Our Veterans

Winners, Losers, Friends, and Enemies on the New Terrain of Veterans Affairs

"This chilling account ... takes a critical look at the many players involved in shaping veteran life in the United States." —The New York Times Book Review

In Our Veterans, Suzanne Gordon, Steve Early, and Jasper Craven explore the physical, emotional, social, economic, and psychological impact of military service and the problems that veterans face when they return to civilian life. The authors critically examine the role of advocacy organizations, philanthropies, corporations, and politicians who purport to be “pro-veteran.” They describe the ongoing debate about the cost, quality, and effectiveness of healthcare provided or out-sourced by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). They also examine generational divisions and political tensions among veterans, as revealed in the tumultuous events of 2020, from Black Lives Matter protests to the Trump-Biden presidential contest. Frank and revealing, Our Veterans proposes a new agenda for veterans affairs linking service provision to veterans to the quest for broader social programs benefiting all Americans.

Meet the authors of Our Veterans

Suzanne Gordon

Suzanne Gordon

Suzanne Gordon is an award-winning journalist and author. She has written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the Atlantic Monthly, the American Prospect, the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, JAMA, the Annals of Internal Medicine, and others. She is the co-editor of the Culture and Politics of Healthcare Work series at Cornell University Press.

Steve Early

Steve Early

Steve Early has been an author, organizer, lawyer, union representative, and labor activist for the past forty-five years. He has written four other books, including Refinery Town and Save Our Unions: Dispatches from a Movement in Distress. Steve has served on the editorial advisory committees for four labor-related publications–Labor Notes, New Labor Forum, WorkingUSA and Social Policy. He lives in Richmond, California, with his wife, Suzanne Gordon.

Jasper Craven

Jasper Craven

Jasper Craven is a freelance reporter covering the military and veterans’ issues. His writing has appeared in the Vermont Digger, Politico, The Intercept, the Boston Globe, and the New York Times. He invites you to subscribe to his newsletter Battle Borne for direct original reporting and analysis.

Praise for Our Veterans

“This chilling account explores the physical, economic and psychological consequences of military service on veteran health and takes a critical look at the many players involved in shaping veteran life in the United States.”

NY Times Book Review

“Our Veterans is just what we need right now – an up-to-date, solidly reported, pulls-no-punches account of what it’s like to be a veteran in America today. Deftly avoiding the dichotomy of veterans as either heroes or victims, the authors explore the health, employment, community, and political issues that former soldiers, especially the post 9/11 cohort, are threading their way through. This book is very well done and I thank the authors for writing it.”

Nan Levinson

Tufts University lecturer, author of "War Is Not a Game: The New Antiwar Soldiers and the Movement They Built"

“Americans disagree on many things, but we all love and honor our veterans, right? Not according to this eye-opening book. Finally we have an honest account that contrasts our game-day celebration of veterans with the cold realities many of them face in post-military life. Written with compassion and just the right amount of outrage, Our Veterans is an essential contribution to an urgent national debate.”

Stephen Kinzer

former NY Times correspondent, author of "Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change"

“As this book reveals, too many men and women in the military are exposed, callously and carelessly, to a toxic work environment. Their service-related problems can lead to unemployment, homelessness, and high suicide rates. That’s why veterans need more real friends, in Congress and the public, who will better defend the lifesaving programs of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Our Veterans is a call to action by everyone concerned about health equity and educational opportunity for all Americans.”

Michael Blecker

executive director of Swords to Plowshares, Vietnam veteran

Upcoming events for Our Veterans

Rotary Club | Novato, CA | August 23

8:00 am to 8:40 am: Suzanne and Steve will speak at Moylan’s Brewery and Restaurant, 15 Rowland Way, Novato, CA. 94945

N.Y. Health Foundation | Zoom | August 23

2:00 pm/EST to 3:00 pm/EST: Suzanne and Jasper will join leaders of the New York Health Foundation for a free Zoom conversation to discuss how the VA’s increased reliance on private sector care, the evolving political landscape, and an increasingly diverse veteran population impact the future of veteran health care. Register here.

Veterans For Peace 2022 National Convention | Zoom | August 26

1:00 pm/PT: Suzanne appears on book related panel, on “Veteranhood: Hope and Rage in U.S. and British Ex-Military Life,” at the Veterans For Peace National Convention. For registration information, see:  https://www.vfpconvention.org/registration

Book Party and Fundraiser | Richmond, CA | August 31

6:00 pm to 8:00 pm: Steve and Suzanne speak at Our Veterans  event benefitting the Richmond Pulse newspaper, a community newspaper. Kaleidoscope Coffee, 109 Park Place, Richmond, CA. 94801

KPFA Author Series Event | San Francisco, CA | September 7

6 to 8 pm: Suzanne and Steve speak about the book at Veterans Memorial Building, (Room 206), 401 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, California 94102 as part of KPFA author series. (For details and ticket ordering, see: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/steve-early-and-suzanne-gordon-our-veterans-tickets-388273204607

Phoenix Books | Burlington, VT | September 13

7:00 pm to 8:30 pm: All three co-authors will speak at Phoenix Books, 191 Bank St. Burlington, Vermont.05401. For details, see: https://www.phoenixbooks.biz/events

Middlebury College | Middlebury, VT | September 15

4:30 pm: Several co-authors all speak at Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vermont. (details to be announced).

Labor/Community Event | Troy, NY | September 16

Steve and Suzanne will speak in the Albany/Troy area. (Time, place, and local co-sponsors to be announced).

Porter Square Books | Cambridge, MA | September 21

7:00 pm to 8:30 pm: Steve and Suzanne will speak at Porter Square Books, 25 White Street, Cambridge, Mass. 02140. (For details, when posted, see: https://www.portersquarebooks.com/event)

Labor/Community Events | Portland & Seattle, WA |October 11-14

Steve and Suzanne will speak at events in Portland and Seattle (exact dates, times, locations to be announced soon).

Veterans Day Weekend Events | TBA | November 10-14

Veterans Day weekend events are being planned for New York, Washington, D.C. and other east-coast locations to be announced.

Howard Zinn Book Festival | San Francisco, CA | December 3

Details to be announced. For registration and location information, see: http://howardzinnbookfair.com