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Unforeseen: The First Blind Rhodes Scholar


Product Description

Being blind influenced my life in many ways. It both narrowed my focus and broadened my horizons. Becoming a Rhodes Scholar was a stunning surprise and a continual reminder that I needed to discover a special niche for whatever contributions I might eventually make to what Rhodes described as “Fighting the World’s Fights.”

 I have always been interested in learning about people’s backgrounds: how they were affected by where they were born, their parents, the schooling that they had, their goals, and how their lives developed. When I retired from teaching at Wabash, I decided to turn the tables and focus on my own story, hence this memoir.

James J. Barnes has never let the absence of sight define him. Born with limited vision, from a young age he was singled out for his love of hard work both in the classroom and on the sports field. As an undergraduate he was named First Citizen of Amherst College and was then awarded a Rhodes Scholarship, only to lose his sight entirely during his first year in Oxford. Now an eminent historian and a beloved teacher, this is not a tale of triumph over adversity, but rather one man’s account of how he has responded to what life has given him by giving back to others.




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James Barnes
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William Charles

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