The Radical Lives of Helen Keller by Kim E. Nielsen
(History of Disability)

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Synopsis

Several decades after her death in 1968, Helen Keller remains one of the most widely recognized women of the twentieth century. But the fascinating story of her vivid political life 8212;particularly her interest in radicalism and anti-capitalist activism 8212;has been largely overwhelmed by the sentimentalized story of her as a young deaf-blind girl.Keller had many lives indeed. Best known for her advocacy on behalf of the blind, she was also a member of the socialist party, an advocate of women's suffrage, a defender of the radical International Workers of the World, and a supporter of birth control 8212;and she served as one of the nation's most effective but unofficial international ambassadors. In spite of all her political work, though, Keller rarely explored the political dimensions of disability, adopting beliefs that were often seen as conservative, patronizing, and occasionally repugnant. Under the wing of Alexander Graham Bell, a controversial figure in the deaf community who promoted lip-reading over sign language, Keller became a proponent of oralism, thereby alienating herself from others in the deaf community who believed that a rich deaf culture was possible through sign language. But only by distancing herself from the deaf community was she able to maintain a public image as a oneof a kind miracle.Using analytic tools and new sources, Kim E. Nielsen's political biography of Helen Keller has many lives, teasing out the motivations for and implications of her political and personal revolutions to reveal a more complex and intriguing woman than the Helen Keller we thought we knew.

 

About Kim E. Nielsen

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The author of three books, including two on Helen Keller and one on Anne Sullivan Macy, Kim E. Nielsen is a professor of history and women's studies at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. She lives in Green Bay.









Author Residence: Green Bay, WI
 
Published January 1, 2004 by NYU Press academic. 193 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences, History. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Radical Lives of Helen Keller

Project MUSE

In The Radical Lives of Helen Keller, Nielsen examines Keller's life from multiple perspectives that extend well beyond the typical simplistic views of Keller as a lovely, inspirational deaf-blind girl who overcame a tremendous handicap.

| Read Full Review of The Radical Lives of Helen Ke...

https://muse.jhu.edu

In The Radical Lives of Helen Keller, Nielsen examines Keller's life from multiple perspectives that extend well beyond the typical simplistic views of Keller as a lovely, inspirational deaf-blind girl who overcame a tremendous handicap.

| Read Full Review of The Radical Lives of Helen Ke...

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