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Hospital Sketches Paperback – 1 Aug 1989

3.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Paperback, 1 Aug 1989
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Product details

  • Paperback: 100 pages
  • Publisher: Applewood Books; Reissue edition (1 Aug. 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0918222788
  • ISBN-13: 978-0918222787
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,689,007 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

American novelist Louisa May Alcott is best known for her classic coming-of-age novel Little Women, and its sequels Little Men and Jo s Boys. The daughter of noted transcendentalist and educator Amos Bronson Alcott and Abigail May Alcott, Alcott was an active abolitionist and feminist, and the first woman registered to vote in Concord, Massachusetts. Schooled mainly by her father, Alcott and her three sisters also received lessons from such notables as Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Margaret Fuller. Alcott penned her first book, Flower Fables, for Emerson s daughter, Ellen. Before gaining critical success for her children s fiction, Alcott wrote several passionate adult novels using the pen name A. M. Barnard, including A Long Fatal Love Chase and Punishment. Alcott s literary career spanned more than 40 years, and she wrote more than 30 books before her death in 1888.

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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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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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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