Wisdom From a Chair – Thirty years of Quadriplegia (Andrew I. Batavia and Mitchell Batavia)

Congratulations, Mitchell Batavia, Department Chair, NYU Steinhardt Physical Therapy, on the publication of:

Wisdom From a Chair – Thirty years of Quadriplegia
Andrew I. Batavia and Mitchell Batavia
BookLocker.com, Inc 2016
ISBN 978-1-63491-079-8


Copies on order at NYU:

Andrew Batavia’s memoir leaves the reader with the lasting impression of his remarkable “adjustment” to his disability. Following an accident as a teen that left him with high-level quadriplegia, he went on to attend Stanford and Harvard, become a lawyer, a scholar, a professor of public health policy and rehabilitation research, an activist for independent living and the right to die, and an implementer and proponent of the American Disabilities Act of 1990. He marries and becomes a father of two. The memoir, published posthumously (Batavia died in 2003), focuses on what he did, not what he could not do.

In Batavia’s words: “I did my very best to make [people] feel comfortable with my disability, a skill that I have since perfected to the extent that many people say they forget that I have a disability after being with me for a little while.” Batavia achieves this comfort level for the reader as well. Although the reader can’t help but keep his physical constraints upmost in our minds, Batavia’s voice is strong, assured, confident, and independent, as well as witty and pragmatic.  Co-author and younger brother, Mitchell Batavia, provides more context, highlighting both Andrew’s scholarly achievements as well as wrenching background, with commentaries that give context for the accident from the family’s viewpoint.  A memory of a 13-year-old visiting his newly injured older brother confined in a CircOlectric bed, and being asked to, please, “scratch his nose,” only begins to hint at the anguish and consequences for patients’ families in the aftermath of such a devastating injury.  Compelling reading, it turns out to be a page-turner, as we root for Batavia’s recovery and accomplishments.

Highly recommended for library collections serving healthcare professionals, caregivers, policymakers, administrators, and software developers of assistive technologies, as well as the general public.