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Why I Burned My Book and Other Essays on Disability

Longmore was a disability activist and chronicler of the history of disability in the US. His central thesis--that the most disabling thing about having a disability is actually the social conditions surrounding disability in the US and not the actual physical/mental issues--is carried through this collection of essays. This all leads up to the final essay in which he outlines quite clearly how the disabled are legally punished for being productive members of society (via reductions to their SSI income if they make money via royalties or fellowships) and how difficult it has been to make any headway in changing these laws.

My favorite chapter in this book was about disability activism in WPA era where a group formed called The League of the Physically Handicapped and tried to get the same access to jobs programs for disabled people that able-bodied folks had. It’s a great narrative of an unknown (to me) aspect of US history that has had a lasting affect on anti-discrimination policies in the US in the time since.Longmore also discusses other topics dear to accessiblity/usability/disability activists which is the portrayal of disabled people in movies and the role of disability activists and disabled people generally in the Right to Die movement.