Victory from the Shadows is a poignant story about personal strength and persistence. It offers inspiration to people who face any kind of disability, and it enlightens everyone to the emotional hurdles that accompany physical challenges. This book will touch your heart. Loretta Hall Award-Winning Author of Space Pioneers: In Their Own Words
This book vividly delivers the experiences of a person with a disability from an isolated ranch to New Mexico’s School for the Blind to a rich life beyond. The Montagues’ story spans time from before disability awareness, then the emerging societal understanding of disability, to today’s wider recognition of the social, educational, medical, and legal implications of disability. Ruth Luckasson, J.D. Distinguished Professor Chair, Department of Special Education University of New Mexico
I thoroughly enjoyed Victory from the Shadows by Gary and Elaine Montague. The story is rich with New Mexico rural history during the mid-20th Century. Even more, it’s a compelling story of personal struggle and eventual triumph. The depiction of life on the family's eastern New Mexico ranch and later the stories of life at the New Mexico School for the Blind are finely told and gripping in their emotional intensity. This is an excellent addition to the annals of New Mexico history. Rob Spiegel, Award-Winning New Mexico writer
39Victory from the Shadows is a heartwarming memoir dealing with blindness and the perseverance of the author in overcoming obstacles and stereotypes. The author shares his unvarnished story and captures a detailed look at New Mexico’s history of dealing with visually challenged people. The reader can’t help but be drawn into his story. Larry Greenly Award-Winning Author of Eugene Bullard: World’s First Black Fighter Pilot
To the casual reader, Gary Montague’s trials are the consequence of limited sight, but his story is much more profound than the determination of a man to bear up under physical adversity. Gary’s life is rich with powerful lessons, lessons that speak to the power of determination and optimism and the unwavering resolve to live with dignity and self-respect. Fredric K. Schroeder, Ph.D., President World Blind Union
A memoir reflects on a lifetime full of grit and determination.
This expansive work by Gary and Elaine Montague opens as 8-year-old Gary arrived at the New Mexico School for the Blind with his mother in 1944. The pain and longing after they separated are visceral; the married authors circle back to this watershed moment several times, as it encapsulates the sacrifice and fortitude pervading the entire text. With the passage of time and benefit of hindsight, everyone involved came to a better understanding of the situation. The authors also solve the mystery of why Gary’s family never visited him at school until graduation. They strike a nice balance describing Gary’s rigorous schedule at school and intense labor on a farm during breaks. He thus moved between two worlds: new language codes and systems (Spanish, Braille) contrasted with the familiar rhythms of the animals and the terrain. This is a story of many peaks and valleys; for instance, after the VJ-Day celebrations, Gary’s family returned home to find the aftermath of a fire on the property. At such moments, the authors kick their reporting into high gear with evocative prose and arresting imagery. Gary recalls the “grumbling chi-cha of the coal-burning steam locomotive” on the night he left home. A vision of his mother’s crocheting (“Like my heart, held together by knots of hope and loss and dreams”) leads into associations linked to his father and twin sister. For added authenticity, the authors employ nonstandard spellings to represent Gary’s father’s distinctive speech (“You’re gittin’ smarter a’ready”) and incorporate family photographs and letters. They pick up the pace as they chronicle Gary’s moving through college and marriage. With a fierce work ethic and assistance from others, he attained a degree in secondary education. After some trouble finding suitable work, he began a 32-year career at Sandia National Laboratories. Despite the challenges Gary faced, the narrative tone is not always gloomy. The hazards of visual impairment are often presented with a wry sense of humor. After Gary entered the women’s restroom by mistake in a dark restaurant, he commented demurely: “I heard two women talking outside my stall, but it was too late to exit.” At the end of the text, the authors provide six discussion questions as well as historical information on the rights of the disabled in America.
A stirring testament to the resilience of a visually impaired individual. (map, index)