Charline's Choice: Education of an American dreamer
I am an unabashed Studs Terkel addict. I love ‘real life stories’, (not tv – literature!) about men and women whose decency and grit helped them pull forward into the American Dream.
George Petropoulos arrived in America at age 17, worked for the railroad, laying track or washing dishes. He opened a 24-hour diner near the railroad tracks of Kearney, Nebraska the veritable center-of-America. He changed the family name from Petropoulos (son of Peter) to Peterson.
His son, Peter grew up to be Peter G. Peterson, CEO of Lehman Brothers in the ‘70s, Secretary of Commerce in the Nixon Administration, and before that CEO of Lehman Brothers, and ultimately the Founder of the mega-hedge-fund Blackstone Group; and Mr.Petropoulos’s son Peter, born of immigrant parents right smack in the middle of the USA, became a billionaire.
He also became a wonderful writer. His motivation, so he says, is that his kids and all kids should be taught to watch where the money goes (and perhaps who taking it there.)
Education of an American Dreamer, Peterson’s memoir, is written in a forthright voice, the kind that hallmarks some of the greats: Stegner, Steinbeck, and Fanté (if you don’t know the writing of John Fanté that’s easily corrected: ”Full of Life” is a masterpiece.)
Mr. Peterson’s very first chapteropens the door for an outstanding autobiography. He is at his very best when he is telling us his ‘story.’If he gives up his day job, he’s got a great future ahead…