Disability in American Life: An Encyclopedia of Concepts, Policies, and Controversies

2 vols. ABC-CLIO. 2018. 921p. ed. by ed. by Tamar Heller & others. illus. index. ISBN 9781440834226. $198; ebk. ISBN 9781440834233. SOC SCI
Beginning with a powerful introduction by Carol Gill (emeritus, disability & human development, Univ. of Illinois at Chicago) on disability as a civil rights issue and a foreword on the history of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), this two-volume set explores milestones and individuals within disability history. Gill collaborates with Heller, Sarah Parker Harris, and Robert Gould—fellow professors within the department of disability and human development—to produce a comprehensive reference. This up-to-date work covers efforts to weaken the ADA in 2018 and contains entries by scholarly contributors on everything from ableism, advocacy, and autonomy to citizenship, language, and stigma. Standout entries on ethics and voting rights reinforce the importance of the continued fight for equal access. The collection is intersectional, showing how race, gender, sexuality, and class directly impact care. While the editors claim the work is not exhaustive, they still offer a comprehensive time line, including a chronology of laws starting with the Smith-Sears Act of 1918, and a well-rounded list of Supreme Court cases, such as Olmstead v. L.C. (1999).
VERDICT Filling a need for historical and cultural information on an understudied subject, this title highlights the economic and political power of people with disabilities and should be an essential resource.

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