Reluctant Genius: Alexander Graham Bell and the Passion for Invention – Charlotte Gray

This was a fascinating biography of Alexander Graham Bell. Before reading this book, I knew what you typically learn in school; that he invented the telephone (with the help of Watson, “I need you,” of course). The truth is, he was so much more than that.

Given the ability to have actually known someone in history, some men (and women) in history you don’t really care whether or not you ever knew them, others you would definitely not want to know, but Bell I would have loved to have known.

He was a fortunate man in having the people in his life that he did. If not for that, he would have been like a lottery winner that ends up bankrupt five years after winning $100 million. His determined work on the telephone and the people who worked to protect his financial interests in it allowed him to pretty much do what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. Man, what a great way to live a life. I actually envied him for that.

As well as relating the life of Bell, the author covers the other people in his life, and they are interesting figures in their own right. His wife, Mabel, was certainly the rock in his life, and the person who facilitated Bell’s ability to work on his own interests regardless of financial pay-off. In addition, though, there are people from the world of the deaf, including a close relationship with Helen Keller, which took me totally by surprise. He was also involved early on with Maria Montessori and her method of teaching.

As I said before, a fascinating biography. I recommend it to anyone who would like to have a little more depth in their knowledge of Alexander Graham Bell and the times in which he lived.

Finished 3/25/17