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Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
I've listened multiple times and recommended to many. This is DFW's most compelling, least self-indulgent non-fiction. Consistently witty, funny and full of timeless insights. A masterpiece of the genre.
What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?
The book is part anthropology of a presidential campaign trail, part John McCain character study, and one last (most important) part philosophical observations about the crossover between politics and marketing and what that means for the voter/consumer. The most compelling part, however, is a straightforward description of the horror of John McCain's shoot-down, capture, and torture in the hands the Vietnamese and his decision not to leave the Hanoi Hilton ahead of other prisoners as demanded by protocol. DFW's interjections and reminders as he tells the story for the listener to stop and visualize what he/she would do in such a situation is as simple as it is stunningly effective. The passage remains one of my favorite nonfiction passages of all time as it is not only emotional and stirring, but also achieves its goal of having the listener empathize with the situation and forever cognizant that whatever one thinks about John McCain's politics, it cannot be denied that he is (or at least was), a man of astonishing physical strength and moral certitude, whose commitment, in the face of isolation, torture and potential death, to principles that were inconsistent with his own self-interest, mark him as one of the rare political figures, about which we KNOW that his political pursuits were more than just the gratification of personal ambition.
What about Henry Leyva’s performance did you like?
A nuanced performance. Gets the DFW tone (i.e., the bemused outsider) spot on.
If you could give McCain's Promise a new subtitle, what would it be?
David Foster Wallace's Best Nonfiction Work
Any additional comments?
This book is about the culture and characters of a certain time and place. It has a lot of insights about McCain but is not a McCain book. That said, regardless of political ideology, it will likely make you regret that the 2000 McCain didn't win the republican nomination (i.e., beat Bush) and aware that, in many ways, the 2008 version of the man was merely the withered faint shadow of the once energetic, practical, intellectually flexible candidate.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
but listen to this gently as DFW’s parting words. Not exclusively or cryptically or in any coded sort of way—it is an essay on being on the trail and not a suicide note—but it is notably DFW’s last published work, before all subsequent published works would have to be qualified as posthumous.
Try to stay awake.