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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.
During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Americans with all sorts of disabilities came to be labeled as "unproductive citizens." Before that, disabled people had contributed as they were able in homes, on farms, and in the wage labor market, reflecting the fact that Americans had long viewed productivity as a spectrum that varied by age, gender, and ability. But as Sarah F. Rose explains in No Right to Be Idle, a perfect storm of public policies, shifting family structures, and economic changes effectively barred workers with disabilities from mainstream workplaces and simultaneously cast disabled people as morally questionable dependents in need of permanent rehabilitation to achieve "self-care" and "self-support." By tracing the experiences of policymakers, employers, reformers, and disabled people caught up in this epochal transition, Rose masterfully integrates disability history and labor history. She shows how people with disabilities lost access to paid work and the status of "worker--a shift that relegated them and their families to poverty and second-class economic and social citizenship. This has vast consequences for debates about disability, work, poverty, and welfare in the century to come.
Is there a moral economy of capitalism? The term “moral economy” was coined in pre-capitalist times and does not refer to economy as we know it today. It was only in the nineteenth century that economy came to mean the production and circulation of goods and services. At the same time, the term started to be used in an explicitly critical tone: references to moral economy were normally critical of modern forms of economy, which were purportedly lacking in morals. In our times, too, the morality of capitalism is often the topic of debate and controversy. “Moral Economies” engages in these debates. Using historical case studies from the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries the book discusses the degree to which economic actions and decisions were permeated with moral, good-vs-bad classifications. Moreover it shows how strongly antiquity’s concept of “embedded” economy is still powerful in modernity. The model for this was often the private household, in which moral, social, and economic behavior patterns were intertwined. The do-it-yourself movement of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries was still oriented towards this model, thereby criticizing capitalism on moral grounds.

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