A Lucky Life Interrupted

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From Tom Brokaw, the bestselling author of The Greatest Generation, comes a powerful memoir of a year of dramatic change—a year spent battling cancer and reflecting on a long, happy, and lucky life.

Tom Brokaw has led a fortunate life, with a strong marriage and family, many friends, and a brilliant journalism career culminating in his twenty-two years as anchor of the NBC Nightly News and as bestselling author. But in the summer of 2013, when back pain led him to the doctors at the Mayo Clinic, his run of good luck was interrupted. He received shocking news: He had multiple myeloma, a treatable but incurable blood cancer. Friends had always referred to Brokaw’s “lucky star,” but as he writes in this inspiring memoir, “Turns out that star has a dimmer switch.”

Brokaw takes us through all the seasons and stages of this surprising year, the emotions, discoveries, setbacks, and struggles—times of denial, acceptance, turning points, and courage. After his diagnosis, Brokaw began to keep a journal, approaching this new stage of his life in a familiar role: as a journalist, determined to learn as much as he could about his condition, to report the story, and help others facing similar battles. That journal became the basis of this wonderfully written memoir, the story of a man coming to terms with his own mortality, contemplating what means the most to him now, and reflecting on what has meant the most to him throughout his life.

Brokaw also pauses to look back on some of the important moments in his career: memories of Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the morning of September 11, 2001, in New York City, and more. Through it all, Brokaw writes in the warm, intimate, natural voice of one of America’s most beloved journalists, giving us Brokaw on Brokaw, and bringing us with him as he navigates pain, procedures, drug regimens, and physical rehabilitation. Brokaw also writes about the importance of patients taking an active role in their own treatment, and of the vital role of caretakers and coordinated care.

Generous, informative, and deeply human, A Lucky Life Interrupted offers a message of understanding and empowerment, resolve and reality, hope for the future and gratitude for a well-lived life.

Praise for A Lucky Life Interrupted

“It’s impossible not to be inspired by Brokaw’s story, and his willingness to share it.”Los Angeles Times

“A powerful memoir of battling cancer and facing mortality . . . Through the prism of his own illness, Brokaw looks at the larger picture of aging in America.”Booklist (starred review)

“Moving, informative and deeply personal.”—The Daily Beast

“The former NBC News anchor has applied the fact-finding skills and straightforward candor that were his stock in trade during his reporting days to A Lucky Life Interrupted.”USA Today

“Brokaw doesn’t paste a smiley face on his story. Again and again, the book returns to stories of loss but also of grace, luck and the beauty of having another swing at bat.”The Washington Post

“Engaging . . . [with] the kind of insight that is typical of Mr. Brokaw’s approach to life and now to illness.”The Wall Street Journal

“Powerful and courageous . . . [Brokaw] looks ahead to the future with hope.”Bookreporter

“Wryly good-natured . . . a wise and oddly comforting look at the toughest news of all.”Kirkus Reviews

From the Hardcover edition.


The Ethics of Life Writing

A pervasive culture of confession, combined with the revolution in Internet-based communication, has crowded bookstores with autobiographies and biographies and generated an unprecedented amount of personal exposure. As columnists and reviewers tell us that we live in an age of memoir, life histories are commanding attention in many academic and professional disciplines, including anthropology, history, journalism, medicine, and psychology, as well as literary studies.

Our lives are increasingly on display in public, but the ethical issues involved in presenting such revelations remain largely unexamined. How can life writing do good, and how can it cause harm? The eleven essays in The Ethics of Life Writing explore such questions. They focus chiefly on autobiography and biography, but their findings apply to all “life writing”—the entire class of literature in which people tell life stories. Their forms include case studies, diaries, ethnographies, interviews, and profiles. The essays are enhanced by an introduction that provides an overview of the volume, including a section on life writing vis-à-vis privacy and the law, and an afterword that looks at the essays in relation to one another.


The Night of the Gun

From David Carr (1956–2015), the “undeniably brilliant and dogged journalist” (Entertainment Weekly) and author of the instant New York Times bestseller that the Chicago Sun-Times called “a compelling tale of drug abuse, despair, and, finally, hope.”

Do we remember only the stories we can live with? The ones that make us look good in the rearview mirror? In The Night of the Gun, David Carr redefines memoir with the revelatory story of his years as an addict and chronicles his journey from crack-house regular to regular columnist for The New York Times. Built on sixty videotaped interviews, legal and medical records, and three years of reporting, The Night of the Gun is a ferocious tale that uses the tools of journalism to fact-check the past. Carr’s investigation of his own history reveals that his odyssey through addiction, recovery, cancer, and life as a single parent was far more harrowing—and, in the end, more miraculous—than he allowed himself to remember.

In one sense, the story of The Night of the Gun is a common one—a white-boy misdemeanant lands in a ditch and is restored to sanity through the love of his family, a God of his understanding, and a support group that will go unnamed. But when the whole truth is told, it does not end there. As a reporter and columnist at the nation’s best newspaper, he prospered, but gained no more adeptness at mood-altering substances. He set out to become a nice suburban alcoholic and succeeded all too well, including two more arrests, one that included a night in jail wearing a tuxedo.

Ferocious and eloquent, courageous and bitingly funny, The Night of the Gun unravels the ways memory helps us not only create our lives, but survive them. This is “an odyssey you’ll find hard to forget” (People, 4 stars).

“A fierce, self-lacerating tale…writing full of that special journalistic energy that is driven by a combination of reporting and intelligence.” —Pete Hamlin, The New York Times

“A remarkable narrative of redemption…Carr writes with grace and precision….With grit and a recovering user’s candor, Mr. Carr has written an arresting tale.” —Edward Kosner, The Wall Street Journal


A Thousand Farewells

A uniquely personal insight into the Middle East from one of Canada’s most respected foreign correspondents In 1976, Nahlah Ayed’s family gave up their comfortable life in Winnipeg for the squalor of a Palestinian refugee camp in Amman, Jordan. The transition was jarring, but it was from this uncomfortable situation that Ayed first observed the people whose heritage she shared. The family returned to Canada when she was thirteen, and Ayed ignored the Middle East for many years. But the First Gulf War and the events of 9/11 reignited her interest. Soon she was reporting from the region full-time, trying to make sense of the wars and upheavals that have affected its people and sent so many of them seeking a better life elsewhere. In A Thousand Farewells, Ayed describes with sympathy and insight the myriad ways in which the Arab people have fought against oppression and loss as seen from her own early days witnessing protests in Amman, and the wars, crackdowns, and uprisings she has reported on in countries across the region. This is the heartfelt and personal chronicle of a journalist who has devoted much of her career to covering one of the world’s most vexing regions.


In this unique memoir, Primetime CNN anchor Don Lemon takes readers behind the scenes of journalism, detailing his own struggle to become one of the most prominent African American men in television news—and inside some of the biggest stories of our times. 

Never one to stop at the surface of the story, Lemon digs deep, exposing his own history with wealth and lack, with family secrets and painful revelations–and explains how those painful early experiences shaped his ambitions and gave him the tools of empathy and fearlessness that he brings to his work.   Then Lemon turns the same searing honesty on the news industry itself, taking the reader behind the scenes of September 11, 2001, the DC Snipers, the epidemic of AIDS in Africa, Hurricane Katrina, the election of Barack Obama, and the death of Michael Jackson among other events.

With his clear and compelling storytelling and the rich detail of an Emmy-winning journalist, Lemon reveals his own painful journey from a little boy who dreamed of broadcasting in segregated Baton Rouge in the early 70s, to his current perch at CNN in a fascinating and compelling look at the world of television news and his own experiences reporting in it.

True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa

In the haunting tradition of Joe McGinniss’s Fatal Vision and Mikal Gilmore’s Shot in the Heart, True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa weaves a spellbinding tale of murder, love, and deceit with a deeply personal inquiry into the slippery nature of truth.

The story begins in February of 2002, when a reporter in Oregon contacts New York Times Magazine writer Michael Finkel with a startling piece of news. A young, highly intelligent man named Christian Longo, on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list for killing his entire family, has recently been captured in Mexico, where he’d taken on a new identity—Michael Finkel of the New York Times.

The next day, on page A-3 of the Times, comes another bit of troubling news: a note, written by the paper’s editors, explaining that Finkel has falsified parts of an investigative article and has been fired. This unlikely confluence sets the stage for a bizarre and intense relationship. After Longo’s arrest, the only journalist the accused murderer will speak with is the real Michael Finkel. And as the months until Longo’s trial tick away, the two men talk for dozens of hours on the telephone, meet in the jailhouse visiting room, and exchange nearly a thousand pages of handwritten letters.

With Longo insisting he can prove his innocence, Finkel strives to uncover what really happened to Longo’s family, and his quest becomes less a reporting job than a psychological cat-and-mouse game—sometimes redemptively honest, other times slyly manipulative. Finkel’s pursuit pays off only at the end, when Longo, after a lifetime of deception, finally says what he wouldn’t even admit in court—the whole, true story. Or so it seems.


Kate Field

“Kate field was among the first celebrity journalists. A literary and cultural sensation, she not only reported the news but often made the news herself because of her sharp wit and vibrant presence. She wrote for several prestigious newspapers, such as the Boston Post, Chicago Times-Herald, and New York Tribune, as well as her own Kate Field’s Washington. Field’s friends and professional acquaintances included Charles Dickens, Robert Browning, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Anthony Trollope, George Eliot, and Mark Twain. Legendary novelist Henry James patterned the character of Henrietta Stackpole after her in The Portrait of a Lady. In the first book-length biography of Field, Gary Scharnhorst offers a fascinating portrait of a fiercely intelligent and enormously independent woman who contributed significantly to America’s intellectual and social life in the late nineteenth century. Kate Field was an outspoken advocate for the rights of black Americans and founder of the first women’s club in America. She campaigned to make Yosemite a national park and saved John Brown’s Adirondack farm for the nation.”–Dust jacket flaps.


A Drinking Life

As a child during the Depression and World War II, Pete Hamill learned early that drinking was an essential part of being a man, inseparable from the rituals of celebration, mourning, friendship, romance, and religion. Only later did he discover its ability to destroy any writer’s most valuable tools: clarity, consciousness, memory. In A Drinking Life, Hamill explains how alcohol slowly became a part of his life, and how he ultimately left it behind. Along the way, he summons the mood of an America that is gone forever, with the bittersweet fondness of a lifelong New Yorker.


Almost a Woman

From the barrios of Brooklyn to the stage at the High School of Performing Arts and later to Harvard, Almost a Woman continues Esmeralda Santiago’s amazing story of a young woman caught between two worlds. The oldest of eleven children, she is kept on such a strict leash by her powerful mother that at the age of seventeen she had not yet gone on a date. By no means sheltered however, she is experienced in the harsh realities of welfare offices, beaten up by jealous classmates at junior high school, and taunted by her brothers and sisters as she struggles to learn “Eastern Standard English.” She eventually breaks loose and elopes with a mysterious, perhaps dangerous, Turkish entrepreneur. Almost a Woman is a tale of transformation, comedy, and survival, both a search for independence and cultural identity as well as a mother/daughter struggle of heroic dimensions. Santiago’s fans will eagerly embrace this long-awaited volume.