John McCain's grandfather was rail-thin, 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 significantly, he was one of the Navy's greatest commanders, and led the aircraft carrier of the Third Fleet in key battles during World War II.
John McCain's father fallowed a similar path, one equally 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 U.S. 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 officer, he was shot down over Hanoi in 1967 and seriously injured. When Vietnamese millitary officers realized he was the son of the top commander, they offered McCain early release in an effort to embarrass the United States. Acting from a sense of honor taught to him by his father and the U.S. Naval Academy, McCain refused the offer. He was tortured, held in solitary confinement, and imprisoned for over five years.
This memoir is the story of what McCain learned from his grandfather and father, and how their example enabled him to endure 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 is a story of fathers and sons, what they give each other and what endures.
©1999 John McCain (P)1999 Random House, Inc.