NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER•“A hauntingly beautiful account of a family fractured by war . . . filled with vivid and heartbreaking details.”—The New York Times Book Review
NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE • “Full of wonderful treasures offered by a unique and spirited father . . . written with serene grace: part memoir, part love story, all heart.”—James McBride, author of The Color of Water
In 2005, Dana Canedy’s fiancé, First Sergeant Charles Monroe King, began to write what would become a two-hundred-page journal for his son in case he did not make it home from the war in Iraq. He was killed by a roadside bomb on October 14, 2006. His son, Jordan, was seven months old.
Inspired by his example, Dana was determined to preserve his memory for their son. A Journal for Jordan is a mother’s fiercely honest letter to her child about the parent he lost before he could even speak. It is also a father’s advice and prayers for the son he will never know.
A father figure to the soldiers under his command, Charles moved naturally into writing to his son. In neat block letters, he counseled him on everything from how to withstand disappointment and deal with adversaries to how to behfrave on a date. And he also wrote of recovering a young soldier’s body, piece by piece, from a tank—and the importance of honoring that young man’s life. He finished the journal two months before his death while home on a two-week leave, so intoxicated with love for his infant son that he barely slept.
This is also the story of Dana and Charles together—two seemingly mismatched souls who loved each other deeply and lost each other too soon. A Journal for Jordan is a tender introduction, a loving good-bye, a reporter’s inquiry into her soldier’s life, and a heartrending reminder of the human cost of war.
About the Author
Dana Canedy is the senior vice president and publisher of Simon & 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 more than 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.” Raised near Fort Knox, Kentucky, she lives in New York City with her son, Jordan.
“This book is a gift, and not only to Jordan.”—USA Today
“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.”—The Denver Post
“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.”—The 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
“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.”—The Plain Dealer
“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
“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
“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. I didn’t want it to end.”—Susan L. Taylor, editor-in-chief emeritus, Essence, and founder of the National CARES Mentoring Movement