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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.
The history of disabled veterans, from Ancient Greece to the conflict in Afghanistan
This book focuses on the post-Civil War experience of African Americans and immigrants, investigating their decision to seek government assistance and assessing their resulting treatment.
"Linker explains how, before entering World War I, the United States sought a way to avoid the enormous cost of providing injured soldiers with pensions, which it had done since the Revolutionary War." -- Inside dust jacket.
This book shows an empowered federal state as a significant factor in experimental American culture well before the 1930s.
Editorial Advisor, Helen Bynum is a freelancer historian and author. --Book Jacket.
Defective. Handicapped. Ugly. Dependent. These words are Douglas Baynton s chapter titles, labels that were used to describe disabled immigrants during the period of American history when a series of laws were put in place to restrict immigration from less desirable nations (from Southern and Eastern Europe, 1882 to 1920s). Baynton s history details the ways in which a great variety of disabled immigrants were turned back during these years, among them the deaf, blind, epileptic, and mobility-impaired, also people with curved spines, hernias, flat or club feet, missing limbs, and short limbs, also those who had intellectual or psychiatric disability, even men diagnosed with poor physique or feminism (underdeveloped sex organs). The labels and defects are named in immigration policies and procedures; Baynton insists, quite reasonably, that immigration law offers the clearest revelation of the era s cultural assumptions about disability. One of his findings is that disability, even more than race (which is usually highlighted in immigration histories), was the main concern of immigration restrictionists. Over time, the idea that disabled people were dependent, and thus a burden, got amplified and became a social issue, not confined to family or local community. Meanwhile, the stigma of visible defects grew in intensity, along with the fear of traits that could not be seen (germ theory, defective germ plasm, infectious diseases). Polluted heredity flowing into the future was an ever-present fear. Until now, with Defectives in the Land, the issue of discrimination against people with disabilities in immigration law has gone unrecognized and unexamined."

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