Carriers of Genius: Conversations with the Mothers of Twelve Famous Men Book Cover Carriers of Genius: Conversations with the Mothers of Twelve Famous Men
Jan Helen McGee
Semi-Fictional Biography
June 14, 2016
294

Reviewed by Toni

Member of the Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team

This is an unusual novel—if it can be actually termed a novel, considering its subject—with a unique and creative thesis:  the lives of celebrated personages as seen through their female parents’ eyes.

Each interview begins with a quote by the man in question; it ends with a one paragraph statement of what his mother meant to him.

In quick succession, these “conversations with the mothers of twelve famous men” give us a mother’s eye-view of Walt Disney, Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, George Gershwin, Howard Hughes, Jr., Norman Rockwell, Roy Rogers, Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., Walt Whitman, Frank Lloyd Wright, Fred Astaire, and George Washington Carver.  These moms not only tell how much they dote on their sons, but also reveal a good many “warts and wrinkles,” in the way mothers will, such as the fact that Flora Miles Disney never liked her son’s cartoons, or Theodore Roosevelt, later so famed for his “Rough Riders’ and outdoorsmanship,  suffered from asthma, or Fred Astaire’s nickname was “Moaning Minnie” because he was so serious.

One would never know this from the outsider’s view of these people.

Each interview is told in what can be surmised as the interviewee’s own voice, with colloquialisms and a specific delivery of speech. In quick succession, we learn that Albert Einstein’s mother didn’t like his first wife, that Roy Rogers’ mother suffered from polio (or what was then called the “white swelling”) as a child in Beef Hide, Kentucky, George Gershwin’s father thought he’d grow up to be a bum, and Benjamin Franklin was originally expected by his family to become a minister. It is also to be noted all the men had three things in common: in one way or another they were exposed to music, all were intuitively creative, and most didn’t do well in school.

So much for the necessity of higher education.

Much information is gained about the families and environment which nurtured these famous men, also, and which undoubtedly also donated to the personalities they developed enabling them to become the men viewed by the public eye.

Though she did much research on the people in her book—and there’s a long list of Acknowledgements attesting to that fact—the author also claims to have become psychically linked to each of the interviewees, and while some may express doubt as to that, her thoroughness and inventiveness in the method by which she relays the information must be applauded, no matter how gathered.

Carriers of Genius is a unique, interesting, and compelling book…showing what can be done with the support of parents, especially the female one, behind a person.

Anyone interested in historical figures and their biographies would do good to give these stories their attention.