“One of the perils of being a sniper during the First World War was the likelihood of a grenade going off right next to you and burying you alive”.
Meet Jack Rogers. Born in 1894, he once locked eyes with Queen Victoria and was one of the first travellers on London’s ‘Tube’. An early car owner, he had many escapades on his days out to Brighton, including a time when his brakes failed and he had to drive through central London without them!
His skills as an entertainer earned him popularity throughout his life, and kept him out of the deadly mines while a prisoner during the First World War. At the tender age of 103 Jack earned the title of ‘The World’s Oldest Columnist’ as he began dictating his life’s exploits to a reporter from the local newspaper.
What I Thought:
It’s a rare trip into biography for me today with Lucky Jack, the remarkable story of an ordinary man.
His story begins like that of many, many others, born into a working class family in the 19th Century, but living through the 20th Century is where this story of one man and his family shows just how the world changed in 100 years.
‘Lucky Jack’ is certainly well-named, as Jack survived as a child when infant mortality was still incredibly high, and he then went on to dodge death through two world wars and the advent of the motor car!
In the book, he always claims that he has been lucky and while I agree, I think a lot of your luck in life comes from your attitude towards it. In the book you get a real sense that Jack was a positive and warm person, with a realistic but positive view of life. He was able to work his way up to care for his family and build a good life for them and his descendants.
The tone throughout the book is quite matter of fact – you get the idea that Jack Rogers never saw himself as anything other than ordinary, despite the huge events and social changes he experienced throughout his life.
It’s a fascinating snapshot of one man’s experiences in a time of changes in class, work and wealth and these types of biographies, those of ordinary people are a treasure trove for social historians.
About the Author:
Sue Bavey is an English Mum of two, living in Massachussetts since 2003 with her husband, kids, a cat named Midnight, a bunny named Nutmeg, a leopard gecko named Ziggy Stardust and occasional frogs and salamanders. Lucky Jack is her grandfather, Henry John Rogers’ biography.
This post is part of a blog tour to celebrate publication of Lucky Jack. Check out some of the other reviews and exclusive content on the blogs below:
Please note: I was sent a copy of this book for review. All opinions are, as ever, my own.