Healers, Helpers and Hospitals ( 2 volumes in slipcase) – JC De Villiers


Condition : Good
Protea Book House, 2008, Hardbacks in Slipcase – History – Page count: 1 120pp.

The Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) represented a watershed in military medicine, and the way armies take care of their soldiers in war. This extensive work covers all military medical aspects of the conflict: from the influence of Red Cross societies, foreign aid from Belgium, Germany, Russia, Switzerland, the United States of America and the Netherlands to the clinical aspects of military medical care.”Healers, Helpers and Hospitals” contributes to our canon on this war which continues to intrigue readers and historians from all over the world.

Vol. 1 recounts the history behind the doctors, nurses and other medical practitioners during the war. The British and Boer medical military organisations are explained in detail, giving new insights into the difficulties experienced by each side of the war. The contribution on neutral countries and organisations such as the Red Cross is also dealt with and gives the reader a good idea of the influence this war had on countries as far away as Canada, Belgium, Germany, France and Russia.

Vol . 2 is predominantly concerned with the clinical aspects of military medical care and deals with wounds produced by particular missiles, the surgical handling of these wounds by surgeons on both sides, surgical anaesthesia and diagnostic radiology. The plague epidemic in Cape Town, psychiatric disorders as presented in combatants in both camps and the impact of typhoid and other infections, are described. The story is also told of traditional remedies used by the Boers and the work of a number of unqualified Boer medical helpers during the guerrilla phase of the war.

In 2011 the work received the prestigious UCT Book Award, an accolade shared by a precious few. Among the previous recipients, is the Nobel-winning author JM Coetzee. Professor J.C. (Kay) de Villiers is a neurosurgeon by training. His interest in war medicine stems from his research. He was the founder of the Cape Medical Museum.

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