Book Book

A War of Nerves: Soldiers and Psychiatrists 1914-94

BMJ 2001; 322 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.322.7279.177 (Published 20 January 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:177
  1. Derek Summerfield, honorary senior lecturer, department of psychiatry
  1. St George's Hospital Medical School, London

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    Ben Shephard Jonathan Cape, £20, pp 487

    ISBN 0 224 06033 3

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    This book is a scholarly tour de force drawing on a rich range of source material, including the first hand accounts of soldiers themselves, evocative but unsentimentalising. It describes the diagnostic eras of shell shock, battle fatigue, and post-traumatic stress disorder in the particular political, cultural, and medical contexts of their time. I sat down to it in the week in which the relatives of the 307 British soldiers executed in the first world war for “cowardice” were included in cenotaph ceremonies for the first …

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