Book Review: Disability Pride: Dispatches from a Post-ADA World, by Ben Mattlin

By Katherine Itacy

Genre(s): Disability Studies, Social Policy, Civil Rights & Liberties

Review:

As with any grouping of human beings, we, members of the disabled community, are no monolith. We have widely divergent views on a variety of topics that impact each of us, including thoughts on physician-assisted suicide, identity politics, self-identifying terminology, diversity within the leadership of disability activism, and so much more.

Veteran, accomplished author Ben Mattlin does a phenomenal job at addressing the aforementioned topics and more as they’ve presented themselves since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act more than twenty-two years ago. While giving the appropriate deference to a variety of viewpoints within and experts regarding each topic, Mattlin’s lifetime of experience as a disabled person in America lends additional insight into every chapter. As someone who’s experienced life both before and after passage of the ADA, he’s keenly aware of the progress and limitations of both the governmental and community-based efforts to ensure equitable civil and human rights for all disabled Americans.

I’ve read each of Mattlin’s books, and he seems to best his previous efforts every time. Disability Pride presents as equal parts treatise on a particularly complex subject matter and love letter to a community Mattlin is undoubtedly proud of.

An absolute must-read.

My Rating: 5/5

About the Author:

Ben Mattlin is a freelance writer in Los Angeles and the author of three books: Miracle Boy Grows Up, In Sickness and In Health, and most recently, Disability Pride: Dispatches from a Post-ADA World. He is a graduate (cum laude) of Harvard University, and his work has appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers. His writing has also led to appearances on multiple television and radio news programs.

Mattlin was born in New York City in 1962 with spinal muscular atrophy, and as noted on his website, https://www.benmattlin.com/, “[h]e has a nice butt, too, but you’ll never see it because he’s always sitting in a wheelchair.” He’s married with two adult children, a cat, and a turtle.

To learn more about the author, you can visit his website here.

Disability Pride (as well as his two previous books) is currently available on Amazon and at other stores where fine books are sold.


Katherine Itacy is the author of Relentless: From National Champion to Physically Disabled Activist (July 28, 2020, E.L. Marker). After medically retiring from practicing law, Katherine wrote her memoir, Relentless (which is available now in paperback, e-book, and audiobook formats on Amazon and through her publisher here), and started “The Phunky Diabetic Podcast”(which is available to stream on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, and YouTube). She now contributes to the Warwick Public Library podcast “Warwick Radio Online.” She is also chair of the board of directors for the Rhode Island ACLU, on the board of directors for the Warwick Health Equity Zone, is an advocate for the Rare Disease Legislative Advocates (RDLA), a patient advisor for the All of Us Patient & Family Advisory Council (PFAC), and enjoys blogging about social justice and disability issues.

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