The Book of Charlie: Wisdom from the Remarkable American Life of a 109-Year-Old Man by David Von Drehle
“An original and highly readable account of a splendid American life.” — The Wall Street Journal
When a seasoned Washington journalist relocated to Kansas, he encountered an extraordinary neighbor who had lived for over a century. Little did he realize that this encounter would mark the beginning of a deep friendship and a profound lesson on the essence of life. Charlie White was no ordinary neighbor. Born in a time before radio, Charlie witnessed the evolution of technology, even embracing smartphones in his later years. Amidst a shocking tragedy that disrupted his idyllic childhood, Charlie developed survival strategies steeped in timeless human wisdom. Equipped with this resilience, he embarked on an extraordinary journey through the Jazz Age, navigating gangster wars during the Great Depression, pioneering early techniques in open-heart surgery, and even traversing the Amazon as a guest of Peru’s president.
Through his friendship with Charlie, David Von Drehle discovered that this remarkable neighbor’s ability to adapt and grow made him a true master in thriving amidst profound societal changes. Determined to pass on Charlie’s wisdom to his own children, Von Drehle set out to share Charlie’s secrets. The Book of Charlie is a groundbreaking testament to resilience, defying conventional formulas, and it offers an inspiring account of one man’s extraordinary journey through a century of upheaval. Charlie’s story serves as a powerful reminder that the United States has always been a nation divided yet questing, populated by individuals like Charlie who navigate life’s rollercoaster in pursuit of a meaningful and fulfilling existence.