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He was known simply as the Blind Traveler. A solitary, sightless adventurer, James Holman (1786-1857) fought the slave trade in Africa, survived a frozen captivity in Siberia, hunted rogue elephants in Ceylon, helped chart the Australian outback--and, astonishingly, circumnavigated the globe, becoming one of the greatest wonders of the world he so sagaciously explored. A Sense of the World is a spellbinding and moving rediscovery of one of history's most epic lives--a story to awaken our own senses of awe and wonder.
In an era when the blind were routinely warehoused in asylums, James Holman was studying medicine, fighting the slave trade in Africa, hunting rogue elephants, surviving a frozen captivity in Siberia, and circumnavigating the world alone in the 19th century.
Jason Roberts is the inaugural winner of the Van Zorn Prize for emerging writers (sponsored by Michael Chabon) and a contributor to the Village Voice, McSweeney's, The Believer, and other publications. He lives in Northern California.