The Politics of Wounds explores military patients' experiences of frontline medical evacuation, war surgery, and the social world of military hospitals during the First World War. The proximity of the front and the colossal numbers of wounded created greater public awareness of the impact of the war than had been seen in previous conflicts, with serious political consequences.
Frequently referred to as 'our wounded', the central place of the soldier in society, as a symbol of the war's shifting meaning, drew contradictory responses of compassion, heroism, and censure. Wounds also stirred romantic and sexual responses. This volume reveals the paradoxical situation of the increasing political demand levied on citizen soldiers concurrent with the rise in medical humanitarianism and war-related charitable voluntarism. The physical gestures and poignant sounds of the
suffering men reached across the classes, giving rise to convictions about patient rights, which at times conflicted with the military's pragmatism. Why, then, did patients represent military medicine, doctors and nurses in a negative light? The Politics of Wounds listens to the voices of wounded
soldiers, placing their personal experience of pain within the social, cultural, and political contexts of military medical institutions. The author reveals how the wounded and disabled found culturally creative ways to express their pain, negotiate power relations, manage systemic tensions, and enact forms of 'soft resistance' against the societal and military expectations of masculinity when confronted by men in pain. The volume concludes by considering the way the state ascribed social and
economic values on the body parts of disabled soldiers though the pension system.
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Number of pages: 400
Weight: 752 g
Dimensions: 242 x 171 x 27 mm
very valuable ... powerful and certainly at times poignant examination of what being a casualty meant in WWI ... This is good medical and military history, with implications for contemporary policy makers * F. Van Hartesveldt, CHOICE *
painstakingly interprets archival and secondary sources to offer fresh perspectives * Jessica L. Adler, Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences *
an impressive work, building upon a large body of scholarship while offering numerous new insights. It is a model, and a complex one, that will appeal particularly to historians in a multitude of fields, from graduate students to professionals, who are ready for a nuanced and eye-opening history. * M. Girard Dorsey, American Historical Review *
a very welcome contribution to the medical history of war in general and the First World War in particular, wholeheartedly recommended to all interested in the matter (and everyone else). * Leo van Bergen, Social History of Medicine *