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December 11, 1981

Wounded Men, Broken Promises

Author Affiliations

Veterans Administration Medical Center University of Mississippi School of Medicine Jackson


by Robert Klein, 278 pp, $13.95, New York, Macmillan Publishing Co Inc, 1981.

JAMA. 1981;246(23):2747. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03320230063030

At a time when antigovernment feelings are increasing, the Veterans Administration has come in for its share of bad press. Perhaps the harshest—and the most widely quoted—critique of the VA is Wounded Men, Broken Promises. This book grew out of a series of newspaper articles written by Robert Klein when he was an investigative reporter for an Albuquerque, NM, newspaper. It is a seemingly endless diatribe agianst the entire agency, but focuses on the VA Department of Medicine and Surgery and its health care facilities.

It is bothersome and unprofitable to take issue with the content of a book such as this. In a system that provides treatment for millions of veterans on an annual basis, there are bound to be episodes that dispose veterans to criticize the treatment they receive. And among the 200,000 VA employees there are bound to be those, and many more former VA employees, who