cover image Honor Bound: An American Story of Dreams and Service

Honor Bound: An American Story of Dreams and Service

Amy McGrath with Chris Peterson. Knopf, $28 (272p) ISBN 978-0-525659-10-5

McGrath, best known for her near-successful campaign to unseat Mitch McConnell in the 2020 U.S. Senate election, reflects on her career of public service in her earnest if disappointing debut. She spent her childhood in Edgewood, Ky., in the 1970s surrounded by a supportive family and, while researching WWII aircraft for a middle school project, her dreams to become a naval aviator took flight. But, at the time, the U.S. military was legally barred from letting women fly combat missions. Even still, McGrath attended the U.S. Naval Academy and was commissioned as a Marine Corps officer in 1997. After the law changed, she went on to fly just shy of 90 combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, garnering over a dozen awards for outstanding performance before entering the political realm in 2011 and running for a Kentucky House seat in 2018. Though she lost, her strong showing led Chuck Schumer to recruit her to challenge Majority Leader McConnell in 2020. Despite her inspiring achievements, McGrath’s narrative falters in its clichéd prose (“Home. That word carries such weight and power when you serve in the military”) and curious omission of any mention of the Covid-19 pandemic. Sadly, this feels more like a paint-by-the-numbers campaign bio than anything. Agent: Jane Dystel, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. (Aug.)