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The Roses of No Man's Land [Paperback]

Lyn MacDonald
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
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Book Description

26 Sep 2013


'On the face of it,' writes Lyn Macdonald, 'no one could have been less equipped for the job than these gently nurtured girls who walked straight out of Edwardian drawing rooms into the manifest horrors of the First World War ...'

Yet the volunteer nurses rose magnificently to the occasion. In leaking tents and draughty huts they fought another war, a war against agony and death, as men lay suffering from the pain of unimaginable wounds or diseases we can now cure almost instantly. It was here that young doctors frantically forged new medical techniques - of blood transfusion, dentistry, psychiatry and plastic surgery - in the attempt to save soldiers shattered in body or spirit. And it was here that women achieved a quiet but permanent revolution, by proving beyond question they could do anything. All this is superbly captured in The Roses of No Man's Land, a panorama of hardship, disillusion and despair, yet also of endurance and supreme courage.

'Lyn Macdonald writes splendidly and touchingly of the work of the nurses and doctors who fought their humanitarian battle on the Western Front' Sunday Telegraph

Over the past twenty years Lyn Macdonald has established a popular reputation as an author and historian of the First World War. Her books are based on the accounts of eyewitnesses and survivors, told in their own words, and cast a unique light on the First World War. Most are published by Penguin.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; Re-issue edition (26 Sep 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0241952409
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241952405
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 13,914 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


The tale is allowed to tell itself without any frontal assault on the emotions, and is all the more stirring thereby (Observer)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great mark of respect to a wars unsung heroes 23 Nov 2001
By A Customer
Lyn Macdonald has yet again proven herself as one of the great historiographers of our time. This account of the struggles and lives of forgotten heroes in the war hospitals is a very moving and heartfelt read. The way in which Macdonald really makes you feel the passion and turmoil of the people who fought bravely to save the young men injured and maimed on the battlefield is truly a masterpiece. From the muddied stretcher bearers on the battlefields of France to the volunteer aides working in Allied hospitals this book shows the true depth of bravery and patriotism that nobody in my generation has ever felt. As a youngster Lyn Macdonalds books have really inspired me to learn more and understand about the War that was to end all Wars. It is a fitting tribute to those who fell and those who helped to rebuild the men of the allied nations. With testaments like this we should never forget.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book 24 July 2004
By A Customer
The Roses of No Man's Land gives a refreshingly different perspective on World War One. This most dreadful of conflicts has become synonymous with appalling slaughter but until I read this extraordinary book I have always seen these events in the abtract - a question of numbers rather than individuals. Macdonald had put together a complelling collection of stories of individual courage and endurance, of casualties and those who looked after them and in so doing gives the reader a very personal insight into the suffering of those involved.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nurses at War 6 May 2003
The detail in this story is extrodinary and extensive, spanning the entire First World War from the beginning to the end. It shows a different kind of War to that normally written and shows war at both its cruelist and its kindest. Indeed, both the British Tommy and his German counterpart show alot of compassion for each other , according to the Nurses reports.These reports are the result of verbal interviews conducted with the wounded men and officers and are covering both the Western Front and the near East and Turkish Campaigns. An excellent and interesting read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and thought provoking 14 Dec 2009
The Roses of No Man's Land is a triumph of a book - seamlessly combining first hand personal accounts with a well written, interesting and informative account of the course of the war. Not only concentrating on the Western Front (which many histories do), MacDonald covers the Turkish front and Gallipoli, as well as the often hazardrous journeys on the oceans in U Boat infested waters to name but a few.
Focusing primarily on the medical side to the First World War, it includes accounts from a wide scope of individuals, from American surgeons and pioneers, to Ambulance drivers (male and female) and of course the Nurses and VAD's serving abroad as well as 'at home'.
It makes fascinating and often, heart breaking reading.
The wounds sustained during the first world war, were predictibly horrific, but what this book focuses on is the people who strived to save all those that they could, working endless days and nights in often cramped and freezing conditions. However, very little complaining is heard throught these accounts. They are a tribute to the strength of the human spirit and, in this case, unusually, the strength of the women under supreme pressure, as opposed to the often covered plight of the Tommy.

It would be very interesting to see a book in similar format focusing on the Nurses and Medical Officers during the first world war on the German front, I'm sure that it would tell a similar story but it would be another fascinating read I am sure.

I would highly recommend this book - it is well written, thoroughly researched and an addictive read.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This book traces the work of the medical services available to the troops during World War 1. It is an interesting and easily readable book. Lyn Macdonald makes use of letters home; diary entries and personal interviews with the people invloved. She manages to create the atmosphere of the time and to recapture the feelings of these people without resorting to sensationalism or emotional trickery. She gives a background of the fighting, and details the conditions under which the medical teams were working. Much of modern medicine was developed due to the circumstances of the war, and it is fascinating to read of the early steps in plastic surgery, blood transfusion and artificial limb use, all of which are so much taken for granted today. As a member of the medical profession, it positively made my toes curl to read about the techniques, procedures and conditions under which such emergency work was performed. The tragedy of the failures is not ommitted, but we a re also told of the successes, both big and small, which helped to save so many lives. It is interesting to read about the civilians and volunteers who so readily gave of their time, influence, money and material goods, to enable hospitals to be established in many church halls and larger houses. Much is written about the fighting force, and rightly so, but this is the story of the people who were equally important, but it is a story that is not so often heard. The style of writing is extremely readable, and this is an interesting and informative book to read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars as exoected
Delivery excellent good read
Published 17 days ago by Mrs L Newton
5.0 out of 5 stars First Class Service
An excellent read First class service
Published 1 month ago by paul edwin gutteridge
5.0 out of 5 stars have started to read this very interesting book, which ...
have started to read this very interesting book, which is over 20 years old from being published, though the facts date from the 1900's, to say that the people who gave their time... Read more
Published 1 month ago by J. J. P. Pritchard
4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating piece of history
Lyn MacDonald's painstaking research has yielded a wonderful account of the contribution made by so many dedicated young women to caring for wounded soldiers in World War I.
Published 1 month ago by Anne Henderson
5.0 out of 5 stars Open your eyes
Lyn MacDonald succeeds in making you think again about the First World War in a way which is possibly for the first time. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mrs B Rogers
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read for a nurse
Jolly interesting, I tend to skip over the war blather and just read about the nursing because that's what interests me but it would interest those with an interest in what was... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Moon Insect
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book.
The author has done a lot of research, and it is interesting to read the experiences of English, American and Australian nurses and VADs during World War One. Read more
Published 3 months ago by catton
4.0 out of 5 stars The Roses of NO Man's Land
Gives a very comprehensive view of the suffering & tragic conditions that our troops had to endure and how the medics & nurses did their utmost to treat the wounded in what was... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jeff Brookes
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone should read this book!
This is a must read for anyone interested in WW1. I purchased it for my Kindle as it was recommended as the inspiration for "The Crimson Field" on BBC which I have been watching... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Lindsay Gowlett
4.0 out of 5 stars gift for friend
This book was a gift for a friend, who is a retired nurse and interested in WW1 events. She told me this was an excellent read.
Published 3 months ago by Lynnh
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