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Years of Change and Suffering: Modern Perspectives on Civil War Medicine 1st Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1889020358
ISBN-10: 1889020354
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Editorial Reviews


This new book is a must for all interested in the subject of Civil War medicine. Its authors are the elite of Civil War medical scholars of our time and they give a new, modern insight to the subject. Highly recommended. --—Gordon E. Dammann, DDS, founder, National Museum of Civil War Medicine

“A collection of fresh and insightful essays on those essential, yet often overlooked, underpinnings of medical care in the American Civil War. With impeccable scholarship each essay enlivens seemingly mundane subject matter and illuminates its importance to the progress of medical science, both during the war years and beyond. --Bill J. Gurley, PhD, editor, I Acted From Principle: The Civil War Diary Of Dr. William M. McPheeters, Confederate Surgeon In The Trans-Mississippi

"Years of Change and Suffering is not oriented toward the medical professional but rather designed for readers interested in Civil War medical history. Such readers should find these essays informative and thought-provoking." --Journal of the American Medical Association

About the Author

<DIV><DIV>James Schmidt is a scientist with more than 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry and the author of more than 50 articles on American history and Lincoln's Labels: America's Best Known Brands and the Civil War. Guy Hasegawa is the senior editor of the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, a published expert on Confederate pharmacy and other aspects of Civil War medicine, and a board member of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine and the Society of Civil War Surgeons.</div></DIV>

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Edinborough Press; 1 edition (October 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1889020354
  • ISBN-13: 978-1889020358
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,047,614 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
James Schmidt and Guy Hasegawa have put together an interesting series of essays that deal with many facets of Civil War medicine. I found all of them to be interesting and readable but as with any collection like this some were of more interest than others. Each chapter was brief enough to easily be read at a short sitting. Each included end notes and the majority were illustrated with b/w photos.

I'm going to provide just a brief description of each chapter and then talk about my favorites in a bit more detail. In order of publication: Jodi L. Koste discusses the Medical College of Virginia in the years 1860-1865, James Schmidt introduces us to Scientific American magazine and Civil War medicine and inventions, Alfred Jay Bollet outlines Civil War doctors and amputations, F. Terry Hambrecht writes on J. J. Chisolm the Confederate medical and surgical innovator, Harry Herr discusses urological wounds and their care, Guy R. Hasegawa writes about Southern resources and medicine, D.J. Canale talks about "the Firm" and Civil War neurology, and rounding out the book is Judith Andersen with her important work on combat exposure and mental health.

As I was reading through the table of contents before starting all I could think was "the more things change the more they stay the same". Many of these articles deal with issues that are still relevant for today's military and I got to thinking that maybe our current military brass should take a look at Schmidt and Hasegawa's book to see that while different in some ways war is war.
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Format: Hardcover
We tend to look at 19th Century medical care as almost nonexistent. Drugs, treatments & equipment we take for granted are unavailable. Our most enduring image is an amputation on a screaming man being held down as the surgeon cuts away. A number of Civil War movies have used this image and burned it into our remembrance of the war. The problem is that people did not see medical care that way. These people live in a modern age with improved medical care that gave them a better chance of survival than their grandfathers had. The authors of these essays fully understand this and often challenge our assumptions while providing an entertaining learning experience.
The eight essays range across the medical landscape of the Civil War. This variety of subjects provides an engrossing peek into the personalities, problems, procedures and developments during this time. The approximately 20-page essay gives a solid introduction without bogging the reader down in unwanted details.
"Amputations in the Civil War" attacks our enduring image and changes it. The author shows how amputations were handled, why they were needed and looks a triage. This is a very well written essay, logical and informative that changed my views on battlefield medical care.
"The Privates Were Shot" is a difficult read but a very well written interesting essay. This is the most graphic essay and discusses the damage and care of wounds to the groin. Again, an essay challenges the idea the doctors were unable to do little more than stand by and hope. We see a series of active and inactivate procedures used in these cases.
"Southern Resources, Southern Medicines", "Medical School for a Nation" and "J.J. Chislom, M.D." give us a picture of the Confederacy response to the realities of war.
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Format: Paperback
Years of Change and Suffering is a collection of essays concerning views of Civil War Medicine.

Three of the eight essays were my favorites, "A Multiplicity of Ingenious Articles" by James M. Schmidt, "The Firm" by D. J. Canale.M.D., F.A.C.S. and "Haunted Minds" by Judith Anderson, Ph.D. I thought that the illustrations and photos in the book, including the ones on the back and cover were an excellent addition.

As I read the book, I learned more about the true situation of the medical care in the Civil War as compared to the common myths in novels and movies. Also, since the Viet Nam war was the war of my generation, I did a lot of comparing of the different wars. The book also brought back memories of when my father took a month and drove our family around to see the many of battlefields of the war. Some chapters brought back my own feelings and memories of visiting Gettysburg and Antietam, part curly the enormous depth of the costs of battle.

In the first article that I referred to "A Multiplicity of Ingenious Articles", James M. Schmidt explored issues of the Scientific American and recounted the advice for the soldiers on how to stay healthy and to their officers as to what the soldiers needed health wise. Also, the magazine spread the news of improvements to firearms but also to medical instruments and prosthetics. Included in the essay was an engraving of the different prosthetics at that time. The latter was practically intriguing since I had recently watched a program on the latest advances on prosthetics on the Pentagon channel. I had seen a man who had been outfitted with a simple hook on the show. The engraving in the book shows a gloved hand prosthetic.
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