More than Peanuts: A Story of Persistence, Brilliance, and Faith

Book Reviews for Bibliophiles Column, November 9, 2011

George Washington Carver, by John Perry, 2011 [Christian Encounter Series]

American history books often ignore the accomplishments of an unassuming African-American man born in Missouri in 1863.  I grew up listening to my mother’s comments about this remarkable man, who spoke at her college in the 1930s.  I always wondered why there was little information published about him.  John Perry’s biography fills in the gaps.

Modern writers often dismiss Carver because he was not a militant and thereby miss the point.   Such an attitude would have changed nothing for Carver and might have cost him his life.  He instead won people of all races to his philosophy and faith by example, hard work, and unrelenting faith.

George Washington Carver did more than introduce the world to the uses of peanuts.  Ralston-Purina sought his advice about development of a new cereal.  Followers of Mahatma Ghandi visited Carver requesting advice on a vegetarian food that would build Ghandi’s body between fasts.  Ghandi himself read Carver’s agricultural bulletins, sending a thank you note after he received them.  Henry Ford befriended Carver and valued his opinions and research.

Carver’s was a life of faith and focus that was unique and noteworthy. This book is well worth the time it takes to read and study it.

Favorite quotes:

Page 58, “Carver… encouraged [students] to work hard and make a difference in the world, never be afraid of innovative ideas, and faithfully follow their dreams.  He told them to look neither “up to the rich nor down on the poor”, but to be one who “takes his share of the world and lets other people have theirs.” “

Page 60, “Carver often talked about the Creator in the classroom… Religion suddenly had a new relevance, a new immediacy.”

Page 125, “Kindness, diligence, and humility were Carver’s tools for dealing with the laws that made blacks second-class citizens.”

NOTE: provided me a complimentary copy of the book.

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