John McCain: An American Hero

188p. index. notes. photos. Sterling. May 2018. pap. $16.95. ISBN 9781454931355.
Gr 5–8—In this intriguing and insightful biography, Perritano skillfully describes the forces and values that shaped U.S. Senator John McCain's life, focusing on his years in the military. Enlisting in the Navy was not a voluntary choice for McCain; his family expected him to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather and father who were naval officers. McCain had certain challenges in accommodating his family's visions. In school and in the military, he was known to flaunt rules and to live somewhat recklessly. Then at the age of 31, he became a prisoner of war when the plane that he was piloting was shot down. How he and others survived captivity is described in poignant detail—close to one-half of the text is devoted to McCain's military and prisoner of war experiences. Overall, the author does a credible job portraying McCain's triumphs and failures. His 2008 presidential campaign is covered in moderate detail. Perritano examines the primary reasons for McCain's loss, such as staff disorganization and the overwhelming appeal of Barack Obama.
VERDICT Consider for students with an interest in McCain or political leaders in general.

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