith Cavell for Courage.

After a career in the U.S. Navy and two terms as a U.S. representative, John McCain was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1986, and reelected in three consecutive terms through 2004. Co-author Mark Salter has worked on Senator McCain's staff for many years. The duo also co-authored Why Courage Matters, Faith of My Fathers, and Worth the Fighting For.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Teens books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews