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Distributed for Missouri Historical Society Press

Max Starkloff and the Fight for Disability Rights

In 1959, at the age of twenty-one, Max Starkloff was in a car accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down. His doctors doubted he would live longer than a few days, and, if he survived, the hope for his quality of life would be minimal. How did this young man with barely a high school education become the leader of a powerful disability rights movement and the founder of the Starkloff Disability Institute? This is his remarkable story.  

Max Starkloff and the Fight for Disability Rights takes readers on an extraordinary odyssey of hope and resilience—from Starkloff’s twelve years in a nursing home to his successful family life and career as a nationally prominent human rights leader. At the time of Starkloff’s accident, millions of Americans like him were confined to institutions with no hope of ever living life independently as respected members of society. But Starkloff and other disability rights leaders formed what became known as the Independent Living Movement, enabling thousands of disabled people to move out of nursing homes by encouraging local governments to remove physical barriers, make public transportation and housing accessible, and pass laws preventing job discrimination. Using firsthand accounts and interviews with Starkloff and those who knew him best, Charles E. Claggett Jr. powerfully retells how Starkloff became an influential advocate for people with disabilities and how today, his legacy continues to better the lives of disabled individuals throughout the country.

400 pages | 68 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2014

Biography and Letters

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Table of Contents

Foreword by William H. Danforth
Author’s Note
Chapter 1: “Pray Out Loud”
Chapter 2: Mad Max
Chapter 3: Max Will Survive
Chapter 4: Ex-Traction
Chapter 5: Marty’s Dream
Chapter 6: Broad and Brazen Strokes
Chapter 7: What Are You Doing in a Nursing Home?
Chapter 8: Gathering Steam
Chapter 9: “My Sister’s a Damned Fool”
Chapter 10: Protests and Progress
 Chapter 11: “We’re Parents!”
Chapter 12: Pitched Battles
Chapter 13: ADA at Last
Chapter 14: Raising Meaghan, Maxim, and Emily
Chapter 15: The Boulevard Shuts Its Doors
Chapter 16: The Starkloff Disability Institute
Family Tree

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