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I Saw Them Die: Diary and Recollections of Shirley Millard (Journeys and Memoirs Series) by [Millard, Shirley]
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I Saw Them Die: Diary and Recollections of Shirley Millard (Journeys and Memoirs Series) Kindle Edition

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Length: 104 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

A volunteer nurse in World War I France tells about her true-life experiences and often reveals more about herself and the incongruities of war than she realizes.

Product Details

  • File Size: 513 KB
  • Print Length: 104 pages
  • Publisher: Quid Pro Books (March 5, 2011)
  • Publication Date: March 5, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004RCNHDY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,035,534 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Paperback
Shirley Millard was an untrained but determinedly quick-learning American girl who traveled to France in the spring of 1918 in order to nurse the war wounded. She was also a brilliant diarist. Or rather, her clear prose brilliantly paints the stark realities of the Great War in a way that no textbook written after the fact could begin to do.

Millard stumbled upon her war diary 15 years after the Armistice and immediately decided to have it published after implementing it with additional detail. Her writing had only improved within that time frame and she had apparently forgotten little as all that she relates in the recollection sections seems so startlingly immediate that it brings one as through a time machine, face-to face with all the mangled horror that was the Great War.

From her initial desire to go overseas - "the lilt of "Tipperary," "Madelon," and "Roses of Picardy" heated my enthusiasm to a fever pitch" - to first hearing news of the Armistice while working in a "death ward" - "There is no armistice for Charley or for any of the others in that ward" - Millard not only clearly describes medical horrors but also reveals the philosophical transformation that was shared by so many of her generation and which became foundational for the American pacifism that was prevalent prior to Pearl Harbor.

Speaking of Americans, her description of the US wounded reminded me distinctly of Muriel Engelman's descriptions (found in her memoir "Mission Accomplished: Stop the Clock.") of the WWII G.I.s who she nursed during the Battle of the Bulge. Ms. Millard has this to say about her fellow Americans: "I hate to see them pouring in [to the hospital], yet I am proud of them. Such gallantry, such nerve, such pluck! Even the French nurses have remarked about it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
We must, from time to time, remind ourselves what war is like. We Americans think that the attacks on us on 9/11 were war. They were not. Except for the Civil War, our country, and our citizens, have never experienced something even close to the horrific events of a world war. The events that this author witnessed are brought home for those who should never witness the horror of war first hand. Now days this horror is not only experienced by the volunteers who fight wars, but also by the civilians who are caught in the middle though no fault other by accidents of birthplace.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I totally agree with Kathryn Atwood's five star review of this excellent book. I want to emphasize that it isn't all gut wrenchingly horrific in the telling, since some might avoid it if they think it would be too bloody and grim a slog. Yes, Shirley Millard's work as a volunteer wartime nurse was bloody indeed. But as Atwood points out, her story is filled with inspiring moments and characters, in addition to her own steady heroism under intense pressures including bombings of her field hospital. This wartime diary-based book was written in the looming shadow of WWII, motivated by Millard's fears for her son as a likely conscripted combatant in another war, which makes it even more poignant. I have known several nurses and other selfless medical servers, so I was immediately attracted to an original edition of this book I happened to come across in a used bookstore. I now also have a copy of this new edition, which I hope will attract a wider audience for this classic wartime tale of almost a century ago which still strongly resonates into the present day. As a writer, I appreciate the clarity of her narrative, coming to us straight from the heart of her experience.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a rare perspective on the first world war. I have never run into anything like it before. Exactly as the title says, it is the diary of Millard, with reflections added at a later date (somewhere before WWII?). It helped me gain a better understanding of what the war was like from the perspective of someone who was so close to the front lines, yet just a step removed. It is not just about who wins or loses, but the real human experience- doctors she does or doesn't like, the attitudes of German POWs etc.
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