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Helen And Teacher: The Story Of Helen Keller And Anne Sullivan Macy (Radcliffe Biography Series) Paperback – April 2, 1997


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Helen And Teacher: The Story Of Helen Keller And Anne Sullivan Macy (Radcliffe Biography Series) + The World I Live In and Optimism: A Collection of Essays (Dover Books on Literature & Drama)
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Product Details

  • Series: Radcliffe Biography Series
  • Paperback: 832 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; First Trade Paperback edition (April 2, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201694689
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201694680
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,543,119 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Scientific American

Joseph P. Lash understands that the story of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan Macy is the story of a marriage and he has written it accordingly. His sensitivity to the yearnings of his two subjects is acute.

Review

... a deeply absorbing portrait of two intertwined lives whose meanings can't be understood separately. -- The New York Times Book Review, Joseph Featherstone

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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It's an interesting book and well written.
CAT
I think both of these women led truly fascinating lives and accomplished amazing things!
Penny Thoughtful
This is the best biography about Annie Sullivan and Helen Keller that I have read.
Joan C. Frank

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Joan C. Frank on June 6, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the best biography about Annie Sullivan and Helen Keller that I have read. Since I was a child I have been fascinated by them and have read everything that I could get my hands on. Lash goes beyond their heroism and describes Annie and Helen as real people with "feet of clay."

He relies heavily on voluminous correspondence to show the many facets of Helen and those in her life. Many of these details are not explained in other biographies. For example, Helen's father tried to shore up his finances with loans (often defaulted) from Helen's patrons. The "Frost King" incident caused many people to doubt Annie's veracity and credibility as a teacher for the rest of her life. Mr.Sandborn and Mr. Anagnos used the controversy to divert attention from Annie's role as Teacher to Helen and to re-focus attention on the role that the Perkins Institute played in her education. Lash also shows that John Macy had a complex relationship (for the good and the bad) with both Annie and with Helen. Helen was a radical Socialist and often risked her popularity and, therefore, their income by speaking out in support of Socialist leaders and causes. In the end the reader sees that Helen and many of those around her did great things, but they were not perfect. Insecurity, jealousy, money and a desire for love and fame caused all of them to act ugly sometimes.

The other point that was never clear to me before, is that Helen and Annie spent their lives marketing themselves in order to generate an income. Helen's father faced a serious financial downturn that prevented him from supporting them from Helen's young womanhood on.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By BeatleBangs1964 TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
The lives of Helen Keller and her teacher, Ann Sullivan Macy are eternally intertwined. Helen Keller, blind and deaf since infancy depended on Annie since the age of 6 when the latter was hired to teach her.
This comprehensive, fascinating and completely riviting biography does an excellent job of separating the two women's lives and analyzing each woman in her own right. Helen takes giant steps beyond the water pump where Annie first impressed upon her the concept of language. It is to this author's credit that the reader does not languish at that water pump, but follows these women throughout their lives.
The true symbiosis is fully described when other teachers as well as Helen's own mother Kate, try to separate her from Annie. Feeling that her maternal authority had been usurped, Kate understandably wanted to wean Helen from Annie. Each attempt by any person to effect such a change resulted in disaster. Even Annie's marriage to a gifted editor named John Macy ended in an acrimonious split because he felt Helen took up too large a portion of their lives together. From all accounts, Macy seemed to feel that Annie used the same domineering methods she had used on the child Helen with him. He also described Annie as "manipulative and controlling," which certainly seem like apt descriptions of her approach. Resentful of Helen's constant presence and feeling like an odd member of an equally odd triadic relationship, John retreats further from the marriage.
When Annie dies, Helen is disconsolate; she feels she can't survive without her "Teacher," although she, by that point had been at Annie's side for nearly half a century.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By skindahl@aol.com on June 7, 1998
Format: Paperback
There is no need to read anything else on Helen Keller or Annie Sullivan Macy, because it is all included in this incredible biography. This in-depth look at these two remarkable women was both readable and throughly informative. Of all my research on Annie Sullivan, I have found nothing that is not mentioned in Mr. Lash's work; he has truly captured her spirit, along with her triumphant pupil.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Penny Thoughtful on June 9, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book has just about every bit of information about Annie and Helen anyone could wish for! My only complaint is that there is SO much information, sometimes it was easy for me to miss what I was looking for. It took me a long time to find out, for example, how Helen learned to speak English, and what exactly happened with Mr. Anagnos, and with John Macy, and who Swedenborg was, etc. I was delighted to find out that one of Helen's favorite books was Anne of Green Gables! It's tidbits like this that make the book delightful as a whole. I think both of these women led truly fascinating lives and accomplished amazing things!
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 5, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Informative! It does get a bit long and wordy at times, but it's a fair representation of Helen and Annie's lives. The more I read about Annie Sullivan, the more I like her.

I think it was a real shame that Arthur and Kate Keller felt threatened by the close bond Annie had with Helen. I think Arthur and Kate just wanted Helen to be "trained," but not really the free independent spirit she was meant to be.

I'm so glad Annie stood by her and helped her become a free person and became a lifelong friend to Helen as well. Annie was very open about whatever failings she'd had and was a warm, loving supportive guide in Helen's life.

I get the feeling Helen and Annie had almost a mother-daugher-like bond, which of course practically killed Arthur and Kate. The stupid thing was, the Keller parents wanted to just shift over the responibility to Annie of educating her and getting her to fit into society, yet wanted total control over Helen's life.

If anyone was manipulative and controlling, it was Arthur and Kate. Especially Arthur, I think was really patronizing and downright domineering toward Annie.

Kate didn't help matters either and when I read about her attempts to break Helen and Pete up later on and her consent to try to split Helen and Annie up, I really lost respect for Kate.

I know I'm slamming Kate and Arthur here, but I see Annie as more of a loving parent figure in Helen's life. I really commend Annie for standing strong against Helen's domineering, manipulative parents.

Oh, boy, was that John Macy a real creep! I was sooo glad Annie got away from him; he accused Annie of being "manipulative and controlling" when he was controlling himself!
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