Saturday, May 2, 2015

The roses of no man's land

One of the books that was frequently mentioned in the forum of the online course - World War I: a history in 100 stories - was the book by Lyn Macdonald, The roses of no man's land.  Lyn is a British author who has written a series of books on World War I based on first hand accounts of those who were involved. In The roses of no man's land she focuses on the stories of the medical personnel, particularly the VADs and nurses, as well as some of those injured providing another viewpoint of the events and effects of the war.

The book is divided into three sections - 1914-1915, 1015-1917 and 1918. Part of the first section tells the story of the unofficial teams of women, led by a woman of society, who took it upon themselves to establish hospitals and ambulance services for the injured. The book then looks at the development of the VADs - members of the Voluntary Aid Detachment - who initially assisted in hospitals in England but as the war wore on were used in medical units at the front, some undertaking nursing duties. The book looks at the development of the war through the experiences of these medical workers and their patients. One of the issues looked at is the reaction of trained nurses to the VADs. This experience parallels the accounts written of the experiences of Australian nurses working with British medical teams.

This book is another valuable contribution to the history of the First World War. Other books by Lyn Macdonald include They called it Passchendaele, Somme, 1914-the days of hope, 1914-1918-voices of the Great War, 1915 - death of innocence, To the last man: Spring 1918 and At the going down of the sun (co-author).

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