Books: Have Cane, Will Travel

A moving, mesmerizing biography of a blind adventurer who was determined to see the world

It may be time to retire Caspar David Friedrich's The Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog from further use on a book cover. Lovely as it is, this painting has done enough time as shorthand for a sentiment along the lines of "Man is so small, the world about him so vast, gaze on it with me, won't you?" Then again, sometimes exactly that sentiment is called for. Such is the case with Jason Roberts' A Sense of the World (HarperCollins; 382 pages), an enthralling biography of a man you've never heard of named James Holman.

Holman was a prodigiously restless world traveler...

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