Justice to the Maimed Soldier: Nursing, Medical Care and Welfare for Sick and Wounded Soldiers and their Families during the English Civil Wars and Interregnum, 1642–1660, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Justice to the Maimed Soldier

Nursing, Medical Care and Welfare for Sick and Wounded Soldiers and their Families during the English Civil Wars and Interregnum, 1642–1660, 1st Edition

By Eric Gruber von Arni


300 pages

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In the popular imagination, the notion of military medicine prior to the twentieth century is dominated by images of brutal ignorance, superstition and indifference. In an age before the introduction of anaesthetics, antibiotics and the sterilisation of instruments, it is perhaps unsurprising that such a stereotyped view has developed, but to what degree is it correct? Whilst it is undoubtedly true that by modern standards, the medical care provided in previous centuries was crude and parochial, it would be wrong to think that serious attempts were not made by national bodies to provide care for those injured in the military conflicts of the past. In this ground breaking study, it is argued that both sides involved in the civil wars that ravaged the British Isles during the mid seventeenth century made concerted efforts to provide medical care for their sick and wounded troops. Through the use of extensive archival sources, Dr Gruber von Arni has pieced together the history of the welfare provided by both Parliamentarian and Royalist causes, and analyses the effectiveness of the systems they set up.


'This book has filled a long empty void in the history of nursing and medical care of the British Army and will long stand as the authoritative work on the subject.' The Gazette, Journal of the RAMC 'It is rare these days that a work can genuinely be said to have opened up an almost unexplored aspect of early modern warfare, but this study manages to do so, and, in so doing, is a significant contribution to the histories of both medicine and warfare. Clearly written and without the hindrance of overcomplicated language, this is a well-constructed book… those who wish to understand the interaction of civil war and society in the seventeenth century could do a lot worse than to read this fascinating and illuminating study.' Journal of Military History 'The author has succeeded in assembling, from a wide range of documentary sources, a fascinating body of evidence. He can indeed feel that he has done "justice to the maimed soldier", and it is to be hoped that others will now see this as a fruitful field for futher research.' Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research '… Gruber von Arni has done a fine job… Once in a while a book comes along which turns all (we think) we know on its head. This is one such book… A must have on your bookshelf.' Arquebusier '… This is a book based firmly on empirical historical research. The standard of accuracy seems very high… deserves to become a standard work on its subject.' H-Net Reviews 'In sum, von Arni awakens us to medical pursuits in a critical period of England's history that have previously gone unnoticed. Not only does this add a new dimension to the history of military medicine, it adds an important and hitherto unwritten chapter to the history of nursing in Britain.' Medical History '… most welcome for its chronological scope, for encouraging comparisons between early-modern and modern arrangements, and for its effort to recover the history of British military nursing before the work of Flor

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Introduction; The King’s army in Oxford, 1642-1646; The army of Parliament, 1642-1648; Parliamentary administration of casualty care; War in the Celtic nations; Casualty care during maritime conflict and overseas campaigns; Permanent military hospitals; Contemporary treatments; Nursing personalities of the Civil War and Interregnum; Conclusion; Appendices; Bibliography; Index.

About the Series

The History of Medicine in Context

The History of Medicine in Context

An interest in medicine is one of the constants that re-occurs throughout history. From the earliest times, man has sought ways to combat the myriad of diseases and ailments that afflict the human body, resulting in a number of evolving and often competing philosophies and practices whose repercussions spread far beyond the strictly medical sphere.

For more than a decade The History of Medicine in Context series has provided a unique platform for the publication of research pertaining to the study of medicine from broad social, cultural, political, religious and intellectual perspectives. Offering cutting-edge scholarship on a range of medical subjects that cross chronological, geographical and disciplinary boundaries, the series consistently challenges received views about medical history and shows how medicine has had a much more pronounced effect on western society than is often acknowledged. As medical knowledge progresses, throwing up new challenges and moral dilemmas, The History of Medicine in Context series offers the opportunity to evaluate the shifting role and practice of medicine from the long perspective, not only providing a better understanding of the past, but often an intriguing perspective on the present.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General