In 1944, Bertie Bowman–a poor, impressionable thirteen-year-old–heard South Carolina senator Burnet Maybank declare: “If you all ever get up to Washington, D.C., drop by and see me!” Bertie took those words to heart, and when he arrived in Washington, Senator Maybank, surprisingly true to his word, saw to it that the young runaway had a place to stay and a steady income–earned by sweeping the Capitol steps for two dollars a week. Bowman would rise to become hearing coordinator for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the U.S. Capitol–and this is his remarkable story.
For sixty years, Bertie Bowman stood at the epicenter of change and witnessed history in the making, observing firsthand the clandestine backroom deals made in the name of democracy. Through it all, he lived by these guiding principles: Work hard. Be true to yourself. Take responsibility. Have a positive outlook. Expect the best from people. As Bowman recounts his extraordinary life, he also shares the lessons and values that have served him well throughout his career.