Author: Pamela D. Toler PhD
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Published Date: February 16th 2016
Genre: Non-fiction, Civil War
Page Count: 275
My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The true stories of the real nurses on the PBS show Mercy Street The nurses of the Civil War ushered in a new era for medicine in the midst of tremendous hardship. While the country was at war, these women not only learned to advocate and care for patients in hostile settings, saved countless lives, and changed the profession forever, they regularly fell ill with no one to nurse them in return, seethed in anger at the indifference and inefficiency that left wounded men on the battlefield without care, and all too often mourned for those they could not rescue.
Heroines of Mercy Street tells the true stories of the nurses at Mansion House, the Alexandria, Virginia, hotel turned wartime hospital and setting for the PBS show Mercy Street. Women like Dorothea Dix, Mary Phinney, Anne Reading, and more rushed to be of service to their country during the war, meeting challenges that would discourage less determined souls every step of the way. They saw casualties on a scale Americans had never seen before; diseases like typhoid and dysentery were rampant; and working conditions-both physically and emotionally--were abysmal.
Drawing on the diaries, letters, and books written by these nursing pioneers, Pamela D. Toler, PhD, has written a fascinating portrait of true heroines, shining a light on their personal contributions during one of our country's most turbulent periods.
"Dorothea Lynde Dix, a fifty-nine-year-old reformer dedicated to improving the treatment of prisoners, paupers, and the mentally ill, set out immediately to volunteer her services to create an army corps of female nurses to are for wounded soldiers, modeled on the group of nurses who followed Florence Nightingale to the Crimean War."
I loved the TV show Mercy Street that was on PBS this past winter. When the show was over, I decided I wanted to learn more about the real nurses that worked at the hospital and how they overcame so many obstacles that were put in front of them.
Without the nurses that took care of the men, many more would have died from infection and malnutrition. Many families wouldn’t have known what happened to their sons/brothers/husbands without these women. The army didn’t have enough people to care for everyone, and the doctors didn’t feel like it was their job. There was corruption and constant change of command with who was in charge of supplies and how they got handed out, many things were stolen or sold to civilians for high prices.
Many of the women that worked at the hospitals went on and took on the woman’s vote rights, and even children’s rights as well. They changed the medical field forever, and showed that proper nursing care is just as important as a doctor’s work. At times even more important than anything else. They changed the way women war seen at that point in time, and made it possible for us to have what we have now.
I loved learning so much about these woman and what they did during and after and how they changed so many lives. I hope to read more about these women thanks to the books mentioned at the back that were used as references.