Friday, September 14, 2012

Review: Hidden Genius: Frank Mann, the Black Engineer Behind Howard Hughes by H.T. Bryer

H.T. Bryer. Grey Forest Press: OH, 2011. p. 110
Rating: Worthy

Recall your excitement when your fingers brushed the forgotten twenty dollar bill tucked in the pocket of your winter coat, your favorite watch wedged deep between the sofa cushions, or your lucky socks pushed far under the bed. At that moment adrenaline coursed through your reins—pure ecstasy. I received the same feeling upon discovering this buried treasure of American history.

Frank Mann, mechanical mastermind, led an interesting life: aeronautical engineer, car designer, comedian, dancer, singer—he enjoyed all life had to offer. Refusing to allow his race to encumber him, Frank set out to begin a career in engineering. Once Frank fell in love with airplanes, he spent all his time at the airport observing the mechanics. “I wasn’t getting paid, but I was learning” (15). Other than acquiring knowledge, Frank’s chance encounter with Howard Hughes at the airport would spark a lifelong friendship.