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Deaf Peddler: Confessions of an Inside Man Paperback – July 3, 2000

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This pedestrian memoir is a confessional narrative in the strictest sense. Buck, a deaf man with a graduate degree in computer science, confesses that from 1985 to 1996, he earned money as a peddler, working either part-time or full-time, in airports, restaurants and malls. Born in 1960 to hearing parents, Buck was doing well in his first year at Gallaudet University when a motorcycle accident left him paralyzed from the chest down. He eventually returned to Gallaudet in a wheelchair and completed his undergraduate studiesAbut, insecure and troubled, he soon found that he could make good money by distributing sign language cards to pedestrians and requesting a donation. In clear prose, Buck provides a brief history of deaf peddlers (who are, to this day, ostracized by most other deaf people), and tells his own storyAthe years when peddling was just a lucrative sideline (while he was employed as a neural network engineer at Wright Patterson Air Force base); his stint as a full-time peddler at Chicago's O'Hare Airport; his frequent run-ins with the police. He also vividly describes the rings of illegal immigrants, some deaf, who are smuggled into the U.S. and forced to peddle for the profit of their exploiters. But this account seems aimed at condemning his former life and the deaf men and women who still peddle. Wracked by shame about his own past, the reformed peddler boasts of his strong work ethic and argues against charity and social security programs for deaf people. B&w illustrations. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

The thought of an educated deaf individual becoming a peddler has always been a sad image in the minds of educators and informed members of the deaf community. Buck, deaf from birth and wheelchair bound since college, tells about his life, not necessarily in chronological order but in the context of the history of the deaf peddler. His courage during physical rehabilitation from a motorcycle accident matches his gutsy approach to learning how to peddle and how to handle competition in airports. Moreover, Buck's ideas about designing deaf communication brochures and about working airport locations are quite creative. Because peddling was more lucrative than his paying jobs and because he needed extra cash while going to graduate school, Buck continued this practice until he decided that his self-esteem was more important than money. His final line on the financing of his book tells it all: "Money given under the false notion that deaf people can't, financed a book telling everyone yes, they can." Nancy McCray
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: Gallaudet University Press; 1st edition (July 3, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1563680963
  • ISBN-13: 978-1563680960
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,172,618 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Deaf Peddler-Confessions of an Inside Man
By Dennis S. Buck
When I read this story I couldn't help to think of the old movie "Rebel without a cause", for that is what on the surface appears to be. Although I could never understand his motivation or choice. Yet as a Deaf person I could understand the pressure and rejection he felt from the hearing society. Of the one steady job he did have, he wasn't given the opportunity for training like his peers. When he did work with someone who understood his Sign Language they corrected him and although he had the education he was still held back. Maybe this was his reason to take to the street out of frustration thereby acting out the hearing worlds perception of Deaf people.
But in the end the wayward son comes home to the Deaf Community and realizes that Deaf people are not single entities like hearing people. That Deaf people are not whole who live outside of our community. When Deaf people strive, we strive for all Deaf people.
This is not the best book I have ever read, nor is it the worst but I am glad he came home and that his book is now added to Deaf Culture Literature, and for that reason I give this book 5 stars.
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Format: Paperback
For anyone interested in Deaf culture--or, for that matter, anyone who has encountered peddlers selling those ABC cards in airports--this book is an excellent choice. Buck gives a perspective most of us would not otherwise have the opportunity to hear. He discusses his reasons for choosing this way of life, and also describes in detail what his days were like. I highly recommend the book.
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