THE KINGDOM WITHIN by Genevieve Caulfield


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Despite its title, this autobiography of a woman accidentally blinded in infancy has little to say about the inner life and/or the adjustments of the handicapped. The author, apparently, never had time to worry about herself. From the moment she was old enough to trot around the classrooms of her brother's school, or to be sent away to one of the then special schools for the blind, Genevieve Caulfield absorbed learning wherever it appeared. At seventeen she decided to go to Japan to teach the blind. After ten years of gruelling study, she embarked on a career that began as she taught English to the captain and crew of the Japanese ship on which she sailed. In Tokyo, she acquires students, including the local police, survives the great earthquake, adopts a Japanese daughter, Hurako, and after many years, leaves Japan because of the imminent war, to establish a school for the blind in Thailand. After many difficulties, the school becomes a reality. It survives floods, Japanese occupation, assorted bombings. Hurako dies in childbirth, leaving twins for her foster mother to raise, and a husband, who eventually marries a Siamese princess. The entire entourage eventually returns to Japan with the help of General MacArthur. Miss Caulfield, as the book closes, is off again to Vietnam to start another school. The only real comment she ever makes on her 'handicap' is the rather paradoxical one, that perhaps God took away her eyesight to divert her from the quiet world of scholarship into the world of action. Another panel in the shelf of blind achievement.

Pub Date: Jan. 20th, 1959
Publisher: Harper