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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 23 November 2001
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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on 24 July 2004
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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on 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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on 25 October 1998
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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on 14 December 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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on 31 August 2015
The book gives a new insight into the war as if from backstage. The work of doctors and nurses is often mentioned, but hardly ever detailed enough in other WW1 books to really appreciate their difficulties, therefore, this one is doubly interesting. All the attention, endurance, improvisation and sometimes even invention that went into the effort to keep these soldiers alive is beyond imagination. To concur the new menace of poisonous gases, the not so new but never really tested effect - not at this scale anyway - of machine guns posed new questions and problems for the medical staff and undoubtedly they rose to the occasion saving as many lives as they could. The story of war is helped along with quotes from old letters, diaries and memories of surviving staff members. I really recommend it to everyone interested in the topic.
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on 8 December 2012
a fascinating read and a wonderfully broad cross-section of the people who worked so tirelessly in the medical services amidst the horrors of ww1. It's easy to read, and i would recommend to anyone with even a passing interest in the topic.
Amidst the mind-blowing numbers of casualties, and the headlines we all hear, this is a way to start hearing from the individuals, and to see the war from a slightly different perspective. Excellent stuff
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on 19 May 1999
I first read this book as part of my A-Level studies when I learned that my great uncle had undergone reconstructive surgery during WWI (jaw shot away). I then went on to avidly devour all of Lyns excellent 'peoples history' books. This one is particularly good, refering to the doctors, nurses and medics who fought to rebuild those shattered by the war either physically or mentally. The first person narratives give a particulary touching insight into the conditions faced by both medical staff and patients. Recommended.
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on 4 May 2014
This is a great history of nursing in WW1. The author has edited a stream evidence from nurses, doctors, volunteers, orderlies and in fact all cadres who were involved in the care of the wounded and sick in WW1 and she lets the story be told through their words. She has researched her material in great depth and you can hear and feel the impressions of those who experienced at first hand this great calamity. Her skill as an author is that as you read you can hear the healthcare workers speak directly to you often through their diaries. This editing cannot be done so well without a deep and wide grasp of all the data. Thank you Lyn MacDonald for this treasure of experience and what a calamity this war was to so many millions.
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on 10 May 2014
This is a really good book. Gives a real account of the happenings of what went on during WW1. The horrors endured by the soldiers and the bravery of these women was amazing. We owe such a lot to these men and women and I really think these type of books should be a MUST read for history lessons in the school curriculum! We must never forget these people without them we wouldn't have the lives we have now.
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