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Christian Bagge, an Iraq War veteran, lost both his legs in a roadside bomb attack on his Humvee in 2006. Months after the accident, outfitted with sleek new prosthetic legs, he jogged alongside President Bush for a photo op at the White House. The photograph served many functions, one of them being to revive faith in an American martial ideal—that war could be fought without permanent casualties, and that innovative technology could easily repair war’s damage. When Bagge was awarded his Purple Heart, however, military officials asked him to wear pants to the ceremony, saying that photos of the event should be “soft on the eyes.” Defiant, Bagge wore shorts. America has grappled with the questions posed by injured veterans since its founding, and with particular force since the early twentieth century: What are the nation’s obligations to those who fight in its name? And when does war’s legacy of disability outweigh the nation’s interests at home and abroad? In Paying with Their Bodies, John M. Kinder traces the complicated, intertwined histories of war and disability in modern America. Focusing in particular on the decades surrounding World War I, he argues that disabled veterans have long been at the center of two competing visions of American war: one that highlights the relative safety of US military intervention overseas; the other indelibly associating American war with injury, mutilation, and suffering. Kinder brings disabled veterans to the center of the American war story and shows that when we do so, the history of American war over the last century begins to look very different. War can no longer be seen as a discrete experience, easily left behind; rather, its human legacies are felt for decades. The first book to examine the history of American warfare through the lens of its troubled legacy of injury and disability, Paying with Their Bodies will force us to think anew about war and its painful costs.
This book shows an empowered federal state as a significant factor in experimental American culture well before the 1930s.
In the World War I era, veterans fought for a unique right: access to government-sponsored health care. In the process, they built a pillar of American social policy. Burdens of War explores how the establishment of the veterans’ health system marked a reimagining of modern veterans’ benefits and signaled a pathbreaking validation of the power of professionalized institutional medical care. Adler reveals that a veterans’ health system came about incrementally, amid skepticism from legislators, doctors, and army officials concerned about the burden of long-term obligations, monetary or otherwise, to ex-service members. She shows how veterans’ welfare shifted from centering on pension and domicile care programs rooted in the nineteenth century to direct access to health services. She also traces the way that fluctuating ideals about hospitals and medical care influenced policy at the dusk of the Progressive Era; how race, class, and gender affected the health-related experiences of soldiers, veterans, and caregivers; and how interest groups capitalized on a tense political and social climate to bring about change. The book moves from the 1910s—when service members requested better treatment, Congress approved new facilities and increased funding, and elected officials expressed misgivings about who should have access to care—to the 1930s, when the economic crash prompted veterans to increasingly turn to hospitals for support while bureaucrats, politicians, and doctors attempted to rein in the system. By the eve of World War II, the roots of what would become the country’s largest integrated health care system were firmly planted and primed for growth. Drawing readers into a critical debate about the level of responsibility America bears for wounded service members, Burdens of War is a unique and moving case study. -- Jennifer D. Keene, Chapman University, author of Doughboys, the Great War, and the Remaking of America
Phallacies: Historical Intersections of Disability and Masculinity is a collection of essays that focuses on disabled men who negotiate their masculinity as well as their disability. The chapters cover a broad range of topics: institutional structures that define what it means to be a man with a disability; the place of women in situations where masculinity and disability are constructed; men with physical and war-related disabilities; male hysteria, suicide clubs, and mercy killing; male disability in literature and popular culture; and more. All the authors regard masculinity and disability in the historical contexts of the Americas and Western Europe, with particular attention to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Taken together, the essays in this volume offer a nuanced portrait of the complex, and at times competing, interactions between masculinity and disability.
Mit über 700 000 gefallenen Soldaten war der Amerikanische Bürgerkrieg blutiger und verlustreicher als alle Kriege zusammen, die die USA seither geführt haben. Und was seine Brutalität und Totalität angeht, nahm er sogar die Schrecken des Ersten Weltkriegs vorweg. Für John Keegan, laut New York Times «der originellste Militärhistoriker der Gegenwart», ist dieser Konflikt schlichtweg der erste moderne Krieg und zugleich «der wichtigste ideologische Kampf der Weltgeschichte». In seinem Buch schildert er nicht nur die Vorgeschichte des Bürgerkriegs, die großen Ereignisse und Schlachten und welche Folgen sie hatten – er widmet sich genauso den Protagonisten wie Abraham Lincoln, Robert E. Lee oder Ulysses Grant. Dabei geht es ihm neben der profunden militärhistorischen Analyse auch um die politischen Dimensionen und die menschlichen Erschütterungen. Nicht zuletzt beschäftigt ihn die Frage, wie es möglich war, dass ein Land, das so sehr auf Konsens gebaut ist wie die Vereinigten Staaten, von einem tödlichen Bruderkonflikt zerrissen wurde. Ein Standardwerk, das eine Lücke schließt.
Unser Trauma: eine Gesellschaft ohne Gemeinschaft. »Entbehrungen machen dem Menschen nichts aus, er ist sogar auf sie angewiesen; worunter er jedoch leidet, ist das Gefühl, nicht gebraucht zu werden. Die moderne Gesellschaft hat die Kunst perfektioniert, Menschen das Gefühl der Nutzlosigkeit zu geben. Es ist an der Zeit, dem ein Ende zu setzen.« Sebastian Junger Warum beschließen Soldaten nach ihrer Rückkehr aus dem Krieg und in die Heimat, sich zu neuen Einsätzen zu melden? Warum sind Belastungsstörungen und Depressionen in unserer modernen Gesellschaft so virulent? Warum erinnern sich Menschen oft sehnsüchtiger an Katastrophenerfahrungen als an Hochzeiten oder Karibikurlaube? Mit Tribe hat Sebastian Junger eines der meistdiskutierten Werke des Jahres vorgelegt. Er erklärt, was wir von Stammeskulturen über Loyalität, Gemeinschaftsgefühl und die ewige Suche des Menschen nach Sinn lernen können.

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