In 2005, First Sergeant Charles Monroe King began to write
what would become a two-hundred-page journal for his son in case he didn’t make
it home from the war in Iraq. Charles King, forty-eight, was killed on October
14, 2006, when an improvised explosive device detonated under his Humvee on an
isolated road near Baghdad. His son, Jordan, was seven months old.
A Journal for Jordan
is a mother’s letter to her son—fierce in its honesty—about the father 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 behave on a date. And he also wrote, from his tent, 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.
Finally, this is the story of Dana and Charles together—two
seemingly mismatched souls who loved each other deeply. She was a Pulitzer
Prize–winning editor for the New York
Times who struggled with her weight. He was a decorated military officer
with a sculpted body who got his news from television. She was impatient,
brash, and cynical about love. He was excruciatingly shy and stubborn, and put
his military service before anything else. In these pages, we relive with Dana
the slow unfolding of their love, their decision to become a family, the
chilling news that Charles has been deployed to Iraq, and the birth of their
In perhaps the most wrenching chapter of the book, Dana
recounts her search for answers about Charles’s death. Unsatisfied with the
army’s official version of what happened and determined to uncover the truth,
she pored over summaries of battalion operations reports and drew on her
well-honed reporting skills to interview the men who were with Charles on his
last convoy, his commanding officers, and other key individuals. In the end,
she arrived at an account of Charles’s death—and his last days in his battalion—that
was more difficult to face than the story she had been told, but that affirmed
the decency and courage of this warrior and father.
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. Download and start listening now!