George Washington Carver

( 21 )

Overview

Christian Encounters, a series of biographies from Thomas Nelson Publishers, highlights important lives from all ages and areas of the Church. Some are familiar faces. Others are unexpected guests. But all, through their relationships, struggles, prayers, and desires, uniquely illuminate our shared experience.

A generation of 20th-century Americans knew him as a gentle, stoop-shouldered old black man who loved plants and discovered more than a hundred uses for the humble peanut....

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George Washington Carver

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Overview

Christian Encounters, a series of biographies from Thomas Nelson Publishers, highlights important lives from all ages and areas of the Church. Some are familiar faces. Others are unexpected guests. But all, through their relationships, struggles, prayers, and desires, uniquely illuminate our shared experience.

A generation of 20th-century Americans knew him as a gentle, stoop-shouldered old black man who loved plants and discovered more than a hundred uses for the humble peanut. George Washington Carver goes beyond the public image to chronicle the adventures of one of history's most inspiring and remarkable men.

George Washington Carver was born a slave. After his mother was kidnapped during the Civil War, his former owners raised him as their own child. He was the first black graduate of Iowa State, and turned down a salary from Thomas Edison higher than the U.S. President to stay at the struggling Tuskegee Institute, where he taught and encouraged poor black students for nearly half a century.

Carver was an award-winning painter and acclaimed botanist who saw God the Creator in all of nature. The more he learned about the world, the more convinced he was that everything in it was a gift from the Almighty, that all people were equal in His sight, and that the way to gain respect from his fellow man was not to demand it, but to earn it.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595550262
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/2/2011
  • Series: Christian Encounters Series
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 337,557
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 6.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

John Perry is a former advertising copywriter and founder of Wolf, Perry & Clark Music and American Network Radio. He is theauthor of Sergeant Alvin York;Unshakable Faith, a dual biography of Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver;and Lady of Arlington, the biography of Mary Custis Lee, wife of Robert E. Lee. His Letters to God has been onthe New York Times best seller list. John now lives in Nashville.

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Read an Excerpt

GEORGE WASHINGTON CARVER

CHRISTIAN ENCOUNTERS SERIES
By JOHN PERRY

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2011 John Perry
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-59555-404-8


Chapter One

CARVER'S GEORGE

Southwestern Missouri in the winter of 1863 was a lawless and deadly land. The war that ripped the United States in two had divided Missouri families against themselves. Though a slaveholding state, the legislature had voted in 1861 to stand with the Union even as Confederate sympathies ran strong. Governor Claiborne Jackson himself led an army of secessionist irregulars on one bloody raid after another. The southwest corner of the state in particular endured endless skirmishes as the two sides fought for control. Making a bad situation worse, the region was a crossroads for soldiers, militiamen, marauders, scavengers, opportunists, bounty hunters, and deserters traveling between the Union and the Confederacy, some with shifting loyalties, others who willingly took the law into their own hands. From rebel Arkansas to the south, raiders came to capture escaped slaves and return them for a reward. Abolitionists rode in from Kansas to the west, once a slave-holding territory and now a free state with its own bloody history, to help Missouri defend itself against homegrown adversaries. In between Arkansas and Kansas, the Oklahoma Indian Territory offered vast empty spaces to hide vigilante patrols, recruit soldiers for both sides, and for runaway slaves to disappear into the trackless plains.

Marion Township, just outside Diamond Grove near the Newton County seat of Neosho, was a rural settlement in the thickest of the Missouri guerrilla fighting. Confederates took over the county government and adopted an ordinance of secession, though in Neosho the Union loyalists likely outnumbered Southern sympathizers. Raiders and looters galloped through the countryside day and night, as did ordinary criminals who found opportunity in the confusion and lawlessness of the moment.

One of the five slaveholders listed in the Marion Township census of 1860 was Moses Carver. He and his wife, Susan, were relatively prosperous farmers, though they lived modestly and seemed to have no material wealth beyond what their neighbors did. Carver was also a successful stock trader and horse trainer. The couple had no children, which was a liability because farmers needed children to keep a place in good order; tending crops, cultivating a kitchen garden, caring for livestock, repairing fences and gates, cutting firewood, drawing water, and maintaining equipment was more than a couple alone could do. Like many Americans before him, Moses Carver was against the idea of one human being owning another but saw slavery as an economic necessity. The 1860 census listed Carver as owning two slaves, a woman named Mary and her mulatto (half white) infant son, Jim, born the previous October. Carver had bought Mary for seven hundred dollars in 1855 when she was thirteen. A female slave's children became the property of her owner.

By late 1863 Mary had another son, George. As with most children born in the countryside, especially slaves, there was no record of his birth. In later years George said he had been born in 1864 or '65. It is possible that a baby recorded as born in Marion Township on July 12, 1860, was George. A birth date so soon after his brother's indicated he arrived prematurely. That would account for his being small, frail, and hampered by severe breathing problems—conditions associated with premature birth, and which he dealt with all his life. George never knew his father, who died either before he was born or about that time. Again no official accounts exist, though in describing his early years, George wrote in 1922 that his father was the property of Mr. Grant, owner of the plantation next door, and was killed soon after George was born "while hauling wood with an ox team. In some way he fell from the load, under the wagon, both wheels passing over him."

Mary and her boys lived in what had once been Moses and Susan's cabin, a one-room log building with a fireplace, one window opening with shutters but no glass (a rare and expensive luxury on the frontier), and a packed earth floor. Earlier the Carvers had shared it with Moses' brother's three children, two boys and a girl, whom they raised after their father died. The children were grown and gone by 1860, and at some point the Carvers built a similar but larger home for themselves and gave their old home to Mary and her boys.

Some slaveholders in southwestern Missouri abandoned their homesteads during the war in the face of threats, raids, and destruction, but Moses would not be frightened off his property. After decades of work, he had built one of the most valuable farms in town, with a hundred acres under cultivation, an orchard, beehives, and a range of livestock. Though others might buckle under the pressure, Moses Carver was a stubborn man when he believed he was right.

Stories vary as to how many times the Carver farm was raided. There is one account that robbers came demanding money, which Carver refused. They ordered him to reveal where his savings were hidden. When he still said nothing, they hung him by his thumbs and burned his feet with hot coals. Stubborn Moses remained silent until the raiders finally gave up.

Either then or during another raid, invaders made off with property far more valuable to the Carvers than buried cash. One bitter cold November day Moses was working in the field and had Jim with him, while Mary was in her cabin with George. Seeing the attackers ride up, Moses and Jim hid from them, but Mary and George were kidnapped.

The men may have been traders or bounty hunters planning to sell captured slaves in Arkansas. As soon as they left, Moses started planning to rescue Mary and her boy, but he had no idea where to look first. His neighbor, Sergeant John Bentley, was a Union scout who knew the shadowy world of bushwhackers and vigilantes in the region and agreed to help. Moses promised a racehorse and forty acres of land for the return of his property. Riding through the night, Sergeant Bentley and his search party found George alone in an abandoned cabin. Bentley instructed the others to continue the chase, then carried the boy home and laid him in the crib with his own son for the night. The next day Bentley returned George to the Carvers and reported there was no sign of Mary. George's mother was never heard from again. Since the sergeant had found one slave but not the other, Moses gave him part of the reward: a fine horse valued at three hundred dollars.

Susan and Moses moved the two motherless slave boys into their house to raise as their own. Technically they remained slaves until a new state constitution was enacted on July 4, 1865, since the Emancipation Proclamation covered only the Confederacy. Yet practically, from the time Mary disappeared, the Carvers loved and cared for George and Jim as blood kin, just as they had cared for their niece and nephews years before. The brothers even assumed the Carver family name.

After the end of the war, the newly constituted Carver family settled down to life on the farm. Jim grew tall and strong and, like a typical farm boy, took on a list of chores at an early age. By his teens he could handle a day's work equal to what a man could do. His younger brother was a different story entirely. George remained a slight, sickly boy who fought off one respiratory illness after another. His constant coughing and breathing problems could have been symptoms of bronchitis, pneumonia, or even tuberculosis. His adoptive parents diagnosed whooping cough or croup. Whatever the cause, he coughed and hacked so much that he sometimes lost his voice.

Clearly George would never be able to shoulder his share of the farmwork a boy was expected to do. So instead of learning to plow, build a fence, and repair a piece of machinery, he learned to take care of the kitchen garden, gather eggs, and help Susan with the cooking, laundry, and other housework. Then or later he also learned to sew and crochet.

Moses Carver was known in the community as a man who understood animals. He raised and traded horses, mules, hogs, and other livestock, and had a pet rooster trained to perch on his shoulder. Added to his experience with crops, fruit trees, and bees, his animal knowledge made Moses something of an expert on the natural world in general. As George grew older, he became attracted to nature as well. He spent hours in the orchard and in the vegetable garden near the house. He planted a flower garden of his own; though he kept it a secret because he thought his foster parents would consider it a waste of time. George had what later generations would call a green thumb. Even the neighbors started noticing how attentive he was to plants, how he could make things grow, and especially how he could coax sick plants back to health.

Every moment he wasn't busy with housework George spent in the gardens or in the woods. He started collecting plant samples and rocks, along with frogs and other small animals he could slip in his pockets. Happy as Susan was to see George's fascination with nature, after one surprise too many she started making him turn his pockets out before he came inside. She also convinced him to pare down his rock collection after he piled them so high beside the hearth that she feared the whole stack would collapse.

George loved learning and was as eager to go to school as he was to know about plants. The Locust Grove School was only a mile or so away, but it didn't allow black children to attend. The same building hosted church services on Sunday and Wednesday, along with occasional shows by traveling come dy troupes. George was welcome at Locust Grove then, even though he couldn't attend school within the same four walls on the other days. The Carvers didn't go to church, but George was so interested in Christianity that he walked the mile by himself every Sunday morning. His Sunday school teacher, Flora Abbott, gave young George special encouragement. She recognized his passion for learning, helping him memorize Bible verses and assuring him that "the Lord heard and answered the prayers of a child just as surely as He did that of their parents." Mrs. Abbott also nurtured George's love for music. He started singing in church at Locust Grove and learned to pick out melo dies on the piano. Music had been part of George's life for as long as he could remember. Moses Carver played the fiddle so well that he was in constant demand at dances and picnics.

George Carver developed into a shy older boy. Because he was physically weak he didn't play with the others, preferring to stay on the sidelines and watch, even though sometimes other boys teased him for not joining in. He was consumed with the desire to know more about everything, and his playmates teased him about that too. Quiet and set apart as he was, he still had plenty of friends among the Carver relatives and neighbors. Black and white children played together as equals; only later were they taught that one race was inferior to the other.

Susan Carver did her best to satisfy George's hunger for knowledge by teaching him herself from a copy of Noah Webster's Elementary Spelling Book, known universally as the "blue-backed speller," one of the most widely used textbooks in America. Combining Susan's teaching with Mrs. Abbott's Sunday lessons, George learned to read and write, always longing to know more. On his walks he began praying for a chance to learn more about the plants he so enjoyed, and that God would direct his life.

The blue-backed speller couldn't begin to answer all the questions swirling around inside George's head. When an educated black man moved to Diamond Grove, Moses hired him to tutor George. It wasn't long though before George's curiosity took him beyond the tutor's abilities. Finally, Moses found a school in Neosho that would take "colored" students. George moved to the county seat, boarding with a couple named Andrew and Mariah Watkins. It was the first time he could remember living in a household headed by black people.

Mariah was a laundress. Since George had learned to do laundry at the Carvers, he eagerly pitched in to help Mariah with her work. She was also a midwife with a wealth of knowledge about the medicinal uses for plants. George absorbed everything she would tell him about them and still begged for more. Mariah was a devout Christian who took George to church and encouraged him to read the Bible. She told him about the slave named Libby who had taught her to read. "You must learn all you can, then be like Libby," she said. "Go out in the world and give your learning back to our people." That Christmas Mariah Watkins gave George a Bible, which he kept for the rest of his life.

Until he moved to Neosho, George had not used a last name. As a slave, he may have been referred to as "Carver's George." Mrs. Watkins thought a student ought to have a last name, and so enrolled him as George Carver. The teacher was a young black man named Stephen Frost, known to the students as "the professor." Like so many black educators in the Reconstruction period after the Civil War, he was poorly trained, poorly paid, and ill equipped for his work. As he had outpaced his tutor in Diamond Grove, George soon knew everything Professor Frost did. When George solved a math problem and the professor insisted he was wrong, George took the answer to a white teacher in town and got her to sign it saying it was correct.

Within a year or so George Carver had learned all that the school in Neosho could teach. He received his graduation certificate on December 22, 1876, and immediately began looking for a way to continue his education. When he heard that a family from Neosho was traveling to Fort Scott, Kansas, where there was a school open to blacks and whites alike, he convinced them to take him along. Within a few days, George bid the Watkins goodbye, collected his Bible and a few clothes, and headed west, walking most of the seventy-five miles because the wagon was too full of furniture to ride. They were headed for what widely distributed handbills called "Sunny Kansas," where emancipated slaves were streaming for the offer of free land and a fresh start.

Chapter Two

WANDERING YEARS

The first order of business for young George in Fort Scott was to find a job and a place to live. He came to town literally penniless, and so would have to work and save money before he could start school. What George lacked in physical strength he made up for in dedication and enthusiasm. Felix Payne and his wife were looking for a hired girl to cook and do housework. Carver applied for the job and Payne, a blacksmith, decided to give the teenager a chance. Growing up helping Susan Carver around the house, George learned to cook and serve meals, wash clothes, and do other chores. He tackled his new responsibilities enthusiastically. Every dish washed, every shirt ironed brought him closer to starting classes. He also worked part time at a grocery store across the street from the Paynes, and took in laundry for guests of the Wilder House hotel.

The moment he could afford it, George enrolled in school. When the money ran out, he quit long enough to earn another small stake, then picked up where he left off. He was an excellent student despite his erratic attendance. Carver spent two happy years in Fort Scott. At last he had the chance to get the education he had wanted for so long, and under normal circumstances he might have settled in town indefinitely.

But Carver's future was redirected on the night of March 26, 1879, when a black man was accused of raping a twelve-year-old white girl and thrown in the county jail. Wearing masks, a mob of thirty men swarmed the jail, grabbed the suspect, and hanged him from a lamppost as a huge crowd watched. Then they dragged the body through the streets, stopping in front of the Payne house to beat his brains out on the curb as George watched in terror from his window. Later the corpse was doused with kerosene and set on fire. Though he had seen and experienced discrimination all his life, George had lived mostly with white families who treated him as an equal. A savage lynching before a cheering crowd of a thousand or more was unimaginable to him. "As young as I was," Carver remembered a lifetime later, "the horror haunted me and does even now."

(Continues...)



Excerpted from GEORGE WASHINGTON CARVER by JOHN PERRY Copyright © 2011 by John Perry. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

1 Carver's George 1

2 Wandering Years 10

3 The Road to Tuskegee 23

4 Pressures and Politics 35

5 From Power to Power 51

6 Out of the Shadow 69

7 Science Shall Make You Free 85

8 Simply the Truth 96

9 The Peanut Man 109

10 In the Midst of Plenty 122

11 The Public Figure 133

12 The Gift of Hope 142

Epilogue 153

Acknowledgments 155

Notes 157

Bibliography 161

About the Author 163

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 21 )
Rating Distribution

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(12)

4 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2012

    Cool

    This book is very cool.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A most enjoyable read

    For those who enjoy biographies, I would highly recommend this most enjoyable book, George Washington Carver. This beautifully written tribute to the life, works and humble practices of one of America¿s greatest African-American botanists, research scientists, and God-inspired discoverers will move you. It is a book that will open your eyes to the many gifts of the Creator.

    Phone Tree Rating: 5/5 *****

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2013

    Boom

    It is awsome!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2013

    George Washington Carver: "the plant doctor"

    Carver was a great person back in his time. When he was a child he always strived to do more than what he had to. Every morning he would run to his family kitchen and see what his mother was preparing for him. He would always close his little eyes and wait for the mollases to pour onto his plate. He was very thankful for his food . Most of the time people don't even touch it even if it touching eachother .

    They also did not have any gadgets or gismos to answer any questions. Now we just simply take out our phone or tablet and tap the letters and we have the answer. Back then people also did not even have video games, and today people sit down or even quit there jobs to play games. I cannot people have the odasity to do that kind of stuff.

    - Gabriel Rodriguez

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2012

    Neat

    Can't wait to read it thanks!

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  • Posted January 27, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Interesting read

    I’d heard of George Washington Carver, and I knew that he’d done a lot of work with peanuts.

    That was about it.

    Now that I’ve read this book, I feel like I know Dr. Carver more deeply than ever before.

    Jonh Perry’s book is intensely personal. Aside from occasionally repeating himself, his storytelling is compelling and fascinating.

    If you’re interested in the contributions of Dr. Carver to the American experience, then you will enjoy this book.

    Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review.

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  • Posted August 31, 2011

    A thought-provoking read!

    George Washington Carver by John Perry is an in-depth examination of the life of an American scientist and teacher. Created in a world of racial intolerance, his mother kidnapped and lost to him, Carver became a self-made man. Following his natural inclinations toward research and religious belief, Carver made a life for himself and in doing so enriched the lives and futures of those around him. Perry has written an engaging, easy-to-read biography. Drawing the reader in with the tragic circumstance of Carver's brief time with his mother and then offering a glimpse into the life of a fascinating human being, Perry's writing is concise and informative. Carver created a life for himself based on his own natural gifts: a love and appreciation of nature, a belief in God and an unfailing wish to help other African Americans. Carver's dedication and hard work are inspiring. His belief in the transcending power of education creates in the reader an appreciation for one's own education and how it is often taken for granted. Carver literally worked his way through school. In a time when it cost money to attend school, Carver held down a job, saved his money, then went to school until his money ran out. He then returned to work and repeated the process. This he did until his education was completed. Carver's was a tenacious, faith-fuelled life; his energetic contributions are still felt today. Disclosure Note: Thomas Nelson has been gracious enough to give me a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2011

    The Interesting Life of George Washington Carver

    I seem to be reading a lot of nonfiction and biographies lately. When I was offered the chance to review George Washington Carver I was curious to find out about the person whose name I'd heard many times. I didn't really know much about him except that he was educated.


    John Perry did a masterful job of presenting Dr. Carver in a realistic way. He didn't hide the man's many quirks, especially his need of constant approbation. The writing is easy to read and contains a great deal of interesting information about the times and Carver's place in it.


    Carver was born a slave. After slavery was abolished George and his brother were raised by the couple who had owned them. George received a basic education from his guardians and was encouraged to continue his education. The author describes in detail how an African-American man had to struggle to achieve a decent education. Carver managed to graduate from college and became a professor at the Tuskegee Institute where he taught black students methods of self-sufficient agriculture.


    Carver enjoyed the role of teacher and scientist but avoided the administrative role in his department. This created a great deal of friction between himself and the Institute's board. One of Carver's greatest accomplishments, outside of the scientific, was in befriending his students, encouraging them and holding bible classes for them.


    I really enjoyed this quick read, learning about a person in history whose name I have heard many times without really knowing who he was.

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  • Posted August 13, 2011

    An Amazing Life

    Most of the books in the Christian Encounters series are about people you've heard of and probably know a little about: St. Patrick, Galileo, Winston Churchill, Jane Austen. A few of their books explore lives of people you probably aren't familiar with, but these biographies will enrich your life. George Washing Carver is the biography of an extraordinary life of a man who was born in slavery, but quietly and steadily rose to become one of the most prominent African Americans of the early twentieth century. He may be known for his experiments with peanuts and sweet potatoes, but his life is much more fascinating that just those crops. He was driven by a love for His Creator and a desire to learn about His creation.

    Biographer John Perry writes a nice, brief yet comprehensive account of Carver's life. At times it felt a bit repetitive, but overall all it was a provocative story about a man who rose above his position in life to accomplish great things. Carver was a great example of a man who did not fight against the racism of his day, but strove to become an example of what his people could become.

    I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  • Posted August 8, 2011

    A Wonderful Living Book!

    John Perry guides you through the life of George Washington Carver. You are taken from his birth as a lowly slave to his struggles to get into collage. His brilliant mind was not to be hidden from the world, and he never gave up. An inspiring read about an inspiring man!

    What Did I Think Of It? I requested this book half excited and half dreading it! With a biography you just never know! Some biographies can be to fact oriented. There is no story at all. Some are living books in the truest sense of the word. You are there. You are that person.

    This book was somewhere in the middle. It was not as interesting as I might have dreamed of, but it was happily close to the living book line! This book would be a wonderful addition to any school book shelf.

    Please be aware there was some derogatory language used appropriately in the book. Older students should read it knowing what this man would have had to go through. Younger students can skip those parts. A mom preview would be good.

    Score ~ ????
    Violence ~ 1
    Indecency ~None
    Language ~ 2 (ni**er)
    Age Appropriateness ~ 12 and above

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  • Posted August 8, 2011

    It's there, but barely

    I became interested in learning more about George Washington Carver after author Andy Andrews presented his story in several of his books. Fortunately, Thomas Nelson Book Publisher made the biography "George Washington Carver" by John Perry available through their book review program found at booksneeze.

    As I delved into the book, I found it to be very readable at first glance and was easily skimmed as it quickly became apparent that the book was a broad overview of the life of Dr. Carver. Mr. Perry had previously written a dual biography of George Washington Carver with Booker T. Washington. While it is necessary to include Booker T. Washington in the conversation as one shares the story of Dr. Carver, a large portion of the book was dedicated to Booker T. Washington that seemed a bit out of place. In addition, many chapters continued to reiterate the information that had been discussed in previous chapters.

    A book that is just over 150 pages really doesn't need to have the information repeated multiple times throughout. As I pointed out earlier, the book is simple to read, and it actually had a very high school report feel about it simply based on the lack of information and relatively minimal research. It felt as though the information found could easily be found on Wiki. Perhaps, I missed the point of the series Thomas Nelson has in the biography of George Washington Carver and it is meant to be light, simple, and surface level.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2011

    Must read!

    George W. Carver was born a slave. His mother served Moses and Susan Carver. She later got kidnapped along with George. Moses hired Sergeant Bentley, his neighbor, to find his slaves, he found George, but he never found his mother. Moses and Susan raised George and his brothers as one of their own. He was born with respiratory problems which kept him from helping Moses with his farm work. Instead he helped Susan with her house chores. This would later on help him in life. He was fascinated by Gods earthly creations. Wanting to always learn more, George did whatever it took to finish his education whether he had to clean,cook,or sell his paintings he did it all. Living in a racist time, he always got denied or put down just because he was African American. When finally he got accepted to Iowa State College, he became the first black man to graduate from Iowa State. Being blessed by God, he gave back to those in need. He thought the wonders of Gods creations. He showed people how to use theses creations to find their way out of poverty. We mostly know George for his works with the peanuts, but he was a talented, smart man that did many things.

    My review: I loved reading this book. It was interesting, and every single chapter had a different story of his life. As a little girl they thought me of a famous man name George W. Carver. I always wanted to know more of this well-known man. Reading this book helped me understand the struggles he had to go through in order to become the intelligent man that he was. This book shows people that no matter where you come from, or the struggles you're going through, as long as you put your heart and soul into your goals you can always overcome anything.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2011

    Great

    I received a copy of GEORGE WASHINGTON CARVER by John Perry from Thomas Nelson via BookSneeze. This is a book from the Christian Encounters series. When I saw it offered, I knew I had to grab a copy. These are easy to read biographies, perfect for the everyday person and the scholar. Usually I become bogged down with big words and complicated sentences, yet Christian Encounters biographies flow like novels.

    I have always been interested in George Washington Carver, but I never knew many facts about him. Sadly, I only knew he invented peanut butter. That, in itself, amazed me as a child, and now as an adult, I hunger for more knowledge. This book is my perfect fix. Throughout 152 pages, I learned interesting facts about his life, such as that he was a slave and that he became a celebrity in the 1920's. He is truly a man to marvel. The biography also includes an epilogue, acknowledgments, notes, and bibliography.

    This book makes a perfect gift for history lovers and peanut fanatics. I have also recommended it to my African American Literature teacher. George Washington Carver is a shining example of "black achievement," as quoted from the back cover.

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  • Posted July 29, 2011

    Biography of an Outstanding African-American

    The son of a murdered slave woman and raised by her white owners, George Washington Carver earnestly sought education first for himself and then for other African Americans. A man talented in many areas, such as art, music and public speaking, he taught botany, agriculture and Bible most of his adult life. His deepest desire--to help African Americans become self-sufficient and to rise above poverty and ignorance. He was always hard-working, with a never-ending curiosity and strong observational skills.
    Often facing prejudice, Carver responded with gentleness and without retaliation. He never failed to credit God with showing him how to discover and create new products from common items. In his years of research he discovered hundreds of uses for many kinds of plants and soils, although best known for finding hundreds of uses for peanuts. However, his greatest gift was to give hope to a generation of young African-Americans and to farmers and poor people, both black and white.
    Carver became one of the most respected men in North America and Europe for his teaching, research and caring personality. Many famous people called him friend. In later years he won many important honors and traveled often, speaking to large groups.
    Sadly, George Washington Carver isn't well-known to present day America. A pioneer in working toward equality for all, he's overshadowed by later African-Americans. They've become more famous, although their methods are far different than his gentle ways. He truly deserves life-long fame and respect.

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  • Posted July 28, 2011

    Book Review: George Washington Carver

    John Perry's biography of George Washington Carver sheds a revealing light on one of the more under-appreciated men in American history. By "revealing", I mean that there is a lot more to Carver than peanuts. From Carver's humble beginnings as a baby born to a slave who was later kidnapped, to the end of his life as a respected scientist, I learned many things I simply was not aware of.

    Yes, he found over a hundred uses of the peanut (a tremendous feat in itself), but he also listed many non-peanut-related accomplishments on his resume.

    Carver's life was nothing less than a never-ending obstacle course. He had to fight through the kidnapping of his mother, his own physical ailments due to premature birth, racism on a scale we are not exposed to in 21st-century America, lawlessness, very limited educational opportunities, threats of lynchings, and other very real threats to black men of that time.

    Despite the daunting circumstances, Carver accomplished more than any ten men I know.

    This book, part of a series of biographies from Thomas Nelson called "Christian Encounters" was provided to me free for review purposes by the good folks at Thomas Nelson and their Booksneeze program (pauses to wave at the federal government). It is an engaging read for anyone from around age 12 into adulthood.

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  • Posted July 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Revealing look at the Spirit behind the "Peanut Man"

    Author John Perry shares twelve well-written chapters on the life and times of Carver's George, a man born to slaves and raised by whites during a time when such a thing would have been frowned upon. Carver's willingness to travel to quench his thirst for knowledge brought many experiences from both the white and Negro world, culminating in his successes at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.

    Although known then as a chemist, Carver was a gifted botanist who firmly believed that his mental dexterity and scientific revelations were all works of God through him. Despite his insatiable desire for praise and recognition, George Washington Carver was quick to share his passion and joy in the Lord with any willing listener.

    Whether through his artistic, domestic, or scientific endeavors, the eccentric Carver knew from whence his help shall come. His declaration of his faith was infused in everything that he did.

    I was inspired, and pleasantly surprised, while reading this biography on Carver by John Perry, and I look forward to reading more from his Christian Encounter series. It is an easy read and a great resource for a young student's research.

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  • Posted July 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Much better than I thought

    George Washington Carver was the son of a slave. After his mother was kidnapped, he and his brother were "adopted" into the home of their 'owner' and raised as their own children. When the slaves were freed, Carver found the only thing he wanted was knowledge and he did everything he could to achieve that and make a better life for himself and for other freed slaves.

    I will admit that I haven't read a biography since middle school. I didn't find them entertaining. It was like reading a text book but probably because the teacher wanted me to. This time, I wanted to and I loved it. It was so much fun learning about Carver and the way of live in the late 1800s/early 1900s. It made me so grateful to live now. I complain about the size of my home, but at one point in Carver's life he lived in a fourteen square foot home. I can't even imagine. I also really enjoyed how the author brought the characters to life by showing their quirks and downfalls along with the awesome things they accomplished. It made them more real for me and able to relate to them better. I laughed a few times with and at Carver and would have loved to have met him but I would have loved to have met Booker T. Washington even more. I may have to find a biography on him. I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about Carver's life and his amazing accomplishments that are still present in our lives today.

    I rec'd a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through BookSneeze to write an honest review.

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  • Posted July 7, 2011

    MORE THAN PEANUTS

    George Washington Carver written by John Perry is one of the most inspirational and informative books I have read in a long time. Not one for history books or biographies I chose to read "George Washington Carver" to learn more about America's great history.
    I am not surprised that Mr. Carver was a man of faith but I was impressed with the extent in which his faith in God motivated him. Enduring racism, financial lack, separation from family and a host of other obstacles George Washington Carver persevered to obtain his education and to fulfill his purpose. His ability to see God in life, I believe, is what allowed him to press forward. I firmly believe George Washington Carver was blessed because he was a blessing.
    Though the book discusses Mr. Carvers' need for personal recognition and his occasional "temper tantrum" it is apparent that he lived to make a difference. John Perry writes about his interaction with students: "He never missed an opportunity to encourage them not to be defeated by the circumstances of their race, but to prove themselves worthy of respect and never to answer with bitterness."
    Unlike some biographies and history books the book was easy to read and very informative. I recommend this book. This review written by Marsha L. Randolph
    BookSneeze provided a free copy of this book to me for an honest review of which I have done.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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