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Prologue to Change: African Americans in Medicine in the Civil War Era Paperback – 2006
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The Amazon Book Review
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Prologue to Change is an in-depth look at African American medical practitioners before and during the Civil War, including their medical education and their service in the Union Army. Dr. Slawson began his search with the eight men who were generally known to have served in a medical capacity in the Union Army. In the course of his research he discovered four previously unknown African Americans who were surgeons during the Civil War.
Top customer reviews
The author's expertise is definitely reflected in Prologue to Change. After describing the beginnings of African American medical practitioners in the United States - primarily slaves who practiced medicine among their people - he lists and gives capsule biographies of black physicians who are known or possible medical school graduates, physicians without degrees - usually by apprenticeship, and African American physicians in the Union Army as either commissioned officers or contract surgeons.
Dr. Slawson drew on official records of the war, published biographies, and literature on African Americans in the Civil War and medical history. Most impressive is his use of primary source material, especially period graduation and attendance records at a number of medical schools. The book includes a dozen photographs or portraits of the men covered in the book.
One of the more interesting men - my favorite, in fact - is Alexander Thomas Augusta. Dr. Augusta was born free in Norfolk, Virginia in 1825 and received his early education in Baltimore. Turned away by American medical schools, he enrolled in Trinity Medical College in Toronto, graduating in 1856. In 1863, Augusta was commissioned as a Major and surgeon of the 7th Regiment of U.S. Colored Troops. His gravesite is at Arlington National Cemetery, where he is the first officer-rank African-American to be buried.