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June 1958

The War Blind in American Social Structure.

AMA Arch Ophthalmol. 1958;59(6):979-980. doi:10.1001/archopht.1958.00940070193024

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The physical and emotional adjustments required of a young and vigorous male abruptly faced with blindness are considerable. The traditions of martial glory which are taught to the youth of a nation, while admitting death and dismemberment, are usually silent about the tragedy of blindness. Yet approximately 1900 veterans of World War II are blind.

Dr. Gowman, blinded himself on the Anzio beaches by shell fire, examines the social interaction between the sighted and the blind. Socially, he makes clear, the blind are relegated to a marginal position. Some may accept the role of passive dependence expected of them, but others strive to create for themselves an active and constructive role. The book is a study of such aggressive individuals among the blind and of the social attitudes with which they must contend. The contention is derived from neurotic anxiety which the spectacle of blindness may arouse in sighted people

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