Thursday, March 15, 2012

Book Review: George Washington Carver

George Washington Carver

A Christian Encounters series biography from Thomas Nelson
By John Perry
c. 2011
Thomas Nelson Publishers
ISBN 978-1-59555-026-2 1

During the US Civil War, a childless, Missouri farm couple Moses Carver and his wife Susan, former slave owners, took two orphaned boys to raise when their mother has kidnapped and disappeared. The boys grew up as if blood sons, taking the Carver name. The older boy, Jim, was strong and a hard worker, but George, born premature and never in good health, turned to less physical pursuits, including developing a passion for gardening, education, and the Christian faith.

After finishing grammar school, George moved to Kansas and took work as a housekeeper to save for higher education. He continued to move around Kansas and eventually developed a laundry business, then a stenography business. With a desire to establish a home, he attempted homesteading, but didn’t stick out the harsh weather.

In 1887 he came to Iowa and was accepted in a small college, eventually settling on agricultural sciences and received his degree in 1894. While considering graduate degrees and missionary work, he received more than one offer to teach. He chose to work at Tuskegee University in Alabama, and met Booker T. Washington, whose story is also briefly told here. Although the experience Carver had initially at the college wasn’t what he hoped, he did find success in research and the respected bulletins he prepared on the results were sent to farmers to offer advice for better and economical practices.

Perry’s account of Carver continuess to detail his rise in respected research circles. Meticulous detail, dates, places, census records and purchase prices, subsequent letters, known speeches and interaction with other famous people such as Thomas Edison, enrich this account of one of America’s most important and influential personages. Told in a matter of fact report-style, readers of biographies will learn all pertinent facts about George Washington Carver.

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