A Nation of Veterans

In honor of Veterans Day, this week's review reveals the struggles behind securing and defending benefits for veterans in the United States.

A Nation of Veterans: War, Citizenship, and the Welfare State in Modern America

Burtin, Olivier. Pennsylvania, 2022
291p bibl index, 9781512823141 $55.00, 9781512823158 $55.00

Burtin (Univ. Picardie Jules Verne, Amiens, France) has crafted an exciting and informative work in A Nation of Veterans, his first book. Delivering well-researched facts in velvety prose, Burtin obliterates any notion that veteran disability compensation and entitlements were easy to obtain. He cites long-forgotten anti-veteran movements, such as the 1930s Veterans of Future Wars (a satirical take on the Veterans of Foreign Wars) with their “itchy palm” salute, to reflect decades of political and social opposition to veteran support (p. 44). As Burtin shows, the American use of military force has been a double-edged sword. Numerous wars waged within the proximity of generations of soldiers, such as WW I and WW II, have maintained a connection of support and collective memory between fighters. On the one hand, this has helped advance veteran causes, but it also created competition and animosity between those who fought in different wars, as groups did not always receive the same political treatment. This book should become a staple of any military or veteran-related program. It is a page-turner for those interested in this topic and a challenge to put down.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. General readers through faculty; professionals.
: E. Hannel, Saint Leo University
Subject: Social & Behavioral Sciences – History, Geography & Area Studies – North America
Choice Issue: Sep 2023

Enjoy this week’s review? Check out more reviews of related titles: