From Battlefield to Blighty, 1914-1918
A homage to the courage and determination of the men and women who cared for – and saved the lives of – the hundreds of thousands of British soldiers who were wounded at the Western Front.
This is the unforgettable story of the remarkable medical workers of World War One.
A hundred years ago, the Armistice that ended the Great War was signed. The human cost was devastating: over 21 million military wounded, and nearly 10 million killed. The injuries on the battlefield were unlike anything those in the medical field had ever witnessed. Yet, they adapted incredibly fast – saving millions of lives.
Drawing on letters and diary entries, we follow the lone stretcher bearer into the trenches only to find that they were all dead, to the dugouts where rescue teams dug frantically to escape the earth-shaking shellfire, and from stretcher to aid station, from jolting ambulance to crowded operating tent, exploring actual cases of casualties who recorded their terrifying and remarkable experiences. A groundbreaking book of the history of the Western Front from a new perspective, this is a tribute to the indispensable medical network that came together and saved our soldiers.
‘A highly readable account...this is an engaging book...they are voices that deserve to be heard.’ Daily Express
“An original and absorbing account... [Mayhew] has a marvellous eye for quirky and horrifying detail... Absolutely compelling”
Peter Parker, Times Literary Supplement
“Mayhew deftly describes such daily horrors as shattered jaws and severed arteries, filthy uniforms and decay. What takes the book beyond the standard accounts of the trenches, however, is its depiction of how such terrible circumstances forced people to respond in remarkable ways”
Victoria Segal, Guardian
“Wounded is a powerful and descriptive read, and through it I found a greater understanding of what it was to be part of that war”
Sarah Mullally, Church Times
“Among the many books commemorating the conflict, one stands out for its specialisation. This is Wounded... Mayhew is to be commended for giving us these testimonies”
Colin Gardiner, Oxford Times
“A fascinating read”
Stephen Coulson, Lady
“Both tragic and uplifting, for me it brought home the full horrors of the war”
“Requires total immersion followed by quiet contemplation… Not only a history of medicine. It is a history dedicated to men […] for whom the war-afflicted body was a life sentence”
Joanna Bourke, Lancet
“Powerful… Does justice to the experience of the wounded and the dedication of the doctors, nurses, orderlies, stretcher bearers and volunteers who cared for them, by weaving together the testimonies of individuals into a moving history”
A W Purdue, Times Higher Education Supplement
Tony Rennell, Daily Mail