A Sense of the World: How a Blind Man Became History's Greatest Traveler

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Harper Collins, Oct 6, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 432 pages

He was known simply as the Blind Traveler -- a solitary, sightless adventurer who, astonishingly, fought the slave trade in Af-rica, survived a frozen captivity in Siberia, hunted rogue elephants in Ceylon, and helped chart the Australian outback. James Holman (1786-1857) became "one of the greatest wonders of the world he so sagaciously explored," triumphing not only over blindness but crippling pain, poverty, and the interference of well-meaning authorities (his greatest feat, a circumnavigation of the globe, had to be launched in secret). Once a celebrity, a bestselling author, and an inspiration to Charles Darwin and Sir Richard Francis Burton, the charismatic, witty Holman outlived his fame, dying in an obscurity that has endured -- until now.

A Sense of the World is a spellbinding and moving rediscovery of one of history's most epic lives. Drawing on meticulous research, Jason Roberts ushers us into the Blind Traveler's uniquely vivid sensory realm, then sweeps us away on an extraordinary journey across the known world during the Age of Exploration. Rich with suspense, humor, international intrigue, and unforgettable characters, this is a story to awaken our own senses of awe and wonder.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Sheila1957 - LibraryThing

An interesting man who went from being a naval lieutenant who suffered from joint pain then became blind and traveled the world alone. Fascinating! And this all takes place from 1787-1857. James ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - SeriousGrace - LibraryThing

Fourth-born Britain James Holman was destined for the clergy. Instead, he got bit by the travel bug. Like any decent explorer, James Holman bucked authority. After inexplicably going blind at the age ... Read full review

Contents

See Things Better with My Feet
1
The Child in the Compass
7
Scarcely Worth Drowning
23
The Very Height of Expectation
33
Nor Sun Nor Moon
57
The Seven Gentlemen
83
A Smattering of Physic
99
A Whimsical Invalid
111
The Experimental Citizen
125
A Circuit of the World
149
True Sentiments and Powers
159
Acknowledgments
357
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About the author (2009)

Jason Roberts is the inaugural winner of the Van Zorn Prize for emerging writers (sponsored by Michael Chabon) and a contributor to the Village Voice, McSweeney's, The Believer, and other publications. He lives in Northern California.

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