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Hospital Sketches [Unknown Binding]

Louisa May Alcott
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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  • Unknown Binding
  • ASIN: B000W6I018
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

More About the Author

Louisa May Alcott was born in 1832 in Germantown, Pennsylvania, but grew up in Concord, Massachusetts. Educated by her father, the Transcendentalist thinker Bronson Alcott, she was influenced by the prominent men of his circle. Emerson, Hawthorne, Parker and Thoreau. The family was usually short of money, and she worked at various tasks from sewing to writing to help to support it. The Civil War broke out in 1861, and in 1862 she began to work as a volunteer army nurse in a Union Hospital. Out of this came her first book, Hospital Sketches (1863); she went on to write several Gothic romances and thrillers. With the publication of Little Women, her first full-length novel for girls, Alcott leapt from being an obscure, struggling New England writer to becoming the best-selling American author of the century. However, she suffered from ill health aggravated by early deprivation and overwork. Alcott died in Boston in 1888.

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Louisa May Alcott was the first Civil War army nurse to publish an account of her service. Not yet famous at the author of "Little Women," the appearence of "Hospital Sketches" in the summer of 1863 was the also the first of her works to win her widespread attention.

Bored with life at home and wanting to contribute something to the war effort, Alcott volunteered to serve as an nurse. After a wait of several months, she was assigned to the Union Hotel Hospital in Washington DC.

She arrived in mid-December, and her very first day brought her responsibility for forty patients when another nurse fell ill. It was a sign of things to come. Three days after her arrival, the hospital was flooded with wounded from the Battle of Fredericksburg.

Initially horrified at the idea of giving the wounded sponge baths, Alcott quickly overcame this misplaced modesty and became accoustomed to the sights and sounds of the the ward. By the end of her brief service, she had learned how to feed, bathe and comfort the wounded, change dressings and administer medicine. . .even watch amputations without revulsion.

It was as the night nurse on a three-room ward that she found the vivid charachters she would bring to life in "Hospital Sketches." There was a little Ohio sargent she called "Baby B," who had lost his right arm in battle and was teaching himself to write left handed. (He would later become one of her faithful correspondents) There was a 12-year old drummer mourning the loss of a buddy, a helpful Prussian who spoke no English, and a nameless man so addled by war that he was given to running up and down the aisles yelling all night long.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Two for the price of one 11 Jun 2011
By T. Russell VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It's a shame that the author is so strongly linked with just one book - although Little Women does give hints of her versatility. The first part of the book is very reminiscent of Twain, being a humorous account of a journey and the various calamities which occurred. The subsequent description of hospital life, however, is stark and often very moving, and based on actual experience; it occupies relatively few pages of a short book, but is long enough to get the message over, and may be fairly likened to Whitman's Wound Dresser (I recommend the setting by Adams). This book is actually recommended reading for a Yale course (available free online) on the American Civil War, which illustrates its power. It also made me seek out more of Alcott's work, for which I'm very grateful, as it's led to the pleasure of discovering a host of fine work which I might otherwise never have looked for.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Life through a lens 9 Jan 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A wonderful little snapshot of what life was like for a civil war nurse when the soldiers came back broken in mind as well as body.
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By H T
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book itself is good but this publication is highly offensive as it has a list of publications, that the publishers who published this book have also published, inside the front cover and these include several strong swear words. I had ordered this as a present and was upset and annoyed that it had these words inside. It completely spoiled the whole book.
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