A “fascinating memoir” of living with partial deafness that offers new insight into the nature of language (Booklist).
Much has been written about the profoundly deaf, but the lives of the nearly thirty million partially deaf people in the United States today remain hidden. Song without Words tells the astonishing story of a man who, at the age of thirty-four, discovered that he had been unable to hear higher ranges of speech since a bout of scarlet fever childhood, yet somehow managed to navigate his way through Andover, Yale, and Columbia Law School, and to establish a prestigious international legal career.
Gerald Shea’s witty and candid memoir tells how he compensated for his deafness through sheer determination and an amazing ability to translate the melody of vowels—albeit with some mistakes along the way. His experience gives fascinating new insight into the nature and significance of language, the meaning of deafness, the fierce controversy between advocates of signing and of oral education, and the longing for full communication that unites us all.
“With candor, insight, and considerable charm and wit, Gerald Shea has explored the little-known world of the partially deaf, a world of confused language and identity.”—Andrew Solomon, New York Times-bestselling author of Far from the Tree