Cover image for Citizen McCain
Citizen McCain
Drew, Elizabeth.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster, 2002.
Physical Description:
181 pages ; 25 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E840.8.M26 D74 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
E840.8.M26 D74 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
E840.8.M26 D74 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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"The most original, the most sought-after politician in America today Senator John McCain is at the forefront of a large movement - people who are dissatisfied with the way politics is conducted in this country. They are eager for change and McCain's independence and his vigorous leadership have inspired them." "In this narrative, replete with McCain's unusual candor and his unorthodox ways, we see how this war hero turned political leader is showing the public - and cynical Washington insiders - that there are other ways to go about working for the public good."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Author Notes

Elizabeth Drew is a television and radio commentator. She lives in Washington, D.C.

Reviews 5

Booklist Review

Veteran columnist Drew chronicles a year in the professional life of Arizona senator John McCain, beginning last January before the inauguration of George Bush. McCain, a regular Senator Sisyphus, keeps trying to roll the campaign finance bill up the hill, as the support of other members of Congress ebbs and flows. After September 11, he became one of the voices that reassured the country, recognizing our fear but challenging us to rechannel it. This is a valentine to McCain, who comes across as decent, understanding, and friendly--there's none of that hair-trigger McCain who sometimes appeared during his presidential campaign. More personal stuff would have been welcome, but most of the text examines the intricacies of bill passage in Congress. This makes for a good civics lesson, but it's rather dull reading. There's not even much Beltway dish to leaven the serious side. Unfortunately, Drew's book ends before the Enron scandal started getting a lot of press. Consequently, campaign reform's new lease on life is not covered. Expect Drew to make the rounds of the talk shows, which may generate some demand, but ultimately, this one belongs mainly in the hands of C-Span watchers and policy wonks. --Ilene Cooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

Drew offers a focused narrative that follows Senator John McCain through the 2001 legislative session as he maneuvers toward his goal of campaign finance reform. The highly respected Drew, a former New Yorker political writer and author (The Corruption of American Politics, etc.), was granted extraordinary access to McCain, including many private interviews and the cooperation of his staff. She is careful to note, however, that this is not an approved biography. The result is an instructive, even suspenseful, fly-on-the-wall account of how recondite parliamentary ploys, masterful management of the press and public relations, opportunistic coalition-building and sheer tenacity, energy and conviction laid the groundwork to challenge the formidable forces aligned against finance reform. High-profile players intent on disrupting McCain's fragile coalition include White House advisor Karl Rove, Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, ultraconservative Republican Congressmen Dick Armey and Tom DeLay, along with unions and various lobbyists. In the midst of her narrative, Drew is forced to change her focus from the battle over campaign finance reform to the events of September 11. In Drew's view, McCain provides a rare example of leadership as he makes numerous media appearances including one as the sole guest of Jay Leno designed to reassure the public after the terrorist attacks. In that regard, the book's title is revealing. For Drew, McCain is a man to whom the title "citizen" attaches as an honorific without irony, the reference to Orson Wells's manipulative Kane notwithstanding. Agent, Andrew Wylie. (May 13) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

What a match: one of our leading political reporters examines the life of John McCain, one of our leading politicians. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

Adult/High School-A behind-the-scenes look at how legislation is handled in today's Congress. The legislation in question is campaign-finance reform; the Senate version became known as McCain-Feingold after its sponsors. Drew's account is like a snapshot in time; it begins in January, 2001, when Senator John McCain brought his seven-year-long struggle for reform before a newly convened Congressional session, and ends in March, 2002, when President Bush signed the legislation into law. Through this process, the author shows how the senator's determination to prevail transformed him from a fiery-tempered rogue into a statesman. His willingness to negotiate and to form coalitions with members of the opposition party in order to achieve reform-not just in the area of campaign financeDhas been dubbed the "new McCain centrism." Drew shifts her attention temporarily to cover the September 11 attacks and the anthrax scare that followed, but her primary focus remains on Capitol Hill, the White House, and "How Things Are Done in Washington." While few recreational readers will see this as light reading, recent corporate-fraud scandals and questions about the makeup and actions of the Federal Elections Commission prove that campaign-finance reform is still an issue; the saga that is Citizen McCain provides much-needed insight.-Dori DeSpain, Fairfax County Public Library, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

This oddly titled slim volume with little detail might better have been called "An Extraordinary Year in the Life of a Unique Senator." Using the theme of John McCain's odyssey of promoting campaign finance reform, it provides a plethora of inside perspectives and off-the-record quotations. Far from an objective case study or full-blown biography, the book assumes that readers know enough about Washington politics to fill in the gaps and recognize the historical references. It reads more like a novel, lacking the notes and references that would allow further study. The generally well written narrative is interrupted, as were Americans' lives, by the events of September 11th, showing how one well-positioned senator reacted and attempted to ameliorate the crisis. The book's strength stems from the access associated with McCain's continuing commitment to extend his 2000 presidential campaign "straight talk express" experiment to provide some flavor of the everyday life of a peripatetic senator as he experienced and attempted to influence the explosive events of 2001. Readers walk away with a feel for the way McCain operates, if not a full understanding of the origin of hidden behavior, pattern, or a substantive understanding of the content of campaign finance reform. S. E. Frantzich United States Naval Academy