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Is life more extraordinary than we might realize at the time?

Two friends, Gene Weingarten and Tom Schroder, came up with the idea for this book when Gene asked Tom, “I wonder what happened on May 17, 1957.”   And so began the journey that ends with One Day: The Extraordinary Story of an Ordinary 24 Hours in America.

“Select an ordinary day at random, report it deeply, then tell it like it happened – from midnight to midnight.”

What would you discover in your research of a day long gone, in the varied people and events all across the country on any ordinary day?  Is life more extraordinary than we might realize at the time?  My ordinary day might be your extraordinary day.  Or something that seems ordinary at the time may turn out to be a pivotal moment, realized only in hindsight.

Choosing The Date

So first, an idea.  Then, the date.  The friends decided that it must be chosen at random and so while at brunch on New Years Day, 2013, the date was drawn from a hat by three different people (day, month, year).  December 28, 1986.  And so began an odyssey that involved extensive research and more than 500 interviews spanning across 6 years.

A book, titled One Day: The Extraordinary Story of an Ordinary 24 Hours in America, displayed on a backdrop of planners and wall calendars.
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A lot can happen in 24 hours… Dive deep into December 28, 1986 and experience a wide variety of emotions throughout this day.

This book was different from the typical Day in the Life stories I read.  Usually, we are recording a day in real time, as it happens.  This time, however, Weingarten is trying to document a day that happened more than a quarter-century ago.  Do you remember what you were doing on that day?  I sure don’t!

Reporting the Events of That Ordinary Day

Going through the day, from midnight to midnight, Gene Weingarten has written eighteen compelling stories from that day.  Beginning at 12:01 am in Charlottesville, Virginia, and ending at 11:55 p.m. in Oakland, California, we experience life on “The Day” – love, death, fire, marital discord, landmark surgery, theft, racial unrest, a parade, a helicopter crash, AIDS, the Cold War, a rock concert, and more.

a book is open to a page titled 6:35 a.m. San Diego, California. In the background are several wall calendars and planners to support the theme of the book titled One Day.
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6:35 a.m. in San Diego, California… the story of a missing person and an unexpected suspect
a book is open to a page titled 4:25 p.m. Matlock, Washington. In the background are several wall calendars and planners to support the theme of the book titled One Day.
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4:25 p.m. in Matlock, Washington… a helicopter crash with a surprise ending…

Remarkably ordinary and yet so amazingly extraordinary at the same time.  You’ve got to read this book yourself to appreciate the beauty of the idea and life on “The Day”.

Buy the Book

Check the library first but if they don’t have a copy, you can buy one here! (affilitate link)

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Text reads "One Day: Come inside to see how one ordinary day is actually quite extraordinary overall" below the text is a book titled One Day with calendars and planners in the background.
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