Synopses & Reviews
In Battlefield Angels
historian Scott McGaugh pays homage to the thousands of medics, hospital corpsmen, and battlefield nurses, doctors, surgeons who have provided succor and healing to the more than 40 million warriors who have served in America’s armed forces since the nation’s founding.
McGaugh tells the story of Jonathan Letterman, a Union surgeon during the Civil War who is considered the father of American combat medicine. Letterman designed the first battlefield evacuation system after an unprepared medical corps at Bull Run left thousands of soldiers to die in the place where they were wounded. We also learn about Wheeler Lipes, a young navy corpsman and submariner with minimal medical training who on September 11, 1942, conducted the first-ever appendectomy at sea. And, we hear the story of Pfc. Monica Brown, the young army medic who was awarded the Silver Star for rescuing fellow soldiers from a disabled Humvee during an ambush in the Paktika province of Eastern Afghanistan in 2007. Brown is only the second woman in sixty years to receive the prestigious award. Through these stories and many others, McGaugh traces the captivating evolution of battlefield care, from the Revolutionary War to today's battles in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Battlefield Angels captures "in-the-trenches moments" during which medics and corpsmen fought to save the lives of their comrades. Along the way, readers will learn the fascinating history of battlefield medicine and how it has benefited both military and civilian medical practice throughout American history. McGaugh also looks ahead to the future, where telemedicine and robotic surgery promise to transform the battlefield once again. In the end, Battlefield Angels both chronicles and pays homage to the men and women in arms who fight every day to save the lives of their fellow soldiers, sailors, and marines.
"McGaugh (Midway Magic) notes that during the past 500 years, for every soldier killed by the enemy, four were severely wounded on the battlefield and ultimately died, Documenting 'the extraordinary and unwavering devotion to duty by frontline corpsmen, medics, nurses, doctors, and specialists,' McGaugh's march through the centuries emphasizes the resourcefulness and creativity of shorthanded medical workers with few resources, beginning in 1777, when George Washington's medical corps confronted hundreds of wounded and dying men at Georgetown. The Civil War 'crystallized the need for a permanent American... commitment to military medicine'; new challenges, such as mustard gas, marked WWI, along with mechanized transportation, which revolutionized battlefield evacuation. In WWII, penicillin became a potent weapon against wound infection. WWII is the core of this book, highlighted by the strange account of corpsman Wheeler Lipes, who made national headlines after he performed the first appendectomy on a submarine. Instead of being honored by the Navy, which did not want operations performed by corpsmen without surgical training, Lipes became the victim of a 'hushed smear campaign,' suggesting he had performed the operation to catapult his career. Similar fascinating personal profiles surface throughout. McGaugh's extensive interviews for this authoritative history. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Author, journalist, and USS Midway Museum spokesman Scott McGaugh reveals the riveting stories of the men and women who save lives on the front lines in Battlefield Angels, the first book about battlefield medicine in the U.S. military. Told from the point of view of the unsung heroes who slide into bomb craters and climb into blazing ships, this unique look at medicine in the trenches traces the history of the military medical corps and the contributions it has made to America's health: how the military medical corps pioneered the ambulance concept, emergency medevac helicopters, hospital designs, and contagious disease prevention, as well as how the military medical corps has adopted medical science discoveries, field tested them in battle, adapted them, and proved their value. An exciting new perspective on a timeless subject.
About the Author
Scott McGaugh is a veteran journalist and the author of Midway Magic (CDS/Perseus) and Midway Memories, an historic photo essay self-published for visitors to the USS Midway Museum. Midway Magic is in its second edition; Midway Memories in its third (www.midwaymagic.com). Midway Magic became the basis for a History Channel program, "Hero Ship: The USS Midway," featuring the author. McGaugh is the marketing director of the USS Midway Museum (www.midway.org), which in two years became the most-visited floating ship museum in the world. Television appearances have included the History Channel, Travel Network, Discovery Channel, Outdoor Channel, FOX Network, and Australia's Today Show. Scott makes four to eight public speeches monthly and travels regularly on behalf of the museum. He also is a seasoned marketing communications professional with 24 years of experience with particular emphasis in public relations and promotions. He has held increasingly responsible positions with three of San Diego's leading marketing communications firms and also co-owned one of San Diego's foremost public relations agencies.