Wartime Nurse

Wartime Nurse : One Hundred Years from the Crimea to Korea 1854-1954

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Product details

  • Paperback | 308 pages
  • 159 x 240 x 28mm | 485g
  • ISIS Publishing
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • New ed of Large print ed
  • 0753156245
  • 9780753156247

Review Text

A history of nursing between 1854 and 1954 must necessarily concentrate mainly on the First World War, but the author prepares the ground by outlining the situation during the Crimean War, when there were no official nurses in military hospitals (the argument being that it would be improper, since the patients were almost to a man suffering from venereal diseases). Even when Florence Nightingale began her work, there was much opposition to the splendid, idealistic women who devoted themselves to their vocation under dreadful circumstances. 'You'll spoil the brutes', one doctor told Miss Nightingale. The horrifying conditions under which the wounded were cared for (or, rather, not cared for) until Miss Nightingale took charge have often been told, and is here rehearsed again. During the war of 1914-18 the work of nurses in field hospitals became vitally important. When war broke out there were 300 nurses in Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service - within a month there were 2223, by the end of the war over 10,000. There were problems, at first, with the society women who volunteered. Without training, or a suspicion of what would be needed of them, they flocked to Harrods to buy evening dresses and shoes for off-duty parties behind the Flanders trenches. Those who lasted grew up swiftly. Many individual stories are told: that for instance of Nurse Edith Cavell, executed by the Germans for helping some of her soldier patients to escape from hospital in Brussels - and there is some account of medical advances such as the 'invention' of plastic surgery. The Second World War is less susceptible to treatment - by then nursing was an accepted part of military operations; and there are gaps - no real account for instance of the nurses who suffered under the Japanese. Finally, Korea gets a few pages. This book is not particularly well-crafted, and is rather ploddingly written; but it fills a gap in recent history, and will specially interest those who are in some way connected with nursing. (Kirkus UK)
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