Father of the Blind: A Portrait of Sir Arthur Pearson by Andrew Norman
In August 1914, Arthur Pearson, a newspaper magnate and founder of the Daily Express, learned of a Belgian soldier who was languishing in a London hospital. The man had been blinded by a rifle bullet during the siege of Liège, and Pearson felt sympathy for the man, having himself been blinded by glaucoma. He resolved to work to prevent blinded Allied servicemen from returning home, only to slip into "hopeless and useless lives." He therefore opened St. Dunstan's in 1915, a hostel where returning soldiers could "learn to be blind," where they were taught Braille and a trade, equipping them to re-enter the world as useful and self-respecting citizens. When Pearson died in 1921, no less than 1,800 St. Dunstaners attended his funeral.Here is the biography of an extraordinary man who refused to consider blindness an affliction, but rather a handicap which could be overcome. His charitable work has continued long after his passing.
Andrew Norman is also the author of Adolf Hitler: The Final Analysis, Agatha Christie: The Finished Portrait, Arthur Conan Doyle: Beyond Sherlock Holmes, Jane Austen, and Mugabe: Teacher, Revolutionary, Tyrant.