The History of My Shoes and the Evolution of Darwin's Theory
"An amazing book ? beautiful and unique. Kenny Fries makes dazzling connections
between the most intimate details and the most sweeping panoramas, and left me changed
by his insights."
— Joan Silber, author of Ideas of Heaven
"An irresistible title; I did not resist. I read this book with great pleasure,
delighted by the unexpected yet perfectly apt conjunctions, by the grace and economy
with which the episodes from Darwin?s life and key concepts of his work are transposed
into a ?natural history? of the self with a poet?s sense of the telling detail."
— Andrea Barrett, author of Ship Fever and Servants of the Map
"Not only is this book beautifully written, fascinating, incredibly original and
with a great title, but it says something about the human race that is truly profound.
I don?t know when I have read anything more pertinent or exciting."
— Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of The Hidden Lives of Dogs and
The Old Way: The Story of the First People
"An unusual historian, Fries wears the story of his life on his feet in specially
constructed orthopedic shoes ... In Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace, Fries recognizes
a pair of intellectual adventurers whose research?now in isolation, now in concert,
now in conflict?illuminates his own quest to adapt to an ever-shifting environment
... Few are the writers who can so deftly weave science into personal reflections,
compellingly reminding readers of the still unfathomable mystery of one terrestrial
"A beautiful and truly original book, for the quality of mind and language I found
in it. Fries?s reflections on adaptation led me to think in a new way about my own
life of adaptations."
— Adrienne Rich
"A beautiful account blending memory, information and insight so elegantly and uniquely.
Reading this book is a rewarding, absorbing experience."
— Joanna Scott, author, Various Antidotes
"Fascinating?.With incisive passion, Fries argues that the ideas of Darwin and Wallace
yield insights into how disability fits into culture?. People adapt in order to
survive just as species do. The History of My Shoes and the Evolution of Darwin?s
Theory will take you on a remarkable journey of memoir, disability, and culture."
— Kathi Wolfe, The Washington Blade
"In this quietly revolutionary book, Fries gives us his own story, side-by-side
with that of Darwin's. This juxtaposition is startling, revelatory, and ultimately
redemptive. Big-hearted, generous, deeply human, this is the next wave in identity
politics, and you're going to love it."
— Alison Smith, author of Name All the Animals
"Kenny Fries explores both 'able-bodiedness' and the legacies of Darwin's theory
while literally traveling the world. There is no book quite like this and no one
who reads these pages will ever forget them. This is a history of our bodies and
a travelouge through landscapes and cultural signs that everyone should read in
our post-colonial millennium."
— Stephen Kuusisto, author of Planet of the Blind and Eavesdropping:
A Memoir of Blindness and Listening
"Alternating between accounts of Charles Darwin's and Alfred Russel Wallace's investigations
of adaptation and variation and his own challenging odyssey as a disabled man, the
author offers us a unique take on the idea of ?survival of the fittest.? Not only
a riveting and colorful account of Darwin's and Wallace's journeys and discoveries
but a story of personal evolution and the capacity for change under duress, this
is an unforgettable and inspiring book."
— L. Paus, Eliott Bay Book Company Book Notes
Preview: Some of the illustrations in the book, by Ian Jehle
Copyright 2007 Kenny Fries