A Lucky Life Interrupted

Tom Brokaw

Random House, 230 pages, $27

Tom Brokaw is an icon of American television. A pillar of the NBC news division for decades, he is among the last of his kind — the paterfamilias news anchor whose name, face and voice instantly lend credibility to any circumstance. It's a role Brokaw earned by decades of tireless reporting that made him witness to some of the most significant events in his lifetime.

When he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2013, Brokaw decided to keep it to himself. Illness at any age can damage a high-profile career, and at 73, Brokaw was already in the tricky position of "elder statesman." As he writes in his new memoir, "A Lucky Life Interrupted," he did not want to be defined by his disease. Now in remission, he is ready to share his experience.

Those looking for a window into an icon's soul, or proof that facing death makes poets of us all, may be disappointed. "A Lucky Life Interrupted" is, instead, a fast-paced, no-nonsense chronicle of the events leading up to Brokaw's diagnosis, his subsequent treatment and the shock of admitting the possibility of his own mortality.

Not every memoir has to be soul-searching, and there is resonance in Brokaw's matter-of-fact tone that will speak to many who prefer sense to sensibility. No doubt "A Lucky Life Interrupted" is characteristic of the man himself, and it's impossible not to be inspired by Brokaw's story.