George Washington Carver – A Biography

George Washington CarverGeorge Washington Carver was an unusual man, but then again geniuses always have their little quirks. I didn’t know much about him aside from the peanuts so I was delighted to learn of his many accomplishments throughout his life.

One of the things that stands out in my mind is his thirst for knowledge. Even before his formal education began with his foster family, he demonstrated a deep curiosity in the world around him. This curiosity led him to become the foremost naturalist of his time.

George Washington Carver was a sickly child with weak lungs and could have been easily dismissed as a liability. Due to his condition he was relegated to tasks normally assigned to women, such as the laundry, gathering eggs and helping Susan Carver with cooking, sewing and
crocheting.

Although technically a slave, the Carvers took care of George and his brother, Jim, as if they were kin. Since schools at that time wouldn’t let black children attend their classes, the Carver boys were educated at home by Susan Carver.

George Washington Carver was an avid learner and quickly completed the knowledge that Susan was able to impart. So a private tutor was hired to keep pace with his intellectual abilities.

While his “book learning” was covered by others, Moses Carver (an expert on the natural world, in general) shared his knowledge and love of nature with the inquisitive boy. His love of music was nurtured by both Moses Carver and his Sunday school teacher, Flora Abbot.

George Washington Carver – The Book

This book of George Washington Carver’s life was very engaging and balanced. Unlike many biographies I have read, George Washington Carver’s wasn’t a glorified “rah rah” session. He was revealed, warts and all, through the pages of this book.

His devotion to Christianity and nature inspired him to work through his personal weaknesses and failings. I particularly enjoyed his battles with Booker T. Washington, the president of Tuskegee Institute where Carver spent the last 40 years of his life.

As the epilogue states:

“George Washington Carver is largely forgotten today, displaced as a symbol of black achievement by men and women invested more in high-profile confrontation than in the patient, incremental progress Carver represented … Since that time he has remained largely a marginal figure in American history.”

I’m glad that the author,  John Perry, took the time to write such an informative, realistic and entertaining book about George Washington Carver. Learning about his life and trials has made my life richer. This will be included for my children’s reading list this school year as well. Obviously, I’m giving this book five stars.

Review

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