Wounds of War

This week's review contemplates the importance of the Veterans Health Administration as a functional health care system for US veterans

Wounds of war : how the VA delivers health, healing, and hope to the nation’s veterans

Gordon, Suzanne. Cornell, 2018
445p index, 9781501730825 $29.95, 9781501730848

The Veterans Health Administration (VA) stands as America’s sole foray into socialized health care. Gordon, a journalist, sets out to determine if the arguments of conservative politicians and for-profit health companies are correct that the health care of our nation’s veterans would be better served in the private sector. Her thoroughly researched conclusion: despite its negative media image, the VA surprisingly outshines the private sector in critical ways, the foremost being that as a public entity it is better equipped to place veterans’ health care first without incentive, unlike privatized health agencies whose primary purpose is to turn a profit. Combining statistics and other data with personal anecdotes of veterans and employees, Gordon describes how the VA seamlessly integrates health care with mental health and social services. This approach has substantially reduced the number of homeless veterans, and led to innovative medical research, such as nicotine patches. This book offers a unique approach to an important topic and is an essential addition for institutions with programs in medicine and other health-affiliated fields (health administration, social work, etc.), public policy and administration, political science, or for any public library serving veteran and/or military populations.

Summing Up: Essential. All levels.
Reviewer: J. M. Enomoto, independent scholar
Subject: Science & Technology – Health Sciences
Choice Issue: May 2019