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3 The hell at the heart of paradise Introduction: more writings from L’Hôpital Chirurgical Mobile No. 1 Mary Borden published The Forbidden Zone in 1929, more than ten years after the armistice.1 Long before this  – indeed, even before the war itself had ended  – Agnes Warner’s My Beloved Poilus had appeared in her home town of Saint John, New Brunswick.2 But it was one of Borden’s trained nurses, Ellen La Motte, who produced the earliest memoir of L’Hôpital Chirurgical Mobile No. 1. The Backwash of War was published by Putnam’s in New York in 1916.3 The book

in Nurse Writers of the Great War
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Doctors and medics in the Vietnam War

6 Crying silently : doctors and medics in the Vietnam War In his Second World War memoir, The Other Side of Time, American battalion surgeon Brendan Phibbs writes: ‘We were lucky in 1942. We didn’t have to shrink from pictures of screaming Vietnamese about to be raped and murdered by American soldiers at My Lai. There were no dead students scattered across the grass at Kent State. Where we stood in 1942 the air was charged, clean, dangerous, honest.’1 While our discussion of the Second World War, and Phibbs’s own book, shows that the air was not as ‘clean

in Working in a world of hurt
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‘Shared experiences and meanings’

Conclusion: ‘Shared experiences and meanings’ In our Introduction we note how Lynda Van Devanter positions her memoir between the past, those women who nursed and suffered injury in previous wars, and a future that will acknowledge the invisible psychological wounds which she and others suffer. In doing so her purpose is to highlight the relationship between telling her story and her own emotional recovery and survival. Moreover, in placing her memoir in the context of other accounts – those who came before and those who will come after – she illustrates how

in Working in a world of hurt
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as an issue, these writers seem more reticent about revealing their own emotional pain than medical personnel from the war in Vietnam. This leads to a visible tension between the awareness of traumatic response in these works and the unwillingness at the individual level to explore it in the depth we have seen in memoirs by Hassan and Parrish, for example, in Chapter 6, or by Vietnam nurses discussed in Chapter 5. Heidi Kraft, a psychologist based at a combat support hospital in Iraq, in her memoir Rule Number Two, points to the comparisons between this war and

in Working in a world of hurt
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Women in the Vietnam War

brought home in Lynda Van Devanter’s Vietnam War memoir, Home before Morning, where a crucial image is represented in the dream she records on the ending of the war in 1973: ‘Thousands of American mothers were walking in the streets of Saigon, carrying the bloody bodies of their dead sons. Above the wailing, screaming, and gnashing of teeth, one word was constantly repeated:  Why?7 [original italics]. The image of collective suffering not only positions the nurse as mother, putting on public display ‘the bloody bodies’ in a performance that demands an answer, but also

in Working in a world of hurt
Medical personnel and the invasion of Europe in the Second World War

The desire to forget that McBryde acknowledges, along with the need to rebuild lives interrupted by the war, also seem to have contributed to the post-war silence. Both Mawson and Phibbs cite the heavy medical workload that preoccupied them after the war until retirement, when they were prompted to return to diaries and notes written during the war. Mawson notes that he did write a private account of his experience immediately after the war and that his memoir ‘has been compiled from notes and a narrative put together soon after, in 1945, and from old newspaper

in Working in a world of hurt
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American confidence and the narrative of resilience in the Great War

American literature more generally: Ellen La Motte and Mary Borden, who nursed in France, wrote equally experimental and stark accounts of their experiences of the places, rivers and dates that were forever associated with their treatment of the wounded. Numerous accounts by lesser-known and indeed largely forgotten ambulance drivers and nurses, usually in the form of a memoir or a collection of letters, were published between 1914 and 1919, for although the United States did not officially enter the war on the side of the Allies until April 1917, hundreds of young – and

in Working in a world of hurt
British POW medics’ memoirs of the Second World War

.46 Writing his memoir, Stalag Doctor, in 1956, where he noted how ‘Our ideas on warfare were completely influenced by what we had read and heard of the battles on the Western Front in the First World War’,47 I.  Schrire describes how ‘The Red Cross and the YMCA provided us with a generous and varied quantity of books, and here, in the middle of Poland in 1942, I had re-read most of the classics at ease and with little interruption’.48 Ion Ferguson similarly notes that ‘When letters and Red Cross parcels began to arrive, we were about as well situated as prisoners

in Working in a world of hurt

for a fair proportion of the insalubrity of the capital, ‘the muddy soil of the big cities’9 giving the urban milieu all the attributes of a swamp, whose effects on health were so feared. Intermittent fevers (such as malaria) were then endemic throughout Europe; the inhabitants of those marshy neighbourhoods were prey to all kinds of diseases and usually died at an early age. Physicians and apothecaries saw cities as vast and extremely corrupted swamps, to the extent that in a memoir on diseases induced by stagnant waters, Jean-Baptiste Baumes, a physician

in Bellies, bowels and entrails in the eighteenth century

74 periodicals, mostly published in France and Germany, and 392 monographs, which covered subjects ranging from anatomy to venereal diseases.87 At the same time, the society offered publication space to its members. In 1836, the first volume of its Mémoires et observations appeared and from 1837 to 1840 several studies were published in two Brussels-based journals, the Bulletin médical belge and the Archives de la médecine belge. In 1840, the society started its own monthly periodical, the Annales de la Société de Médecine d’Anvers.88 Sociability and medical

in Medical societies and scientific culture in nineteenth-century Belgium