Best Men, Broken Men

Gender, Disability, and American Veterans

Authored by: Sarah Handley-Cousins

The Routledge History of Gender, War, and the U.S. Military

Print publication date:  August  2017
Online publication date:  August  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138902985
eBook ISBN: 9781315697185
Adobe ISBN:


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Returning American veterans face – and have faced since the American Revolution – a myriad of complex negotiations as they attempt to find work, re-enter family units, seek financial support, and claim citizenship. Though often overlooked, gendered conceptions of disability have been central to these experiences. With each war, Americans discover anew the perceived incompatibilities between disability and masculinity. Ideas about how men can and should bear pain, control their bodies, and interact with the state all influence veterans’ experiences in postwar landscapes. In a larger sense, anxieties over large numbers of depleted, dismembered men have historically triggered public debates about rehabilitation, financial support, and national memory.

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