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Books by and about 2016 presidential candidates
Hard Choices,
by Hillary Clinton (2014)
Crippled America ,
by Donald J. Trump (2015)
Trump vs. Hillary On The Issues ,
by Jesse Gordon (2016)
Outsider in the White House,
by Bernie Sanders (2015)
American Dreams,
by Marco Rubio (2015)
Taking a Stand,
by Rand Paul (2015)
Unintimidated,
by Scott Walker (2013)
A Time for Truth,
by Ted Cruz (2015)
One Nation,
by Ben Carson (2014)
Trump/Pence vs. Clinton/Kaine On the Issues ,
by Jesse Gordon (2016)
Living History ,
by Hillary Rodham Clinton (2003)
Between Hope and History ,
by Bill Clinton (1996)
In Harm’s Way ,
by Dr. Jill Stein (2000)
Democrat vs. Republican vs. Green vs. Libertarian,
Four Party's Presidential Nominees On The Issues (2016)
Books by and about 2012 presidential candidates
Ten Letters
about Pres. Barack Obama (2011)
Do Not Ask What Good We Do
about Rep. Paul Ryan (2012)

Book Reviews

(from Amazon.com)

(click a book cover for a review or other books by or about the presidency from Amazon.com)

Courage Is Contagious
Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things To Change The Face Of America

by John Kasich



(Click for Amazon book review)

Click here for 4 full quotes from John Kasich in the book Courage Is Contagious, by John Kasich.
OR click on an issue category below for a subset.

BOOK REVIEW by OnTheIssues.org:

John Kasich modeled "Courage is Contagious" on John F. Kennedy's classic Profiles in Courage, but focuses on charitable citizens instead of Kennedy's courageous senators. Kennedy focused on senators who "did the right thing" knowing that it would damage their chances of re-election; Kasich focuses on citizens who "do the right thing" usually against government bureaucrats or other entrenched opponents.

A better title would have been "Charity is Contagious" because Kasich doesn't really focus on "courage" at all. Kasich concludes in the closing paragraph, "The most wonderful thing about the heroes in this book is that they are really just ordinary people who one day decided to act. You can too," Kasich says [p. 265] in the context of urging Congress to support "the new volunteerism." So maybe Kasich's definition of "courage" is something like "unsung hero."

Kasich's courageous heroes, unlike Kennedy's, are not in government – people in government are who Kasich's heroes are courageous against. His chapter topics illustrate:

  • Granting wishes to dying kids (p. 21, religiously-based charity; more on religion below)
  • Helping the homeless (p. 33, outside of welfare programs)
  • Free medical clinics (p. 55, fighting the medical licensure bureaucrats and the trial lawyers)
  • Anti-drug advocacy (p. 67, the solution is personal stories from survivors, not government programs)
  • Anti-domestic abuse advocacy (p. 129, the solution is community education, not government programs)
  • Assisting the developmentally-disabled (p. 159, in private group homes, not government programs)
The sub-text of all of Kasich's stories is the lack of government as part of the solution, which is a core part of his political philosophy. Kasich makes exceptions for local police departments: more cops are recommended as the solution to help African-American kids in tough neighborhoods like Harlem (p. 97). And Kasich seems to be soft on Medicare – praising that government program for its support of hospice programs (p. 248) – but generally, Kasich's heroes don't want government help at all.

The explicit political philosophy in all of Kasich's stories is that religious-based charities offer better solutions than their government equivalents. Faith-based charities and prayer permeate all of Kasich's stories. They're often Catholic (Kasich's religion); and always Christian – with one exception where Kasich includes one Jewish hero. Those free clinics in the chapter beginning on p. 55 are run by a Jewish doctor – perhaps to some that would feel like "tokenism" but to me (I'm Jewish) I appreciated that Kasich understood "Tikkun" as "one of the principles of Judaism to help people [as a ] spiritual and moral obligation." (p. 62). All of Kasich's heroes are white too, and the one African-American hero (p. 97, the advocate for more cops and kids) felt like a "token" to me(but I'm white).

Overall, Kasich's book and Kasich's solution to America's social ills are suffered by blacks and Jews as the poor unfortunates who need help from the well-meaning white Christians. Many of the recipients of Kasich's well-meaning largesse (and I do think that Kasich is well-meaning) are African-Americans – with some Jewish recipients too, for balance – there's one chapter about a Polich Catholic saving Jews during the Nazi occupation (p. 209). One must conclude that in Kasich's view, white Christian assistance is superior to government-based assistance.

Overall, Kasich's book provides strong insight into his character and his political preferences. This is not explicitly a policy book, like his 2017 book Two Paths. And it's not an explicitly faith-based book, like his 2010 Congressional memoir Every Other Monday. This book is in between – providing examples of how Kasich would apply his faith-based politics to real-life policy. A must-read if Kasich runs for president in 2020.

-- Jesse Gordon, jesse@OnTheIssues.org, Sept. 2018

 OnTheIssues.org excerpts:  (click on issues for details)
Crime
    Cops & Kids Plan: put more police on the street.
Drugs
    Educate students that marijuana is a gateway drug.
    Place babies of addicted mothers into foster homes.
Health Care
    Equalize mental health coverage with physical health.


    Click for quotations from other sources by:
  • John Kasich

The above quotations are from Courage Is Contagious
Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things To Change The Face Of America

by John Kasich
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