Friday, May 09, 2008

CWL---New On The Personal Bookself: Encyclopedia of Civil War Medicine

The Encyclopedia of Civil War Medicine, Glenna R. Schroeder-Lein. M.E. Sharpe Publishing, 2008, 419 pp., illustrations, chronology, bibliography, index, $95.00.

This history of Civil War medicine in encyclopedia form offers 200+ A to Z entries on people, medical terms, disease, wounds, treatments, hospitals and volunteer organizations. Both Battles of Manassas, Peninsula Campaign, Antietam, Chickamauga, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, and Shiloh have entries listed in the table of contents. Other battles, such as Olustee, are found in the index. Clearly written, well annotated, and concisely organized, this one volume encyclopedia is reminescent of Mark Boatner's Dictionary of the Civil War and Terry Jones' Historical Dictionary of the Civil War.

Schroeder-Lein's work encompass's the most recent scholarship on the medical aspects of the war. There are usually three or more bibliographic notes for each entry along with usually five or more 'See Also' links. The chronology runs twelve pages and the bibliography spans fourteen. The reading level is accessible to the high school student who has a desire to learn new medical terms such as hydrotherapy, allopath, varioloid, and quotidian.

From the table of contents, CWL picked out the entries 'medical historiography, The Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion, Hunter Holmes Maguire and Silas Weir Mitchell for a first reading; from the index the terms 'libraries' (of course), nuns, nursing schools received attention by CWL.

Glenna R. Schroeder-lein received a PHD in history from the University of Georgia and is the author of Confederate Hospitals on the Move: Samuel H. Stout and the Army of Tennessee. She has assisted in the editing of the Andrew Johnson Papers and is currently the manuscripts librarian at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, Illinois.

Listed at $95.00 by the publisher, The Encyclopedia of Civil War Medicine can be found at a 20% discount and free shipping from Lucky me, I picked up a librarian's fine discount. Of course at the the retail and discounted prices, one must ask 'is it worth it?' As an enthusiast of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine and as a reenactor of Civil War medicine, CWL's answer is 'yes.' The paperback edition is likely to take two or three years to arrive and CWL doubts whether the History Book Club or (now will have it available. Two options are to buy it for your community library and get a tax write-off or request the book as an inter-library loan. Once you have open in your hands, it is likely that you will be spending quite a bit of time in The Encyclopedia of Civil War Medicine.

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