The Book of Charlie: Wisdom from the Remarkable American Life of a 109-Year-Old Man

In 2007, longtime Washington Post columnist David Von Drehle and his wife, tired of the "hassles of urban parenting," uprooted their children and moved from Washington, D.C., to the suburbs of Kansas City, Mo. One day, Von Drehle spied a neighbor across the street washing a car in the August heat. That man was 102-year-old Charlie White, self-made, "hale and sturdy and razor-sharp," who would become a very good friend of Von Drehle--and an influence so profound that he inspired The Book of Charlie, a splendidly woven, inspirational memoir that explores the meaning of life and the resilience of the human spirit.

Over the course of seven years, Von Drehle became fascinated by Charlie and his history. He was born when William Howard Taft was president, and he experienced life before the existence of highways, radio, movies, even penicillin. Whip-smart, independent, and crafty Charlie grew up with four siblings in a family that accommodated his father, a Christian pastor--who died at the age of 42 in a freak accident when Charlie was eight. The tragedy forged an indomitable, stoic resourcefulness in Charlie. He had a deeply rewarding career as a doctor, as well as marriages, children, and familial challenges. He chose not to dwell on unhappiness. He understood and accepted that "every life is a mixture of comedy and tragedy, joy and sorrow, daring and fear," and barreled on.

Charlie made an art out of living; in much the same way, Von Drehle (Rise to GreatnessTriangle: The Fire that Changed America)--with eloquence, care, respect, and admiration--makes art out of Charlie's life story. -- Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

Powered by: Xtenit