Our Veterans: Winners, Losers, Friends, and Enemies on the New Terrain of Veterans Affairs

Our Veterans: Winners, Losers, Friends, and Enemies on the New Terrain of Veterans Affairs

by Suzanne Gordon
Our Veterans: Winners, Losers, Friends, and Enemies on the New Terrain of Veterans Affairs

Our Veterans: Winners, Losers, Friends, and Enemies on the New Terrain of Veterans Affairs

by Suzanne Gordon


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In Our Veterans, Suzanne Gordon, Steve Early, and Jasper Craven explore the physical, emotional, social, economic, and psychological impact of military service and the problems that veterans face when they return to civilian life. The authors critically examine the role of advocacy organizations, philanthropies, corporations, and politicians who purport to be "pro-veteran." They describe the ongoing debate about the cost, quality, and effectiveness of healthcare provided or outsourced by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). They also examine generational divisions and political tensions among veterans, as revealed in the tumultuous events of 2020, from Black Lives Matter protests to the Trump-Biden presidential contest. Frank and revealing, Our Veterans proposes a new agenda for veterans affairs linking service provision to veterans to the quest for broader social programs benefiting all Americans.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781478018544
Publisher: Duke University Press
Publication date: 08/05/2022
Pages: 354
Sales rank: 1,090,543
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Suzanne Gordon is Senior Policy Analyst at the Veterans Healthcare Policy Institute and the author of many books, most recently, Wounds of War: How the VA Delivers Health, Healing, and Hope to the Nation’s Veterans.

Steve Early is a freelance journalist, labor organizer, lawyer, and the author of, most recently, Refinery Town: Big Oil, Big Money, and the Remaking of an American City. His work has appeared in theNew York Times, the Washington Post, and theNation, among others.

Jasper Craven is a freelance journalist who covers the military and veterans. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Atlantic, theNew Republic, and theBaffler, among others.

Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations  ix
Preface  xiii
Authors' Note and Acknowledgments  xvii
Introduction: Friendly Fire  1
1. A Toxic Workplace  27
2. Life and Work after the Military  57
3. Stolen Valor  85
4. Last Stand of the Legion Post?  108
5. The New VSOs  134
6. A VA Healthcare Struggle  155
7. Playing the Veteran Card  176
8. Veterans and the 2020 Election  199
Conclusion: Rethinking Veterans Affairs  222
Notes  253
Selected Bibliography  311
Index  317

What People are Saying About This

Nancy Lessin

Our Veterans . . . [is] a meticulous account of the many challenges facing military service members and their families, while on active duty and afterwards. . . . This is an amazing, timely, and much needed book.”

Worth Fighting For: An Army Ranger’s Journey Out of the Military and Across America - Rory Fanning

“Few are more qualified to critically assess the impact of America’s decades-long wars than Suzanne Gordon, Steve Early, and Jasper Craven. . . . Our Veterans should be read and shared by everyone looking to challenge America’s war machine.”

Lindsay Church

Our Veterans pulls back the curtain on the military and veteran community, often shrouded and protected by invocations of patriotism. . . . This book is a wake-up call for an American public led to believe that our country supports veterans.”

I Ain’t Marching Anymore: Dissenters, Deserters, and Objectors to America’s Wars - Chris Lombardi

Our Veterans tells a working-class story, a labor story, and a political story. In the process, the authors have done the near-impossible: written a page-turner about the VA. While alarming in many ways, this book is also hopeful. It shows how VA-delivered care can be strengthened and improved as a model for health care for all.”

Michael Blecker

“As this book reveals, too many men and women in the military are exposed, callously and carelessly, to a toxic work environment. Their service-related problems can lead to unemployment, homelessness, and high suicide rates. That’s why veterans need more real friends in Congress and in the public who will better defend the lifesaving programs of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Our Veterans is a call to action by everyone concerned about health equity and educational opportunity for all Americans.”

The Privatization of Everything: How the Plunder of Public Goods Transformed America and How We Can Fight Back - Donald Cohen

“This important book effectively debunks the myth that outsourced federal services are better and more cost-effective, while revealing the dangers of turning VA patients into ‘customers’ of the healthcare industry.”

Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control - Stephen Kinzer

“Americans disagree on many things, but we all love and honor our veterans, right? No, according to this eye-opening book. Finally we have an honest account that contrasts our game-day celebration of veterans with the cold realities many of them face in post-military life. Written with compassion and just the right amount of outrage, Our Veterans is an essential contribution to an urgent national debate.”

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