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Wounded River: The Civil War Letters of John Vance Lauderdale, M.D.by John Vance Lauderdale
Synopses & Reviews
The Wounded River takes the reader back more than 130 years to reveal a marvelous, first-hand account of nineteenth-century warfare. In the process, the work cuts the legends and mythology that have come to frame and define accounts of America's bloodiest war. Of equal significance, Peter Josyph's editorial work on this superb collection of letters from the Western Americana Division of Yale University's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscripts Library enhances and clarifies Lauderdale's experinces as a surgeon aboard the U.S. Army hospital ship D. A. January.
The reader looks on while Lauderdale, a New York civilian contract surgeon, operates on hundreds of Confederate and Union wounded. The young doctor's clear writing style and his great compassion for these unfortunate men whose bodies were ripped apart by bullets, shell fragments, and bayonets permits us to catch a disturbiing glimpse of what modern warfare does to humanity. Finally, we learn of Lauderdale's motives for volunteering, his impressions of the "hospital ship" D. A. January, Confederate morale, the Abolitionist cause, and black slavery. The Wounded River is a must read for anyone interested in the real American Civil War.
Book News Annotation:
The majority of the letters were written while Lauderdale was a civilian contract surgeon aboard the US Army hospital ship D.A. January. He describes the aftermath of the battle of Shiloh (April 1862), as well as scenes of wartime life along the Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee rivers, and details of the social and political upheavals of the times. The final letter records his reaction to the assassination of Lincoln. With woodcuts, photos, and drawings by the author. CiP shows incorrect ISBN.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
This book takes readers back more than 130 years to reveal a marvelous, firsthand account of 19th-century warfare. In the process, it cuts through the legends and mythology that have come to frame and define accounts of America's bloodiest war--showing the conflict through the eyes of a young civilian contract surgeon in New York.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 229-234) and index.
About the Author
Peter Josyph is a bestselling author, editor, painter, and photographer. His work has appeared in Southern Quarterly, The Bloomsbury Review, Library Journal, Twentieth Century Literature, Studies in Short Fiction, and The Cormac McCarthy Journal. He edited The Wounded River: The Civil War Letters of John Vance Lauderdale, M.D., which was selected as one of the New York Times Book Review's Notable Books of 1993.
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