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A Journal for Jordan


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About the Author

Dana Canedy is the executive vice president and publisher of Simon and Schuster. Previously, she was the administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes and a senior editor at the New York Times, where she was a journalist for twenty years. In 2001, she was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting for "How Race Is Lived in America," a series on race relations in the United States. Raised near Fort Knox, she lives in New York City with her son, Jordan.


In 2005, at age 48, First Sgt. Charles Monroe King, First Battalion, 67th Armored Regiment, Fourth Infantry Division, thought he had better start a journal so that his infant son, Jordan, would have something to remember him by if he were killed in Iraq. Alas, it turned out to be a good idea. His wife, Canedy, a New York Times editor, shares the journal with us. With a ten-city tour and book group outreach. Optioned by Denzel Washington. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Inspired by a journal her fiance wrote to their infant son while stationed as a sergeant in Iraq, New York Times editor Canedy tenderly recreates the couple's love story and decision to have a baby before he died. Canedy, an army brat herself, vowed to stay away from military men, but at 33, she was attracted to the shy, newly divorced artist and first sergeant Charles Monroe King, whom she met in the home of her parents in Radcliff, Ky., even if not quite like the intellectual men she typically dated back in New York. Over several years, their relationship developed despite their busy, separate lives, and when Charles was ordered to duty in Iraq in 2005, they discussed marriage and decided to conceive a child. Charles could not get back for baby Jordan's delivery, and the sergeant spent only two weeks with his baby son before returning to duty--he was killed in 2006. Canedy's account of Charles's last visit with his wife and child is heartbreaking. Unflinching and thorough, Canedy offers a sense of shared grief with other families whose loved ones have died in the war. (Dec.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

"This book is a gift, and not only to Jordan."-USA Today

"Heartfelt . . . Canedy used her skills as a reporter to dig beneath the official story of King's death. . . . These investigative passages are gripping. . . . King died a hero's death, but Canedy's embrace of life is a kind of heroism, too."-Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Gut-wrenching . . . Canedy writes with the objective eye of a hard-line reporter yet manages to convey the complexities of the love between her and her fiance as well as the deep loss she feels in his absence. It's impossible to imagine what her pain is like, but she does a beautiful job of allowing us to come close."-Washington Post

"Canedy's memoir speaks to military families everywhere. . . . By openly and honestly revealing her side of their highly emotional story as well, by detailing the effects of his death on her and subsequent interactions with government brass about burial and benefits, for example . . . she gives the project a greater significance, making it especially relevant for and meaningful to countless others in similar situations."-San Francisco Chronicle

"Powerful . . . Not all great love stories are ignited by the lightning bolt of love at first glance; this humbler I'm-going-to-talk-myself-into-this-good-man version is believable and real. . . . A Journal for Jordan is impossible to read without a sense of bitter knowledge that this principled man fell at the behest of leaders less guided by honor. That is no trick O. Henry ending. It is a denouement full of suffering, worthy of Chekhov."-Melissa Fay Greene, The New York Times

"Canedy's talent at evoking character makes the account of King's life and death not simply a story about the injustice of war, but a project in resurrection. Canedy allows King to come alive for her son and, to our benefit, for us. . . . Gripping . . . important."-The New York Times Book Review

"It's impossible not to be affected by her story."-Entertainment Weekly

"At once inspiring and ineffably sad . . . Canedy captures the unique magnificence of the man she loved in a way that brings the beginnings of an understanding to the losses that other families bear."-Denver Post

"This tragic story of love and war reminds all Americans that we are fortunate to have people like Sgt. Charles King, willing to die for our country. Dana Canedy bears witness to the enduring power of love, to Sgt. King's heroism and his unfailing devotion to his family and his men."-Caroline Kennedy

"This book is a living, breathing legacy. It's full of wonderful treasures offered by a unique and spirited father, whose loving words of wisdom to his infant son are a rite of passage that will transform us all. It is written with serene grace: part memoir, part love story, all heart."-James McBride, author of The Color of Water

"Dana Canedy's moving memoir has captured my heart and won't let it go. Courageous in its honesty and at times unsettling, it draws us deep into the soul of a woman in love, the pain of her loss and the unpardonable theft of hopes and dreams, lives and futures stolen by war. With an exquisite voice, Canedy recounts moments of intense emotion that haunt us long after savoring the last lines. I didn't want it to end."-Susan L. Taylor, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus, Essence, and founder of the National CARES Mentoring Movement

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