Wounded: A New History of the Western Front in World War I

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Oxford University Press, 2013 - HISTORY - 275 pages
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The number of soldiers wounded in World War I is, in itself, devastating: over 21 million military wounded, and nearly 10 million killed. On the battlefield, the injuries were shocking, unlike anything those in the medical field had ever witnessed. The bullets hit fast and hard, went deep and took bits of dirty uniform and airborne soil particles in with them. Soldier after soldier came in with the most dreaded kinds of casualty: awful, deep, ragged wounds to their heads, faces and abdomens. And yet the medical personnel faced with these unimaginable injuries adapted with amazing aptitude, thinking and reacting on their feet to save millions of lives.

In Wounded, Emily Mayhew tells the history of the Western Front from a new perspective: the medical network that arose seemingly overnight to help sick and injured soldiers. These men and women pulled injured troops from the hellscape of trench, shell crater, and no man's land, transported them to the rear, and treated them for everything from foot rot to poison gas, venereal disease to traumatic amputation from exploding shells. Drawing on hundreds of letters and diary entries, Mayhew allows readers to peer over the shoulder of the stretcher bearer who jumped into a trench and tried unsuccessfully to get a tightly packed line of soldiers out of the way, only to find that they were all dead. She takes us into dugouts where rescue teams awoke to dirt thrown on their faces by scores of terrified moles, digging frantically to escape the earth-shaking shellfire. Mayhew moves her account along the route followed by wounded men, from stretcher to aid station, from jolting ambulance to crowded operating tent, from railway station to the ship home, exploring actual cases of casualties who recorded their experiences.

Both comprehensive and intimate, this groundbreaking book captures an often neglected aspect of the soldier's world and a transformative moment in military and medical history.

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User Review  - ladycato - LibraryThing

I have read many books, fiction and nonfiction, in search of information on medical practices in World War I. I have found some good books, but this--this is the volume I was seeking all along. Mayhew ... Read full review

Wounded: A New History of the Western Front in World War I.

User Review  - Edwin B. Burgess, Margaret Heilbrun - Book Verdict

The personal experiences of the British wounded and their stretcher bearers, doctors, and nurses. Painful reading that illustrates the violence of the war and the battle care available. (LJ 10/15/13) Read full review


Authors Note
1 Wounded
2 Bearers
3 Regimental Medical Officers
4 Surgeons
5 Wounded
6 Nurses
10 Ambulance Trains
11 Furnes Railway Station
12 Wounded
13 The London Ambulance Column
Notes and References

7 Orderlies
8 Wounded
9 Chaplains

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About the author (2013)

Emily Mayhew is a Research Associate at Imperial College and an examiner at the Imperial College School of Medicine. She is a consultant and lecturer to museums including the Wellcome Collection, the Imperial War Museum and the Royal College of Surgeons.

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