“Carefully researched and compellingly argued, this is an important contribution to our understanding of the complicated relationships among public policy, orthopedic and rehabilitative medicine, and social values. Its relevance to today’s challenging realities makes Linker’s penetrating study of an earlier war relevant to a wide spectrum of potential readers.”
—Charles E. Rosenberg, Harvard University
Rehabilitation in World War I America
|Publication Date: July 01, 2011 ||$35.00 • £22.50 |
|International publication date: August 08, 2011 ||978-0-226-48253-8 |
With US soldiers returning home from conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, Americans will be forced for the foreseeable future to come to terms with those permanently disabled in battle. At the moment, we accept rehabilitation as the proper social and cultural response to the wounded, attempting to swiftly return injured combatants to their civilian lives. But this was not always the case, as Beth Linker reveals in her provocative new book, War’s Waste.
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. Emboldened by their faith in the new social and medical sciences, reformers pushed rehabilitation as a means to “rebuild” disabled soldiers, relieving the nation of a monetary burden and easing the decision to enter the Great War. Linker’s narrative moves from the professional development of orthopedic surgery and physical therapy to curative workshops—hospital spaces where disabled soldiers learned how to repair automobiles as well as their own artificial limbs. The story culminates in the postwar establishment of the Veterans Administration and its system of federally funded hospitals, one of the greatest legacies to come out of the First World War.
Beth Linker is assistant professor in the Department of History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania.
Please contact Micah Fehrenbacher at (773) 702-7717 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.