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Wounded: The Long Journey Home From the Great War Paperback – 6 Mar 2014

4.6 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (6 Mar. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099584182
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099584186
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 251,088 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"An original and absorbing account... [Mayhew] has a marvellous eye for quirky and horrifying detail... Absolutely compelling" (Peter Parker Times Literary Supplement)

"Mayhew deftly describes such daily horrors as shattered jaws and severed arteries, filthy uniforms and decay. What takes the book beyond the standard accounts of the trenches, however, is its depiction of how such terrible circumstances forced people to respond in remarkable ways" (Victoria Segal Guardian)

"Wounded is a powerful and descriptive read, and through it I found a greater understanding of what it was to be part of that war" (Sarah Mullally Church Times)

"Among the many books commemorating the conflict, one stands out for its specialisation. This is Wounded... Mayhew is to be commended for giving us these testimonies" (Colin Gardiner Oxford Times)

"A fascinating read" (Stephen Coulson Lady)

Book Description

A homage to the courage and determination of the men and women who cared for – and saved the lives of – the hundreds of thousands of British soldiers who were wounded at the Western Front.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is an awful book! Right from the start with its pretence that this will somehow be a record of a hitherto `silenced' group. The result is sentimental and mawkish, with the mood summed up in one trite sentence, "Their stories deserve to be heard and understood - just as we have learned to listen to the words of the war poets - for everything they can tell us about suffering and war." And more to the point suffering is a proven seller, one that can be profited from.

Yet many authors, one way or another seek to profit from the misfortunes of others. My issue with Mayhew is that she has deliberately misrepresented the historical facts, fictionalising the lives of real people to her own ends. This while pompously claiming, "Wounded is about the real men and women". Well it is not. Let me illustrate from her `work' on the Joe Pickard - an interview done for the Imperial War Museum back in 1986. Mayhew's version of his life taken from this interview is a fantasy; a travesty which is truly shocking. Almost everything she writes about him is a dubious in the extreme. His career is twisted out of all shape, events made-up entirely or taken out of context. As an illustration please, those of you who are unwise enough to have bought this book then please compare Mayhew's breathy emotional account (not quoted her because it is simply garbage) with this unvarnished version of the time Pickard was wounded taken from the interview:

"They started to 'harrow' the box, like harrowing a field, searching the box with shells. The first lot was all right and it was coming through the second time when I got hit. I remember seeing this big black cloud go up the side of the ditch. When I came to myself I was lying back up the road amongst a lot of dead Frenchmen.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I decided to read this as a result of a few good reviews, but am sorely disappointed. I'm not sure who the target audience is, and it might appeal to those who know nothing about the medical services during the Great War and who are simply looking for an exciting 'Boy's Own' version of events but if you're searching for hard facts I would save your money. The book is obviously grounded in some research, mainly personal memoirs, but the author has then fictionalised them, with much of the text attributing words, events and feelings to these people - things that they never said or did, and that she could not possibly even guess at. Some of the chapters are either poorly researched, or deliberately kept vague so that criticism is rather more difficult. As an example, the chapter on 'Nurses' relies mainly on the (fictionalised)testimony of Winifred Kenyon. Everything in the chapter is written to suggest that she was employed as a trained nurse in a British Casualty Clearing Station for a couple of years. The truth is that Winifred Kenyon was sent to France as an untrained member of the French Red Cross, not the British nursing services, where she worked as a cook at a FRC Hospital at Revigny in the French sector. It's this type of manipulation of the truth (or perhaps just lack of knowledge) that extends throughout the book. There are also a considerable number of factual errors - irritating to see things like Vera Brittain's name given as 'Britten' throughout, and mention of the D.C.M. as the 'Distinguished Combat Medal.' If the names were changed, it would make a great, well-researched work of fiction - seriously good fiction - Tom Keneally eat your heart out - but as a factual book on the medical services during the Great War is misses by a mile. For anyone wanting to know more, the endnotes and bibliography are probably the most useful part of the whole thing. Just in my opinion of course!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
having read an extract of this book in a national newspaper I thought perhaps the actual book would contain more details about the wounded (as in the title) their horrific injuries and how they were treated and adapted when they returned to the UK ( Blighty). Sadly this was not to be and the whole book was a great disappointment with vague recollections of incidents at the front and featuring far too much on the medical staff working at the casualty clearing stations and anecdotal evidence of their lives . There was far too much padding with irrelevant and uninteresting details which detracted from the subject title, in summation a very superficial book on what could have been a very interesting yet disturbing aspect of the so called "Great War" but in this case was not to be and there are far better works already published which covers this subject in much better detail, it is one of those books we felt we had wasted our money in purchasing
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bought as a present for my husband who had heard a talk on the subject by Emily Mayhew. He thoroughly enjoyed the book, on a little known aspect of WW1, and found it very readable.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
great item
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have studied WW1 history for many years and thought I had read it all when I now know I have not due to the many first person account laid out in this informative book that brings home just how awful the suffering was for so many and how our systems were completely overwhelmed by the wounded. So many things came to light in this book and to think that only the diaries and writings of those volunteers and military that tell us of the huge amount of information that has been hidden. It seems sad that so many people who should have been applauded for their arduous and gruesome work, like the London Voluntary Ambulance, its nurses and even the dispatch rider simply walked away after the war forgotten and unknown even to this day. It was the actions of these men and women tending to the wounded with such care that really made me think. I could rave on and on about the details and how many injustices there were after WW1 but the one person who I wish I could go back in time if I had a time machine to help out was the poor bearer who was so badly wounded and was denied a disability pension and died in poverty in the early 1980's. All his suffering over the years was not even deserving of a small pension to save him from an awful existence, forgotten and a nobody until now when this book highlights his bravery. His wounds were awful yet he uscarried on suffering from his wounds until the day he died. Sobering thoughts and I am glad Emily Mayhew found his and other people stories to tell.
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