This is not simply the memoir of a cancer survivor. Nor is it just the memoir of a respected senator. This is an unprecedented glimpse into a man who is both. It is inspiration for people of all political persuasions; of how to persevere and succeed---despite what the doctors may say, despite what the tests might show.
In early 2004, Senator Specter was in the midst of a grueling primary race, facing significant opposition from the right as he worked to win his party’s nomination to run for reelection for his Pennsylvania senate seat. It would be the most difficult election in his quarter-century career in the Senate. Following on its heels were two more challenges---the general-election race and opposition to his elevation as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, his lifelong ambition. He overcame all three challenges in time for his seventy-fifth birthday.
But exhaustion and fatigue---initially thought to be the aftereffects of months of vigorous campaigning---were found to be far more serious. After a series of tests and consultation with several doctors, Specter was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease, Stage IVB, the most advanced stage.
He had received death sentences before and lived to tell about it. To Senator Specter, this diagnosis was another challenge. After all, he still had a job to do.
His cancer treatments came as he reached the height of his power---surrounded by political storms that polarized Washington and threatened to shut the Senate down. His leadership positions made it his job to manage Supreme Court nominations and public- health appropriations as he faced his own illness. He had fought on public-health issues for years, but now it added potency to the message that the messenger was ailing himself.
The phrase “Never give in” became Specter’s mantra, invoking the famous words from Churchill in his battle with cancer. This moving book describes the treatment the Senator received and offers his advice on how to handle the side effects (both visible and private), hair loss, and of course, maintain a nearly daily squash regimen. So, how does one move forward when faced with mortality? It’s simple. Work.
"Never Give In brims with the singular tenacity and humor that have characterized Arlen Specter's nearly thirty years in the United States Senate. This book is both an entertaining read and an unflinching account of the experience of fighting an intensely personal battle on a highly public stage."---Michael J. Fox
"Working with Arlen for many years on the Senate Judiciary Committee, I have witnessed firsthand his spirited battles on the political stage. Even while confronting his physical trials, Senator Specter continued to be a great asset to Pennsylvania, the Senate, and our country. Highlighted by insight that only Arlen could provide, Never Give In portrays a life of courage and fortitude." ---Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
"Understanding Arlen Specter's steely endurance is a key to understanding his success in the Senate and in life. Look up tenacity in the dictionary and you'll find Arlen's picture. Trial by fire has tempered him and made him stronger, and wiser."-- Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT, Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee)
“Written in Senator Specter’s trademark candor, Never Give In is a compelling tale of survival – both personal and political – from one of the Senate’s most independent voices. Riding the train home with him now for almost 25 years, I count Arlen among my closest friends in the Senate. The words courageous and inspiring hardly do him justice – but trust me, he is both.”-- Senator Joe Biden (D-DE)
“I’ve been privileged to work side by side with Arlen for over 18 years. While I respect his intelligence and honesty, and value his friendship, perhaps most of all I have admired his toughness in the face of adversity. He just never gives up.”—Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA)