The Blind Doctor: The Jacob Bolotin Story, a Biography



Book Details

Book Quality:
Book Size:
398 Pages
Date of Addition:
Copyrighted By:
Rosalind Perlman and Blue Point Books
Adult content:
Has Image Descriptions:
Nonfiction, Disability-Related, Biographies and Memoirs, Medicine
Submitted By:
Brian Miller
Proofread By:
Usage Restrictions:
This is a copyrighted book.


2 out of 5

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This biography sufffers from a common failing written by outsiders when they attempt an admiring biography of an amazing disabled person. Jacob Bolatin certainly had to overcome prejudice and other very real obstacles, first to become a traveling salesman, later a medical student and finally a doctor. But the biographers write this book long after he's dead, consulting distant cousins and letters and other public records for the facts. We get a chronology of dates, places and people, but no real idea of how he conquered the obstacles. We know for example that he rode trains from state to state, but what happened when he alighted in a small town? How did he find his way in an unfamiliar environment? Just as when we read that Louis Braille transcribed hundreds of volumes of material in to raised dots, we never learned how actually he performed that transcription, unable as he was himself, to read print. We don't know how young Jacob navigates the hospitals, reads patient records, dissects cadavers or observes surgery. Maybe keen touch and extra-sharp hearing went farther at the turn of the 20th century, when x-rays and MRI machines were unknown. But one still wonders how he performed the day-to-day duties of his amazing life. People who write about Annie Sullivan, for example, know much more about how she both succeeded and failed to cope with her fluctuating sight. Ved Mehta and Eric Weyhenmeir both describe in detail how they overcome what seems to us average blind people to be insurmountable obstacles. For example, Eric faces his own lack of self-confidence when he sets out to master erecting a tent, long before he thinks of summiting Everest, he struggles in the hot summer sun to learn to quickly put a tent together by touch alone. Ved Mehta's coming of age memoirs vividly portray his struggles for acceptance, and how he painfully teaches himself to move around without aid of a cane or other mobility aid. Ved Mehta also struggles in college, discovering his own creative solutions to the vast amount of reading and writing his degree entails, long before word processing or rehab. Bolitin in this remote biography is a mythical, miraculous hero; not a flesh-and-blood blind person creatively thinking out of the box.