Paying With Their Bodies by John M. Kinder

Books in Review II


John M. Kinder is an American Studies professor at Oklahoma State University who specializes in the history of war and American culture. He is most interested in war’s aftermath, including how nations and veterans deal with a wide range of post-war issues.

So it’s no surprise that Kinder’s new book, Paying With Their Bodies: American War and the Problem of the Disabled Veteran (University of Chicago, 368 pp., $18, Kindle; $30, hardcover), is a cultural history of America’s disabled veterans. The book, which concentrates on twentieth century wars, covers America’s conflicts from the Civil War through the latest conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan .

Kinder’s main theme is what he calls the Problem of the Disabled Veteran. Said problem: how the nation deals with its war wounded. Kinder identifies two main  “fantasies” involved in the Problem. One is the generally pro-war attitude that the U.S. can remain a global military power “without incurring the social, economic…

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