Official History of the Canadian Forces in the Great War, 1914 - 1919: The Medical Services
Official History of the Canadian Forces in the Great War, 1914 - 1919: The Medical Services. Sir Andrew Macphail. (1925)
Sir Andrew comes from the "tell it as I see it" school and has no hesitation in pointing out political maneuvering, errors, and downright stupidity. Now that's not to say that this entire book is just an exposé. Far from it. This is a fascinating account of how the medical sections of the allied (and occasionally the German) armies dealt with the challenges and unprecedented confluence of an unlimited, mechanized war, being fought in trenches, and a medical discipline which was in the process of transitioning from an art to a science.
Sir Andrew's writing is well planned and well implemented. He provides the relevant facts clearly, with plenty of reference to his supporting sources, and manages to explain the consequence and outcomes both at the strategic and the individual level. While its inevitable that such a subject would involve some of the technical language of medicine there is not so much of it that the lay person cannot follow the thread with ease.
He includes plenty of statistical analysis of the medical consequences of sending over 400,000 Canadians to fight a war in Europe as well as records of the key staff running hospitals and other important medical services. Also not forgotten are the men and women who actually brought medicine to the battlefield. Sir Andrew provides a full listing of all the awards received and of all those who gave their lives in the medical service.
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