Selection of the History Book Club
Challenges and Triumphs
Jay Bollet, M.D.
1-883620-08-2 Hardcover 512 pages
# 021 Retail Price: $44.95
Alfred Jay Bollet, M.D.
and Rats: Nature's Surgeons During the Civil War
War-Era Women Physicians
President Lincoln's Fatal Head Wound
FROM BATTLE AND DISEASE IN AMERICAN WARS
Amputations on screaming, unanesthetized men is the image of Civil
War medicine for most people. Dr. Bollet's extensive research has
proved that this is a myth. Civil War Medicine: Challenges and Triumphs
presents the remarkable story of healthcare workers' dedication
and heroism in the face of a terrible war.
Using a blend of first-person accounts, historical data, and modern
medical knowledge, Dr. Alfred Jay Bollet revisits the battlefields,
hospitals, and horrific conditions in which Civil War surgeons had
to labor. He details the first dismal year, when a war expected
to last a few short months instead left tens of thousands of soldiers
dead and wounded. The widely reported tragedies of that year formed
the images of Civil War medicine that have endured-even to this
Civil War Medicine: Challenges and Triumphs shows, however, that
after that first year, the medical teams on both sides of the Civil
War delivered care and produced survival rates for diseases and
injuries far better than either the civilian physicians of the time
or European practitioners in subsequent wars. Rising to the unprecedented
challenges of an unexpectedly long and brutal war, they developed
innovations that later became standard components of battlefield
and disaster medicine. In the face of devastating shortages of medical
supplies and equipment, Civil War surgeons organized a trained ambulance
corps, a field hospital system to care for the wounded, and huge,
well-run military hospitals. The first organized nursing corps admirably
served both sides-at great personal risk.
Dr. Bollet challenges the outdated images of barbaric and ignorant
practitioners-replacing them with a balanced narrative of the heroic
efforts of the largely unsung Civil War physicians and nurses. The
Civil War provided a true test of American medicine's ability to
adapt, innovate, and provide quality care in extraordinary times;
Civil War Medicine: Challenges and Triumphs shows they did just
Civil War Medicine: Challenges and Triumphs
Alfred Jay Bollet, M.D.
Selection of the History Book Club
Bollet has scored an Olympic gold medal with a work that is a perfect
"10". He has done a superlative job of setting the record
straight about the medical professionals who served in the Northern
and Southern armies during the American Civil War. In one volume,
he has dispelled many, if not all, of the erroneous "facts"
that have been perpetuated since the conflict, some attributed to
renowned historians." Peter J. D'Onofrio, Ph.D., President,
Society of Civil War Surgeons
monumental work delves into all aspects of the subject and tells
the true story . . . [it] should become the foundation of every
Civil War medical library . . . I recommend this book to individuals
who are interested in all aspects of the Civil War. You will find
Gordon E. Dammann, D.D.S., Founder & President, National Museum
of Civil War Medicine
book will be a gold-mine for historians or re-enactors of Civil
Dr. John Lattimer, M.D., Sc.D., Columbia University College of Physicians
Bollet has . . . written an intelligent and objective appraisal
of surgeons and medical practices during the American Civil War.
He never hesitates to try and dispel myths and misconceptions, and
supports his opinions with pertinent contemporary insights, as well
as drawing on the research of others . . . This book should appeal
to the medical professional with an interest in Civil War or medical
history and, thanks to Dr. Bollet's use of plain language and timely
explanations, will appeal to the lay reader interested in these
topics as well."
Thomas Adrian Wheat, M.D., Colonel, U.S. Army Medical Dept., Ret.,
Vice-president, Society of Civil War Surgeons
Bollet's prodigious research has led him to conclude that . . .
by and large, the physicians and surgeons who worked under extraordinarily
difficult circumstances, after a slow start, performed ably, honorably,
and heroically, and progressively improved the treatment of the
sick and wounded . . . This comprehensive volume contains important
information, much of it new, and should be read by all who wish
to gain a more complete understanding of the Civil War."
Irving Schulman, M.D., Emeritus Professor of Pediatrics, Stanford
Univ. School of Medicine
Bollet] has performed an invaluable service for the history of military
William L. Moore, Jr., M.D., Major General, Ret., U.S. Army Medical
the critics are saying about Civil War Medicine: Challenges and
quite simply, this new volume on medical and surgical care during
the Civil War is the most accurate and extensive treatment of the
subject to date. . . . Along with detailed and balanced information,
this work separates fact from fiction, history from folklore, and
sets the record straight when it comes to Civil War medicine and
surgery. . . . This is not a simple history text but an entertaining
and gripping expose of the way injury and illness were treated during
this medical era."
of the American Medical Association, May 22/29, 2002, Vol. 287,
"Dr. Alfred Jay Bollet has scored a hit with Civil War Medicine:
Challenges and Triumphs. It is the most comprehensive and interesting
overview of American Civil War medicine I have read to date. . .
. Skillfully written, the book is easily understood by both the
professional and the lay reader who cannot help but feel the genuine
respect and admiration Bollet has for his Civil War colleagues."
M. Smith, Civil War Book Review, Spring 2002
"This single volume, which is ambitious in scope, covers all
the major aspects of medical and surgical care during the Civil
War. . . . The authors presentation of case histories is especially
effective in making the work not only informative but humanly interesting.
The frequent use of illustrations, tables, graphs, and photographs
highly complements the work."
Annals of Internal Medicine, May 21, 2002, Vol. 136, No. 10
was a surprise or a rethinking of received knowledge on nearly every
page. Bollet is adept and evenhanded in his demolition of old myths
and his presentation of documented facts. His book is a nearly perfect
blend of text, sidebars, and illustrations. . . . This reviewer
believes Bollets work will serve as the standard reference
for years to come."
P. Lowry, MD, medscape.com, January 22, 2002
is virtually impossible to miss the main point of this engrossing
account of the performance of doctors during the course of the war
between the states; namely, that their overall record is one of
caring, innovation, and dedication. . . . Civil War Medicine: Challenges
and Triumphs is destined to become a classic. . . . written in economical,
jargon-free prose, [it] is bound to attract a diverse readership,
from scientists and historians to an assortment of lay professionals."
J. Fikes, Journal of the National Medical Association, June 2002
"In each chapter Dr. Bollet discusses the challenge faced by
the surgeon, provides context by describing the knowledge available
at the time, debunks long-standing myths when necessary, and addresses
the advances and triumphs that are often missed by critics. . .
. In my opinion, the best aspect of the book is that Dr. Bollet
provides "multiple points of entry": a quick flip through
the pages reveals dozens of short and interesting sidebars giving
medical anecdotes, biographies, and other items of historical interest
that can be read in a few minutes time."
M. Schmidt, The Civil War News, February/March 2002
Civil War Medicine: Challenges and Triumphs by Civil War scholar
and historian Dr. Alfred Bollet is a unique, remarkable, comprehensive
historical survey and documentation of the courage and heroism of
countless healthcare workers during a terrible and voracious war.
. . . Intense, graphic, almost disturbing in its exacting attention
to some very excruciating details, Civil War Medicine is a singularly
excellent reference and well deserving a place with any Civil War
studies reference collection or reading list."
Midwest Book Review, January 2002
long awaited study is sure to become a Civil War medical classic.
This may become the standard by which all other Civil War medical
books are measured. Very, very highly recommended."
Bohemian Brigade Bookshop
Galen Press, Ltd., P.O. Box 64400, Tucson, AZ 85728-4400
Phone: (520) 577-8363 or (800) 442-5369 Fax: (520) 529-6459
Table of Contents
The Evolution of Battlefield Surgery during the Civil War
2. In the Beginning: Ill-prepared & Overwhelmed
3. Sects & Science: Civil War Medicine in Context
4. Civil War Surgery: Desperate Measures for Desperate Wounds
5. "Thank God for Jonathan Letterman": Field Surgeons,
Field Hospitals, & Ambulances
6. Amputations & Excisions: "Experience Teaches"
7. Learning To Treat Wounds: The Surgeons, the Operations, &
8. Wound Infections: Laudable & Not-So-Laudable Pus
9. Civil War Hospitals
10. Treating Disease: Questionable Drugs & "Heroic"
11. Epidemic Diseases in Recruits
12 Nature's Scourges: Epidemic Diseases on Parade
13. Diseases Among the Troops: Real, Imagined, & Imitated
14. Scurvey & other "Dietic Diseases": Desiccated
Vegetables & Deteriorating Health
15. Chronic Diarrhea: It takes Good Guts To Be a Good Soldier
16. Prison Camps: The Most Appalling Story
17. Women of the Civil War: Soldiers, Sisters, & Socialites
18. Re-evaluating Civil War Medical Care: Shattering the Myths