A journalist recounts his long friendship with Charlie White, the centenarian next door who, sharing his good and meaningful life, mastered survival strategies that reflect thousands of years of human wisdom as his sense of adventure guided him through a century of upheaval.
Mr. Von Drehle is a gifted writer ... The Book of Charlie made me nostalgic for a simpler and tougher America ... A minor complaint. Mr. Von Drehle tries rather too hard, in my view, to explain Charlie’s resilience by recourse to the ancient philosophy of Stoicism. Allusions to Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus punctuate the book. But Charlie himself says nothing about this dour philosophy, and it seems obvious to me that his character was formed by that other ancient creed: Christianity ... An original and highly readable account of a splendid American life.
A splendidly woven, inspirational memoir that explores the meaning of life and the resilience of the human spirit ... Charlie made an art out of living; in much the same way, Von Drehle--with eloquence, care, respect, and admiration--makes art out of Charlie's life story ... This deeply engaging personal portrait of a remarkable centenarian also offers an absorbing account of the inventiveness of U.S. citizens--and the U.S., as it continually strives to evolve and improve.