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Helen Keller: A Life Paperback – December 15, 1999
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Many works on Ms. Keller seem to get stuck on the now famous scene at the water pump when Annie spells "water" into Helen's outstretched hand. This author, to her credit, provides a rich source of information and introduces the readers at large to Helen the student, Helen the writer, Helen the adult and Helen as one third of a strange triadic relationship when her beloved "Teacher" marries a gifted editor named John Macy.
Helen and Annie had a rather symbiotic relationship and this was never made more apparent than when other educators as well as Helen's mother tried to prize them apart. John Macy, Annie's long suffering husband tired of having to include Helen in every aspect of his married life and felt that Annie was making Helen "more of an institution than a woman." He further charged Annie with being a self serving promotor and felt that Helen was being exploited.
This work does indeed raise some very interesting ideas. Annie does indeed have a punitive streak, no doubt influenced by her abusive, alcoholic father and the lost years she spent in the alms-house. The alms-house was, by all accounts a genuine Chamber of Horrors and no provisions were made for children. Annie survived the gritty horrors, including the death of her beloved baby brother, Jimmie.Read more ›
It is very well-researched and almost uniformly highly readable (very little dry stuff). It gives a harrowing account of Annie Sullivan's nightmarish childhood (and difficult and demanding personality throughout her adulthood) than was every really hinted at in other works, or in "The Miracle Worker"). That gives even more insight on how these two people interacted for so many years together.
It also gives much information on Helen's sometimes naive and leftist/pacifist/near anarchist political philsophies (strongly developed by conversion to Swedenborgian).
It also gives an insightful analysis of what Helen's family relationship was really like. If you've ever been on the house tour in Tuscumbia, AL, this stuff is sugar-coated and glossed over. While on some levels one can understand why, one is really mislead about what her life there was really like. Not to mention the true nature of her family. Captain Keller is just not the Civil War hero he had been made out to be, and her mother was very difficult throughout her life.
And had she not suffered from scarlet fever and its aftermath, Helen would have been a Southern Belle through and through. She was very beautiful (despite the eye deformities), and her life would have been such that she would have been expected to marry well and live as much of a life of leisure as possible.
I had no idea that Ms. Keller was essentially an invalid (and virtually suffered from dementia) for at least the last 6 years of her life. Not much information is provided about the end of her life.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Arrived promptly in great shape. Extremely interesting story of an extraordinary woman. Makes fascinating reading. Good overview of her unequaled life.Published 7 months ago by BilMcReader
Many people, including the writer of this terrific biography, want to be sure that we do not idolize Helen Keller, make her into a perfect person, or make her into something not... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Richard K. Mason
The facts of Helen Keller's early life are widely known, thanks to the 1959 stage play (and later film) by William Gibson, The Miracle Worker. Read morePublished on September 27, 2009 by Linda Bulger
My grandfather saw Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan on one of their vaudeville tours in the early 1920s in St. Louis, and never forgot the experience. Read morePublished on April 23, 2008 by Elizabeth J. Brown
Many or most nondisabled peoples' only knowledge of Helen Keller's life is the events of William Gibson's "The Miracle Worker". Read morePublished on July 10, 2007 by Jason Bowles
The Helen Keller most of us are familiar with is the beligerent and frustrated little girl who in that fateful Spring of 1887, became docile, loving, and all of a sudden able to... Read morePublished on April 21, 2004 by J. D. Stewart
This is a wonderful addition to all the bios on these two remarkable women. While the definitive is "Helen and Teacher," by Joseph Lash, this book adds lots of... Read morePublished on January 28, 2004 by Kat
Anne Sullivan (Helen Kellers teacher) is probably my biggest hero.
She endured a life of harsh physical pain from various ailments. Read more