In this humorous, learned, and moving memoir, Vartan Gregorian recounts his journey from an impoverished childhood as a Christian Armenian in Muslim Tabriz to cultured citizen of the world.
Gregorian's odyssey begins in an obscure poor quarter of a provincial city (thought by some to be the location of the Garden of Eden). Childhood centered on his brilliant, beloved, illiterate grandmother who taught him so much, the beauty of Church, school, American movies, and the larger world he read about in his borrowed books.
From there, he continues on to a Beirut lycée, Stanford University, and the presidencies of the New York Public Library, Brown University, and Carnegie Corporation.
Like Jimmy Carter in An Hour Before Daylight, and in the tradition of Nabokov, Jill Ker Conway, and V. S. Naipaul, he tells us that education is an openness to everything and describes his public and private life as one education after another. This is a love story about life.
David McCullough Vartan Gregorian is one of the most gifted and accomplished men of our time, and to have his "journey" in his own words, told with all his sparkle and wisdom, is pure gold.
Peter Gay The New York Times Book Review What you see is what you get, and what you get is the full account of a worthwhile life that has rewarded thousands of students and more thousands of readers. If the word had not been so badly debased in our time, I would call him a civilian hero.
Russell Baker The story of Vartan Gregorian's journey from the shabby suburbs of the Garden of Eden to the peak of America's intellectual world is personal memoir at its very best. Gregorian writes with such charm and modesty that it's a pleasure to make his acquaintance.
Barbara Walters If you are fortunate enough to know Vartan Gregorian personally, you will realize that he is a man of brilliance, wisdom, insight, humor, and, yes, he is even cuddly. If you do not know him personally, his memoir is the best possible substitute I can recommend. Vartan is a remarkable man. This is a remarkable book.