Healing the nationSoldiers and the culture of caregiving in Britain during the Great War
Series: Cultural History of Modern War
Subject Area: History
BIC Category: First World War
Published: January 2005
216 x 138 mm
Publisher: Manchester University Press
Healing the Nation is a study of caregiving during the Great War, exploring life behind the lines for ordinary British soldiers who served on the Western Front. Using a variety of literary, artistic, and architectural evidence, this study draws connections between the war machine and the wartime culture of caregiving: the product of medical knowledge and procedure, social relationships and health institutions that informed experiences of rest, recovery and rehabilitation in sites administered by military and voluntary-aid authorities.
Rest huts, hospitals, and rehabilitation centres served not only as means to sustain manpower and support for the war but also as distinctive sites where soldiers, their caregivers and the public attempted to make sense of the conflict and the unprecedented change it wrought. Revealing aspects of wartime life that have received little attention, this study shows that Britain’s ‘generation of 1914’ was a group bound as much by a comradeship of healing as by a comradeship of the trenches.
The author has used an extensive collection of illustrations in his discussion, and the book will make fascinating reading for students and specialists in the history of war, medicine and gender studies.
List of figures
1. Soldiers and the culture of caregiving in Britain during the Great War
2. Homes away from home: Rest huts and war-weary soldiers
3. Havens for heroes: Life in two military hospitals
4. Hospital magazines: Writing about wartime recovery/recovering writing about wartime
5. Wartime convalescence: The case of the convalescent blues
6. Reclaiming the maimed at Shepherd’s Bush Military Hospital, London
7. Conclusion: Memories, legacies and landmarks
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