"This book should alert those who care about rights for people with disabilities to be ever mindful of the motivations that may underlie government actions."
- From the Foreword by Dick Thornburgh
"Logue and Blanck demonstrate through impeccable historical research how stereotypes affect even those who have bravely served their country with honour. Its implications affect veterans in particular and all disabled persons. Good history not only reveals the past but also points ot the future. This is history at its best."
- Gerald Quinn, National University of Galway
Larry M. Logue is Professor of History and Political Science at Mississippi College. He won the Francis and Emily Chipman First-Book Prize for A Sermon in the Desert: Belief and Behavior in Early St. George, Utah, and is the author of To Appomattox and Beyond: The Civil War Solider in War and Peace and co-editor of The Civil War Soldier: A Historical Reader and The Civil War Veteran: A Historical Reader.
Peter Blanck is University Professor at Syracuse University and Chairman of the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI). He is a trustee of YAI/ National Institute for People with Disabilities Network and Chairman of the Global Universal Design Commission (GUDC). Blanck's most recent book is Disability Civil Rights Law and Policy (with Hill, Siegal, and Waterstone).
Using data from more than 40,000 soldiers of the Union army, this book focuses on the experience of African Americans and immigrants with disabilities, investigating their decision to seek government assistance and their resulting treatment. Pension administrators treated these ex-soldiers differently from native-born whites, but the discrimination was far from seamless – biased evaluations of worthiness intensified in response to administrators’ workload and nativists’ late-nineteenth-century campaigns. This book finds a remarkable interplay of social concepts, historical context, bureaucratic expediency, and individual initiative. Examining how African Americans and immigrants weighed their circumstances in deciding when to request a pension, whether to employ a pension attorney, or if they should seek institutionalization, it contends that these veterans quietly asserted their right to benefits. Shedding new light on the long history of challenges faced by veterans with disabilities, the book underscores the persistence of these challenges in spite of the recent revolution in disability rights.
1. The winding path of the self and the other; 2. The moral economy of veterans' benefits; 3. African-American veterans and the pension system; 4. Pensions for foreign-born veterans; 5. 'A more infamous gang of cut-throats never lived'; 6. Havens of last resort; 7. Epilogue.