Hand: Stories that explore all of the interesting adventures of people
By Luci Hand Reasons to Read August 16, 2013 10:46AM
Updated: September 19, 2013 9:29AM
There are lots of people who have done unusual things that we really don’t know about. I guess there are so many that we just can’t absorb all their stories.
“Howard Thurman’s Great Hope” by Kai Jackson Issa shows how a life is changed by one person who had no idea what she was accomplishing.
Howard was born black in 1889 in the highly segregated South. His father had died but left him with a joy of reading and the goal of going to college.
He was the best student in his class. The principal of the school found Howard a job after seventh-grade but Howard wanted to continue school. The principal decided to teach Howard himself.
At the end of eighth-grade, there was a test for high school. No black student before Howard had ever taken the test, much less passed it with a perfect score.
Howard had to leave home to go on, but go on he did.
A stranger paid his way on the train and, graduating from high school first in his class, Howard went on to Morehouse College and Rochester Theological Seminary. He became one of our best preacher-civil rights leaders, the first to promote non-violent protest.
He always thanked the people who made his life possible.
Now we meet a completely different kind of guy in “The Greatest Liar on Earth” by Mark Greenwood.
This true story opens in 1898 when Louis de Roughemont appeared on stages in London telling tales of outrageous adventures. A monster with enormous tentacles. A turtle a man could ride on. Cannibals.
He had gone to the British Museum and studied the journals of explorers and scientists and filled a notebook with adventures and tales. He then published the work as an autobiography and became a popular lecturer.
He was even asked to an audience with Queen Victoria. Then, some reporters investigated and stated that he was an imposter, actually Henri Grin.
He never admitted his scam but turned it into a new show, “The Greatest Liar on Earth,” which failed.
He was a real person. Did he do what he said? All of his tales eventually proved true, so, was he really a liar or not?
Before Evel Kneivel, we had “Sam Patch — Daredevil Jumper,” whose story is brought to us by Julie Cummins.
People said that Sam was born jumping. We watch and see all the jumps he made growing up, from the spinning mill where he worked, and from every ladder, shed, or fence or bridge.
He became an excellent swimmer. He tried a business and was cheated by his partner, so on Sept. 30, 1827, when they were opening a new bridge, he jumped off of it before a crowd.
Slowly his fame spread and his most famous jump was a 120 foot leap into Niagara Falls.
His next big jump was into the Genesee Falls, a leap of 100 feet. He wanted to make it ever more spectacular so built a platform to make it 125 feet, but this time, he didn’t come back up from the bottom.