Reviews Book

Civil War Medicine: Challenges and Triumphs

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: (Published 20 July 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:170

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  1. Harold Ellis, emeritus professor of surgery
  1. University of London

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    Alfred Jay Bollet

    Galen Press, $44.95, pp 512

    ISBN 1 883620 08 2

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    The American civil war of 1861–5 saw truly horrifying casualties—some 360 000 deaths among the Union troops and 200 000 among the Confederate army. Together these equalled the total loss of life of US troops involved in all conflicts before and since. Out of these 560 000 deaths, there were two from disease for every one in battle. In addition, of course, were the tens of thousands of cripples, amputees, and chronically sick veterans.

    The medical details of the war were extremely well documented in the six volume Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion—published by the Surgeon General's Office—which gives detailed statistics and case reports and which is profusely illustrated. In …

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