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Rocklin grad a NY Times best seller

Charles makes local book tour with stop at university
By: Teresa O'Hanlon, Placer Herald Correspondent
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Rocklin High School sent its 2006 class valedictorian Joshua Charles off to earn a degree in music and piano performance at the University of Kansas. What Charles calls “Divine Providence” paved a path to his collaboration with talk-radio commentator Glenn Beck and the creation of the number one New York Times bestseller, “The Original Argument: The Federalists’ Case for the Constitution, Adapted for the 21st Century.” “Josh is so talented on the piano, and that was his passion for a while, but he was also very interested in history and government, so I knew his ‘calling’ might change at some point,” said Rocklin High School Social Studies Teacher Julianne Benzel, who has kept in touch with Charles since he left Rocklin. “I thought then, and I still do now, that I could very easily find myself voting for him someday in a national election.” Charles, famous locally for his 2004 Carnegie Hall performance under the direction of former Rocklin High choral conductor Shawn Spiess, spent his last year of undergraduate studies doing what he loved to do: read, study, follow the American political scene, serve the community with his Christian fraternity and — continue reading. Easily burning through 10 books at a time, Charles happened to be untangling the elaborate 18th century prose of three founding fathers in the Federalist Papers when he was faced with an outstanding opportunity. As Americans everywhere were standing up to the wrongs of an overbearing recession, Charles saw hope in returning to the founding principles of the United States. He believed a translation of the Federalist Papers into contemporary English could provide a better understanding of the key documents behind a free republic. Before long Charles’ calling became a commission. “I saw Glenn Beck on TV around March 2010 saying someone should rewrite the Federalist Papers in common language,” remembered Charles who was awed by the coincidence. “That’s when I knew it should be completed and instead of going home for the summer I would stay in Lawrence, Kan. and I would finish the translation. “I was working every single day for about a month-and-a-half,” he said. “I rewrote 85 papers with my longest days at about 14 hours. Ironically, I finished the rough draft on July 4.” After numerous attempts failed to get his manuscript into Beck’s hands, Charles said “divine intervention” brought him in direct contact with the talk show host’s producers. It happened when he and three of his fraternity brothers planned a trip to “see God move” in a small Ohio town devastated by the recession. His inquiry at the town’s 24-hour prayer room paved an improbable path. “I tell this story in my 10-page introduction in the book,” shared Charles. “I would not want to force religion down anyone’s throat, but I do believe it was a series of events that I do not consider coincidental.” Before long, Charles began collaborating with producers at Fox News Studios in New York as Beck devoured his translations, convinced that Federalist authors Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay could empower Americans in modern times. Consumers agreed as the book reached top billing on the New York Times best-seller list through pre-orders — before it ever hit store shelves. “I think if people just realize and really have a grasp of what the Constitution is all about and the meat of it, they will have a much better lens through which to view current events and they will have a much better idea of where our rights come from,” said Charles who added working with Beck was a great experience. “Same in person as he is on TV, which I greatly respected.” Charles will be appearing at William Jessup University and several other locations next week to discuss and sign copies of his book, sharing how he found meaning in 220-year-old essays seemingly lost before translation. “It’s about time we know who we are, where we come from, what our Constitution is all about,” said Charles. “We are much further removed from our roots than we imagine. We must have a great American Renaissance, not just politically, but morally, culturally, and philosophically. Our Founders, as imperfect as they were, were visionary men, the likes of which history had never seen before, and perhaps will never see again. It’s about time we listen to them.”