Thursday, 16 May 2013

"Brothers .... " a fabulous book by George Howe Colt.

There are five Povey brothers who are the sons of Henry John Povey and Evelyn Maud Finch of Bristol, U.K..

I, John Michael, am the oldest of the five (born 1944)
Then came Andrew (1950), David (1951), Stephen (1952), and Martyn (1954).

(We also have four sisters).

The older I get the more I realise that I love my four brothers dearly, if not equally.  I cannot imagine growing up without brothers.

So it is little wonder that I was drawn to a book published in 2012 by Scribner (a division of Simon and Schuster, Inc.)

The book is “Brothers  ---   George Howe Colt On His Brothers and  Brothers in History”.
Lord above I loved this book and I highly recommend it.

It tells a wondrous tale of George, his older brother Harry, and their younger brothers Ned and Mark, who grew up in Dedham, MA, Darien CT. and then back in Dedham.

It’s a tender and honest tale of sibling brothers who in youth are rivals, allies, competitors, protectors and antagonists, and in middle age become “best friends”,

George Colt interweaves his family story with fascinating accounts of other brothers:

          1 Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (who founded a holistic medicine sanatorium in Battle Creek, MI) and his younger brother Will Keith.

John Harvey Kellogg treated Will Keith Kellogg as a peon in the Sanatorium. But it was Will Keith who in middle age broke away from his older brother, and established the famous “W.K. Kellogg” breakfast cereal company.


The Booth brothers, sons of the eccentric Junius Brutus Booth.

 The sons were  Junius Booth Jr. who has all but been forgotten;  Edwin Booth – the most famous and admired Shakespearean actor in 19thc. America -  then  John Wilkes Booth: – a fabulous actor.... (who is remembered chiefly because he was President Lincoln’s assassin.)


Colt writes at length about the Marx Brothers: Chico, Harpo, Groucho, Gummo and Zepoo – with their lives, loves, debaucheries  anf  rivalries – and their tender affection for each other.

Colt tells about so many other brothers: viz Henry David Thoreau and his older brother John, or Vincent van Gogh and his older brother Theo van Gogh.

George Colt’s book is fabulous. I recommend it without reserve.  Please borrow at your local Library (as I did), or buy it at your local bookstore (or via Amazon).

(George’s brother Ned should be very well known.  See:

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