Blindness and the Visionary: The Life and Work of John Wilson: The First Daisy Book for All, Containing These CD-ROM Text Versions: Large Print, Daisy Audio and Full Text, Screen Reader and Braille

Blindness and the Visionary: The Life and Work of John Wilson: The First Daisy Book for All, Containing These CD-ROM Text Versions: Large Print, Daisy Audio and Full Text, Screen Reader and Braille

by John Coles (Author), Royal National Institute for the Blind (Contributor)


John Wilson did more than anyone else to prevent and cure blindness, and help blind people, throughout the world between the 1940s and his death in 1999. In addition, he made a significant contribution to the cause of disabled people in general. His achievements deserve comparison with those of other charismatic figures such as Helen Keller and Albert Schweitzer. A man of action and unflagging energy, with exceptional determination, imagination and compassion, and analytical and organizational ability, he changed millions of people's lives for the better by developing systems and techniques for preventing and curing blindness, and by spurring on the process by which blind people have come to be able to play a full, active and creative role in society. His story is a moving one. Blinded himself in a school experiment in 1931 at the age of twelve, he went on to read law at Oxford. After joining the National Institute for the Blind as an administrator, he took part in 1946-7 in an epic government-sponsored tour of the African and Middle Eastern territories in what was then the British Empire that lasted nine months, studying the intractable problems of blindness there.It led to the formation of what was to become the Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind, now known as Sight Savers International. In the wake of his sustained campaigns for the cure and prevention of blindness, above all in Africa and the Indian sub-continent, underpinned by the indomitable support of his wife Jean, John Wilson became a leading activist and mentor for blind and disabled people both at the UN and world-wide; and he was to found further important institutions such as the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness and Impact, which focusses on the universal challenge of avoidable disability. He was an enthusiastic globe-trotter, a powerful orator, a much-loved member of his family and a highly respected friend and colleague of large numbers of people with whom he worked across the continents. This inspiring tale of how one remarkable man travelled the world and transformed countless lives will have a strong appeal to the general public. It will also be of direct interest to people involved in charities and other institutions, particularly those concerned with blindness and disability.Meticulously researched, it is primarily based on John Wilson's Braille diaries and his other papers, the records at Sight Savers and interviews in many different countries with people who knew him.The first daisy book for all, containing these CD-ROM text versions: Large print, daisy audio and full text, screen reader and braille


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More Information

Format: CD
Pages: 224
Edition: Pap/Cdr
Publisher: Giles de la Mare Publishers
Published: 06 Apr 2006

ISBN 10: 1900357259
ISBN 13: 9781900357258

Media Reviews
Lord Colin Low, chairman, Royal National Institute of the Blind: 'I have just finished reading Blindness and the Visionary and felt I must write and tell you how enthralling I found it...[it is] an absolutely splendid addition to the literature on blindness, in every way worthy of its subject.' Ramachanda Pararajasegaram, consultant to World Health Organization, in International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness Review: '...the story, related with sensitivity and objectivity, of a unique personality become a globally renowned voice, rendering a clarion call to action, against avoidable disablement...I have had immense enjoyment reading this book, which has deepened my understanding even better of the humanity behind John Wilson. I feel re-inspired, re-enthused and re-energized to help carry out what we have collaboratively pledged to do...No reader would fail to be inspired by this book on [his] life and work, so expertly put together by John Coles...' New Beacon: 'John Wilson was once described on a Desert Island Discs interview as 'one of life's doers'. He was a towering figure on the international scene, whose inspiring leadership of the Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind, the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness and the Impact Foundation affected the lives of millions...This comprehensive new biography by the non-executive chairman of Sight Savers International...sheds a wealth of new light on his remarkable life.' Barbara Duncan in Disability World review: ' insightful, respectful and colourful biography...Coles does a good job of portraying Wilson's personality, outlook and style of work and captures how important his partnership was with his wife...[It] is hard to put down; I intended to skim it and ended reading the whole book in one sitting.' The Tablet: ' inspiring story of one man's contribution to human welfare, and also of how good administrative skills, which he had in abundance, complement inspirational leadership.' Commonwealth Broadcaster: 'One of the Commonwealth's greatest visionaries was a man who could not see...Since the organization [the future Sight Savers] began in 1950, its efforts resulted in treatment for potentially blinding conditions for over 65 million people, and the restoration of sight to over 5 million excellent biography. It shows the true potential of Commonwealth Associations as a force for good in the world...' Professor Andrew Elkington, chairman, British Council for Prevention of Blindness, in Journal of Community Eye Health: '[My father] was a doctor in General Practice and had heard of a 12-year-old boy losing the sight of both eyes in an explosion at school...That boy was John Wilson. He grew up to be a man who conquered his own disability and transformed the lives of literally millions of people in a similar predicament. This book is a fascinating account of how this was done...I met Sir John only once. He spoke in the Royal Albert Hall to an audience of over 3000. We were all riveted. You could have heard a pin drop. At the reception afterwards he was the life and soul of the party...Then I was introduced: a privilege I shall never forget.' Mid Sussex Times: 'His was a familiar face in Haywards Heath: serious and determined...Wilson developed systems and techniques for preventing and curing blindness, and spurred the process that has enabled blind people to play an active, full and creative role in today's society...a very factual account of a great man's achievement.' Disability Now, under 'audio books': 'Those wishing to hear more about somebody who has made a major contribution to the lives of disabled people worldwide will be fascinated by the well-researched biography of Sir John Wilson. During the second half of the 20th century he - arguably - did more than anyone to prevent and cure blindness...'
Author Bio
Sir John Coles, who is non-executive chairman of Sight Savers International, has had a distinguished diplomatic career. He was Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office and Head of the Diplomatic Service for three years from 1994, after being Private Secretary to the Prime Minister from 1981 to 1984, Ambassador to Jordan from 1984 to 1988 and High Commissioner to Australia from 1988 to 1991. He was also Deputy Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office for Asia and the Americas between 1991 and 1994. Earlier, he had been Head of Chancery in Cairo, 1975-7, Counsellor at the UK Permanent Mission to the EEC, 1977-80, and Head of the South Asian Department at the Foreign Office, 1980-1.