Last week I received a phone call from a well-known publisher in the Adirondacks. It was in reference to a beautifully written book that we here at Bloated Toe Publishing added to our “Preserving History” collection—public domain books that have long been unavailable in print format. This particular title was written more than a century ago. It was a discovery for me because I had never read it and had never seen it among the genres of history or medicine on area bookshelves.
In fact, I only came across it as part of our recent venture into reprints. As part of the process, I’m required to read through each one. That’s what led me to An Autobiography: Edward Livingston Trudeau.
An excellent perk of producing this collection is being “forced” to read great books that I otherwise might not find time to enjoy. It adds to all the busyness, but what a payoff! Trudeau’s own story was our tenth title in the collection is, and it’s a gem.
The public knows much about his work through books of history and historical fiction, but Trudeau’s story in his own words reveals what a talented writer he was. His book is more about people than it is about disease, and it’s an emotional roller coaster, from the highs of discoveries and receiving financial support, to the depths of unfathomable loss.
He skillfully writes of life, employing subtlety to great effect. It becomes apparent to those who have experienced Adirondack winters that in his description of battles with extreme weather, Trudeau avoided embellishing. He related the highlights, leaving the reader to imagine details that naturally accompanied such hardships. It works very well in every respect.
And unless your heart is of stone, his moving recollections of personal loss will leave you somewhere between a lump-in-the-throat and actual tears.
The book is, of course, packed with valuable history as well, and provides background on how Edward’s work on tuberculosis and the sanatorium system was funded. I’m often critical of the abuse of power by those with vast financial assets, but Trudeau provides fine examples of wealthy folks contributing to the good of all. It might leave even hardened skeptics a bit hopeful.
And above all, that was Trudeau’s message: optimism. As he worked his way through a remarkable life, it became his theme. A positive, can-do attitude lifted him from even the darkest of times and led to great success and achievements. Yet he remained humble through it all, offering a wonderfully grounded perspective on life.
Trudeau possessed many talents, not the least of which was the ability to write gracefully and effectively. An Autobiography provides the evidence, and much more. It is educational, historical, poignant, and inspirational, reflective of the author himself.
The front cover of each reprint in our growing collection is branded with our “Preserving History” logo, but the authors did the actual work of preserving. To draw on a hockey analogy: that is our goal as well, but in this case, we’ll gladly take the assist.