Review of The Restless Wave

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  • Eloquent
  • Engaging
  • Inspiring


Senator John McCain is a remarkable, quintessential American who is grateful to live in a vibrant, tumultuous and beautiful country that is “made from ideals, not blood and soil.” McCain is a decorated Navy veteran and the son and grandson of Navy officers. He feels the weight and force of his “accumulated memories,” and concludes that the longer he lives, the more of them he’s lost. Now seriously ill with a brain tumor, McCain addresses the people of the nation he has devoted his life to serving. Writing with his longtime collaborator and staff member Mark Salter, McCain has turned out prose that is direct, vernacular and emotionally charged. You often feel you can hear his voice. John McCain is a legendary American political insider, and has been a witness to the country’s pivotal events for decades.

He takes the reader on a personal journey from September 11, 2001, to the decision to use torture on suspected terrorists; from the invasion of Afghanistan to the surge in Iraq to the intervention in Libya and, all the way to Russia’s attempt to interfere with the 2016 election and the administration of Donald Trump. The most moving sections are deeply personal, especially McCain’s reflections on his long career and imminent mortality. getAbstract recommends this powerful, noble autobiography to anyone who cares about the past and future of the United States.

About the Authors

John McCain won a seat in the US House of Representatives in 1982. He has served in the US Senate since 1986 and was the Republican nominee for president in 2008. Mark Salter has collaborated with John McCain on seven books, including Faith of My Fathers, Worth Fighting For, Why Courage Matters, Character is Destiny, Hard Call and Thirteen Soldiers.


Senator McCain offers the following insights and highlights:

1. As you get old, “accumulated memories” gather weight.

As a first-term senator, John McCain attended the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. He is a Navy veteran, as were his father and grandfather. McCain met with Republican Senator Bob Dole, a veteran who suffered a grave wound under German machine gun fire in Italy in World War II. McCain also carries old war wounds suffered as a tortured POW in Vietnam. As elderly Pearl Harbor survivors marched past, McCain had tears in his eyes. He realized he had reached the point in life when his accumulated memories took on a weight and force of their own. He was in his mid-50s then. In the intervening years, McCain gained memories of aspirations, battles, friends, enemies, victories and failures.

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