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"Guthrie's War: a Surgeon of the Peninsula and Waterloo" Topic

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ConnaughtRanger03 Dec 2019 6:53 a.m. PST


This has been around some time but I only recently got round to picking up a copy. It's a very interesting and well-written book about a rarely covered aspect of the Peninsular War and a Surgeon who has, perhaps, not received his due recognition. For the general reader there are many fascinating details of life on campaign and the operation of the British Army's Medical Services (for example, I can't recall reading previously that Portuguese infantry routinely wore white armbands after potential "friendly fire" incidents during the capture of Porto?). There are numerous descriptions of individual cases of injury whose significance might, perhaps, pass the lay reader by – other than to marvel at the stoicism of military men in those days. I am constantly amazed by the contemporary practice of "bleeding" (often breathtaking volumes) which, nonetheless, appeared to produce positive results. Michael Crumplin is a great enthusiast for the period, as anyone who has attended one of his lectures can testify. Fascinating – but perhaps not ideal for the squeamish – and highly recommended for those with a deep interest in the Peninsular Army.

King Monkey03 Dec 2019 7:37 a.m. PST

If you're interested in the medical side of things there's also Surgeon Henry's Trifles, events of a military life by Pat Hayward (Ed.) and The Journal of an Army Surgeon during the Peninsular War by Charles Boutflower.

ConnaughtRanger03 Dec 2019 10:36 a.m. PST

Thank you – I have both of those too! I have no great medical interests but I find the "non-infantry" biographies often contain more of the fascinating (to me) detail of campaign life?

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