Solitary Courage

Mona Winberg and the Triumph over Disability

Solitary Courage

Solitary Courage is the story of a mother’s tough-love determination, her severely disabled daughter’s astonishing triumphs, and a documentary record of the political battles, organizational conflicts, and human struggles that citizens with disabilities face and fight every day of their lives.

Mona Winberg became a pioneer of independent living, and emerged a leading advocate for citizens with mental and physical disabilities. Her courageous crusade erupted from her deep reservoir of compassion and concern. Her unflinching challenges to the status quo expressed both optimism and realism about life and society. Her life is testament to the power of solitary courage.

Between 1986 and 1999 Mona was the only newspaper columnist in North America regularly writing about disability issues. Through her award-winning column “Disabled Today” in Toronto’s Sunday Sun, Winberg painstakingly built up a body of work of more than 600 articles chronicling front-line battles for equality. She was a realist, a wise person with a no-nonsense approach, kindly but clear-eyed.

Author Patrick Boyer begins Solitary Courage with the story of Mona Winberg’s life. This is followed by a representative selection of 156 of her columns organized into 20 thematic chapters, “the best of Mona in her own words,” as he puts it. The book’s last sections reflect upon Mona Winberg’s legacy, and the lessons she imparted which still connect to programs and policies impacting the lives of Canadians with disabilities today.

The subjects are wide-ranging and engaging because Mona used personal examples of individuals with disabilities and news-making issues raised by their plight. She also reported on the street-level outcomes of government policies. This variety, and her distinctive approach to disability issues that was a direct product of her pioneering “independent living” and “wheel trans” services, provide education and human interest, whatever a reader’s background or experience.



Publisher: Blue Butterfly Books, 2010
Biography, disability issues, health care services, special education, newspaper writing
$22.95, Canada and U.S.A.
Paperback, 383 pages, 6 x 9 inches


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