NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • WITH A NEW PREFACE BY THE AUTHOR • A powerful memoir of a dramatic year spent battling cancer and reflecting on a long, happy, and lucky life—from the bestselling author of The Greatest Generation, whose iconic career in journalism has spanned more than fifty years
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
Brokaw's cushy, busy retirement, bolstered by the popularity of his Greatest Generation books about WWII and his long tenure as a highly respected NBC newsman, was derailed in 2013 by a dreaded diagnosis of cancer. The former anchorman, now 75, went to the famed Mayo Clinic for a second opinion on a nagging back problem, with the verdict of incurable myeloma, a cancer of the blood. Brokaw writes that the cancer transforms everything it touches. Some readers will be saddened by the distracting remembrances of D-Day events, Nelson Mandela's waning moments, the crumbling of the Twin Towers, and the constant name-dropping; those who expect the book to center on the rigors of the disease and chemotherapy will instead find that Brokaw focuses on the joys of his blessed life: "I've had a life rich in personal and professional rewards beyond what should be anyone's even exaggerated expectations." Unlike some influential narratives on life and maladies, such as Audre Lorde's Cancer Journals and Susan Sontag's Illness as Metaphor, Brokaw's observations and opinions are frank only up to a point, without too much grim analysis, sobering reflection on morality, or despair.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I read Tom Brokaw's book because a good friend was recently diagnosed with MM. I got the information I was looking for and additional insight into cancer in general. I enjoyed the author's description of his journey and will be much more prepared when others are diagnosed in the future.
Well wishes to you Tom Brokaw! I have a friend diagnosed with MM and thank you Tom for now I know how this is affecting his life every day every moment. I understand his "I am fine" really means the silent suffering he is experiencing! Well done for all of your books which I thoroughly enjoyed and prayers to you always!
There is hope!
This is a well written book on a subject that doesn't always have a happy ending. It shows that even the rich and famous people have humility and know that life is precious. I really enjoyed his style of writing and will definitely read more of his books. Livestrong Tom Brokaw!!