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No Pity: People with Disabilities Forging a New Civil Rights Movement
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No Pity: People with Disabilities Forging a New Civil Rights Movement

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  268 ratings  ·  41 reviews
People with disabilities forging the newest and last human rights movement of the century.
Paperback, 400 pages
Published October 25th 1994 by Broadway Books (first published 1993)
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Hrm. Two not entirely compatible responses here. On the one hand, I want to tell everyone to read this book, because seriously, everyone should read this book. The history of the disability movement is essentially invisible to most Americans, and that's a shame on multiple levels. This book is extremely successful as historical account, from the first stirrings of community consciousness at Berkeley to the sputtering of civil disobedience, the twenty-five day takeover of the San Francisco Federa ...more
Joseph Shapiro's book is intense at times and wide in breadth but it is the seminal, fundamental work on disability rights. Written as part history, part weaving personal stories of people he encountered while reporting on this story, Joseph Shapiro tells the stories of several groups of people: from experts turned activists, to blind people, to the people that invented Quickies, and most surprisingly the everyday americans that didn't think of themselves as disabled before they were helped by t ...more
Jul 19, 2008 Christine rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: disability
I am amazed that this book exists! Reading it a few years ago summed up all of the confused and misplaced feelings of aggression and perplexity that had surrounded my experience as a disabled person. My inner advocate wishes that this was required reading for everyone on the planet. It's tone is direct and clear without being overly preachy or in any way anti-ablebodied. This is an advocacy book that says "here's my experience" rather than attacking yours. Please read it and pass it along.
This book serves as the first true cultural history of the disability rights movement. Shapiro acts partially as a journalist, historian, and an activist in communicating the ideas and ideologies of the rights movement. In doing so, he provides rich examples of the issues that people with disabilities face, mostly promulgated by terrible legal doctrine combined with an American populace frighteningly unaware of the plight of the disability population.
What a gem of a book this is. It has been sitting on my shelf for quite some time and I am so glad I finally read it. This book gives the history of the civil rights movement in relation to people with disabilities. It was eye opening for me even though I knew much of the history, I really didn't grasp the implications and enormity of this movement. I loved the stories of people living and fighting on the front lines and for many it has been a life and death battle to fight for their rights. It ...more
I had to read this book for a class I took and it was engaging. There is so much we as society have forgotten about how we treated people that were in any way different. Its rather astonishing to me that we were so quick to alienate anyone who didn't meet our "perfect" criteria.
Tanya Roberts
it is not often a school assigned book can enrich and enlighten your entire life. This is a great brief on a variety of movements regarding rights for the disabled and is sure to cause anyone to seriously reflect on their own assumptions and attitudes.
I had to read this for my disability advocacy college course and let me just say that no one should be reading or buying this book anymore. It is in extreme need of an updating. There are a lot of glaring inaccuracies from old age that need to be fixed immediately. 70% of autistic people have intellectual disabilities? No, that number is actually 20-25%. The fact that it uses the r-word that's considered a slur instead of "intellectual disability" should get this book tossed in the garbage. Atti ...more
Carol Liu
Required reading for all us TABs hoping to help friends living with a disability.
I am reading it for a Master's level Multi-cultural class at UNLV.
A must read on disability identity and pride.
Dec 08, 2008 Allen3459 is currently reading it
The story of an underground struggle
As others have noted, it would be great to see an updated version of this book. Nonetheless, I think this book is fantastic. It's the story of the Disability Civil Rights movement. There's so much I did not know.

It made me feel:
- annoyed with Rosa Parks
- pleasantly surprised at George Bush (HW not W)
- angry
- impressed
- like doing something to help make things better.

I am so thankful for the people in this world who are born with souls and personalities that prepare them to fight for what's righ
This was a very informative look at the history of disability rights in the USA up to 1993. The author mostly focuses on the period between 1950 and the passage of the ADA in 1991. He does a thorough job of covering both mental/developmental disabilities and physical disabilities, as well as the Deaf culture (which is still considered a disability to some, but not to others). It was interesting to me to see how far we have come in the last 20 years, and yet how far we still have to go. It was al ...more
Michael Burnam-fink
This is one of the core books of the disabilities rights movement, an exhilarating journalistic account of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and several magazine length accounts of the lives of people with disabilities. Shapiro makes it clear again and again that the biggest barrier to people with disabilities living a worthwhile life on their own terms are not their impairments, or even the built environment, but social prejudice and a welfare system that funnels money to expe ...more
This is a great book. For a while I had wanted to read something about the disability rights movement that really covered all the history and stuff and this really hit the spot. It's really depressing the way disabled people have been treated in this country and the way they have been neglected by institutions of power as well as just being straightforwardly abused. There are some stories in here which will make your hair curl.
My only objection with the book happens to be with some areas of the
This book felt like a good beginner primer on disability rights. It covered the bases on people with disabilities demanding respect, and went through a history of various disability rights achievements (many of which I had not read about before). Highly recommend it to people who want to learn more about the issue.

patrycja polczyk
This book is really good stuff for anyone interested in rights of people with disabilities. There are many informations and stories about how those civil rights were fought for in USA. I'd say it's a book that should be read by everyone, it's quite an eye-opener. For me - as a both person with disability and researcher - this book is really important. And it has show me many things in a new light. The chapter about right to dying was incredibly powerful. But point is - this book tells a story of ...more
Amazing. I know at least two people off the top of my head that would benefit *greatly* from reading even the first chapter.
Rachel Sprague
This book gave me some really good insight to the Disability Rights Movement, but overall I was really depressed reading it. However, I guess that the message trying to be conveyed is that there is a struggle, and these people have to work hard to be given the respect and treatment they deserve, and even after so much effort, they still don't get it.
For a book that was required for a class - it was really good! I learned a lot about disabilities and the government issues. It was very interesting and the knowledge I now have from the book will carry with me for the rest of my life. Especially since I will be working in the medical field where disabilities are not uncommon.
An incredible book. I found myself a bit uncomfortable at the politics in the beginning, often unspoken, but at the end I think Shapiro does justice to the conflict between conservative and liberal forces in such a movement. The end is perfect. The analysis is spot on, the history fascinating.
Sep 22, 2009 Wealhtheow marked it as to-read
Recommended to Wealhtheow by: Lightreads
Shelves: 6th-floor
"this book is extremely valuable as a survey introduction, and an exercise in consciousness raising. And for that alone, I praise it. But its utility is limited. An excellent place to start and a terrible place to stop, is what I'm saying."--Lightreads
Its a realistic book. If you want to really understand how people with disabilities are treated in this society from yesterday till today, read this book. It gives you a historical, social and political background of the disability rights movement.
An interesting primer on the disability movement. I didn't realize until after I bought the book that it was written in 1993. Thus, it's surprisingly dated. The chapter on the People First movement neither mentions nor uses people-first language.
Lots of great information. At times, it read more like a bunch of shorter articles placed near each other, rather than a cohesive whole, but this book is a great look at the movement to ensure equal rights for people with disabilities.
This is a wonderful look at what has led to the civil rights struggles of people with disabilities today. I would love to see an update on how the movement has grown since the early 90s, particularly now that we are in the age of Olmstead.
I didn't enjoy reading this book straight-through. I would have enjoyed it a lot if I used it as more of a reference or if I read it more sporadically.
Jun 22, 2007 HeavyReader rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone interested in the disability rights movement
Shelves: history
This book is an excellent history of the disability rights movement. It is well written and accessible and hard to put down. Recommended.
Aimee J Martin
This is a very strong read regarding the disabled and their fight for civil rights. Very empowering and yet very humbling.
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Joseph P. Shapiro is a science journalist, currently an NPR correspondent.
More about Joseph P. Shapiro...
No Pity: People with Disabilities Forging a New Civil Rights Movement No Pity: People with Disabilities Forging a New Civil Rights Movement

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