Helen Keller: A Life in American History explores Keller’s life, career as a lobbyist, and experiences as a deaf-blind woman within the context of her relationship with teacher-guardian-promoter Anne Sullivan Macy and overarching social history. The book tells the dual story of a pair struggling with respective disabilities and financial hardship and the oppressive societal expectations set for women during Keller’s lifetime. This narrative is perhaps the most comprehensive study of Helen Keller’s role in the development of support services specifically related to the deaf-blind, as delineated as different from the blind.
Readers will learn about Keller’s challenges and choices as well as how her public image often eclipsed her personal desires to live independently. Keller’s deaf-blindness and hard-earned but limited speech did not define her as a human being as she explored the world of ideas and wove those ideas into her writing, lobbying for funds for the American Federation for the Blind and working with disabled activists and supporters to bring about practical help during times of tremendous societal change.
- Presents well-researched, factual material in an easy-to-understand writing style about a complex, iconic American woman, Helen Keller, who inspired generations of people worldwide because of her lifelong quest for knowledge and her ability to communicate ideas despite being deaf-blind
- Humanizes and demonstrates the diversity of the deaf-blind community, which has historically been the smallest minority in the United States at less than 1% of the population
- Positions Keller in the panorama of American history, economics, politics, and popular culture, challenging the existing narrative created by her teacher-guardian-promoter Anne Sullivan Macy
- Re-envisions Keller within the world of ideas where she experienced and expressed individuality through dialogs constructed from her writings and the work of those who informed her thinking
- Includes 10 images that provide an intimate look into Keller's personal and public life