Claudia Kalb is a health and science journalist whose new book looks at some of the great minds, and possible mental illnesses, of some of the most talented, acclaimed artists and scientists through history.
1789 was a perilous time for the newly-formed United States. The first representatives of the new Federal Congress arrived in New York City with little idea how the nation's government would actually work. There were arguments underway over numerous issues from presidential power to national finance, as well as the idea of placing the nation's capital on the Potomac River.
The political environment of 1896 had a lot of similarities to today: an electorate transformed by a growing immigrant population, an uncertain economy disrupted by new technology, growing income inequality and political gridlock that prevented the parties from resolving big issues.
George Washington Carver was an accomplished botanist, known for his discovery of many uses for the peanut, but his life required great perseverance and character to overcome a wealth of societal obstacles.