Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Booknotes: Faces of Civil War Nurses

New Arrival:
Faces of Civil War Nurses by Ronald S. Coddington (Johns Hopkins UP, 2020).

After four previous volumes covering Union soldiers, Confederate soldiers, African Americans, and sailors, the newest entry in Ronald Coddington's "Faces of" series is Faces of Civil War Nurses. Here the author "turns his attention to the experiences of 77 women of all ages and walks of life who provided care during the war as nurses, aid workers, and vivandières. Their personal narratives are as unique as fingerprints: each provides a distinct entry point into the larger social history of the brutal and bloody conflict. Coddington tells these determined women's stories through letters, diaries, pension files, and newspaper and government reports. Using identified tintypes and cartes de visite of women on both sides of the war, many of them never before published, Coddington uncovers the personal histories of each intrepid individual. Following their postwar stories, he also explains how the bonds they formed continued long after the cessation of hostilities."

Each CDV-type photographic image is full-page in size and is a high-res scan copied on quality paper. Photos are accompanied by anywhere from two to five pages of biographical text. As was the case with Coddington's other books, the material is the product of extensive research in both published and unpublished sources. The author also contributes a lengthy introduction and copious endnotes.

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