Gallaudet University Press

2:8 Tuesday, August 22, 2000

In clear prose, Buck provides a history of deaf peddlers and tells his own story--the years when peddling was just a lucrative sideline, his stint as a full-time peddler at Chicago's O'Hare Airport, [and] his frequent run-ins with police.

--Publishers Weekly

In the wake of a terrible loss, Dennis Buck was coming out on top. Buck's dream of playing college football had been destroyed during his freshman year at Gallaudet when a motorcycle accident left him paralyzed from the waist down. Yet Buck did not resign himself to a life of dependence. He graduated from GU on-time with a degree in computer science, poised to enter the workforce with techinical skills highly prized by employers in an emerging digital economy.

Buck soon discovered, however, that the straight life was not nearly as profitable as one well beneath the cultural radar. In Deaf Peddler: Confessions of an Inside Man the author describes how for eleven years he earned hundreds of dollars a day peddling sign language cards and plastic key rings in airports, train stations, and shopping malls. "My salary was a far cry from what I could make peddling," Buck writes of his job as a computer programmer, earning him eight dollars an hour, at the Wright Patterson Air Force Base, "So I supplemented my income by driving into Chicago on the weekends to peddle at O'Hare International Airport. I usually earned from $750 to $1000 a weekend." Soon Buck traded in his day job entirely for the financial benefits of peddling full time.

Deaf Peddler is both a firsthand account of Buck's career in peddling and a history of the occupation that has long been frowned upon by advocacy groups such as the National Association of the Deaf. Buck movingly relates his experience with peddling rings in which corrupt bosses, or "cows," enslave a group of peddlers, often illegal immigrants, and collect their profits in exchange for supplies and "protection." Robert Buchanan, author of Illusions of Equality, discusses this issue and others in a forward that provides a consice, historical framework for Buck's story, one that ultimately finds the author trading in the peddling underworld for a steady job and a happy marriage.

"I was not a person without moral values," Buck writes in the last chapter. "I did not want to continue to depend on the peddling lifestyle, did not want to contribute to the negative image of deaf people, especially when I knew much greater potential existed for me." Read chapter three, Early Days on the Road, or order Deaf Peddler at 20% off the regular price.

Deaf Peddler is one of six new books the Press will debut this Fall, each of which will be featured in future editions of GU Press News. Click on the covers below to learn more about our latest titles.

A Mighty Change

Deaf American Literature
Bilingualism and Identity
in Deaf Communities
Metaphor in
American Sign Language
Special Education in
the 21st Century

Another month, another overwhelming endorsement of Irene Leigh's Psychotherapy with Deaf Clients from Diverse Groups. This time the critical praise comes from the Winter 2000 issue of Disability Studies Quarterly: "Irene Leigh has accomplished the challenging task of editing a well-written and much needed book on the provision of effective psychotherapy to the richly diverse Deaf population ... This book is unlikely to collect dust on the bookshelves of responsible therapists, regardless of their experience with serving deaf persons." Read the full review or order Psychotherapy with Deaf Clients from Diverse Groups.

DSQ also chimes in with praise for Tressa Bowers's Alandra's Lilacs: The Story of a Mother and Her Deaf Daughter: "I recommend this book mostly for new hearing parents of deaf children; they would appreciate a personal account of the consequences of one hearing parent's decision and situation." Read an excerpt from Chapter Two: Homecoming or order Alandra's Lilacs.

The on-line Bent: A Journal of Cripgay Voices recognized Harry Lang's A Phone of Our Own in its May review of books. "It was a communication revolution achieved by deaf people alone," the journal writes of Lang's account of the inventors of the acoustic coupler that empowered the widespread use and distribution of teletypewriters. Read this review or order A Phone of Our Own.

Just visiting? Subscribe now to the Gallaudet University Press E-newsletter and receive exclusive updates, book excerpts, and discounts...absolutely free.

Contact the webmaster at

Copyright 1999-2000 Gallaudet University. All rights reserved.