The Myth of the Veteran Amputee in American Culture

Robert Goler

Major Professor: Mark Jacobs

Committee Members: Andrew Bickford, Michael O'Malley

Johnson Center, 240A
November 24, 2008, 07:00 PM to 07:00 PM


This work examines the history and social significance of veteran amputees in American history. It argues that a myth about veteran amputees took shape after the Civil War as large numbers of amputees returned home. The myth enhanced political agency and enabled veterans to secure government benefits. During the Vietnam War, the myth began to splinter as soldiers joined the anti-war movement. More recently, as the number of amputees from the Iraq War has begun to rise, technological advances and media representations have transformed the myth so that it no longer retains its original authority.

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