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From The CriticsReviewer: Doris Wisher, MLS, MA, AHIP (Touro University-Nevada)
Description: "This is a book about women, 20,000 or more, regardless of race or social class, going to battle in hospitals against disease, infection, unsanitary conditions during the American Civil War. This is their story — who they were, how they came to this line of work, what they challenged, and how they adjusted to life during and after the war. "
Purpose: "The book gives voice to the mostly unknown and silent women from an important period of American history. Jane E. Schultz digs deep to reveal that women directly engaged military life via hospital and relief work and reveals stories of women who served this country and didn't receive much notice or credit. This book further analyzes the material and psychological conditions of women's war service after the war in terms of how they fared after the conflict ended, how and why they pursued military pensions, and how they memorialized the war. "
Audience: "Students of American history, scholars of history of medicine, nurses, health science professionals, physicians, medical educators and anyone interested in studying an unreported-until-now aspect of the American Civil War can benefit by reading this book. "
Features: Part I covers the lives and deeds of the women while on duty in the hospitals and clinics, how they adjusted to this new work and work day and how they came into their own as a result. Part II describes, in illustrious detail, the legacy of the women's war work, how they sought their pensions and how they memorialized their wartime activities for posterity with monuments and personal narrative. The stunning photographs drive home the author's well-documented and researched message. Every picture tells a story and these speak volumes. The 87-page bibliography, as well as the comprehensive index, serves as icing on the cake for this marvelous work.
Assessment: This book provides a new way to look at the American Civil War through the "lens of gender." This is a lively and comprehensive read about the blurred line between homefront and battlefront, which will stick with readers long after the final page.