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It's a Long Way to Tipperary: British and Irish Nurses in the Great War Paperback – 1 Jun 2006

3.6 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Cualann Press (1 Jun. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0954441656
  • ISBN-13: 978-0954441654
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 1.3 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,264,147 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


While the fate of a generation of 'men who marched away' has been widely recorded, the lot of First World War nurses has not received similar attention. Yvonne McEwen's labour of love helps right this imbalance. Through personal stories the whole sorry but eventually uplifting tale comes to life, and the book itself becomes a tribute to those who served as nurses amid the blood and gore of the Western Front. The background is well described and the narrative takes the War year by year, encompassing politics and the military, chronicling the hope and despair through to the end. McEwen looks deep. Despite the women's sense of duty and round-the-clock work rate, much of it went unacknowledged. There were petty rules about fraternising with men and officers, sisters were not allowed 'out' singly, and there was a long-running dispute as to whether volunteers were proper nurses. The British Journal of Nursing appears to have been a constant enemy of VAD nurses, in a spiteful war-long campaign. There was no attempt to record their endeavour. Many were psychologically traumatised for life and no-one saw fit to record a Roll of Honour for the 378 nurses who lost their lives. By acting as emotional supports for long periods, the nurses themselves absorbed their patients' mental strain to their own detriment; now a known hazard of the medical profession. For most, their time on the Front was a harrowing, unthanked experience. Little is known of their contribution to medical innovations and all too often they were treated as mere orderlies. But their contribution was out of all proportion to their numbers. McEwen writes movingly, with keen intelligence and spot-on use of sources to remind us of the forgotten debt. There is particularly masterful use of anecdote too. If It's a Long Way to Tipperary was planned as a tribute, it works admirably. We will remember them. Neil Griffiths --Scottish Legion News

Yvonne's book is a triumph of research and most certainly neeeded to be written. Alan Domville --The Guardian (Warrington)

About the Author

Yvonne McEwen is an Honorary Fellow at The University of Edinburgh Centre for the Study of Two World Wars where she is currently researching endurance and survival in combatants. She was previously an Honorary Research Fellow at the Institute of Irish Studies at The University of Liverpool working on Ireland's involvement in Two World Wars. She is a graduate of The University of Edinburgh with degrees in nursing and history.

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12 December 2010
Format: Paperback
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23 October 2008
Format: Paperback
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12 December 2008
Format: Paperback
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12 December 2008
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