Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Booknotes: Life and Limb

New Arrival:
Life and Limb: Perspectives on the American Civil War edited by David Seed, Stephen C. Kenny and Chris Williams (Liverpool Univ Pr, 2015).

This is an edited collection of period writings on various aspects of Civil War medicine, categorized around physician memoirs, nursing accounts, hospital descriptions, disease pathology, photography, amputations, limb prosthetics, battle accounts and post-war narratives. The editors provide a general introduction as well as often lengthy preambles for each contribution and footnotes for some.
"The contemporary perspectives - fiction, first-hand accounts, reportage and photographs - found in the pages of this collection give a unique insight into the experiences and suffering of those affected by the American Civil War. The essays and recollections detail some of the earliest attempts by medical professionals to understand and help the wounded, and look at how writers and poets were influenced by their own involvement as nurses, combatants and observers. So alongside the medical observations of figures such as Silas Weir Mitchell and William Keen, you'll find memoirs of writers including Louisa May Alcott, Ambrose Bierce and Walt Whitman."

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