No Man’s Land: The Trailblazing Women Who Ran Britain’s Most Extraordinary Military Hospital During World War I

Wendy Moore. Basic, $30 (368p) ISBN 978-1-5416-7272-7
Journalist Moore (The Mesmerist) delivers a crisp, novelistic portrait of the Endell Street Military Hospital, the only WWI British army hospital staffed entirely by women (with the exception of a few male security guards and orderlies), and the two doctors who ran it. Recognizing the opportunity WWI offered for female doctors to prove their worth (they had previously had been limited to treating women and children), Louisa Garrett Anderson, a surgeon whose mother was “the first woman to qualify in Britain as a doctor,” and Flora Murray, a physician and anesthetist, opened an emergency hospital for wounded soldiers in Paris. The success of that venture, as well as fears that hospitals were becoming “dangerously understaffed” as male doctors and medical students entered military service, led to an invitation from the War Office to run a 1,000-bed hospital in London. Committed suffragists and “partners in their private lives” as well as in their work, Anderson and Murray named the hospital’s wards after female saints, performed innovative surgical procedures, and earned acclaim for running the hospital “with both military precision and homey domesticity.” Drawing on diaries, letters, and newspaper accounts, Moore narrates with verve and precision, highlighting the pressures and obstacles these women and their staff faced. Readers interested in medical, military, and women’s histories will savor this sterling account. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 01/17/2020
Release date: 04/28/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-1-5416-7275-8
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