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My Body Politic: A Memoir (Hardcover)

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"I read My Body Politic with admiration, sometimes for the pain that all but wept on the page, again for sheer exuberant friendships, for self-discovery, political imagination, and pluck. . . . Wonderful! In a dark time, a gift of hope.
-Daniel Berrigan, S.J.

"The struggles, joys, and political awakening of a firecracker of a narrator. . . . Linton has succeeded in creating a life both rich and enviable. With her crackle, irreverence, and intelligence, it's clear that the author would never be willing to settle. . . . Wholly enjoyable."
-Kirkus Reviews

"Linton is a passionate guide to a world many outsiders, and even insiders, find difficult to navigate. . . . In this volume, she recounts her personal odyssey, from flower child . . . to disability-rights/human rights activist."
-Publishers Weekly

"Witty, original, and political without being politically correct, introducing us to a cast of funny, brave, remarkable characters (including the professional dancer with one leg) who have changed the way that 'walkies' understand disability. By the time Linton tells you about the first time she was dancing in her wheelchair, you will feel like dancing, too."

---Carol Tavris, author of Anger: The Misunderstood Emotion

"This astonishing book has perfect pitch. It is filled with wit and passion. Linton shows us how she learned to 'absorb disability,' and to pilot a new and interesting body. With verve and wonder, she discovers her body's pleasures, hungers, surprises, hurts, strengths, limits, and uses."
-Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, author of Extraordinary Bodies: Figuring Physical Disability in American Culture and Literature

"An extraordinarily readable account of life in the fast lane... a brilliant autobiography and a great read."
-Sander L. Gilman, author of Fat Boys: A Slim Book


While hitchhiking from Boston to Washington, D.C., in 1971 to protest the war in Vietnam, Simi Linton was involved in a car accident that paralyzed her legs and took the lives of her young husband and her best friend. Her memoir begins with her struggle to regain physical and emotional strength and to resume her life in the world. Then Linton takes us on the road she traveled (with stops in Berkeley, Paris, Havana) and back to her home in Manhattan, as she learns what it means to be a disabled person in America.

Linton eventually completed a Ph.D., remarried, and began teaching at Hunter College. Along the way she became deeply committed to the disability rights movement and to the people she joined forces with. The stories in My Body Politic are populated with richly drawn portraits of Linton's disabled comrades, people of conviction and lusty exuberance who dance, play-and organize--with passion and commitment.

My Body Politic begins in the midst of the turmoil over Vietnam and concludes with a meditation on the U.S. involvement in the current war in Iraq and the war's wounded veterans. While a memoir of the author's gradual political awakening, My Body Politic is filled with adventure, celebration, and rock and roll-Salvador Dali, James Brown, and Jimi Hendrix all make cameo appearances. Linton weaves a tale that shows disability to be an ordinary part of the twists and turns of life and, simultaneously, a unique vantage point on the world.

About the Author


Simi Linton is a prominent activist and author of numerous articles about disability. She holds a Ph.D. from New York University and until 1998 taught at Hunter College. She is author of Claiming Disability: Knowledge and Identity and founder of Disability/Arts, an organization that works with artists and cultural institutions to help shape the presentation of disability in the arts and to increase the representation of works by disabled artists. Linton lives in New York City.
Visit the author's website at: www.similinton.com.
Find out more about Invitation to Dance, the documentary about Simi Linton inspired by her memoir, now available through Kino Lorber EDU.

Praise For…


"Witty, original, and political without being politically correct, introducing us to a cast of funny, brave, remarkable characters (including the professional dancer with one leg) who have changed the way that 'walkies' understand disability. By the time Linton tells you about the first time she was dancing in her wheelchair, you will feel like dancing, too."
—Carol Tavris, author of Anger: The Misunderstood Emotion


— Carol Tavris

"I read My Body Politic with admiration, sometimes for the pain that all but wept on the page, again for sheer exuberant friendships, for self-discovery, political imagination, and pluck. . . .Wonderful! In a dark time, a gift of hope."
—Daniel Berrigan, S.J.


— Daniel Berrigan, S.J.

"Simi Linton's My Body Politic is an extraordinarily readable account of life in the fast lane—in a wheelchair.  Linton has become one of today's most articulate voices for disability studies (and the dis-abled).  How she moves from someone in a wheelchair to her present role is documented in this brilliant autobiography.  A great read and a book that teaches every reader about the pitfalls of not living life in the fast lane."
—Sander L. Gilman, author of Fat Boys: A Slim Book


— Sander Gilman

"The struggles, joys, and political awakening of a firecracker of a narrator. . . .Linton has succeeded in creating a life both rich and enviable. With her crackle, irreverance, and intelligence, it's clear that the author would never be willing to settle. . . .Wholly enjoyable."
Kirkus Reviews


— Kirkus

"Linton successfully argues that disabled people should be mainstreamed into all aspects of society, including classrooms, public transportation, housing and recreational activities—and disability activism. Required for both public and academic libraries, especially those with psychology or education collections."
Library Journal


— Library Journal

"Linton is a passionate guide to a world many outsiders, and even insiders, find difficult to navigate. . . .In this volume, she recounts her personal odyssey, from flower child. . .to disability-rights/human rights activist."
Publishers Weekly


— Publishers Weekly

". . . an outstanding contribution to the understanding and changing status of disabled people in American culture. There is much to be learned in My Body Politic, a memoir that must be placed on the library shelf of every person who has an interest in the life of disabled people."
—William J. Peace, Ragged Edge Magazine


— William J. Peace

"This astonishing book has perfect pitch. It is filled with wit and passion. Linton shows us how she learned to 'absorb disability,' and to pilot a new and interesting body. With verve and wonder, she discovers her body's pleasures, hungers, surprises, hurts, strengths, limits, and uses."
—Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, author of Extraordinary Bodies: Figuring Physical Disability in American Culture and Literature


— Rosemarie Garland-Thomson

"Linton's memoir is as much a position paper as anything—an argument for seeing disability as a social rather than medical construct. Together with others who have disabilities, Linton believes she shares, 'the vantage point of the atypical, the perspectives gained from negotiating a world configured for nondisabled people.' Lest this sound Pollyanna-ish, Linton uses her memoir to bear out her claim. . . . There's something of the latterday flower child in Linton as she describes her fight against intolerance and her various passions 'Everything I know about dancing,' she writes at the opening of one chapter, 'I learned from a quadriplegic.' . . . No irony here, and no demand that we pay attention, only an understanding that if we look, we will want to pay attention."
—Debra Sparks, Women's Review of Books


— Debra Sparks


Product Details
ISBN: 9780472115396
ISBN-10: 0472115391
Publisher: University of Michigan Press
Publication Date: December 15th, 2005
Pages: 256
Language: English