The Invention of Miracles
Language, Power, and the Invention of the Telephone
Katie Booth

S&S/April 2021

“A fascinating tale of great love, innovation, personal drama, and the unexpected consequences of good intentions.”
— Walter Isaacson, New York Times bestselling author of Steve Jobs

“A provocative, sensitive, beautifully written biography of an American genius.”
— Sylvia Nasar, New York Times bestselling author of A Beautiful Mind

“Meticulously researched, crackling with insights, and rich in novelistic detail, The Invention of Miracles is more than the revelatory biography of an inventor who transformed the world. By shining a bright light on society’s assumptions about disability, Booth’s book is a profound and lyrical meditation on what it means to be human.”
— Steve Silberman, New York Times bestselling author of NeuroTribes

“Refreshingly candid. Booth does a masterful job weaving this powerful and compelling story about fear and obsessive fascination with difference.”
— Brian Greenwald, PhD, professor of history at Gallaudet University

“A powerful revisionist text, at once personal, historical, and insightful. As someone born deaf with hearing parents, I think I would have benefitted from being born into a world where ableist attitudes were rooted out and understood the way Booth demonstrates here.”
— Raymond Antrobus, author of The Perseverance

“Researched and written through the Deaf perspective, this marvelously engaging history will have us rethinking the invention of the telephone.”
— Jaipreet Virdi, PhD, author of Hearing Happiness: Deafness Cures in History

“Impassioned and scrupulously researched… Enriched with vivid sketches of Bell’s wife, Mabel Hubbard, and other historical figures, including Helen Keller, this revelatory history deserves a wide readership.”
— Publishers Weekly

“Ardent… [This] well-written biography reveals less-familiar aspects of the life of the famed inventor.”
— Kirkus Reviews

“Careful and balanced… Booth explores the progression of Bell’s career with compassion and nuance, eliding neither his good intentions nor the lasting harm that his emphasis on orality wrought on generations of D/deaf students.”
— Booklist

Katie Booth teaches writing at the University of Pittsburgh. Her work has appeared in The Believer, Aeon, Catapult, and Harper’s Magazine, and has been highlighted on Longreads and Longform; “The Sign for This” was a notable essay in the 2016 edition of Best American Essays. Booth received a number of prestigious fellowships to support the research for The Invention of Miracles, including from the Library of Congress and the Massachusetts Historical Society. She was raised bilingually and biculturally in a mixed hearing/Deaf family.