My Body Politic

A Memoir
Simi Linton
An irreverent memoir of one woman's personal and political journey from 1960s counterculture to disability activism


My Body Politic begins in the midst of the turmoil over Vietnam and concludes with a meditation on the U.S. involvement in the war in Iraq and the war's wounded veterans. While a memoir of the author's gradual political awakening, My Body Politic is filled with adventure, celebration, and rock and roll—Salvador Dali, James Brown, and Jimi Hendrix all make cameo appearances. Linton weaves a tale that shows disability to be an ordinary part of the twists and turns of life and, simultaneously, a unique vantage point on the world.

Simi Linton is a prominent activist and author of numerous articles about disability. She holds a Ph.D. from New York University and until 1998 taught at Hunter College. She is author of Claiming Disability: Knowledge and Identity and founder of Disability/Arts, an organization that works with artists and cultural institutions to help shape the presentation of disability in the arts and to increase the representation of works by disabled artists. Linton lives in New York City.

Visit the author's website at:

Find out more about Invitation to Dance, the documentary about Simi Linton inspired by her memoir, now available through Kino Lorber EDU.

Praise / Awards

  • "Witty, original, and political without being politically correct, introducing us to a cast of funny, brave, remarkable characters (including the professional dancer with one leg) who have changed the way that 'walkies' understand disability. By the time Linton tells you about the first time she was dancing in her wheelchair, you will feel like dancing, too."
    —Carol Tavris, author of Anger: The Misunderstood Emotion

  • "I read My Body Politic with admiration, sometimes for the pain that all but wept on the page, again for sheer exuberant friendships, for self-discovery, political imagination, and pluck. . . .Wonderful! In a dark time, a gift of hope."
    —Daniel Berrigan, S.J.

  • "Simi Linton's My Body Politic is an extraordinarily readable account of life in the fast lane—in a wheelchair.  Linton has become one of today's most articulate voices for disability studies (and the dis-abled).  How she moves from someone in a wheelchair to her present role is documented in this brilliant autobiography.  A great read and a book that teaches every reader about the pitfalls of not living life in the fast lane."
    —Sander L. Gilman, author of Fat Boys: A Slim Book

  • "The struggles, joys, and political awakening of a firecracker of a narrator. . . .Linton has succeeded in creating a life both rich and enviable. With her crackle, irreverance, and intelligence, it's clear that the author would never be willing to settle. . . .Wholly enjoyable."
    Kirkus Reviews

  • "Linton successfully argues that disabled people should be mainstreamed into all aspects of society, including classrooms, public transportation, housing and recreational activities—and disability activism. Required for both public and academic libraries, especially those with psychology or education collections."
    Library Journal

  • "Linton is a passionate guide to a world many outsiders, and even insiders, find difficult to navigate. . . .In this volume, she recounts her personal odyssey, from flower child. . .to disability-rights/human rights activist."
    Publishers Weekly

  • ". . . an outstanding contribution to the understanding and changing status of disabled people in American culture. There is much to be learned in My Body Politic, a memoir that must be placed on the library shelf of every person who has an interest in the life of disabled people."
    —William J. Peace, Ragged Edge Magazine

  • "This astonishing book has perfect pitch. It is filled with wit and passion. Linton shows us how she learned to 'absorb disability,' and to pilot a new and interesting body. With verve and wonder, she discovers her body's pleasures, hungers, surprises, hurts, strengths, limits, and uses."
    —Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, author of Extraordinary Bodies: Figuring Physical Disability in American Culture and Literature

  • "Linton's memoir is as much a position paper as anything—an argument for seeing disability as a social rather than medical construct. Together with others who have disabilities, Linton believes she shares, 'the vantage point of the atypical, the perspectives gained from negotiating a world configured for nondisabled people.' Lest this sound Pollyanna-ish, Linton uses her memoir to bear out her claim. . . . There's something of the latterday flower child in Linton as she describes her fight against intolerance and her various passions 'Everything I know about dancing,' she writes at the opening of one chapter, 'I learned from a quadriplegic.' . . . No irony here, and no demand that we pay attention, only an understanding that if we look, we will want to pay attention."
    —Debra Sparks, Women's Review of Books

Look Inside

Copyright © 2005, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.

Supplemental Materials

Poster for the movie, Invitation to Dance, a Kino Lorber educational documentary film by Christian von Tippelskirch and the author, Simi Linton.

News, Reviews, Interviews

Read: Simi Linton referenced in New York Times piece on living with disability (Link) | 8/19/2016

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 256pp.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2006
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-11539-6

Add to Cart
  • $35.00 U.S.

  • Paper
  • 2007
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-03236-5

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  • $23.95 U.S.

  • Audio Download
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-00372-3

Add to Cart
  • $8.99 U.S.

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  • Simi Linton, disabled, Vietnam, autobiography, cultural activism, disability rights, human rights